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Take it to the House
Recap: Given what’s going on in the world due to the coronavirus outbreak, I’m sending out a daily newsletter to help keep things in perspective. The news, for the most part, isn’t pretty — so I guess it’s on-brand, at the very least — and I think it’s important that we all understand what’s going on so that we can make better decisions as to how to deal with it in our lives.
Let’s goooooo Thursday.
Take it to the House
Late Wednesday night, the Senate finally passed its version of the stimulus bill. This is the big one — it’s what’s spurred the markets over the past couple of days, and what will include heavy-handed measures like stimulus checks, beefed-up unemployment insurance, and hundreds of billions of dollars in rescue funds for businesses.
It looked like the bill was primed to pass on Wednesday, but a few Senators had some issues with the changes to unemployment benefits that the package would usher in. Apparently the complaint was that the unemployment benefits are too generous, and that they could — I kid you not — incentivize workers to quit their jobs to qualify. The proposal in question would add $600 per week to those benefits for up to four months.
Of course, if you quit your job, you don’t qualify for unemployment benefits….So, we’ll see where this thing goes. For now, it’s on to the House.
Don’t wait to file for unemployment benefits
Given that states are about to get smashed with unemployment claims, perhaps like we’ve never seen before, it’s not a bad idea to apply for unemployment as soon as possible. That goes for those of you who have either been laid off or who are losing income. That stimulus bill, which will pass at some point, should make it so that even freelancers and independent contractors — think Uber Drivers, freelance artists, etc. — can apply, too.
How you actually apply depends on your specific state. My colleague, Megan Leonhardt, wrote a good primer on this topic if you don’t know where or how to start.
And if you need help or have questions, you can always reach out to me and I’ll be happy to try and help you figure it out.
Don’t be afraid to negotiate
Finally, the end of the month is coming up quickly. We all have bills to pay, and I think that we should all try an age-old tactic to give ourselves some breathing room: Negotiation. Seriously, if you have bills that you aren’t going to be able to pay, just call whoever you need to pay and tell them. A lot of credit card companies, mortgage issuers, and other creditors are giving borrowers a grace period due to the outbreak, so if you’re feeling squeezed, just give them a call.
And actually pick up and call. The phone is much more useful and will get you further, faster, than an email or using a chat system. The worst that anyone can tell you is “no” if you ask for more time to pay or a reduced payment. So try it out.
Ya boy, Sam