Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Pandemic Help

Mark M. Hancock / © DFWmark.com
I hope this information helps you, your loved ones and associates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you're surviving the pandemic with only inconveniences and Zoom meetings, you are very likely to know someone who can use the information listed below.
Since you may not know who needs help, please share this page on your social media to help your friends.

Stay safe! Stay healthy!
I’ve Got Your Six!


Jump to:
Suicide Prevention
Family Crisis Center / Domestic Abuse
Federal Stimulus Packages
• Federal Stimulus Checks
• Unemployment Benefits
• Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
• Food programs
• Utility, Prescription and Medical Help
• Veterans Administration

Small Business Administration Loans
• Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Loan Advance
• EIDL Emergency Grant

Pandemic Mortgage Relief Options
• Health and Welfare Assistance
• Mortgage and Rent Programs
• Protections for renters
• Where to get additional help

Pets (food and veterinary assistance)
401K Disbursements
IRS (tax relief)
Student loans
Report price gouging

DFW city and county websites 

Suicide Prevention
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Lifeline provides continuous, free and confidential support for people in distress. They also provide prevention and crisis resources for friends and family.

Family Crisis Center / Domestic Abuse
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
Email: nationaldeafhotline@adwas.org
Call, chat or email.
National Domestic Violence Hotline provides continuous, free and confidential support in more than 200 languages. Advocates talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy relationships.

DoD Safe Helpline
Chat online with a trained Department of Defense staff member who can provide you confidential crisis support. Your privacy and safety are crucial. You may use Safe Helpline anonymously.

International Domestic Violence Resource Guide: Coronavirus Update
Contact information sorted by nation and useful tips to help witnesses take action.

Federal Stimulus Packages (pandemic related)

Federal Stimulus Checks
• This is an advance on your 2020 tax return – not a grant. Learn what this means for your 2020 taxes.
• Direct payments to Taxpayers
• Based on 2019 return or 2018 if 2019 is not filed
• To qualify: Adjusted Gross Income must be under $75K single / $150K filed jointly
• $1,200 per taxpayer
• $500 for each qualifying child (17 and under)
• Payments start the week of April 13th or 20th
• It will take longer to get a payment if the IRS doesn’t have your direct deposit information

Unemployment Benefits
CARES Act provides unemployment benefits for independent contractors too
• These are federal funds and are administered by the states (such as TWC.texas.gov)
• Benefit amounts depend on your past income

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
• Provides loans to small business to help with payroll costs, rents and mortgages
• Available for independent contractors as well
• Loan amounts are based on a monthly average payroll costs X 2.5 up to $10 million
• Parts of the loan may be forgiven (most likely those paid to employees)
• Low interest rate and two-year maturity
• Visit www.sba.gov for more information
• Apply through your banker

Food programs
USDA (www.usda.gov)
Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)
• Assistance for People of All Ages
• Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SNAP provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move toward self-sufficiency.
• Food Help for Disaster Relief
• The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) coordinates with state, local and voluntary organizations to provide food for shelters and other mass feeding sites, distribute food packages directly to households in need in limited situations, and issue Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (D-SNAP) benefits.
• The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): TEFAP helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans by providing them with emergency food assistance at no cost.

Utility, Prescription and Medical Help
Utility company help
• If you can't afford to pay your home heating or cooling bill, you may be able to get help from the government or your local social services agency or nonprofit. Prescription drug and medical help
• Government programs can help pay for prescription drugs and medical bills.

Veterans Administration
• If you haven’t applied for veterans’ benefits and need to take advantage of them now, here’s where you can start the process.
• If you are a service member and need pandemic-related assistance with your rent or mortgage payments, contact your local Legal Assistance Office.

Small Business Administration Loans

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) Loan Advance
• Up to $2 million loan
• Low interest rate (3.75%) with 30-year maturity
• Must provide economic hardship due to COVID-19
• Personal guarantee required or collateral
• Visit www.sba.gov for more information and to apply

EIDL Emergency Grant
• Economic Injury Disaster Loans
• $10,000 forgivable grant
• Same process as the loan
• Independent contractors included
• Must provide economic hardship due to-19
• Visit www.sba.gov for more information and to apply

Pandemic Mortgage Relief Options

Health and Welfare Assistance
Federal and state governments have announced plans to help struggling homeowners during the pandemic.
A new federal law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages:
1. A foreclosure moratorium
2. A right to forbearance for homeowners who are experiencing a financial hardship due to the COVID-19 emergency

Mortgage and Rent Programs
USA Today article
If you can pay your mortgage, pay your mortgage. There is no mortgage forgiveness program.
• Mortgage Forbearance – borrowers of government-backed mortgages can request up to 360-day payment forbearance without proof of hardship.
• It is vital to understand if your loan servicer will demand all funds at the end of the forbearance period or will tack them onto the end of the loan.
• It is unclear how taxes and insurance will be handled, but they will most likely be due and payable as typical for your arrangement. Only loan principal and interest are affected.

Protections for renters
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, if you are renting from an owner who has a federally-backed mortgage, the CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions. If your landlord has a federally backed mortgage or multi-family mortgage, you cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020, the effective date of the CARES Act. After the 120-day period is up, the landlord cannot require you, the tenant, to vacate until providing you with a 30-day notice to vacate.
If the property you rent isn’t covered by the CARES Act, many states have suspended all evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic. Check the websites of your state government or legal aid program for details and updates. See National Center for State Courts www.ncsc.org for more information.

Where to get additional help
If you need help working with your mortgage servicer or understanding your options, you can contact a professional to help with your specific situation.
• HUD-Approved Housing Counselors. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counselors can discuss options if you can’t pay your full mortgage loan or need a reverse mortgage loan. This may also include forbearance, deferment, or a modified payment program.
• Credit Counselors. Reputable credit counseling organizations are generally non-profit organizations that can advise you on your money and debts, and help you with a budget. Some may also help you negotiate with creditors. There are specific questions to ask to help you find a credit counseling organization to work with.
• Lawyers. If you need a lawyer, there may be resources to assist you through your local bar association, legal aid.

401K Disbursements
• CARES act allows distribution from your 401K or IRA up to $100,000 of your vested balance with no penalty.
• Distribution is taxable but tax is spread out over three years.
• Distribution can be repaid and receive a tax credit.
• Loans are also permitted based on your plan’s rules.
• Must certify that the distribution/loan is COVID-19 related.

Pets (food and veterinary assistance)
• ASPCA pandemic response page
• Humane Society aid and financial assistance:

IRS (tax relief)
Coronavirus tax relief (IRS)
• July 15th is the new tax deadline for filing your 2019 returns
• This includes quarterly tax payments

Student loans
• Suspends all payments due on federal student loans for 6 months
• Interest shall not accrue on these during this forbearance
• For the purpose of loan forgiveness, loans will be deemed paid during the forbearance.
• Prohibits negative credit reporting or involuntary debt collection during the forbearance period

Report price gouging
USPIRG.org (U.S. Public Interest Research Group)
How do I spot price gouging?
1) Extraordinarily high prices: Businesses can increase prices for critical supplies during an emergency. While laws vary by state, increases over 20% may be considered price gouging.
2) Price Comparison Between Similar Products: Some state laws prohibit significant increases in prices as compared to similar store-brand products.
3) Err on the side of caution: If you aren’t certain if a product is priced too high, report the problematic items to the company and your Attorney General.

What do I need to report price gouging?
1) The name of the store/vendor where you saw the item and their address.
2) Product details, including, but not limited to, the product type, brand, size, and price.
3) The date, time, and location you saw the product.
4) You can improve the investigation by providing a picture of the item.

Please also visit individual city and county websites in the DFW Metroplex for local help.

I’ve Got Your Six!

Mark M. Hancock

#DFWmark #pandemic #help #COVID19 #StagingTips #FoodToGo #SucceedInPlace #UsefulNews #Frisco #DFW

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Welcome to the DFWmark Blog! This is a collection of content by Mark M. Hancock, a REALTOR with Keller Williams North County in Celina, Texa...