What a mess. The last several days and weeks have been scary and confusing for all of us. The global pandemic known as COVID-19 is something that we haven’t seen in living memory. The idea of being quarantined inside our homes and not being able to see our friends and family is unprecedented and very, very upsetting. However, we all need to do our part to contain the spread of this virus so that more people don’t get sick and potentially die. While you are stuck at home, there are lots of things that you should know, especially related to your finances. Many people are losing income right now and are worried about how to support themselves and their families. Luckily, though, there are lots of things changing that can help keep you afloat.


Primary Elections Are Being Delayed

Super Tuesday has come and gone, but there are still lots of primaries that need to take place before the presidential election in November. However, with the spread of COVID-19 and the need for quarantine, many of these primaries are being delayed. As of now, voting has been postponed in 7 states: Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, and Ohio.

If you live in one of these 7 states, put the new primary date on your calendar so that you don’t miss it!

See more information here.

Federal Student Loan Payments Can Be Suspended

As of Friday, March 20th, 2020, federal student loan payments can be suspended for the next 60 days. Initially, the federal government announced that they would stop any and all interest charges from being applied to federal student loans, but that people would have to still pay their bills. That changed on Friday when the Trump administration announced that borrowers can now suspend their student loan payments for 60 days without penalty. This also means that the interest rate on federal loans will be changed to zero until at least May 12th.

If you will have trouble paying your student loans during this crisis, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of. However, it won’t go into effect unless you request it. If you need this delay in payment, contact your student loan provider directly.

If you can still comfortably pay your student loans, this is a good time to continue making your payments, as there will be no interest charges, and your full payment will go towards your principal. If you still have trouble paying your student loans after 60 days, contact your loan servicer to find out what your options are for deferment.

See more information here.

Federal and State Tax Filing Dates Are Being Extended

On Friday, March 20th, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that the federal tax filing date is being extended from the usual April 15th to July 15th. Originally, they were moving the payment date to July 15th, but now both the filing and payment dates have been delayed 90 days. The state filing and payment dates depend on the individual states themselves. This delay means that there will be no penalties or interest charges applied to taxes filed and paid by July 15th.

If you know you will owe money, this delay will give you time to save up the money that you will owe by July.

See more information here.

Some State Healthcare Exchanges Are Opening Enrollment

As of today, three states have reopened their healthcare exchanges to allow people to get health insurance during the COVID-19 outbreak. Maryland’s enrollment window will run from March 16 through April 15. Massachusetts’ sign-up period will run for 45 days from March 11 through April 25. Washington’s will run from March 10 through April 8.

If you live in one of these states and don’t currently have health insurance, this is a great time to make sure you get coverage. Don’t let a lapse in coverage put you in debt if you were to get ill.

See more information here.

Evictions, Foreclosures, and Utility Shut-Offs Are Being Halted

Last week, the White House announced that home foreclosures and evictions for HUD-owned properties will be suspended until the end of April. In New York state, the governor announced that they will suspend mortgage payments for 90 days for borrowers who face financial hardship such as losing their job. There will also be a 90 day suspension on all commercial and residential evictions. Other states are following suit, such as Oregon.

You have also likely gotten an email from your utility company, promising that they won’t shut off your lights during this time. However, you should check with your utilities just to be certain, in case you have to miss a payment or two.

See more information here and here.

Some States Are Classifying Grocery Store Employees As “Emergency Workers”

As of today, Vermont and Minnesota have declared that those deemed “emergency workers” will also include people like grocery store employees. Since grocery stores can’t close, as we all need to eat, these states are moving to help protect these employees and give them some of the support that they need. This classification qualifies these workers for free childcare, which will make a huge difference for those with children.

See more information here.

Some Banks Are Offering Temporary Relief

Similar to the student loan suspension and eviction moratorium, some banks are joining the effort to relieve some of the financial burden during the COVID-19 crisis. If you worry that you won’t be able to make credit card or loan payments, contact your bank or lender to find out what support they are extending to their customers.

See more information here.

This piece was originally published at maggiegermano.com.