This update discusses federal & state money that is available to you, your business and also clears up the incorrect information that is going around right now.
- HOLD ON TO YOUR CASH! If you are down to less cash than will cover a few months of living expenses, consider cutting what is not essential. Also, if a certain bill can wait, you may want to consider holding off on paying certain things. Right now, you need to keep food on the table, keep the electricity and water on and keep gas in the car. Just about everything else can wait a month or two if needed-you won’t be the only one paying late. No apartment complex will kick you out if you miss April’s rent payment. Expect late fees which you may be able to get waived, but if it is down to groceries or sorting out a late rent payment in May or June, the rent can wait, same goes for mortgage and car payments. I’m not saying you can skip out on legitimate debts, what I am saying is to prioritize and if needed delay some of those things that can wait. If you are going to skip a payment, call the creditor and let them know. If you call and sort it out ahead of time, they will be far more willing to work with you than if you simply do not pay and do not let them know ahead of time.
- Scammers are working 24/7! DO NOT give your personal financial information to anyone, especially if initially they called or emailed you. Know who you are talking to and DO NOT TRUST ANYONE until you have verified they are legitimate (sophisticated people get scammed too, so do not be shy about reaching out and asking for help to determine if an agency is legitimate). Scammers are slick, they use fake caller ID, they search public databases and know your address, age, etc… and will pretend to be with IRS, Social Security, FEMA, etc… to trick you into giving up your personal information and then draining your bank account or opening credit accounts in your name. People get desperate and do dumb things because the scammer told them what they wanted to hear. Please verify who you are talking to and do not just give up your personal information. IF IT SOUNDS TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT PROBABLY IS!
- I got laid off, what do I do now?: If you have been laid off, go to https://www.twc.texas.gov/ and apply for unemployment now. The sooner you get started, the better. TWC offices are short staffed and many locations are closed, so expect big delays. Unemployment Insurance (UI) payments are not big money, but UI payments will help bridge the gap, especially if this situation drags on for a long time.
- IRS Deadlines: 4/15 tax deadline is moved to July 15th, on March 13th, President Trump issued an emergency declaration in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and instructed the IRS to delay the April 15th tax deadline. If you are expecting a refund, file your tax return as soon as possible and have the refund direct deposited.
- Am I on my own?: Absolutely not! Congress, Texas, FEMA, SBA and IRS have programs to get you relief and or cash. Stay tuned to this blog, more updates are on the way!