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U.S. Treasury: Personal Finance and Consumer Protection - Steps for Quicker Financial Relief

Read "Personal Finance and Consumer Protection - Steps for Quicker Financial Relief" from the U.S. Department of Treasury here:

MAKE SURE YOUR FAMILY’S BASIC NEEDS ARE MET

Assess your financial needs over the coming several months and prioritize necessary expenses. If possible, use your tax refund and Economic Impact Payments for food, medicines, and other items for your family’s well-being, such as:

  • Medical care
  • Housing and utilities 
  • Caregiving for children or other family members. 
  • Telephone and internet to help you stay in contact
  • Transportation

IF YOUR BASIC NEEDS ARE MET, PAY YOUR BILLS AND DEBTS

However, if you have trouble keeping up with your bills, be sure to ask for help.  You may be able to pay some by the due date and the rest when you have adequate resources.  You may be able to renegotiate your payment due dates or the monthly minimum amounts due.

  • Mortgage and Housing Assistance
  • Mortgage Basics Learn how to read your monthly mortgage statement or understand key mortgage terms, like mortgage forbearance. 
  • Mortgage Relief Options
  • Protections for Renter
  • More Assistance on Housing Issues -- Government Certified Housing counselors throughout the country can provide advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. These trained professionals provide advice for little or no cost, and they will work with you to discuss your situation, evaluate options, and even help you negotiate with your lenders and servicers.  Call 1-800-569-4287
  • More Assistance on Credit -- Reputable credit counseling organizations are generally non-profit organizations that can advise you on your money and debts, and help you with a budget. Some may also help you negotiate with creditors. There are specific questions you can use when looking for a credit counseling organization to work with you. 
  • Utilities, such as water, gas/oil, electricity

    • Many utility companies are helping customers who are having difficulty paying their bills. Check with your local utility for more information on help paying bills.

    • One option is the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. which can assist with paying your heating and cooling bills, emergency services in case of energy crisis such as utility shutoffs, and low-cost improvements that make your home more energy efficient and lower your utility bills.

  • Telephone, cellphone, and Internet

    • Many communications companies are suspending cancelling services, waiving fees and arranging payment plans. Nearly 650 cable and telephone companies have joined the national Keep America Connected Campaign and pledged to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity and to not terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills; to waive any late fees; and to open Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.  

    • The federal Lifeline Support for Affordable Communications Program might be a good option if you need only basic telephone service.  Contact your provider to learn what they can do to assist.

  • Personal Loans and Debt

  • Student loans

DON’T BE SCAMMED - MANY TYPES OF FRAUDS AND SCAMS POP UP IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

  • Five things you can do to avoid a Coronavirus Scams 

  • Remember:

    • Government agencies will not call or text you about benefits or money, and they won’t ask you for a deposit, fees or other payment in order to get your benefits. In addition, government agencies will not ask you for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card number.  If someone tells you they need these to get your payment, they may be scamming you.

    • In general, be careful about emails, calls, and texts from  sources you don’t know, and be especially careful about offers that seem “to good to be true.”
  • Recognize and avoid phishing scams and investment scams.
  • How to Donate Wisely and Avoid Charity Scams Your charitable donations can help others in your community, around the country and around the world, but watch out for scams.  
  • If you spot a scam, please tell the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC will share the information with federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies

MANAGING YOUR MONEY IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

STAY INFORMED

To make sure you get timely and accurate information, sign up for emails and text updates from federalstatelocal and tribal government agencies, your bank, insurance company and other financial companies that you do business with, your creditors (such as mortgage company or student lender and servicer).

MORE TOPICS

If you need help with other financial issues, there are many federal resources available below. Taking these steps will help all you get through this emergency and strengthen your financial health. Filing for Unemployment Insurance with your state.

ABOUT THE FINANCIAL LITERACY AND EDUCATION COMMISSION

View the webcast of the May 12, 2020 public meeting of the Commission, which addressed the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.


To read Julie Jason's books, go to: https://juliejason.com/books/julies-books.