Pandemic Financially
These are trying times. For essential workers, life has remained largely unchanged, save for fear of contagion. Many of us are working from home, and many more of us are out of work. Other states suffer infections due to nursing homes' carelessness; the nursing homes may be held liable. Those who have contracted COVID-19 and their families are in quarantine. How can we make sense of this economically?

Here are three tips that will help you financially ride out the pandemic.

TIP #1 - Curtail Discretionary Spending.

This is the first tip for a reason. Even if you are still working and have not been exposed to the coronavirus, you don't know if your good luck will continue or how the pandemic will affect the economy in the coming months and years. It is far better to conserve your resources now than to find the basics unaffordable later.

If you concentrate on purchasing the essentials now and use the remainder of your income to beef up your emergency fund, you will be better prepared for whatever lies ahead.

TIP #2 - Apply for Any and Every Type of Assistance that You May Be Eligible For.

State Unemployment Benefits

While unemployment law varies from state to state, in general, these benefits are available to employees, not the self-employed or independent contractors. To qualify to receive state unemployment benefits, you must have worked a minimum number of hours for a minimum number of weeks prior to applying. Those with little or no work history will not be eligible.

Visit your state's Department of Labor website or its equivalent. In most states, you can apply for unemployment benefits online.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The federal CARES Act provided the following three types of assistance, among other things:
  • Extension of state unemployment benefits for another 13 weeks
  • Addition of a supplemental $600 for every person eligible for unemployment benefits;
  • It provides unemployment benefits to gig workers, the self-employed, and independent contractors.
As of this writing, most states are still struggling with the administration of the federal program. However, it is better to apply and wait for your state to figure it out than not to apply. Eventually, everyone eligible will receive the full amount they are due.

Economic Impact Payment

Another new federal benefit is the Economic Impact Payment administered by the IRS. Individuals are to receive $1200, married couples $2400, and married couples with dependent children an additional $500 per child.

Your Stimulus Payment should be deposited into the account linked to your federal tax return filing by the end of June 2020. If not directly deposited, recipients will receive a prepaid debit card. You can track your payment using this app if you have not received your paymeWorkers.Workers
’ Compensation
If you contracted COVID-19 on the job and are out of work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the form of income replacement and medical costs. Be sure to notify your employer immediately if you believe you have COVID-19 and were exposed to the coronavirus at work. Contact a workers' compensation attorney to discuss your claim.

You will receive benefits when you are out of work if you qualify. If you suffer any lasting ill effects from COVID-19 that affect your quality of life or affect your ability to do your job, you could also receive temporary or permanent partial or total disability payments.

TIP#3 - Take Advantage of Student Loan and Mortgage Forbearance to Pad Your Emergency Fund.

The federal CARES Act provides that you can temporarily stop making your monthly student loan and mortgage payments until September 2020. Depending on how the pandemic develops, this may well be extended.

If you are employed, you may be tempted to continue makingpayments on your student loans and mortgage because these payments will apply directly to your principal. However, think about it: Student loans and mortgages have much lower interest rates than credit cards, car loans, or personal loans, and therefore, they constitute the least expensive money you can borrow.

What if something happens? A health crisis, a car accident that totals your vehicle, or you get laid off and need ready cash? Stop making these monthly payments and put the money you would have used to pay them in your emergency fund. This should give you sufficient padding to address almost all emergencies in the next few months.

Financial health is as crucial as physical health, and evehaven'tu haven’t contracted COVID-19 (yet!) or haven't your job (yet!), the pandemic still has the power to affect you and your family and cause you a great deal of stress and suffering if you do not take action on these three tips. Follow them, and you will be able to not only survive this health crisis but thrive, come what may.