There are a wide range of public and private resources that are helping Floridians who are experiencing financial problems as a result of COVID-19. Please review each resource link for details and the most up-to-date information.
Resource Roundup: Helping Adult Learners Identify Key Health & Financial Resources During COVID-19
FLC held a webinar highlighting useful health and financial resources for adult learners trying to navigate both their health and financial needs during this crisis.
2020 CARES Act - This act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020. It provides financial assistance to both small businesses and individuals. Below are some of the elements that may help adult learners.
Direct Cash Payments for Individuals - The distribution of direct economic impact payments will begin in April 2020. Every American with a valid Social Security number making less than $75,000 a year ($150,000 for married couples) will receive $1,200 each, and an additional $500 for each child. Individuals earning more will receive a partial, phased-out payment. Social Security recipients are also eligible and will not be required to file a return. The e-payment will be deposited directly into the same banking account listed on the last tax return filed.
New IRS Economic Payment Tool for Non-Filers - This online tool, created in partnership between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, provides a free and easy option designed for people who don't have a return filing obligation, including those with too little income to file. The feature is available only on IRS.gov, and users should look for "Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here" to take them directly to the tool.
Provides additional unemployment benefits through the Florida Reemployment Assistance Center (see details below).
Provides reduced penalties for Americans who want to make withdrawals from retirement and 401K accounts.
Defers student loan payments for 6 months without penalty.
Provides support for small businesses with economic losses due to COVID-19 (see details below).
Florida Department of Children and Families - This website provides qualified residents with access to food assistance (SNAP), medical assistance and Temporary Cash Assistance for Families with Children (TANF). These benefits have been expanded under the CARES Act. To find out if you qualify and to apply for benefits, visit Access Florida.
County Assistance Programs - Most Florida counties also provide emergency assistance programs to its residents. Programs will vary.
Coronavirus Testing - The CARES Act allows for free COVID-19 testing with no cost to the patient. If a person is experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), they should contact their health provider or their local County Health Department.
The State of Florida has suspended mortgage foreclosures and rental evictions for 45 days starting April 2nd, 2020. Federally-backed mortgages provide for 120-day protection from foreclosures and rental evictions starting March 27th, 2020. This order does not relieve an individual from paying their obligation at the end of this period.
The following nonprofits, with grant support from Wells Fargo, are now offering independent, personalized, and confidential financial coaching and counseling sessions by phone, live chat or video nationwide:
Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund: Offering remote, bilingual, professional financial counseling as a free public service for underserved residents in cities across the U.S. to help people open bank accounts, pay down debt, and address other financial challenges. Visit www.fecpublic.org/about for a list of locations.
National Disability Institute: For the 100 million people with disabilities and chronic health conditions in the U.S., visit the Financial Resilience Center for accessible emergency resources, financial wellness guidance in partnership with LifeCents, and free financial counseling with an AFCPE-certified financial coach with disability-related expertise.
Here are a few examples of ways that financial coaches and counselors can help people cope during COVID-19. Individuals and families can reach out to one or more nonprofits to assess whether the assistance offered is right for their specific needs.
Finding local resources for food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs
Creating a household budget to maximize current funds and prepare for future emergencies
Prioritizing bills and expenses to cover daily necessities and plan for the future
Applying for unemployment benefits, SNAP benefits, and other financial recovery resources
Opening bank accounts and using digital tools to manage money and pay bills remotely
Building and protecting credit, including options for managing debt
Using a zip code search, this network connects people seeking help with thousands of local social care providers that can assist them with basic financial needs including food, housing, utility bills, transit, health care, and educational support.