Coronavirus has brought out many questions and concerns as the economy changes.
- Do you know where to go or what to do if you get laid off?
- What bills do you have to pay when the money gets tight?
- What kind of relief is there?
We hope the following serves as an easy go-to resource to help you through the challenges ahead.
The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services has activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or providers needing guidance regarding COVID-19. The hotline can be reached at 877.435.8411. The hotline is being operated by medical professionals and is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau has created a list of local restaurants that are providing delivery and carry-out services: https://www.visitcolumbiamo.com/dining/restaurants-providing-delivery-other-options/
The Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau has created lists for grocery stores with adjusted hours, medical & mental health resources, and organizations providing free meals: https://www.visitcolumbiamo.com/general-columbia/local-resources/
Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri is providing relief funds to assist with financial hardships that have resulted from COVID-19: https://cccnmo.diojeffcity.org/covid-19-coronavirus-relief-request/
United Way started COVID-19 funds – Call 211 for information: 800.427.4626 or 314.421.4636. The United Way is providing assistance finding food, child care, assistance paying household bills, locating mental health services, and other essential services
The City of Columbia: The city is no longer shutting off utilities for residents who have not paid their bills amid the recent outbreak of COVID-19. Those struggling to pay are encouraged to call the city to discuss payment options.
Ameren (Jefferson City): Ameren has suspended all disconnections for non-payment and is forgiving any late payment fees for residential and business customers. Normal billing for customers’ usage will continue as usual, but if you are having difficulty paying your bill, the following resources are available to help you learn about your options:
- Missouri payment assistance page – https://www.ameren.com/missouri/account/customer-service/payment-options/payment-assistance
- Customer Care team – 800.552.7583
- Coronavirus Income Relief Program – https://www.ameren.com/missouri/account/customer-service/covid-19/income-relief-program
- This program is a partnership between Ameren and The United Way that will offer $500,000 in energy assistance funds to customers experiencing financial hardships caused by the coronavirus response
Missouri American Water (Jefferson City): Missouri American Water has suspended water shut-offs because of COVID-19.
Charter/Spectrum: Charter will offer free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 and /or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription. Additionally, by signing on to the 60 day Keep Americans Connected Pledge issued by the FCC issued by Chairman Pai on March 13, 2020, Charter will not disconnect service or assess late fees to any customer who calls and informs the company that they cannot pay their bills during this period.
Mediacom: Mediacom is pausing monthly data allowances across all Mediacom broadband service tiers through May 15, 2020 and providing complimentary access to all Mediacom Xtream Wi-Fi Hotspots for 60 days. Additionally, by signing on to the 60 day Keep Americans Connected Pledge issued by the FCC issued by Chairman Pai on March 13, 2020, Mediacom will not disconnect service or assess late fees to any customer who calls and informs the company that they cannot pay their bills during this period.
CenturyLink: By signing on to the 60 day Keep Americans Connected Pledge issued by the FCC issued by Chairman Pai on March 13, 2020, CenturyLink will not disconnect service or assess late fees to any customer who calls and informs the company that they cannot pay their bills during this period.
CREDIT CARE COMPANIES/BANKS
- American Express: Amex is waiving interest and late payment fees for cardholders. Amex cardholders can reach out to their team of Customer Care Professionals by calling the number on the back of their credit cards, use the Amex mobile app, or the 24/7 chat feature on the Amex website to see they are eligible.
- Apple Card: Customers affected by the coronavirus pandemic can enroll in the customer assistance program in order to skip their March payment without incurring interest. You can send a text to an Apple Card specialist or call right from inside Apple Wallet.
- Bank of America: The bank wants clients facing a hardship related to coronavirus to call and let them know they need help. Assistance for customers – including those beyond credit card customers such as customers with loans – includes deferred payments, fee refunds, deferred payments, and no negative credit bureau reporting. Customers should call the number on the back of their credit card or go to the bank’s website (https://www.bankofamerica.com/) and click on the Contact Us tab.
- Capital One: Customers whose income has been impacted by the coronavirus and are experiencing a financial hardship should contact Capital One through their Contact Us page (https://www.capitalone.com/support-center/contact-us).
- Chase: Chase has stated it may defer payments, waive fees, or extend payment dates. Cardholders are encouraged to call the customer support number on the back of their credit card to see what aid may be available to them.
- Citi: Effective March 9, 2020, for an initial 30 days, Citi is offering the following assistance:
- Retail Bank Customers: Fee waivers on monthly service fees; waived penalties for early CD withdrawal
- Credit Card Customers: Credit line increases and collection forbearance programs
- Discover: Discover is extending to relief to customers who are experiencing financial difficulty caused by COVID-19. Customers may receive assistance that can include support related to payment timing, fees, and late payments. Customers should contact the following customer support service teams:
- Card Customers: Call 1-800-497-2816 (TTY/TDD 1-800-347-7449) any time or message Discover through your Account Center online or in the mobile app.
- Online Banking Customers: Call 1-800-347-7000 (TTY/TDD 1-800-347-7454) any time.
- Personal Loan Customers: Call 1-877-256-2632 (TTY/TDD 1-866-710-3357) between 8am – 8pm ET, Monday through Friday.
- Home Loan Customers: Call 1-855-295-2193 (TTY/TDD 1-866-352-3684) between 8am – 8pm ET, Monday through Friday.
- Student Loan Customers: Call 1-800-STUDENT (TTY/TDD 1-800-223-5614) any time
- PNC: PNC states it is working with those experiencing financial difficulty as a result of coronavirus impacts. PNC is offering “an array of hardship relief options for which customers may be eligible depending on their product(s) and needs.” Customers are encouraged to call 1.800.762.2265 to discuss options.
- U.S. Bank: U.S. Bank says they are “reactively waiving credit card fees and are working to enhance [their] skip-a-pay and payment deferral programs to meet U.S. Bank cardholders’ needs during this pandemic.” Additionally, U.S. Bank started offering temporarily reduced pricing on the simple and personal loans.
- Wells Fargo: Wells Fargo says they are working with customers on fee waivers, payment deferrals, and other credit card measures.
To file for unemployment benefits, use the following link: https://www.mo.gov/work/unemployment/
MID-MO JOBS PAGE
There’s a bunch of employers hiring right now, whether temporary or for permanent positions. See the full list here.
- The Families First Coronavirus Response Act – https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6201
- The deadline for filing federal income tax returns has been moved to July 15th. Individuals will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties. Individuals that expect a refund are encouraged to still file their returns as soon as possible in order to receive their refunds as quickly as possible.
STUDENT LOAN PAYMENTS SUSPENDED
- Individuals with federal student loans can now automatically have their interest rates set to 0% for a period of at least 60 days. Individuals also have the option to suspend their payments for at least two months.
- To request, forbearance, individuals should contact their loan servicer online or by phone.
- Additionally, the Department of Education has authorized an automatic suspension of payments for any individual more than 31 days delinquent as of March 13, 2020, or who becomes more than 31 days delinquent.