The COVID-19 pandemic has created a deep financial crisis. If you (or your family/friends) are experiencing financial hardship, schedule an appointment with a Smart Money Coaching certified financial coach or check out our resources below. 

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HELP IS AVAILABLE! The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief program provides financial assistance for rent and utilities to income-eligible California renters and their landlords who have been impacted by COVID-19. Click here to apply.

State law protects renters who are unable to pay their rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. California has statewide eviction protections for non-payment of rent until September 30, 2021.  Click here to learn more about protections and guidelines for tenants.

You may also have seen news about a recently extended federal CDC eviction moratorium. This moratorium offers limited eviction protections through October 4th, 2021, for counties with “substantial” or “high” levels of community transmission of COVID-19. As of August 19th, all Bay Area counties qualify for these protections. Click here to learn more.

If you have received an eviction notice from your landlord, get legal help immediately. The Legal Services Corporation can help you find free/low-cost legal aid in your area.

 

If you have not done so already, apply for your federal stimulus payments today! To get free help filing your taxes and claiming your money, visit www.earnitkeepitsaveit.org.

Most Americans are eligible to get all three rounds of Economic Impact Payments (also known as stimulus checks) – but you need to file taxes to get your money! If you don't normally have to file a tax return, the online Non-filer Sign-up tool can help you to register for the $1,400 third round of stimulus checks and claim the “Recovery Rebate Credit” for any amount of the first two rounds of stimulus checks you may have missed.

Bonus: families with children can use the non-filer tool to register for their monthly Advance Child Tax Credit payments – that means up to $300/month ($3,600 total) per child!

To find out more about why you may or may not qualify for stimulus checks, the IRS has information on the first $1,200second $600 and third $1,400 payments on its website.

If the IRS has your bank account info, you should have already received your stimulus checks. Having a bank account allows you to receive your stimulus $$ faster and safer! Open a Bank On certified bank or credit union account online now and share your information with the IRS.

If the IRS doesn’t have your bank information you will receive a check by mail.

Most families are eligible to receive up to $300/month per child – that’s $3,600 total per child! Payments started July 15th, make sure you get the money you need to help raise your children.

What is the Child Tax Credit?
The Child Tax Credit is a tax benefit to help families who are raising children. Payments will come monthly from the IRS totaling up to $300 per child under age 6 and up to $250 per child ages 6 to 17.

What do I need to do?
Most families don’t need to do anything! If you filed 2019 or 2020 taxes or signed up for stimulus checks using the IRS Non-Filer tool last year, the IRS will send money automatically. If you haven’t filed a tax return for 2019 or 2020, file now to claim your money!

Get Free Tax Assistance     IRS Non-Filer Sign-Up Tool

Get your payments faster!
If the IRS has your bank account info, you should have received your first payment in July. Having a bank account allows you to receive your Child Tax Credit faster and safer! Open a Bank On certified bank or credit union account online now and share your information with the IRS.

If the IRS doesn’t have your bank information you will receive a check by mail.

 

Expanded Unemployment Benefits are ending after September 4th, 2021. Click here to learn more about the end of these expanded federal benefits, and other assistance programs you can access.

During the COVID pandemic, the federal government created and expanded several unemployment benefit programs. However, the week ending September 4, 2021 will be the last payable week for the following federal unemployment benefit programs:

  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Pandemic Additional Compensation (PAC)
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
    • For PUA, we will continue to take applications for new claims 30 days after September 4 if you are seeking benefits for weeks of unemployment before September 4.
  • Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

California continues to offer unemployment assistance, so 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.

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 childcare). You can also get help from local nonprofit Legal Aid at Work.

 

Student Loan Payment Pause Extended Through January 2022!

The Department of Education has extended student loan forbearance (a pause on the requirement to make payments on your federal student loans) through January 31, 2022. Federal student loan borrowers do not have to make payments until next February. Monthly payments for most federal student loans have been on pause since last March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 No interest will be added to what you owe during this forbearance period, and non-payments will count toward the number of payments required under an income-driven repayment plan, a loan rehabilitation agreement, or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

The Department of Education’s announcement noted that this will be the final extension of the forbearance period, but we will update this page if anything changes. 

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.

If you need help with your water bill, The Financial Justice Project has partnered with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to pilot a program to provide steep discounts on water and sewer bills to eligible customers. Learn more here.

If you have lost your job or have reduced income during the pandemic, even if you are receiving unemployment benefits, you may qualify for a discount on your water, sewer, and Hetch-Hetchy power bill. This is a temporary program which expires March 31, 2022, to learn more visit The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) here.

If your small business or non-profit is experiencing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for a 20% reduction on your water and sewer bill.The deadline to submit an application for this program is March 31, 2022. To learn more visit The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) here.

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.

 

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.