GLOBAL,  HEALTH & SCIENCE,  U.S.

COVID-19 Stimulus Package & Tips for Those Struggling

The impact of COVID-19 has swept the nation and seeped its way into every American household. It’s the ripple effect coming on like a tidal wave, that everyone wanted to swim away from. Unfortunately, we are all caught in the swimming pool, and the 40% of Americans who are self-employed are taking a hard hit, while many working for big corporations are now telecommuting. Everyone who runs a one-man-show, a small business with a few employees, freelances, is a contractor, drives for Uber, does gigs, journalism, is an independent accountant, realtor, hair stylist – you name it – they all fall into the category of self-employed and are anxiously awaiting the stimulus packages to be confirmed and kick in quickly. Sure, the big corporations are feeling the heat and the airlines and cruise lines are tanking, but let’s be real – if Americans go broke, rescuing the airlines or cruise lines will be pointless.

They are in the final stages of negotiating phase two of the stimulus bill, and intend on working on phase three quickly as well, with more to come, they say. They are discussing the possibility of sending checks out to all Americans, with exception of the higher income individuals. What does that mean? We haven’t been told, other than Mnuchin stating, “I think it’s clear we don’t need to send people who make a million dollars a year checks.” Some Democrats have proposed anywhere between $1000 and $2000 per individual, while tossing around ideas of sending additional payments out quarterly should health and economic emergencies continue. Most seem to agree that getting cash into people’s pockets quickly would be better than doing a payroll tax cut.

They have also extended the tax due date of April 15th to July 15th, but if you have money coming back, most certainly file by April 15th! They are ironing out details around paid sick leave, paid childcare leave, unemployment insurance, food stamps, small business loans, and other means of helping people at this time. I believe we will know much more by the end of this week, as they have said they intend to get phase two wrapped up quickly. So hang tight.

What Can You Do Right Now?  

I Can’t Pay My Mortgage or Rent
Banks and landlords are fully aware of the situation, and many banks are stepping up to work with you. Contact your mortgage lender and discuss your options with them. I do not believe, that with the national emergency we are currently in, a lender is going to foreclose on you and boot you to the curb. In fact, some governors are requesting that foreclosures and evictions be halted at this time. That said, a discussion still needs to happen to see how you might defer payments and avoid any additional fees, so call them.

Many landlords are holding off on evictions if people can’t pay rent, because honestly – who in the heck are they going to rent to right now? Talk with your landlord about the situation, don’t just blow them off. Show a little respect – it will go a long way, and they will likely be sympathetic to your situation, especially with governors requesting landlords to work with tenants. Just remember, for the landlords who are smaller scale, they are taking a big hit right now as well, so be equally sympathetic to them. Maybe there is even something you can do to help them out with other tasks since you are unable to pay rent.

What About My Utilities?
The government has urged all water companies to keep services on, even if people are unable to pay. Of course, individual states and providers all need to get on board with this, but being as “wash your hands” has climbed to number on the greatest hits chart, and your toilet paper has been hoarded right out from under you, it would be outlandish for them to shut off your access. You may need to make a little noise, but I believe you will be safe in this department.

As far as I’m concerned, the same goes for electric and gas, especially when it comes to the elderly. I cannot imagine the government or governors will not step in if utility companies start cutting access when people can’t pay their bills due to loss of jobs over closures. If only they had just stuck with Tesla, instead of stashing away his brilliance, we would all have free energy right now anyway, right?

In all cases, contact your power companies and discuss your situation with them and work something out. Obviously, most power companies allow energy payment plans that might reduce the monthly bill, but if you simply cannot pay at all right now, see if they will defer payments without accruing fees. Be pleasant on the phone with them. I find that most people truly want to help others, and if you request their help, they are more likely to engage with you to find the best solution. I know stress levels are high, but being snappy will solve nothing.

Childcare Needs
Most everyone is staying home right now. If you are one of the lucky ones who can continue to work and maintain a stream of income, but your child’s school closed and you require childcare, see if a neighbor in need of funds could watch your child for a small fee, so you can help each other out. It’s tight for everyone right now.

Feeding My Family
The stimulus package they are negotiating does have some relief with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). I believe they are waiving the work requirements, and may have already done so, so check with your state’s SNAP office and see if you qualify. In fact, you may even be able to utilize SNAP to shop for online grocers. Here is a link to the main USDA website, but you need to contact your state because the requirement updates likely haven’t been made to this site since this is all moving so quickly. If you are in a situation where you need food immediately, check with your local food pantries. And finally, be sure to check if you have an elderly neighbor that could use your help with picking up groceries for them, or any other needs they may have.

What About My Cell Phone Bill?
I don’t believe cell phone companies are necessarily going to step up to the plate to defer payments for you. That said, there are some potential alternatives. For starters, most people are working from home, or lost their job and hanging out at home, being as most towns have temporarily become ghost towns, so you could consider hooking up a cheap landline in the interim. You can also get a free google voice phone number and talk with people right through your computer. Of course, email is always an option for communication as well. For those looking to connect with loved ones in other states, you could setup a free Zoom or Skype account and communicate with them through your computer, while enjoying getting to see them at the same time! They are both very easy to setup. I’m not sure about Skype, but Zoom allows you to communicate for up to 40 minutes at a time (for free) before having to begin a new session, which really isn’t such a big deal if you are just having conversations.

Tip: The wifi in your cellphone will work if you do not pay your cell phone bill. The only thing that will not work is being able to call or text. However, if you setup google voice and google hangouts on your phone, via apps, you can utilize those to send and receive voice calls and messages. Note: your phone will not draw from your cell service tower that you cancelled, so you will need to link it to your home wifi in your settings. This means that while driving you will not have access to wifi, but when at someone’s home or business location, you can tap into their wifi. You have now converted your phone into a fully operational communication device, and dumped your cell phone bill entirely. Poof, like magic!

I Need My Internet and Cable!
Yes indeed. During these times, most people are going to want to stay connected and have access to news and updates. If you are struggling with money, I highly recommend dumping cable and sticking with internet only. Now days, you can stream nearly everything to your television. You don’t even need to buy one of the many “sticks” available to do so. You just need an HDMI cord and can run it straight from your computer to your tv. Of course, if you are looking to stream Netflix or Amazon Prime, those are paid programs, but the fees are far less than what cable runs. If it’s just news you are after, head to your favorite journalists, reporters, and show hosts websites, because mainstream news will spin you like a top with misleading stories. All White House press conferences can be viewed on their periscope online, so no cable is required.

Another option would be to keep your cell phone bill and dump your internet and cable, then utilize your cell phone as a hotspot for your computer to get internet access. Be sure to check with your cell phone service provider to see if you have unlimited bandwidth and hotspot capability. Most plans generally provide both. Figure out the best way to consolidate your bills, while still being able to have full access.

Also, be sure to check with your local cable and internet providers because they may be running special discounts due to our current situation. Always try to negotiate.

I Can’t Pay My Credit Card Bills
Contact your credit card companies immediately and start negotiating deferred payments with no interest. Believe it or not, you may just be able to get them to reduce what you owe. I would imagine that most credit card companies are going to find themselves in this predicament and would be happy that you are calling them to come up with a plan. That said, before contacting them, be sure to review what your interest rate is and look into other credit cards offering lower interest rates, such as 0% APR, because I suspect we may see more of those popping up right now.

Do You Have Business Insurance?
If you have business insurance, contact your provider and see if you are covered for business interruption which protects against lost income. Due to the fact that we are under a national state of emergency, you may be covered. If you don’t have business insurance, you might want to consider getting an Employer Identification Number (EIN) whether your business is a sole proprietor, LLC or corporation, so you can obtain business insurance in the future. You can apply for your EIN number online for free and get the number immediately. Review the information and see if an EIN is a right fit for you or not.

File for Unemployment
If you are completely out of work due to all of the closures, and are in a position to file for unemployment, I suggest doing so. I’m sure the phone lines will be overloaded right now, but conveniently, you have the extra time to deal with it. Check your state’s employment department to see what options are available to you right now.

Other Helpful Tips

• If you attend church, see if they can assist you with some of your needs. They oftentimes assist with financial situations.

• Get with a few neighbors and discuss all of your needs. Maybe one home has internet, while another home has cell phones, and you can share services. Maybe one person still has work but needs help with childcare and can pay you a little bit or provide you with some groceries while you watch their children. Work together to meet everyone’s needs. Helping one another out and the good old barter system is a great way to move through tough times.

• It may sound crazy, but it doesn’t hurt to scour job sites and craigslist to see if there are any telecommute positions available. Beware of scammers. Just at a quick glance, craigslist has telecommute jobs for online tutors, writers, technical support, telephone surveyors, etc. Tip: go to the jobs section in your area and in the left-hand search bar type in the word “telecommute” to narrow the results, while leaving all categories open.

• Take this time to focus on fine tuning your business, organizing, and planning ahead to branch out or expand on it in the future, once we get past the bumps in the road. You may even decide to change direction or start a new venture entirely. Take advantage of the downtime to brainstorm, and make it an enjoyable creative process. You may just find that you’ve been wanting to shift into other areas, and now’s your time to prep for that.

We Will All Get Through This Together By Being Selfless

It’s already been a bit of a wild, stressful ride, hasn’t it? Who ever thought we would live to see a shortage of toilet paper across the entire country? It’s so incredibly insane, that we have to laugh about it, right? I’ve never seen so many hilarious memes in my life! It is so very important to keep laughter in our lives right now, and even more important to maintain compassion and a sense of calm. Yes, the unknown is scary, but the unknown is where faith is found, and I know that millions of Americans have a strong faith that will carry them through this.

I encourage everyone to see this time as a time of positive change – a challenge to yourself – to move through fear knowing you will be ok, to move through the unknowing with the power of faith, and to move through these obstacles in a positive light filled with creativity, community, and compassion for all of those around you that are in the same boat. As we move through these changes, embrace your family, your friends, your neighbors, and amplify love.  No matter what changes lie ahead, we are stronger together, and together, we will get through this. While they continue to push the phrase “social distancing” to get inside your mind, the reality is – we are all becoming one – because the power that holds us all together, is the complete oneness that we all feel by going through the same experience together, at the same time. If everyone were to pray at 11:11 am every day, in their own time zone, stretching the entire globe, covering every hour of the day, imagine – just imagine, the power we can all bring.
I say – bring it!

I, like many of you, are part of the 40% of Americans who are self-employed. Godspeed.

Corey Lynn is an investigative journalist. Support her by becoming a Patron. Follow her at coreysdigs.com, on twitter, and YouTube.

8 Comments

  • Sylvia Hertel

    Corey, this article is very good, but it already needs to be updated.

    Checks are being sent out to every family/household for $1,000, and larger checks will follow shortly.
    Income tax defers are available, but if people have refunds coming, they should file now (they’re in the process
    of shutting the IRS down altogether).
    Insurance companies will not be charging co-pays for any expenses connected with the virus, nor will there be
    any surprise bills later.
    For small businesses, there are a plethora of financial aides to get them through – I think this would include you,
    since you are self-employed.
    People who will be home over this period, will NOT have to be looking for new jobs AND they will be paid sick
    leave, even if their only reason for having to stay home is to care for a (healthy) child, who’s home, because
    of schools being closed.
    Telehealth is being greatly expanded, so the elderly don’t have to leave their home, risking infection from
    others in waiting rooms.
    Testing centers are being set up in large store parking lots for the same reason, AND the testing is free of
    charge.
    Grocery stores have committed to keep their shelves stocked 24/7, so people can shop anytime, and there will
    be no shortages due to lack of availability. It’s just a matter of them staying on top of the stoking of shelves.
    There is so much, I can’t remember it all. Here’s yesterdays update, and they will continue with these daily updates for a while – at least, about two more weeks.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vvdjqrxSOFk&list=LLwVHQHbRQKb2OTIW-G4ROzw&index=23&t=0s
    Nothing like this has ever happened in all the history of mankind. Trillions of dollars are being released to help people get through, and beyond. This is NOT borrowed money – it’s money coming from the frozen assets of criminals, who have been found guilty of crimes against humanity.
    For example, Elizabeth II and her family, have been stripped of all titles, all their assets frozen, she has been under house arrest, and has now been locked out of Windsor Castle and, I think, Buckingham Palace, too. She is, or at least, was the wealthiest monarch in the world. Of course, there are people in the world, who have been even wealthier, but not of “royal” stock, and they have also been taken down.
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-blocking-property-persons-involved-serious-human-rights-abuse-corruption/
    https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-combating-human-trafficking-online-child-exploitation-united-states/
    They are in the process of world wide mass arrests. That’s why they want everyone to stay in their homes, so
    innocent people aren’t harmed, but the virus is real also, just not the threat they’re making it out to be.
    For something more positive, Italy has the oldest population in the world, as in longevity. They have lost a significant portion of their oldest generation, including the better portion of their centenarians to this virus. President Trump, on behalf of We The People, sent our Blue Angels to Italy, with the message, “The United States Loves Italy!” Plus the Vatican has also been dismantled, along with 80+ of the hierarchy being arrested.
    Here’s the tweet. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1238880558052257794

    • Sunnydupree

      Hello All
      God bless each and every one of you and may you find Jesus Christ in this time of upheaval. We are truly going through the apocalypse. It is for the evil people not for us.
      Does anyone know. I have been taking care of my mother on my own and not being able to work. I was wondering if I will receive any stimulus money?
      Thank you for your time
      Sunny

  • Susan Martin

    Thank U sooooo much for this uplifting message. Am separated from my husband right now, who holds the entire purse strings, so am wondering about how the per household limit will affect dependent seniors like myself. Is there anyway to get the money COURTS (not authorized under the USA Constitution and never voted on by We The People) to permanently “Cease and Desist”? Effectively, money COURTS are hired debt collectors attempting to collect false debts through harassment, intimidation, and stalking of the weaker party, which in majority of cases is the dependent wife). In my case, been married homemaker almost 50 years (sometimes taught and did odd jobs) . So of course I know there are others in very similar circumstances being hounded by debt collectors (swindlers claiming dependent wife is somehow indebted to husband) under guise of COURT ORDERS. Any way to freeze their asse(t)s permanently? Everyone of their victims throughout history now KNOWS the money COURTS were devised by the Deep State/Rothschild family after WWII, effectively selling the State of DC to foreign interests without the knowledge or consent of the People through a Constitutional required vote. Please FREEZE theIr asse(t)s! I’m so tired of being stalked and threatened.

  • Irish19Kilo

    I don’t find it humorous in any way that you expect me as a self employed citizen to put faith in tin foil hat conspiracies in regards to the Queen of England. Kinda sick and dimented actually that I am supposed to relax now based on your post. YT is not a place to cut and paste videos produced by individuals who hold no such authority to confiscate the Queens assets and then in turn disburse them to those under financial duress caused by an intentional viral pandemic that is over rated to begin with. This site needs to remove you asinine post for it will anger anyone who is truly in need of REAL assistance.

  • Sylvia Hertel

    SUNNYDUPREE: It’s not a stimulus or rebate check, because it’s not from borrowed money, like Bush, Jr. and Soetoro aka Obama did. This money is coming from the assets that were confiscated from the elite criminal cabal,
    The first one will be $1,000 per adult and $500 per child in the household and the first one will be directly deposited within 3 weeks. A second one will come about a month later, and I haven’t heard about the following ones yet. As time goes on, these checks will be in the tens of thousands.

    May God richly bless you and yours with more precious treasures than money can buy.

  • Sylvia Hertel

    SUNNYDUPREE: It’s not a stimulus or rebate check, because it’s not from borrowed money, like Bush, Jr. and Soetoro aka Obama did. This money is coming from the assets that were confiscated from the elite criminal cabal,
    The first one will be $1,000 per adult and $500 per child in the household and the first one will be directly deposited within 3 weeks. A second one will come about a month later, and I haven’t heard about the following ones yet. As time goes on, these checks will be in the tens of thousands. Everyone will be receiving these checks except millionaires and billionaires.

    May God richly bless you and yours with more precious treasures than money can buy.

    IRISH19KILO: I’m sorry if this is the first time you’re hearing the devastating news about Elizabeth II, but I am NOT trying to joke around. She and others in her family have been found to be guilty of multiple and heinous crimes against humanity. I’m sure you’ve comes across the fact that she’s an illegitimate queen, and that her progenitor, George I of England (Hannover branch of the House of Guelf/Welf, aka the Black Nobility), was a usurper. The rightful heir to the throne of Scotland and England is a Steward/Stewart/Stuart.

    The House of Guelf/Welf is the tribe of Dan, the Phoenicians/Venetians, who have been condemned and disinherited by God. Please read Amos 8:14 and Rev. 7, the latter being for who’s not among the tribes who are to inherit from God. Joseph = the righteous Ephraim
    Also, for God’s judgement on the nations/systems. NOT the people, read Isaiah 28-35. It starts out with:
    “Against the pride and drunkenness of Israel.” — “Woe to the crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim (the unrighteous of Ephraim – the Anglo-Saxons): for his glorious beauty shall be a fading flower, which is upon the head of the valley of them that be fat, and are overcome with wine. Behold, the Lord hath a mighty and strong host like a tempest of hail, and a whirlwind that overthroweth, like a tempest of mighty waters that overflow, which throw to the ground mightily. They shall be trodden under foot, even the crown and the pride of the drunkards of Ephraim.” Isaiah 28 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)
    For the rest – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+28-35&version=GNV

    All monarchs, all over the world are being arrested, because of their multitude of heinous crimes against humanity, NOT just Elizabeth II, and other members of her family. This is a very sad reality, but they all had/have the freedom of choice, just like you and I do. They chose the wrong path.

  • Wanda

    I’ve been taking care of my mother and I had major colon surgery myself. So I haven’t been able work . I’m 57 to young for s.s. been denied ssi cause I own extra old truck and a little land . My husband died I cant draw off him til I’m 60 and I live in a small town no jobs closes big town 23 miles for work. I’m in this loop hole. And I get food stamp but wondering if be able get a stimulas check to help with other items .not only that my sister died I was living her trailor and my other sister has it put in her name and she want me to leave I’ve been her ten years .greedy .I need help.because of my surgery I cant stand long .is gov going the ones on food stamps ?

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