(NEW YORK) — The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought the economy to a screeching halt — sending stock markets reeling, unemployment rates surging and upending entire industries.
As the health crisis wages on, here are some resources from the government and private sector that are available to help carry you through financially.
What to do if you are laid off or unemployedTens of thousands of U.S. workers have found themselves suddenly unemployed in recent weeks, and some economists have predicted the numbers are only going to tick up as the pandemic wages on.
Unemployment benefits are out there, but they vary state to state. Most states provide 26 weeks of unemployment insurance, though Massachusetts provides up to 30 weeks. North Carolina and Florida, on the other hand, provide up to 12 weeks, according to the nonpartisan think tank the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
In New York and New Jersey, so many people attempted to file for unemployment this past week that the online systems for submitting applications crashed in both states, according to the agencies.
There can also be further restrictions for part-time or freelance workers, though this also varies state to state. To apply, check out the information on your state’s website.
What to do if you can’t make your rent or mortgage paymentIf you are struggling to pay your rent or mortgage amid the pandemic’s economic fallout, the federal government and some local authorities have announced a series of moratoriums on evictions and other actions.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a foreclosure and eviction moratorium Wednesday for single-family homeowners for the next 60 days if they have Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages.
The action “will allow households who have an FHA-insured mortgage to meet the challenges of COVID-19 without fear of losing their homes, and help steady market concerns,” HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement.
More information on the HUD’s eviction and foreclosure moratorium can be found here.
David Dworkin, president and CEO of the nonprofit affordable housing advocacy group, the National Housing Conference, told ABC News that the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, also known as Freddie Mac, and the Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, are encouraging homeowners to contact their mortgage service providers immediately if they’re in financial straits.
“For homeowners, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have already made clear that all you have to do is call your servicer, the phone number that you send your payment to every month, and tell them that because of coronavirus you are unable to pay your mortgage,” Dworkin said. “It may be because you lost your job, it may be because you’re sick. It doesn’t matter. They’re not asking for proof. They’re just saying if you can’t pay your mortgage because of COVID-19 let us know, and we will defer your mortgage payments for as long as six months.” More information can be found here.
Moreover, major cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Seattle have also instituted moratoriums on evictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic if you are struggling to make rent. For more information, check your local city or state’s housing websites.
Experts also urge that if you think you are struggling to pay your rent, be sure to take action as soon as possible.
Can I get paid sick leave?
While the U.S. remains one of the only developed countries in the world without federal paid sick leave, both the government and some businesses have announced new measures to ensure you can take time off from work without losing pay if you fall ill.
President Donald Trump signed an economic relief bill on Wednesday that includes paid sick days for most employees of small and mid-size companies. To help offset the costs for employers, businesses would be reimbursed for some of these costs through tax credits. Big businesses — those with more than 500 employees — however, are exempted from offering their employees paid sick leave or family leave under the bill.
In the private sector, many big businesses announced revised paid sick leave policies for workers.
Those companies include Starbucks, Uber, Lyft, Chipotle, Darden Restaurants and more — a full breakdown can be found here.
Paid sick leave policies vary widely from state to state, and it is best to check with your employer.
Many state and local governments have paid sick day laws, though they can be narrowly focused and contain exemptions. Information on California’s paid sick leave policy, which promises three days for most employees, can be found here. Information on New York City’s paid sick leave policy can be found here. The National Conference of State Legislators provides a national breakdown of paid sick leave by state here.
Who’s hiring?At the same time people are being laid off, a handful of national organizations announced they are hiring. Here is a partial list of some companies hiring and where to apply.
Walmart announced it was hiring 150,000 new associates through the end of May for its stores, clubs, distribution centers and fulfillment centers. The roles will initially be temporary, but many can be converted to permanent roles, the company said. More information on where to apply is here.
Amazon said it will hire 100,000 full- and part-time positions at fulfillment centers and delivery networks across the U.S., citing heightened demand for delivery services as social distancing measures kick in. Information on how to apply and openings can be found here.
7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience store chain, is hiring up to 20,000 people amid the pandemic, the company announced, citing an anticipated surge in delivery shopping through its new app. The chain encouraged interested applicants to inquire in-store or on its website, here.
Kroger supermarkets announced it will be hiring 10,000 full- and part-time workers for their retail stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers. Information on how to apply can be found here.
Tesco said it is hiring 20,000 “temporary colleagues” amid the pandemic, and interested candidates can also inquire in-store or on their website.
Walgreens announced similar measures, saying it is dealing with “significant demands on our stores and pharmacies during this time,” and that it is looking to hire approximately 9,500 roles in stores across the U.S., particularly customer service associates, pharmacy technicians and shift leads. Information on how to apply can be found here.
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