With over 187,000 reported cases and more than 19,000 deaths, New York City continues to be an epicenter for the novel coronavirus pandemic. Social distancing remains in place, and non-essential businesses that can’t operate online remain closed.
If you worked at one of these businesses, you’re probably worried about your financial situation. Below is an overview of the relief programs currently available to New York residents, any of which can provide support during this difficult time.
If you’re worried about food for yourself and your family, in April, New York City began making free grab-and-go meals at public school sites. These meals, which include breakfast, lunch, and dinner, are available to anyone who needs them from Monday to Friday, between 7:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with no need to present ID and no questions asked.
Last March, Governor Cuomo announced a 90-day freeze for mortgage payments if the property owner was struggling financially due to the pandemic. This means that if you’re unable to make your monthly payments, your lender can’t penalize you for 90 days. A freeze of the same duration has also been applied to foreclosures.
A large number of New Yorkers rent their homes, so on May 8, 2020, the New York City Rent Guidelines Board approved a rent freeze in a preliminary vote. A final vote on the matter is scheduled for June and, if passed, will apply to nearly one million apartments across the city.
The CARES Act provided a one-time maximum cash payment of $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for married couples who file their taxes together. Also, a payment of $500 per child is available. The program is means-tested, but if you make $75,000 or less ($150,000 for married couples), you qualify for the maximum payment.
If you become unemployed for reasons related to the pandemic, the CARES Act includes provisions for extra unemployment benefits. Not only can you claim unemployment for up to 39 weeks, but the government is also making an additional $600 per week in benefits available until the end of July 2020.
These relief measures, combined with increased creditor willingness to work with financially-strapped customers, may be able to see you through these difficult times. If challenges persist, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you discharge those high credit card bills, medical debts, and other obligations that you can no longer afford to pay.
If you have questions about the bankruptcy process, the majority of New York bankruptcy attorneys are offering remote consultations via phone, email, and video conferencing. If Chapter 7 appears to be the best solution for your situation, your attorney can process your case once the courts resume full operation and advise you on what to do in the interim. Once the crisis passes, you will be in the best position to rebuild financially.