Covid-19 Relief

Food & Financial

Resources and strategies to help those experiencing hardship

 

SUMMARY

As the spread of COVID-19 continues to impact many individuals and families, we want to provide these resources to help those seeking assistance and are experiencing financial hardship.

Currently, there are a number of measures being implemented and considered to help families financially over the coming weeks from national and local entities. For a summary of those items, see the “National Relief Measures” and “Local Relief Measures” sections below. People who anticipate having trouble making payments should review the “Steps To Take” list below. They should also seek financial assistance options in their areas (see “Financial and Food Assistance Resources” section below).

Please take note, information here is provided for your personal reference only and assistance. None of this information is provided as financial advice or counsel . . . HOPE cannot be held liable . . .

STEPS TO TAKE IF YOU’RE CONCERNED ABOUT PAYING BILLS

Budget

  • If you haven’t looked at a budget in a while, now’s the time to do so. ‘Every Dollar’ is an exceptional app that helps jump start formulating an initial budget. The app is free to download and there is no upfront cost to the user.

  • Get clarity from your income sources as to what your overall cash flow situation  will look like over the coming weeks.

  • Cut spending to bare necessities. If you can’t pay all of your bills, Dave Ramsey recommends you spend your money on these four items first and in this order:

    • Food 

    • Utilities 

    • Shelter 

    • Transportation

Defer Payments

  • If you’re still not able to cover all of your expenses, identify payments that can be deferred:

    • Call creditors to explain your situation. You can ask for temporary relief on your monthly payments. If you offer to still send some money, even if it’s a smaller amount than your typical payment, they may be more willing to work with you.

    • If you have federal student loans, you can forbear (interest accrues) or defer (interest doesn’t accrue on subsidized federal loans) your loan payments.

    • For student loans, use this questionnaire to understand what options are available to you.

  • If you’re paying additional monies to help pay down debt(s) and have less than one to two months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund, a temporary option to consider would be halting extra payments and reinitiating them once your cash flow situation improves. This may extend the time/amount you need to pay down the debt, but will help you and your family get through the short term and resecuring your cash flow during this pandemic.

  • If you have lost health insurance during this pandemic, it would be a good time to investigate what health care options are available for you. If possible check to see what type of health insurance you or your family can enroll for. Losing health care insurance is considered a ‘qualifying event’ and allows you/your family to sign up for health insurance outside of the normal cycle. A few possible options for finding health care are:

    • Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA)

    • State health insurance marketplace

    • Other family members plans you can join

    • Medicaid

    • Short Term Health Plans

 

NATIONAL RELIEF MEASURES

Broad Measures (Updated: 5/1)

  • Free COVID-19 testing to anyone, regardless of insurance status.

  • The tax-filing deadline has been moved from April 15 to July 15 for both Federal and New Jersey taxes.

  • Stimulus checks sent directly to American households. Use this calculator to estimate how much your family will receive. Below are IRS links to various IRS resources to assist with receiving your payment.

    • FAQ: Provides answers regarding eligibility, accessing your payment, bank information, address changes and error messages;

    • Get My Payment Info: Will allow taxpayers to track their economic impact payment AND provide their banking information, should they choose to do so;

    • Get My Payment FAQ including troubleshooting, common error messages and payment status not available

  • Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Ally Bank have stated that if customers are having difficulty making payments on loans (mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, etc.) to call them to see  what alternatives are available for them.

  • Foreclosures and evictions will be suspended for 60 days on all HUD-owned properties and mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac. Additionally, homeowners are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months. Borrowers should contact their loan servicer to inquire about their loan in particular.

  • Suspension of federal student loan payments through September 30 with no accrual of interest on these loans. Borrowers should contact their loan servicer to inquire about their loan in particular.

  • Individuals that apply for unemployment insurance will receive an additional $600/week for up to four months on top of what they would normally receive from unemployment benefits. Self-employed workers and independent contractors are eligible for this program.

Other Measures (Updated: 5/1)

  • Emergency paid leave for up to three months if you are sick, quarantined, or taking care of a sick family member. It would be 2/3 of your normal salary and doesn’t apply if you receive unemployment compensation (employers with fewer than 500 employees).

  • Paid sick leave for two weeks (employers with fewer than 500 employees).

  • $350 billion small business loan program to provide companies with 500 or fewer employees access to funds that will allow them to continue paying their employees.

  • For funds taken out of retirement accounts like 401(k)s or IRAs, the 10 percent tax penalty will be waived for people experiencing economic hardships.

 

LOCAL RELIEF MEASURES

 

Rent

  • Rental Relief:  What if I can’t pay my rent? Can I still get evicted? Is there any rental relief?

    • “Governor Murphy has announced an executive order allowing renters to direct their landlords to use their security deposits to pay their rents, whether that be to make up for a shortfall or to pay it in full.”

Cell Phone/Internet

  • Xfinity

    • Will not disconnect or add late fees for customers who contact the company.

    • Customers will have unlimited data for 60 days, and Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots will be free for anyone.

    • New customers will also get access to 60 days of free Internet Essentials service (25 Mbps).

  • AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint

    • Will not terminate or add late fees for the next 60 days.

    • Public Wi-Fi hotspots are also open and customers will receive unlimited Internet data. 

  • T-Mobile

    • Advises customers with past-due amounts to set up payment arrangements online. 

 

Unemployment (NJ)

Job & Hiring 

Small Businesses

Utilities

  • New Jersey Board of Public Utilities has published a list of utility assistance programs.

  • PSE&G has suspended shut-offs of electric and/or gas service to residential customers for non-payment during the pandemic.

  • New Jersey American Water has suspended billing-related service shut-offs during the pandemic.

  • Universal Service Fund (USF)(Help with utility bills for low-income families and individuals) 1-866-240-1347

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance(LIHEAP) 1-800-510-3102

 

FINANCIAL AND FOOD ASSISTANCE RESOURCES

Financial Assistance 

Food Pantries

  • FOOD BANK of SOUTH JERSEY

  • List of South Jersey Food Pantries by county

  • Moorestown Ministerium Food Pantry at Saint Matthew’s Lutheran Church (318 Chester Ave, Moorestown, NJ 08057) will be open EVERY MONDAY beginning May 4th from 12-2 and 5-7. 

  • First Baptist Church, Main St, Moorestown: FBC Food Pantry weekly hours:Tuesdays/Thursdays 11:00 am to 1:00 pmTuesdays5:30 to 7:00 pm

 

STUDENT MEALS 

Burlington County - At the time of publication, all of these school districts were offering free or reduced meals. If your school district is not listed here, please call them directly at your local number you normally use.

Camden County - At the time of publication, all of these school districts were offering free or reduced meals. If your school district is not listed here, please call them directly at your local number you normally use.


 

LOCAL COMMUNITY RESOURCE (Neighbors Helping Neighbors)

  • Moorestown generous donors are supporting those struggling financially to buy food or simply unable to leave the house to buy food.  Moorestown Recreation Dept. partnered with Moorestown Rotary Club, and with the help of the Mayor too, word is spreading that there are people willing to help.  Refer to the flyer Neighbors Helping Neighbors for details and forward to anyone you think is in need.  There are people who will shop and drop off food regardless of their situation. As a local Moorestown effort, preference will be given to residents of that township.

Request help with food shopping

Resources to manage anxiety and stress

Please take note, information here is provided for your personal reference only and assistance. HOPE cannot be held liable for any of the info researched and collected here for your helpful reference. All information is freely provided simply as a ministry of love and service to the community. None of this information is provided as physical or emotional health advice/counsel, financial advice/counsel, or legal advice/counsel. Please consult your choice of health, financial, or legal professional for specific direction where appropriate.