These are extremely trying times for U.S. workers, with thousands of businesses forced to close and let employees go as part of the efforts being made to combat COVID-19. If you’re out of work and having difficulty finding another job, you likely are piling up a long list of bills with no real source of income available to help pay them. The good news, though, is that there are resources to help if you’re struggling to make ends meet.
1. Apply for Unemployment Benefits. If you’re out of work, even as a sole proprietor or gig worker, you likely will qualify for unemployment compensation benefits. You should apply right away. The waiting week is waived so you’ll get benefits effective the date that you file. Apply here: https://www.uc.pa.gov/Pages/covid19.aspx
2. Get Paid Leave Benefits. The new Families First law went into effect on April 3, 2020 and entitles many workers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis to paid leave for up to 12 weeks. there are paid leave rights that kick in on and after April 3, 2020. If you’re out of work due to a COVID-19 shutdown or can’t work for a personal or family health reason, you may be entitled to paid leave. This is a new law so your employer may not fully understand its obligations so don’t hesitate to ask about it. You can find out more here: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic
3. Talk to Your Landlord, Mortgage Company and Creditors. If you’re having trouble paying your bills, you’re far from alone. That’s why many creditors are offering special programs for people experiencing economic hardship right now.
Banks, credit card issuers, and other lenders may be willing to work with you if you discuss your situation. Many of these creditors help on a case-by-case basis, so you won’t know what types of programs you qualify for until you ask. But some organizations are offering everything from waived late fees to deferred payments to minimum payment assistance and more.
In addition, many utility and telecommunication companies are helping during the pandemic. Some companies have pledged not to discontinue service for the time being even if customers cannot pay their bills, and many also offer other types of assistance such as flexible payment plans or waived late fees. So if you’re struggling financially as a result of COVID-19, reach out to these providers to see what help you may be eligible for.
Maybe local creditors won’t have these special programs. Your landlord may not be as willing to work with you. We can help. Our attorneys are available to help negotiate rent or loan deferments and repayment plans.
4. Consider Filing Bankruptcy. Are you struggling to manage debt from credit cards, medical bills, personal or business loans? Need a financial fresh start? If so, the filing for bankruptcy may be a solution to your financial problems. In addition to eliminate many of your debts, a bankruptcy can also stop the collection calls, temporarily freeze a mortgage foreclosure and halt debt collection lawsuits. A bankruptcy can put you in a financial position where you will be better able rebuild your good credit for the future.
While bankruptcy can be a powerful debt solution tool, completing the bankruptcy petition is complicated. There are many decisions that must be made that will have significant consequences for the success of your bankruptcy and the fresh start that you are seeking. It is critical that you are guided by a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who understands the law and can give you a best chance for success.
You can find more information about how we can help you with bankruptcy here.