STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT PAYING BILLS
STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU'RE CONCERNED ABOUT PAYING BILLS
- If you haven’t looked at a budget in a while, now’s the time to do so. Every Dollar is a great free app to use to get a budget together.
- Get clarity from your income sources as to what the reality will look like over the coming weeks.
- Cut spending to bare necessities. If you can’t pay all of your bills, Dave Ramsey recommends you spend your money on these four items first and in this order:
- Ohio Department of Health call center is ready to answer your questions about COVID-19 at 1.833.4.ASK-ODH (1.833.427.5634). Staffed from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
- The tax-filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to July 15 for both Federal and Ohio.
- Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Ally Bank have all said that if customers are having trouble making payments on loans (mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, etc.) to call them to find out what options are available.
- Foreclosures and evictions will be suspended for 60 days on all HUD-owned properties and mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. Find more information here.
- Suspend Federal student loan payments through September 30 with no accrual of interest on these loans. Borrowers should contact their loan servicer to ask about this. Find more information here.
- Send stimulus checks directly to American households. Use this calculator to estimate how much your family will receive and who qualifies.
- Emergency paid leave for up to three months if you are sick, quarantined, or taking care of a sick family member. It would be 2/3 of your normal salary and doesn’t apply if you receive unemployment compensation (employers with fewer than 500 employees).
- Paid sick leave for two weeks (employers with fewer than 500 employees).
- Find small business updates at sba.gov
- For funds taken out of retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs, the 10 percent tax penalty is waived for people who are experiencing economic hardships.
- AEP Ohio is temporarily suspending disconnections for nonpayment and has a dedicated response page for residents and small businesses.
- Dominion Energy will not disconnect services for nonpayment and offers payment extension and assistance options.
- Spectrum will not terminate service for residents and small business customers who face economic difficulties and contact Spectrum. They are also offering payment extensions.
- Xfinity will not disconnect or add late fees for customers who contact the company. Customers will have unlimited data for 60 days, and Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots will be free for anyone. New customers will also get access to 60 days of free Internet Essentials service (25 Mbps).
- AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint will not terminate or add late fees for the next 60 days. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are also open and customers will receive unlimited Internet data.
- T-Mobile advises customers with past-due amounts to set up payment arrangements online.
MANAGING ANXIETY AND STRESS
If you are experiencing high levels of anxiety during these uncertain times, that is normal. Your body sends you information to alert you whenever it senses a threat. Know that you are processing your anxiety in healthy ways when you’re able to stay relaxed and make rational decisions without feeling overwhelmed or withdrawing. Anxiety can push us to take care of ourselves, but too much anxiety can become problematic. Below are some resources to help you manage your anxiety and stress levels. We’ve also included some information about how to determine when it might be time to ask a counselor or pastor for help.
SIX HEALTHY TIPS TO HELP YOU COPE DURING THE PANDEMIC:
Create a routine. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. If you’re working from home, establish a start time and an end time. This can help create a sense of normalcy and predictability.
Stay connected to others. Use technology to stay connected to friends, family, and co-workers by calling, texting, emailing, and videoing with one another. Connect with people who will be present, compassionate, and good listeners.
Stay connected to your community. Actively seek ways to stay plugged in. Use technology to watch church services online. Support local businesses by buying gift cards for a later date or buying lunch for those on the front lines. Volunteer your time to help your local schools or nonprofits distribute food and essentials to your community.
Take care of your body. Do things that help you feel better and relieve stress. Eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, practice stretching and breathing exercises, and move your body daily (e.g., yoga, walking, dancing).
Access reliable media resources in small doses. Stay informed but limit the amount of time you check the news to once or twice a day to prevent yourself from getting overwhelmed.
Limit addictive behaviors. Distracting yourself and finding ways to seek relief from what’s going on around you is normal. However, pay attention to how much time you’re spending on television and social media. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake.
WHEN IS IT TIME TO ASK FOR HELP?
Often, we are able to navigate life’s challenges by ourselves or with help from family and friends. However, there are times when we need to get help from a doctor or counselor. Here are a few indicators that it might be time to seek professional help:
- Struggle is preventing you from functioning in a healthy way or is significantly impacting your quality of life.
- It’s difficult to resolve an issue through your own ways of coping.
- Your current coping mechanisms (e.g., overuse of alcohol or drugs) are potentially destructive.
- You are overwhelmed to the point where negative emotions are dominating the way you feel.
- You are feeling hopeless and/or losing interest in things that used to bring you joy.
- Negative thoughts are preventing you from thinking clearly and making healthy decisions.
- You’re experiencing heightened social conflict or a desire for increased social withdrawal that is difficult to control.
Note that thoughts of self-harm or the desire to harm others require immediate attention, including telling family and friends that care about you and contacting a suicide prevention center at 1-800-273-8255 or seek medical attention by dialing 911.