The COVID-19 pandemic has created a deep financial crisis. If you (or your family/friends) are experiencing financial hardship, check out our resources below. 

Questions? Email us at sf.ofe@sfgov.org.

Financial Resources


Sign up today to receive free financial coaching from trained, certified financial counselors – with phone and online options during the crisis.

If you need help figuring out how to navigate your personal finances during this challenging time, you can access free, confidential, one-on-one financial coaching through our Smart Money Coaching program. Call 877-256-0073 to schedule a free appointment. If you are an aging adult or an adult with a disability, call 415-865-5652.


STIMULUS: If you have not done so already, apply for your federal stimulus payment today! Click here to claim your payment or get more info.

Most Americans are entitled to a stimulus payment of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 for couples, with an additional $500 for each child under 17 years old. These payments have been protected against most debt collection, garnishment, or bank levy.

It’s especially important to claim your payment if you have not filed 2018 or 2019 taxes, or don’t usually have to file taxes because you don’t make enough money. For free tax prep help, visit www.earnitkeepitsaveit.org/.

UNEMPLOYMENT: If you have lost your job, had your hours reduced, or experienced a loss of income, you should file for unemployment – click here to file your claim and get more information.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, weekly unemployment benefits have been increased, and the number of weeks you can claim unemployment have been extended. California has waived the normal seven-day waiting period, and you are not required to look for work each week to be eligible for benefits.

Self-employed and gig workers who might not usually qualify for unemployment DO qualify now. Not sure if you qualify? Check out this new resource where you can take a two-minute quiz and get support in claiming your unemployment benefits.

Have unemployment questions or problems? Click here to get assistance from the City and County of San Francisco (including unemployment, paid sick leave, or family leave and child care). You can also get help from local nonprofit Legal Aid at Work.


San Francisco has updated its moratorium on evictions – now effective through August 30th (and could be extended further).

If you can afford to pay your rent or mortgage, you should continue to do so. You are able to enroll in forbearance if you cannot pay your mortgage – contact your bank or lender today. Click here for a guide to relief offered by local banks and credit unions. 

Need help? Find more information and local counseling resources here. Other Bay Area counties have created similar eviction and rent protections – check your county’s website for more information. For more information on mortgage forbearance relief through the Federal CARES Act, click here.


You can get fees refunded and defer your credit card or loan payments! Check out OFE’s guide to banking relief available from local banks and credit unions here.

Most banks and credit unions are now offering various forms of customer relief, including fee refunds or waivers, loan payment deferrals and other assistance for checking and savings accounts, mortgage, auto, and small business loans, and credit cards – more details on banking relief are available here

Federal student loans are automatically being placed in forbearance – and now is the perfect time to enroll in an income-driven repayment plan!

By law, federal student loans are automatically being placed in forbearance, with no interest accruing, through September 30th. Many private lenders will also offer forbearance if you contact them.

If you have experienced loss of income or financial hardship due to COVID-19 (or if you already were struggling to make ends meet), you should enroll in an income-driven repayment plan TODAY. Your monthly payments could drop to as low as zero dollars a month, and you could qualify for additional forms of forgiveness – more information on student loan repayment is available here.

 


Having trouble with debt collectors, wage garnishment, credit reports, or other legal questions? Help is available!

For help navigating debt collection, credit errors, or other legal issues, call Bay Area Legal Aid’s Legal Advice Line at 800-551-5554. You can also check out this comprehensive list of Bay Area legal resources.

You have rights as a consumer! For information about credit reports, credit cards, student debt, debt collection, bankruptcy, and identity theft, click here.


During the crisis, local utility companies are ensuring that your water and power will not be cut off – and if you are behind or having trouble making payments, additional help is available.

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) will not be shutting off water or power due to late payments during the crisis; they are also postponing liens and collections during this time. If you are having financial difficulties and need to enter into a payment plan, email customerservice@sfwater.org or call (415) 551-3000.

PG&E has also implemented a moratorium on service disconnections for non-payment and will offer a payment plan to customers who indicate either an impact or hardship as a result of COVID-19. For customer service, call 1-800-743-5000.


You can reduce or eliminate money owed to local or state governments if you are not able to make these payments – find a guide here.

In partnership with the San Francisco Financial Justice Project, many City and County Departments are acting to alleviate the impact of fines, fees, and collections on low-income residents hardest hit by this crisis. For information on how to get discounts and other relief from parking, towing, and traffic fines, child support payments, court-ordered collections, and more, read more here.

Additional Resources for Workers and Small Businesses

The City and County of San Francisco has created a website with information and resources for businesses and employees impacted by COVID-19.

This website is updated daily, and contains information and resources for employees, business owners, and nonprofits. You can find City and County resources, nonprofit resources, and information on the reopening of the San Francisco economy. You can also donate to Give2SF.