COVID-19 Food and Financial Relief

Resources and strategies to help those experiencing hardship

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SUMMARY

As the spread of COVID-19 continues to impact many individuals and families, we want to help. This resource has been created to help those who are experiencing financial hardship.

Currently, there are a number of measures being considered to help families financially over the coming weeks. For a summary of those items, see the “National Relief Measures” and “Local Relief Measures” sections below. People who anticipate having trouble making payments should review the “Steps To Take” list below. They should also seek financial assistance options in their areas (see “Financial Assistance Resources” section below).

If you would like to speak with a staff member about your financial situation, please contact the MoneyWise staff at your campus:

Browns Bridge: moneywise@brownsbridge.org

Buckhead: moneywise@buckheadchurch.org

Decatur City: moneywise@decaturcity.org

Gwinnett: moneywise@gwinnettchurch.org

North Point: moneywise@northpoint.org

Woodstock City: moneywise@woodstockcity.org

Budget

  • If you haven’t looked at a budget in a while, now’s the time to do so. Every Dollar is a great free app to use to get a budget together.
  • Get clarity from your income sources as to what the reality will look like over the coming weeks.
  • Cut spending to bare necessities. If you can’t pay all of your bills, Dave Ramsey recommends you spend your money on these four items first and in this order:
    • Food 
    • Utilities 
    • Shelter 
    • Transportation

     

    Defer Payments

    • If you’re still not able to cover all of your expenses, identify payments that can be deferred:
      • Call creditors to explain your situation. You can ask for temporary relief on your monthly payments. If you offer to still send some money, even if it’s a smaller amount than your typical payment, they might be more willing to work with you.
      • If you have federal student loans, you can forbear (interest accrues) or defer (interest doesn’t accrue on subsidized federal loans) your loan payments.
      • For student loans, use this questionnaire to understand what options are available to you.
    • If you’re paying extra on debt(s) right now and have less than one to two months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund, it might not be a bad idea to temporarily stop extra payments and then restart them once things settle down.
    • Enroll for health insurance, if you can.
    • Use this week to get a game plan together and gather information, as there may be more changes coming.
    • Reach out to the MoneyWise team using an email address listed above if you want to talk.

Broad Measures (Updated: 3/29)

  • Free COVID-19 testing to anyone, regardless of insurance status.
  • The tax-filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to July 15 for both Federal and Georgia.
  • Send stimulus checks directly to American households. Use this calculator to estimate how much your family will receive.
  • Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Ally Bank have all said that if customers are having trouble making payments on loans (mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, etc.) to call them to find out what options are available.
  • Foreclosures and evictions will be suspended for 60 days on all HUD-owned properties and mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. Additionally, homeowners are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. Borrowers should contact their loan servicer to ask about this.
  • Suspend Federal student loan payments through September 30 with no accrual of interest on these loans. Borrowers should contact their loan servicer to ask about this.
  • Individuals that apply for unemployment insurance will receive an additional $600/week for up to four months on top of what they would normally receive from unemployment benefits. Self-employed workers and independent contractors are eligible for this program.
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Other Measures (Updated: 3/29)

  • Emergency paid leave for up to three months if you are sick, quarantined, or taking care of a sick family member. It would be 2/3 of your normal salary and doesn’t apply if you receive unemployment compensation (employers with fewer than 500 employees).
  • Paid sick leave for two weeks (employers with fewer than 500 employees).
  • $350 billion small business loan program to provide companies with 500 or fewer employees access to funds to continue paying employees.
  • For funds taken out of retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs, the 10 percent tax penalty is waived for people who are experiencing economic hardships.
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Rent

  • City of Atlanta is calling upon their partners (various housing authorities) to halt evictions over the next 60 days.

Utilities

  • Atlanta and Smyrna have suspended water disconnections for the next 60 days.
  • Georgia Power and Cobb EMC have suspended disconnections and collections for 30 days.
  • Atlanta Gas Light Co. will stop service disconnections for customers who haven’t paid their bill for up to seven days. Atlanta Gas Light’s marketers include local companies such as Gas South and Georgia Natural Gas.
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Cell Phone/Internet

  • Xfinity will not disconnect or add late fees for customers who contact the company. Customers will have unlimited data for 60 days, and Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots will be free for anyone. New customers will also get access to 60 days of free Internet Essentials service (25 Mbps).
  • AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint will not terminate or add late fees for the next 60 days. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are also open and customers will receive unlimited Internet data. 
  • T-Mobile advises customers with past-due amounts to set up payment arrangements online. 

Unemployment Insurance

Small Businesses

Sites to Find Financial Assistance Resources

Food Pantries/Rent and Utility Assistance

Student Meals

Additional Resources