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BACH IS YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE.
555 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, IL 60062 847.448.0025
How to Financially Survive COVID-19: Part 1

How to Financially Survive COVID-19: Part 1

The most urgent threat we face amidst the coronavirus pandemic is, of course, our physical health. To stay safe, we all must follow guidelines from our local, state, and federal governments, whether by washing our hands more frequently, implementing social distancing measures, or staying home as much as possible. The better we follow these guidelines, the more lives we can save and the sooner the pandemic will be over.

At Bach Law Offices, we are doing our part to keep our office, clients, and communities safe. We are offering remote services, including free consultations via Zoom, phone, or text. But just because we have transitioned to virtual meetings does not mean we have reduced our efforts to serve you and your loved ones.

We are here to help you overcome what is perhaps the second-most pressing consequence of COVID-19: financial adversity. Whether you were laid off, lost revenue as a business owner, or have no choice but to use loans or credit cards to pay your bills, Bach Law Offices can help you find and implement solutions to this unexpected hardship.

Here are a few tips and insights from our team to help you financially survive COVID-19.

Paying Your Bills

You may be eligible for deferrals of your rent, mortgage, or utility bills, but we urge you to only take advantage of this option if you must. Many mistakenly believe they won’t be accountable for payments missed during COVID-19. Exercise caution when delaying bills, because no one can be sure of where they will be at the end of this crisis.

If you are a homeowner, here are a few factors to consider regarding your mortgage:

  • Your home is only an asset if your mortgage is less than the property value. If it is not an asset, it is a liability, and you may want to explore alternatives like renting.
  • You may be eligible for suspension or forbearance if you live in New Jersey, New York, or California, or your mortgage is federally backed and covered under the CARES Act.
  • You may benefit from a foreclosure moratorium under the CARES Act, which will last for at least 60 days.
  • If you were current before taking advantage of the forbearance opportunity, the CARES Act prohibits your lender from reporting the forbearance on your credit report.
  • Keep in mind that forbearance is not forgiveness. You will eventually be responsible for the payments you don’t make, and you will likely need to modify your loan after the forbearance period is over.
  • If you are not eligible for suspension or forbearance, get in touch with your lender to see if they are offering any relief programs during COVID-19.

Before deciding what bills to pay, we urge you to stay informed about local and state executive orders. Some utility companies and landlords are still allowed to shut off services or evict tenants, even with the passage of the CARES Act. If you need assistance determining whether you are safe from these ramifications, we are more than happy to assess your situation and help you obtain the relief you need.

Stimulus Checks

Depending on your income, you may receive up to $1,200 from the federal government and an additional $500 for each of your dependent children. If you make more than $75,000, the amount you receive will decrease with your income, phasing out completely at $99,000.

If you provided direct deposit information when you filed your 2018 or 2019 taxes, you may receive your payment via direct deposit by mid-April. If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information on file, you may not receive your stimulus check for a few months. The IRS has announced it will create a portal so people can add their direct deposit information and receive their payments sooner.

The IRS will mail checks in phases, beginning with those who make the lowest income.

Student Loan Relief

Per the CARES Act, most federal student loan payments are suspended for 6 months—including interest accrual. If you were enrolled in automatic payments, your loan servicer will disable it for you. If you were previously in default or working toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, these six months will still apply toward loan rehabilitation or forgiveness. Furthermore, all collection actions have been halted until September 30th.

Unfortunately, Perkins and FFEL Loans owned by commercial lenders or your college (rather than the U.S. Department of Education)are not covered by the CARES Act. Private loans are also not covered by this relief.

Here are a few strategies to consider if you do not qualify for relief or you are unsure whether you qualify:

  • Contact your lender. Your lender will tell you whether the CARES Act has suspended your payments and interests. If it hasn’t, your lender may be able to offer adjusted payment plans or other forms of relief.
  • Apply for deferment or forbearance. These options allow you to suspend payments, but interest may accrue during this period.
  • Consolidate debt. If you use a federal direct consolidation loan to consolidate your student loan debt, it may qualify for CARES Act suspension provisions. This will likely take multiple weeks, however, and it may restart your forgiveness program if you have one.
  • Contact our legal team. Interpreting the CARES Act may be a challenge without legal experience, and we are fully prepared to help you take full advantage of student loan relief during this crisis.

Beware of Scams

When the federal government distributes payments during an economic crisis, scam artists take advantage of the ensuing chaos and attempt to deceive those in desperate need of financial relief.

Do not trust anyone who:

  • Asks for an application and fee for your stimulus check
  • Promises they can help you acquire mortgage or student loan relief (unless they are your lender or attorney)
  • Promises they can help you access Small Business Assistance (unless they are your CPA or attorney)

Fortunately, you are protected by consumer protection laws, but you will need to act quickly if you were defrauded. Contact law enforcement and our legal team for immediate assistance.

Bring Additional Questions & Concerns to Bach Law Offices

We will continue to publish tips, insights, and resources so individuals and businesses can better handle the economic stress of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, no amount of general information can replace the personalized support you will gain when you take your case to Bach Law Offices. With our assistance, you can restore your sense of confidence in your financial future—even during this global crisis.

To put 40+ years of experience in your corner, call (847) 448-0025 or contact us online today. We can begin with a complimentary, virtual consultation.

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