Concerned About How to Pay Your Bills?

We know these are difficult days and there are lot of unknowns. We hope to lessen your stress by providing some important resources and information if you are experiencing financial hardship.

We have a team who would also love to pray for you. Please send prayer requests to prayer@seacoast.org.

Here are few things you can do to help get a better grasp on your financial situation:

Budget

  • Download the free app: Every Dollar to develop a budget. everydollar.com/
  • Review and clarify your income sources to determine what reality might look like in the coming weeks.
  • Cut spending to bare necessities. 
  • If you can’t pay all of your bills, Dave Ramsey (daveramsey.com/blog/4-things-you-must-budget) recommends spending your money on these four items, in this order:
    • Food
    • Utilities
    • Shelter
    • Transportation

Defer Payments

  • Identify payments that could be deferred if you’re unable to cover all of your expenses.
  • Call creditors to explain your situation. 
    • Request temporary relief on your monthly payments. 
      • Consider offering to send a portion of your typical payment to show you’re willingness to work with them, and they may be more willing to work with you.
      • If you have federal student loans, you can forbear (interest accrues) or defer (interest doesn’t accrue on subsidized federal loans) your loan payments.
  • Consider temporarily stopping extra payments if you’re paying extra on debt(s) and have less than one to two months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund. Restart once things settle down.
  • Use this week to establish a game plan and gather information, as more changes may be coming.
  • Reach out to the ReStart Career Development Community at info@restartsc.org for career tips and guidance. If you have questions and want to find out more, visit restartsc.org.
  • Dave Ramsey also offers his course, Financial Peace Online with a free 14-day trial. 

National Relief Efforts

Effective 3/22/2020

  • Private Mortgage Relief Programs: In addition to federal- and state-specific efforts, banks are offering relief to mortgage customers affected by coronavirus. Contact your mortgage lender if you need relief.
  • Free COVID-19 testing: free testing is available to anyone.
  • Emergency paid leave: paid leave is available for up to three months if you are sick, quarantined, or taking care of a sick family member. The rate would be 2/3 of your normal salary and doesn’t apply if you receive unemployment compensation (employers with fewer than 500 employees).
  • Paid sick leave: paid sick leave is available for two weeks (employers with fewer than 500 employees).
  • Credit Relief: Many banks have stated that if customers are having trouble making payments on loans (e.g., mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, auto loans, etc.) to call them to determine available options.

Utilities

  • Many utilities companies suspended disconnections and collections for 30 days. Reach out to your utility companies to determine available options.

Cell Phone/Internet

  • Xfinity will not disconnect or add late fees for customers who contact the company. 
    • Customers will have unlimited data for 60 days, and Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots will be free for anyone. 
    • New customers will also get access to 60 days of free Internet Essentials service (25 Mbps).
  • AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint will not terminate or add late fees for the next 60 days. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are also open and customers will receive unlimited Internet data.
  • T-Mobile advises customers with past-due amounts to set up payment arrangements online.

Unemployment Insurance

Assistance Programs

  • SC Thrive focuses on food security, healthcare resources and financial wellness through work supports such as SNAP, Medicaid and tax credits, like the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credits. If you need assistance in the following areas, please contact 1-800-726-8774 or visit scthrive.org.
    • Free online tax filing
    • A list of coronavirus resources
    • Apply for benefits
  • Apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as Food Stamp benefits.
  • Apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, formerly known as Family Independence. This is South Carolina’s welfare program.
    • You may apply for SNAP and/or TANF benefits in multiple ways:
      • Apply online, visit SCMAPP.sc.gov.
      • Complete the application form and take it to a secure, outside drop box at any county office, or 
      • Fax your application to (803) 734-2012, or
      • Mail your application. If you need an application or a renewal form mailed to you, please call 1-800-616-1309.

Small Businesses

  • Contact the South Carolina Business Development Center at: scsbdc.com/ for guidance.