COVID-19 has already changed the economic landscape for many of us. If you’ve been laid off or lost income due to the threat of the novel coronavirus, it’s a scary time.
Here are some helpful resources if you’re one of the more than 100,000 people in North Carolina in this situation right now.
Guidelines and waiting periods for unemployment have been relaxed following action by the NC Governor last week. This order includes allowing some aid to individuals who are losing hours, but not their entire employment, as a result of COVID-19 restrictions.
- Check out the specific details for seeking unemployment now
- Apply online through NC DES (Note: some of the details here haven’t been updated to reflect recent changes to requirements, but the application is still the same.)
- Don’t forget you’ll need to file certification (electronically) each week or your benefits will stop.
- Charlotte Agenda offers some other helpful information about unemployment in this March 26 article.
Federal actions may expand eligibility to include the self-employed and so-called gig workers, though North Carolina currently does not include those types of employment.
Small Business Assistance
Small businesses and entrepreneurs are feeling the impact right now. If you are one of these hard-working North Carolinians, you know that smaller operating budgets mean you are less able to weather the interruption of business we are now experiencing.
North Carolina has received authorization for disaster relief for small businesses. Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at DisasterLoan.sba.gov.
Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 or 1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, or by emailing [email protected]. Loan application forms can also be downloaded at disasterloan.sba.gov.
Individual and business tax deadlines have been extended. If you are expecting to make payments, take time now to check the details of recent extensions and advisories due to COVID-19 actions.
Individual state and federal tax deadlines have been extended to July 15, though the details of penalties, interest, etc. may vary by state. For example, current law won’t allow North Carolina to forgive interest on tax payments made after the original April 15 deadline.
Rent/Mortgage or Utility Payments
If a change in income puts your ability to pay your rent or mortgage, don’t just stop paying. Contact your landlord or mortgage holder as soon as possible to talk about options. Many mortgage funders are offering extensions or deferrals. Most evictions have been suspended in North Carolina.
If you need to negotiate with your landlord or mortgage holder, our Economic Mobility Specialists offer the following tips:
- Don’t assume your landlord or lender knows your situation.
- Be proactive and contact your landlord or lender before payment is due.
- Determine what you CAN pay and when.
- Be direct about your situation and work with your landlord or lender on a specific plan with dates, amounts, and clear expectations for communication.
Common Wealth Charlotte offers several tips for addressing creditors and other vendors expecting payments.
Seek Accurate Information
The NC Department of Health and Human Services is maintaining comprehensive resources about many COVID-19 related needs. You’ll find the most recent updates, advisories and links there to everything from tax relief to health protocols.
Manage Your Mental Health
That same site offers a variety of resources for managing emotional health, reducing anxiety, and staying healthy despite these new stressors.
Note: This information is as accurate as possible as of March 26, 2020. If updates become available, they will be added to this blog entry.