For any bills, including mortgages, car payments, credit cards, student loans or utilities, the National Consumer Law Center advises contacting your creditors as soon as possible and asking for hardship concessions. Many of your payees already have hardship concessions in place, and are only offered to those who call in and ask about them.
We absolutely encourage you to proactively reach out to landlords, mortgage holders/banks, car leasing/financing companies and credit card companies to explore all options given the current crisis. The best thing you can do right now is to be proactive.
Tips when speaking with your creditors:
1. Be specific and honest about the financial impact of the coronavirus/COVID-19 on your situation. Don’t hesitate to let them know you are part of the Restaurant Industry!
2. Convey to them a specific request. For instance, if you need to delay paying your credit card bill this month, you may want to ask your bank for an extra month without incurring a late fee or interest.
3. If you have a strong record of on-time payments, remind the lender about your stellar history.
Banks including Capital One, Chase, Citi and Wells Fargo are encouraging their customers to contact them to see what they can work out.
You may be able to sign up for a hardship plan, which could mean lower interest rates or smaller fees and penalties for a time.
Examples of assistance include, minimum payment assistance, deferred loan assistance and fee suppression
The first step is to visit your lender’s website – many are posting immediate links to COVID-19 related relief programs. If you do not see anything immediately available, you should call your lender, explain your situation and ask what options are available for a delay in payments because of COVID-19 circumstances.
One option to delay payments is forbearance. With this option, you and your mortgage company agree to temporarily suspend or reduce your monthly mortgage payments for a specific period of time.
Although this can provide immediate relief, interest will still accrue on your loans.
Make sure you ask your lender what terms they can offer you. They will be different for each person depending on their financial history and loan provider.
Ally Bank for instance will defer payments for up to 120 days for homeowners who are facing financial hardship due to an interruption in income. During this time, interest will accrue, but you won’t be charged any late fees or have impacts to your credit,
The Internal Revenue Service has issued guidance allowing all individuals and other non-corporate tax filers to postpone the filing of your taxes and have also deferred tax payments due on April 15, 2020, until July 15, 2020, without penalties or interest.
Many utility companies, including major providers such as ComEd, offer energy bill assistance programs which may allow you to defer payments until a later date.
If you have student loans, contact your servicer to see what your options are. If you have federal loans, consider forbearance — interest is currently being waived for the duration of the crisis — or going on an income-based repayment plan, which could lower your monthly payments, sometimes even to $0 per month.
Other things you can do:
Cancel auto drafts on your bank or credit cards so you have control over when you make payments; however, continue to actively monitor your credit cards and bank balances.
TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES provides financial assistance to expectant mothers and families with one or more children.
SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (formerly food stamps) helps low-income people and families buy the food they need for good health.
CHICAGO’S FOOD BANK : Find food support services through the Greater Chicago Food Depository
Chicago Craft Spirits Staff Meals: Every Thursday they are picking three different restaurants to supply staff meals. Follow Chicago_Craft_spirits on Instagram to see the locations and apply for a meal