Furlough Financial Planning
COVID-19 Relief Initiatives
The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR), Bureau for
Children and Families today announced the availability of a one-time special assistance
payment, Pandemic Diversionary Cash Assistance (PDCA), as part of the state’s ongoing
response to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Applicants must not be currently participating in WV WORKS. Applicants must have a dependent child in the home; low or no income due to COVID-19; expect to return to previous employment, have a job offer, or expect future income from another source; and must not currently be sanctioned for non-compliance in a BCF program.
If you are renting from an owner who has a federally backed mortgage, the CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions. If your landlord has a federally backed mortgage or multi-family mortgage, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020, the effective date of the CARES Act. After the 120-day period is up, the landlord cannot require you, the tenant, to vacate until providing you with a thirty-day notice to vacate.
Some common housing programs that are covered include: HUD housing (Section 8, Public Housing, or other programs where HUD pays a portion of a tenant’s rent); USDA housing (rural development rental assistance, multifamily rental housing, etc.); Treasury housing programs like Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties; Rural Housing Voucher program; or other properties with federally backed mortgages or loans.
On March 13, we announced we were suspending all service shutoffs for past-due accounts.
We will NOT resume normal collections or shut-off activity until at least July 1, 2020 and will comply with any state orders to postpone these activities as long as necessary. However, customers who fall behind on their bills may still receive a service shutoff notice. However, this documentation helps ensure customers know the status of their account and is often required as proof of situation by agencies who provide financial support to assist with bills.
If you have trouble paying your bill, we are willing to work with you. Various payment options are available, including:
- Budget billing, a program that averages usage over 12 months to offer the same bill amount each month.
- Energy assistance programs or other payment arrangements for eligible customers, based on their situation and state of residence.
Morgantown Utility Board (MUB)
- A moratorium on service disconnects (water shutoff): MUB will discontinue all water shutoffs
- Service reconnect: MUB will reconnect all customers who experiences a disconnection due to late payments without charge
- A moratorium on late fees: Late fees will not be applied to customer accounts
- What is I’m unable to pay my MUB bill? Call MUB and let them know as soon as possible
- There will be no interest fees charged to late accounts
Gas Companies – Dominion Energy
- Will not disconnect your service for nonpayment and we’re reconnecting residential customers whose services were recently shut off.
- If you’ve fallen behind on your bill, you can contact us about setting up a payment arrangement .
- This plan helps customers pay off past due balances by spreading arrears over 12 months.
- With more people working from home, it is import to save energy to reduce high bills.
- Read our tips for saving energy while working from home .
Your payments will automatically stop March 13, 2020, through Sept. 20, 2020.
- To provide relief to student loan borrowers during the COVID-19 national emergency, federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in an administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making your monthly loan payment. This suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020, but you can still make payments if you choose.
Interest is being temporarily set at 0% on federal student loans. Which loans does the 0% rate apply to?
- From March 13, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2020, the interest rate is 0% on the following types of federal student loans, but only if they are loans owned by ED:
- Defaulted and nondefaulted Direct Loans
- Defaulted and nondefaulted FFEL Program loans
- Defaulted and nondefaulted Federal Perkins Loans
- Defaulted HEAL loans
If my loans are owned by ED, do I need to do anything for the interest on my loans to be set at 0%?
No, ED will automatically adjust your account so that interest doesn’t accrue (i.e., accumulate). The account adjustment will be effective March 13, 2020.
What will happen to my regular auto-debit payments if I do nothing?
- Auto-debit payments are suspended during the administrative forbearance. Any auto-debit payments processed between March 13, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020, can be refunded to you. Contact your loan servicer to request that your payment be refunded.
- If you don’t want an administrative forbearance and want to continue making payments, contact your loan servicer to opt out of the administrative forbearance, and your auto-debit payments will resume.
- You also have the option to remain in the administrative forbearance and make manual (i.e., not auto-debit) payments during the administrative forbearance period. Visit your loan servicer’s website to make a payment, or contact your loan servicer for more information.
CARES Act Relief Options for all federally backed mortgages – A new federal law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages:
- First, your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020. Specifically, the CARES Act prohibits lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale, during this period of time.
- Second, if you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request an extension for up to another 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.
If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage loan servicer or from your state.
Questions to ask:
- What options are available to help temporarily reduce or suspend my payments?
- Are there forbearance, loan modification, or other options applicable to my situation?
- Can you waive late fees on my mortgage account?
Once you’re able to secure forbearance or another mortgage relief option, ask your servicer to provide written documentation that confirms the details of your forbearance agreement and that you’re clear on what the terms are
https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/covid-19-resource/ - Experian does a good job laying out all of the different vendors for Credit Cards, Auto Loans, Student Loans, Mortgages with links to their COVID resource pages.
Credit Card Companies
Chase has a website with coronavirus-related information that offers customers tips on accessing accounts online or through the mobile app. Chase also has a dedicated site to answer travel-related questions for cardholders . For more information, visit the lender’s COVID-19 resource page .4. Citi
Citi has a detailed page that describes its assistance programs for customers. Citi directs its cardholders to existing assistance programs for credit limit increases and collection forbearance that could help you out with your credit card payments.5. Discover
Discover has an FAQ page set up for questions related to COVID-19 and indicates that hardship support may be available. Although there aren’t specific details about what Discover may do to support impacted customers, it’s a good idea to visit this page for the latest updates if you have questions.6. Goldman Sachs (Apple Card)
Apple Card customers may have received an email about an option to enroll in Apple Card’s customer assistance program, which allows enrolled cardholders to skip their March payment without accruing extra interest or paying penalties. To skip your Apple Card payment in April, visit the support page to enroll in the lender’s customer assistance program.7. PNC Bank
PNC has a customer message about the coronavirus that encourages those experiencing financial hardship to call 1-888-762-2265.8. Truist (BB&T and SunTrust)
Truist has set up a page with COVID-19 updates that says the company is offering possible relief options, such as payment relief assistance, for customers with credit card accounts. It’s also offering all BB&T and SunTrust credit card holders 5% cash back on their cards when they use them for qualifying purchases at grocery stores and pharmacies through April 15.9. U.S. Bank
U.S. Bank’s COVID-19 response recommends that customers call 1-888-287-7817 for potential assistance. It also points to several additional financial products for potential relief, though we strongly believe you should do extensive research before choosing one of those options.10. USAA
a. Eligible USAA members can get financial help during the coronavirus pandemic. The company is providing payment assistance programs that include a 90-day credit card payment deferral. For more information, call 855-764-4617.
Questions you can ask your issuer
Can I skip or defer a payment?
If you’d benefit from skipping your payment for a month or longer, it doesn’t hurt to ask your credit card issuer if it’s possible to do so. Some credit card issuers, including Bank of America, have indicated they’ll consider requests to defer payments.
But we recommend you clarify not only if you can pay later, but whether your issuer will also waive the interest charges that you could rack up during this time.
But if your card issuer doesn’t approve this request, you could ask if it’d be willing to waive the interest charges as long as you make the minimum payment.
Will you waive my late fee?
Whether you plan to skip a payment or just need a few more days to get the money together, missing a due date can trigger a late fee in addition to interest charges. If you can’t avoid missing a payment or paying late, it’s worth asking for a one-time waiver. For example, Bank of America and Navy Federal Credit Union say they’ll consider waiving late fees on a case-by-case basis.
There are a couple other questions worth asking about a late payment, too.
- Will I be charged a penalty APR? Some credit card issuers may raise your interest rate when you miss a payment. The higher interest rate is known as a penalty APR . But if you miss a payment because of the financial impact of COVID-19, you could ask your credit card issuer if it would be willing not to charge a penalty APR due to the situation.
- Will you report my late payment to the credit bureaus? Even if your credit card issuer agrees to waive the late fee and interest charges, it could still report a late payment to the credit bureaus, depending on how late your payment is. When you talk to your card issuer, you should make sure to ask if they intend to do so.
Will you lower my interest rate?
If your credit card company won’t allow you to skip a payment or waive your interest charges, you could ask it to at least lower your interest rate . You might qualify for a better rate if your credit has improved since you applied for the card, or the issuer might be open to changing your rate
Will you increase my credit limit?
While we typically recommend you try to pay off your credit card statement balance in full every month, we realize that you might need to lean more heavily on your credit card right now.
If you’re in need of more purchasing power to deal with this crisis, it might be a good time to ask for a credit line increase. Citi and Navy Federal Credit Union have explicitly told cardholders they can request credit limit increases, and other issuers may also be willing to consider this type of request.
Will you refund the points or miles I used to book a canceled trip?
If you booked a trip through your card program’s travel portal and need to cancel it, it’s worth trying to get a refund on your rewards in addition to your money. Credit card issuers like Chase, American Express and Capital One say they will follow airlines’ COVID-19 policies on cancellations, which generally make it easier to get your money back. But it’s also worth confirming that you’ll get your points and miles back before you go down that road.
Instead of calling the airline directly, you may be asked to go through your credit card’s reservations team to cancel. Just make sure you’re clear on the process before going through with it.