Navigating financial hardship

Updated 3/30/20

The financial impact of social distancing and closures to nonessential businesses is being felt nationwide. Here are some resources and information related to financial challenges.

SSDI

Some in our community receive or are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Please note that your payments should continue as normal. While SSDI has closed their physical offices to visitors, you can still receive support and ask questions online or over the phone. If you are applying for SSDI, note that hearings may be postponed or scheduled over the phone. Some answers to FAQs about COVID-19 and SSDI can be found here.

State and local help

Many states have implemented policies to assist residents experiencing financial hardships. For example, some states are waiving the ability of utility companies to turn off essential services because of failure to pay. Check your state government website for the most up-to-date information. Also, please don’t be shy if you need more urgent help in the short term. Contact your town or city for more information about programs and services that can help you right now, like food banks or housing assistance.

Federal stimulus plan

Congress has passed three stimulus packages in the wake of COVID-19. The latest, known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will provide up to $1,200 in the form of an “advance tax credit” to most individuals. The payment would decrease for those with incomes over $75,000 and end for individuals with incomes above $99,000. (The thresholds double for married couples who file taxes jointly). The bill also provides a $500 payment per child. It is important to note that the payment will be distributed based on your 2018 or 2019 (if already filed) federal tax return. Experts have indicated that even if your 2020 income levels are above the thresholds, you will likely keep the initial amount you are given.

    • SSDI recipients: SSDI recipients who do not file federal income tax returns are still eligible for stimulus payments as long as they earned at least $2,500 of income. SSDI benefits are treated as income for purposes of the plan. Allsup has put together some fantastic info, which you can read here.
    • Low income individuals: Individuals who owed less than $1,200 federal income tax (i.e. made approximately $12,000 in income) during the applicable year will receive a stimulus payment equal to the greater of: 1) $600 or 2) the amount of income tax owed.
    • Other funding: The package also improves and expands unemployment benefits, and allocates funding for hard-hit industries, small businesses, hospitals, and state and local governments.

The bill text can be viewed here

Please note that this is our current reading of the bill, which is not yet law; we defer to any updates or additional details from policy experts in the coming days and weeks. Additionally, this is not tax advice. Consult a tax professional if you have questions.