Impacted By COVID-19? These Grants Could Help Making It Through The Crisis
It's no secret that COVID-19 has affected almost every American one way or another. Even if nobody in your own family has been directly infected by the deadly virus, chances are at least one member has been financially impacted. At this point, almost every state has banned "non-essential" businesses, though the definition varies widely.
Since most governments were not prepared for a crisis of this magnitude, state aid isn't cutting it for most. Despite governments' swift action to ban businesses and shutter millions of jobs overnight, most governments did not have a rapid unemployment system set up to handle the situation. With the most recent federal COVID-19 relief bill, states now have more flexibility in amounts awarded in unemployment. However, if you have bills that need to be paid now, here are some ways to get an influx of cash in the midst of this pandemic.
One-time Treasury Payment
As you likely have heard on the news, a one-time payment is going out to the majority of adult Americans. If you have used direct deposit to either pay taxes or receive tax refunds in the past, make sure to check your bank account. Ensure it's the same one given to the IRS. If your 2018 and/or 2019 returns show an income of $75,000 or less for an individual, $150,000 or less for a married couple, or $120,000 or less for a head of household, you should receive an influx of cash.
If you filed as "Single", expect a $1,200 influx. Married couples who filed jointly should expect $2,400. "Head of Household" filers should expect $1,800. Note that, regardless of filing status, $500 per dependent is tacked onto this.
There have already been plenty of reports of this influx not working for all Americans. Even some Americans who received cash have pointed out that it doesn't do much for those laid off recently who live in High Cost of Living (HCOL) areas. Rent in major metro areas often reaches several thousand dollars a month for modest apartments.
There are many other reasons why you may need additional aid. First and foremost, file for unemployment immediately if you qualify under your state's rules. Many states have relaxed their rules due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, $600 more per week is being granted to employees whose previous earnings outmatch their states' maximum benefit amounts.
After exhausting the free public options recently made available, you may still be in need of money. Luckily, some charities are there to make your life a bit easier as we all get through this pandemic together.
Most private grants are given by category of occupation. For example, there are many private organizations that are giving grants to salon workers and artists who were recently laid off and currently have no way to make a living. However, "211" serves as a solution for almost everyone, but it may be faster to search online first.
You can first check out this page dedicated to listing every known private grant given in response to COVID-19's impact. If you don't see any grants that match your situation, don't give up hope! "211" is both a website (211.org) and a phone number you can call. The organization has advised that it has a very high call volume, so their website would be your best bet at securing help.
Though 211 may not be callable in certain states, they do offer assistance in 180 different languages to residents of every state. Their advisers are well-versed in the grants currently available and can work with you to find a financial solution that will keep you afloat during this unprecedented pandemic.
It's critical to keep hope during these stressful times. It's already extremely stressful to lose a job, but losing a job on top of being worried about both spreading and contracting COVID-19 can cause a huge amount of anxiety.
Due to government-imposed restrictions and social distancing becoming the new norm, it can be easy to feel isolated. Remember that there are literally thousands of organizations who want to be there to help you during this time, and they're financially equipped to do so. If your first attempt to get a grant fails, continue trying. If all else fails, consider negotiating with service providers and landlords by just explaining your situation.