It’s no secret that hard-working Americans are harder hit by the COVID-19 pandemic than those who can afford to stockpile or have substantial savings. Some businesses do not want to accept cash or have moved to an online purchase-only model because of the risk, which means unbanked people cannot easily purchase food. Many small businesses are limiting hours or are closing down to reduce community transmission, which means fewer hours and in some cases no hours at all.
At PayActiv, we ensure workers get access to wages when they need to—not just on payday. And during this difficult time, we have waived our fees to users. For those who need access to wages now but are unable to work the hours because their place of work is temporarily shuttered, timely access to wages may not always be enough.
There is a lot of information out there about where we can turn for help. We have put together this list of resources you can turn to when you need assistance during this difficult time:
- PayActiv: PayActiv is dedicated to giving Americans access to their earned wages. The app can also help you purchase from Amazon, even if you do not have a credit card, and easily communicate with your employer. Users can hail an Uber, pay bills electronically, and access financial counseling to develop a plan to weather this storm—all at no additional cost through the PayActiv app.
- Your bank: If you do have a bank account, some banks are waiving fees or offering deferred mortgage payments. Contact your bank or visit their website to find out what relief may be available to you.
- Your landlord: Some landlords are getting relief from their banks, so renters will want to find out about any assistance landlords can offer, from spacing out payments to offering extra time to come up with the rent.
- Unemployment insurance: If you cannot work due to COVID-19, visit your state’s unemployment insurance page. (Here are the ones for California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington State.) You can apply for unemployment insurance right from these pages.
- Your city, state, and county governments: Your taxes help fund your government agencies, and they have resources on their pages linking to special programs. Check out the pages for Washington, DC, or the resources available to Los Angeles residents. Many communities have responses to help residents.
- Your local newspaper or news channel: Local news stations and newspapers are compiling lists of state and local resources, including local charities and organizations. Many local newspapers are making COVID-19 coverage free and accessible to all, making it easier for readers to find reliable information. ABC San Francisco has a listing of financial resources, while AARP has information for seniors across the States.
- Food banks: Feeding America lets you find your local food bank online, while Meals on Wheels can deliver meals to seniors and other qualified individuals. FoodPantries.org helps visitors to their website find food pantries and details about subsidized grocery programs.
- Creditors and companies: Some utilities are waiving late fees or putting a moratorium on disconnections during the pandemic. Contact your local utilities and the companies you deal with directly to find out what relief is available.
- Nonprofit organizations: Do Something has resources for students affected financially by the pandemic. The Salvation Army is offering aid in every state.
- Your employer: Many employers are covering some expenses for workers or covering leave for those affected by COVID-19. Businesses are also being helped by government funding, so some will be able to offer additional support for employees in the near future. Employees will want to stay in touch with employers to find out what options are available. The PayActiv app has a notifications feature, which allows employers to send messages directly to their employees.
One caveat: Seeking help is crucial, but it’s important to only seek help from reputable organizations, agencies, and nonprofit organizations. The FTC has put together advice to help you avoid scams.
The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving quickly, and state, federal, and municipal governments as well as charities and businesses are working on solutions and rolling out new programs. Check back often and keep looking for help. PayActiv understands this is a difficult time, but none of us are alone. In the United States, 78 percent of workers live paycheck to paycheck, and the current crisis may mean that some of those workers will not be getting a paycheck at all as they are told to shelter at home or self-isolate. More than ever, we need real solutions and vast compassion. PayActiv will continue to advocate for timely access to wages, and as we find more solutions to help, we will post them on our website.
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