What to Do if You Can't Pay Your Bills During COVID-19
COVID-19 is a term everyone is familiar with by now. It has left fear and panic in its wake, and millions unemployed in the U.S. alone. That doesn’t even include those who still have jobs but have taken significant cuts in pay or major reductions in business.
There is a lot of financial uncertainty today. If you’re like many of your friends and neighbors, you are waking up to the reality that you likely can’t pay all your bills. That doesn’t mean you don’t have options. Here’s what you need to do if you can’t pay some of your bills during COVID-19.
Prioritize Your Monthly Bills
Now is the time to determine which bills are your priorities. The ones you MUST pay each month. Of course, the next step is to communicate with lenders and creditors about the situation and your options. Fortunately, most lenders and creditors understand that this is a situation that has a far-reaching impact, and many vendors are willing to work with you to help you stay afloat during these trying times.
The key, though, is to communicate with lenders and creditors BEFORE due dates to make some type of arrangement so that late payments do not end up affecting your credit score. It is always best to be proactive in managing a situation like this – even when there is so much uncertainty.
Take Advantage of Mortgage Programs Available to You
The one caveat being you need to make sure you follow the instructions and know the details. For instance, the CARES Act grants a mortgage forbearance to homeowners who have mortgages through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and similar federally backed mortgages. This act grants a forbearance, upon owner’s request, for up to 180 days.
If you do not have a federally backed mortgage, you can work directly with your lender to see what your options are. Some states have enacted protections for homeowners during this time as well. Regardless of state policies, most lenders are willing to work with you during these extraordinary times.
Talk to Your Credit Card Companies
For most people, the payments that are off the table during the COVID-19 crisis are credit card payments. Now is the time to call and negotiate with the credit card companies. You’re not alone, and many companies are understanding at times like these. They may have options that are only available to you if you take the time, before your bills are overdue, to communicate with them.
Talk to Our Credit Union
Credit Union membership has its privileges. As our credit union member, you have options you may not even be aware of to help you manage your money through this pandemic. There are many programs available to members, including loan modifications, to help you get through the months ahead.
FAFCU Is Here to Help!
While COVID-19 has other services shut down, your credit union is here to help you manage your money through the financial crisis caused by COVID-19. Call us today at 941-748-7704 or visit our drive-through locations for assistance.
Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.
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