In response to COVID-19, the CASH Campaign of Maryland is providing helpful resources for Maryland individuals, families,and small business owners to lessen the financial impact of this public health crisis. Resources are listed by topic area. If you need help with something that isn't listed, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. For Information about free tax preparation services when they become available, visit our main CASH website. Please note that any commercial resources are listed solely as a resource and not as a recommendation or endorsement.
Staying Afloat: Navigating Your Finances in Uncertain Financial Times
For more Tips on Personal Finance During COVID 19, click here.
1) Use the $MART method for managing your money:
$top or postone: What can you eliminate spending money on? Can you wait on a different car or home improvement project?
Monitor--create a list of any money coming in and every dollar that is going out. Create a Spending Plan and check in weekly.
Allow--what will you spend money on? Prioritize your expenses.What’s most important right now? Usually that’s food,housing, transportation. But that might alsobe internet, or cell phone service if that’s essential to your ability towork and/or stay connected.
Reduce--what can be cut back on?Consider cooking inexpensive meals at home and switching to generic prescriptions. Can you suspend or cancel a membership or subscription that you don't need right now?See the update on Gym Memberships.
Talk--Discuss your financial situation with family, friends or a professional.
2) Contact your creditors TODAY:
Reach out to landlords, mortgage or car lenders, utility providers, student loan companies ASAP if you anticipate having difficulty paying them. It ismuch easier to work out alternative payment plans or ask for relief before you begin missing payments. Visit the Consumer FinancialProtection Bureau’s website for tips and samples letters to send to creditors.
3) Get professional help:
Are you overwhelmed or unsure of how to get started? Do you think you’re on the right track but want a second opinion? CASH Campaign has free Financial Coaches and Certified Financial Planners available to help! Learn more here.
4) Supplement your income:
If you can, pick up a side gig while you wait for regular employment. You may also qualify for supplemental support like emergency unemployment, SNAP (food stamps), or other benefits. CASH can help you determine your eligibility. Click here to learn more and to fill out an intake form.
5) Beware of scams:
Do not provide financial information in response to a call that you receive, and be wary of any supposed information on treatment for COVID-19 or special offers on cleaning products and masks. See a list of major coronavirus scams.
Watch the webinar: "Staying Afloat: Navigating Your Finances in Uncertain Financial Times" by clicking this link :zoom_0.mp4
Update 6/1: If you’re still waiting for your Economic Impact Payments, you might be getting a debit card instead of a check in the mail. For more information on these cards, see the FTC webpage and the CFPB's site, including their new video on using the prepaid card.
The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic at MVLS is offering a free Tax Hotline for any taxpayer who has a question about their Economic Impact Payment (aka the “Tax Stimulus Check”), filing a 2019 tax return in order to obtain the EIP, or about income taxes in general. This number is (443) 451-4091 and the hours are Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm. Callers outside of those times may leave a message, and calls will be returned.
The Economic Impact Payment (EIP), also referred to as a Stimulus check, is a recovery rebate credit under the CARES Act for a taxpayer’s 2020 tax return to be paid out during 2020 to ease the economic burden caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. To qualify taxpayers must have a valid social security number, cannot be claimed as a dependent on another return and fall within certain income limits. The quickest way to get the EIP if there is a filing requirement is to have a 2018 or 2019 tax return with direct deposit information on file with the IRS. For those that do not have a filing requirement, they will need to file a simple return. The IRS has launched a new tool where taxpayers can enter their information on the IRS Web Portal. To use the tool taxpayers will need to provide basic information including Social Security number, name, address, and dependents as well as direct deposit information. Social security retirement, social security disability insurance (SSDI), SSI and railroad retirement recipients will automatically receive their payments through direct deposit in the account where they receive their monthly benefits. However, if they have a spouse or qualifying child they should be sure to use the IRS simple return tool to ensure they receive the maximum benefit. SSA and VA recipients will need to provide information on qualifying children by noon EST on April 22, 2020 in order to receive additional $500 payments automatically. Otherwise, an automatic payment of $1,200 will be distributed and any additional $500 for qualifying children will be paid in association with a 2020 tax return. IRS launched a new a
“Get My Payment” tool for taxpayers to check their EIP status, type and provide bank account information, if information was not provided and if the a check has not been mailed. More information can be found here. The CFPB has "A guide to COVID-19 economic stimulus relief". The FDIC has created information on Receiving IRS Economic Impact Payments.
If you do not have a bank account in order to set up direct deposit for your funds, consider opening a safe and affordable certified Bank On account online. For more information on Bank On Maryland, click here. If you are unable to open an account with a bank or credit union, consider getting a low cost, safe, pre-paid reloadable card. The FDIC has information on choosing a pre-paid card.
According to the Maryland Department of Labor's (DOL) Financial Regulation Division, the maximum amount a Check Cashing Services Licensee can charge for a government check is 2%. However, if the company does not hold a Maryland License, the maximum fee for any check, including a government check is 1.5%. DOL check-cashing brochure & DOL information on check-cashing page for consumers.