Money Talks: Need Help
This broadcast highlighted many of the organizations that provide help during the pandemic and our recent podcasts that dealt with some of these issues.
The CARES Act added $600 per week from the federal government on top of whatever base amount a worker receives from the state. July 13th, this benefit end.
- The legislation also adds 13 weeks of unemployment insurance.
- Typically, self-employed people, freelancers and contractors can't apply for unemployment. The CARES Act created a new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through the end of this year to help people who lose work as a direct result of the public health emergency.
- On our April 7th Money Talks, we had executives from Mississippi Department of Economic Security. http://moneytalks.mpbonline.org/episodes/money-talks-unemployment
- Online filing is encouraged! A claim may be filed on-line at www.mdes.ms.gov twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week.
- call the MDES Contact Center at 1-888-844-3577
- you may contact your local WIN Job Center – there are over 40 of them - for assistance.
Time off from work
- Eligible employees get 2 weeks of paid sick leave as long as they’ve been at employed at least 30 days.
- Some workers can also get 12 weeks of paid leave to care for children whose’ s schools were closed or whose child care provider is unavailable.
- The leave law expires December 31st.
Food banks and pantries
MS Food Network's executive director was on the show June 9th http://moneytalks.mpbonline.org/episodes/money-talks-ms-food-network
- He talked about how many people who had never needed a food pantry before were now looking for assistance.
- 601-353-7286 is their phone number where you can find out where pantries are near you.
- Their web site msfoodnet.org
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan (SNAP) provides nutritional food assistance for those who meet eligibility requirements. https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/recipient/eligibility
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides low-income women, infants and children with food, nutrition counseling, and access to health services. https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic
- Mississippi Department of Human Services provides many services for individuals, families, children, and seniors in need. https://www.mdhs.ms.gov/covid-19-updates/
Mortgage assistance and forbearance
- Mississippi Home Corporation (MHC) has reopened the Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) to provide short-term mortgage assistance to those who have lost employment or income due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow MHC to pay monthly mortgage payment assistance. People can submit applications through an online portal : mshomesaver.com
- If you have a federally backed mortgage, and if you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request an extension for up to another 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.
- Forbearance is when your mortgage servicer or lender allows you to pause (suspend), or reduce your mortgage payments for a limited period of time while you regain your financial footing.
- Forbearance doesn’t mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You are still required to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future.
- Make sure you understand how the forbearance will be repaid. There can be different forbearance programs or options, depending on the type of your loan.
- If and when your income is restored, reach out to your servicer and resume making payments as soon as you can so your future obligation is limited.
On May 12th we had a guest on our show from the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. In addition to mortgage forbearance, he talked about credit cards and asking for help with your debt. http://moneytalks.mpbonline.org/episodes/money-talks-credit-counseling
- Contact your provider to formally request financial assistance.
- Tell them you’ve been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic
- Ask questions about the credit card relief packages they offer
- Get a written copy of your agreement
- Ask to lower your monthly minimum payment or ask for waiving or refunding late fees. Reduce your interest rate. Establish a payment plan to pay off existing balances.
Small business assistance
On May 20, 2020, Governor Tate Reeves signed SB2772 into law, establishing the Back to Business Mississippi Grant Program.
The grants will be used to help businesses in Mississippi with 50 or fewer employees recover from the economic impact of COVID-19, including operating expenses and salaries.
The Mississippi Development Authority is now accepting applications on this site from small businesses.
The Childcare Crisis Assistance in Isolation Response Plan (CCAIR) is designed to serve as temporary, emergency childcare facilities during this crisis period for families listed as essential workers in Executive Order 1463. For more information on CCAIR, as well as what steps that must be taken before being considered for certification as a CCAIR site, you can go to www.mdhs.ms.gov/ccair.
- Don't forget to redeem your gift cards before stores go out of business
- United Way and Salvation Army might be of assistance for you.
- The Mississippi Department of Mental Health has resources on its website and a phone number to call for help. 1-877-210-8579
- Unemployment for self employed
- Get my payment https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
- Unemployment and EIP