Debt.com is dedicated to keeping consumers updated on financial changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following points are consistently updated to reflect the latest laws that could affect your wallet.
COVID-19 Relief Programs
Free Consumer Credit Report Access
- The three major credit bureaus in the U.S. (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion) are providing consumers with free weekly credit reports through April 20, 2022. You can download your free reports each week through annualcreditreport.com
Federal Student Loan Relief
- Federal student loan forbearance has been extended to September 30, 2021.
- Interest rates on federal loans are also frozen, so any payments made during this time will be wholly used to pay off the principal debt.
- The March 2021 relief bill stipulated that student loans forgiven between December 31, 2020, and January 1, 2026, will not be taxed.
- The Federal Housing Authority (FHA) has been extended the foreclosure moratorium through June 30, 2021. Homewowners with FHA loans cannot face foreclosure due to nonpayment through this date.
- The FHA has also extended the time that homeowners can request their initial 180 days of forbearance under the CARES Act through June 30, 2021. That is the deadline for homeowners to request forbearance, although the forbearance period itself lasts six months and an additional six months can be requested if the homeowner’s hardship continues.
Eviction Protection for Renters
- The CDC has issued a temporary halt on evictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All evictions due to non-payment of rent have been halted by the CDC until June 30, 2021. This moratorium applies regardless of what type of property you live in. Thus it protects more renters than the Federal Housing Finance Authority (FHFA) eviction moratorium that applied only to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac rental properties.
- As of 2021, the federal government has provided over $45 billion in rental relief through the Emergency Rental Assistance Program. This program may provide up to 15 months of rental payment assistance to renters. However, you cannot apply through the U.S. Department of Treasury directly—you must apply for a grant through your state, local, or tribal housing agency. Contact a local HUD-certified housing counselor or call 211 in your area to find relief grants that may be available to you.
- 2020 income taxes are due on May 17, 2021, giving taxpayers an extra month to file.
- Many taxpayers will not have to pay taxes on up to $10,200 of unemployment assistance income from 2020.
- The Child Tax Credit will be higher for 2021 tax returns. Instead of $2,000 per child, the new credit will be $3,600 for newborns to five-year-old children and $3,000 for those between ages six and 17.
- Taxpayers can also use their 2020 tax returns to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. This credit reimburses you if you were not paid all or part of the first or second stimulus payments. Even taxpayers who don’t traditionally file must file their returns this year to claim this credit if they are owed stimulus money.
- Part of the December 2020 relief bill includes a provision against surprise medical billing. Patients should ideally receive a cost estimate that’s as accurate as possible three days before the procedure.
Small Business Relief
- Some small businesses could be eligible for a second PPP loan. The loans will be offered until March 31, 2021.
- (Economic Injury Disaster Loan) EIDL grants got a $15 billion boost from the March 2021 bill.
Free Financial Crisis Resources and Guidance
This global pandemic is going to have far-reaching effects on people’s finances. It’s important to get informed, so you can take the right steps to maintain financial stability in the short-term and protect your interests long-term.
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Quarantines can drive you crazy. With so many hours to fill, take some time to read some of Debt.com’s how-to guides for your money.
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Article last modified on April 19, 2021. Published by Debt.com, LLC