Stretch Your Dollar: Relief available to you during the pandemic

Stretch Your Dollar

If you’re like millions of Americans right now, paying your bills may not be easy due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. But the federal government is vowing to help homeowners and student loan borrowers stay afloat. We are stretching your dollar with relief that may be available to you.

Long lines at food banks and 26 million filing for unemployment in March and April are just a few of the impacts from COVID-19.

“We’ve had a lot of mounting bills. We had to contact a lot of our creditors and tell them we weren’t able to meet our obligations right now there’s absolutely no money,” Laura Retana Shelp, furloughed worker.

The $2 trillion stimulus package provides help for homeowners and student loan borrowers with loans backed by the government. Forbearance or deferment is guaranteed.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau rolled out this video to help homeowners.

“You are entitled to delayed payments for up to 180 days and an additional 180 days if that’s deemed necessary. Interest still accrues but at the same time there are no additional fees for those late payments or those delayed payments,” Kathy Kraninger, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

And whether your student loan payment’s the size of a mortgage or not, “There was a reprieve on payments and interest for those federal loans,” Kraninger said.

Director Kraninger says even some private lenders and states are offering assistance. But her agency warns consumers to watch out for scams.

“You might get fraudulent calls, emails, text messages or offers to help you reduce or stop your mortgage payments.”

She says you don’t need a third party. Just call your lender directly.

“There are a lot of things about our financing that can be intimidating but arming yourself with the right questions to ask. Having your information in front of you so you can interact in a productive way. That’s really the best way to get the results.”

Scammers are targeting consumers in all kinds of ways right now, so it’s best to stay vigilant on all of your bills. Also, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and ask for help if you’re struggling to pay any of those bills.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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