COVID-19 has affected all of us in many ways. We worry about our health and the health of our loved ones. Many of us continue to face financial uncertainty. It has been particularly hard on those who are out of work. While a second round of stimulus checks have been issued, there are other things to consider if you lost your job because of COVID-19.
Take advantage of all unemployment benefits. In Florida, unemployment benefits are now available to self-employed workers and independent contractors. In fact, I encourage you to visit the State of Florida’s website. The site contains all the information that you need including eligibility requirements and filing procedures.
In the face of unprecedented financial hardship, the federal government required some lenders to offer assistance programs. For example, mortgage companies may allow you to make reduced payments or to skip payments if you lost your job or income. You should call your bank to see what remedies are available regarding your mortgage. Do the same for your car loans and credit card bills. Whatever you do, do not simply stop paying your bills. Your lender may let you skip a payment or two. However, you will have to pay it eventually. Additionally, fully understand all arrangements that you make with your lenders. And, it is important to keep detailed records.
Reduce Spending & Make a Budget
Perhaps you have no choice but to reduce spending as you just do not have enough money. Regardless, find places where you can save some money. When the pandemic passes, you want to be in the best financial position as possible. Therefore, it is important to make a budget. This will help with your financial health going forward.
Talk to your landlord. Perhaps arrangements can be made to defer payments. Look at your lease. Maybe there is language in there that allows for negotiation. A lease is a contract. Many contracts have Act of God clauses. There is much contract litigation happening regarding Act of God claims. I am not saying that you can get out of rent payments arguing that COVID-19 is an act of God. But you may have some options depending on the lease language.
These are just a couple of things to think about if you lost your job because of COVID-19. If your financial situation stressing you out, please call me. Bankruptcy can be an option to clean the slate and start anew. In the meantime, please be safe and optimistic. There is hope with vaccines and the promise of more stimulus money.