Coronavirus has resulted in a financial crisis for many Americans, who are now unable to pay their bills. Despite the stimulus checks, many are finding it hard to pay for basic necessities. Another concern they are facing is several of their bills are now overdue and that they will no longer receive the services if they don’t pay the bill. However, there is good news for such users. They can chose not to pay certain bills during the coronavirus pandemic.
It is always recommended that you pay bills on time, but the current scenario is an exception. Several federal, state and private relief programs have been enacted to assure that users continue to enjoy services even if they are unable to pay the bills.
Many forbearance and deferment programs have been launched to assist unemployed, furloughs and others to meet their financial requirements. Some of the bills that you may delay, pause or skip during the coronavirus pandemic are Mortgage, Rent, Credit card, Car payments, Student loan, Bank fees and Utility bills.
Let’s talk about each of them in detail, including what you need to do to avoid paying these bills.
Making the mortgage payment has been the biggest concern of many during the lockdown. The federal government and some private lenders are allowing borrowers to pause payments. For instance, a big relief has been offered for those who have a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
These mortgage buyers have suspended all foreclosures and evictions for homes, which are owned by their companies. Moreover, they have also expanded the forbearance program, allowing you to suspend the payment for up to a year.
Additionally, the federal government has also paused the foreclosures and evictions for the homes that are insured by the Federal Housing Administration. Your state may also be offering a few mortgage relief options, so inquire about those as well. Several private lenders have also come up with similar relief. To take advantage of these, you must immediately contact your lender.
Protection from rent and student loan payments
Several cities have temporarily forbidden landlords from ousting tenants unable to pay the rent. Whether or not your city has issued an official order, it is recommended that you talk to your landlord and explain your financial situation. The discussion may result in some agreement that is agreeable to both.
The CARES Act also provides relief from eviction under certain conditions. If the property you live in has a federally backed mortgage, then you can’t be evicted for nonpayment of rent for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020. After the time period, the landlord will have to give a 30-day notice to vacate the property. To check if your landlord's mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae visit this link, and by Freddie Mac from this link.
Student Loan Payments
If you have a federal student loan, then the CARES Act suspends the loan and interest payments through Sept. 30, 2020. It must be noted that the CARES Act only applies to the loans owned by the Department of Education, and not the Private loans, refinanced loans, and FFEL and Perkins loans from private companies.
Many private companies have also come up with relief options and are making exceptions for cash-strapped individuals. You should contact your loan provider to know about the relief options they may be offering.
You may avoid credit card and utility bills
Credit Card Bills
Missing credit card payments could hurt your credit score. Moreover, if you fail to make the full payment, then you will have to pay interest as well. However, several credit card companies presently are making exceptions for those hit hard by the coronavirus. For instance, companies are allowing users to skip payments without accruing interest. Some are reducing payments, while some are not levying any late fees or penalties.
You should immediately get in touch with your credit card company to discuss the options you have. There have been reports of long wait times when calling the representatives. So, experts recommend visiting the issuer's website and filling out the request form to apply for the relief.
Banks were among the few institutions that were working during the lockdown. Thus, they are rightfully entitled to fees. However, you may be able to get the bank fees such as account maintenance or overdraft fee, waived or refunded currently. To do so, you will have to call your bank and ask for fees to be waived. For this, it is important that you constantly monitor your bank account.
Several utility providers, including gas, electric and more have come up with programs to assist customers who are not able to pay bills due to coronavirus. Moreover, charitable programs are also there to help low-income or struggling households.
For instance, companies such as CenterPoint Energy, Xcel Energy, and Minnesota Power have announced that they won’t cut power if a user is unable to pay a bill currently. A few companies are also giving free Wi-Fi and broadband services to new customers. Thus, it is important that you get in touch with your utility provider.