Source:weforum.org

How to Handle Lost Income During COVID-19

If you are one of the millions of Americans affected by the novel coronavirus, then you’ve likely felt a large impact on your finances.

The restrictions brought about by the current pandemic have made many businesses unable to operate. As a result, many people are out of work or working reduced hours.

According to Console and Associates, P.C., employers are refusing to compensate their employees. Should this be the case, you may need to sue your employer for unpaid wages.

However, most situations are not this drastic. Instead, you’re likely facing reduced hours. This is still incredibly challenging, especially if money was already tight.

Source:hindustantimes.com

Fortunately, there re several ways to make up for lost income during COVID-19. We’ll go over a few useful suggestions for this below.

Reduce Expenses

A good starting point is to reduce unnecessary expenses.

When it comes to fitting a budget, you must control your cash flow. This requires adjusting either where your money goes or how much goes in. The easier choice is to change how much you’re spending each month.

Many things you pay for likely aren’t essential. Your necessary expenses include things like rent, utilities, and groceries. Anything else isn’t required for survival.

Expenses that aren’t essential can be considered luxuries. This includes costs like cable, frequent takeout, and new clothes. Chances are, you’re likely paying for several extra things each month that can quickly add up to hundreds or even thousands.

While luxuries certainly add enjoyment to your life, they are expensive and serve as a good elimination if you’re struggling to make ends meet. Take some time and look at where your funds go to see if there’s anything you can comfortably cut.

File for Unemployment

If you are unable to find work, you should file for unemployment.

This is arguably the most important tip here because the government is an excellent source of assistance right now. Typically, filing for unemployment is fairly difficult and many are rejected.

However, coronavirus has greatly shifted things and now most Americans are eligible for unemployment due to relaxed requirements. Even better, the money provided during the current pandemic may be higher than what you would’ve earned normally.

If you’re eligible for unemployment, you’ll receive the standard state amount and up to $600 because of COVID-19 every week. Across a whole month, unemployment benefits are significant and can easily cover all of your expenses.

One thing that’s important to note is that how much you receive will depend on how much you work. You can still receive unemployment while working reduced hours, but you will receive less in unemployment.

Considering this, you should take advantage of unemployment to help you through coronavirus for as long as it lasts.

Consider Freelance Work

Source:jamiemillerrecruitment.com

Another good choice is to consider freelance work for extra income.

While your regular job may no longer be available, that doesn’t mean you can’t do other work. In particular, you can work from home by doing freelance projects.

If you have a valuable skill like programming, graphic design, writing, or marketing, thousands of businesses and clients online need good work done. You can complete projects for them and earn money while not being directly employed for them.

You can think of freelancing as similar to selling a product to someone, except in this case you’re selling your services. It doesn’t have a formal process to initiate and anyone can get started!

Something to keep in mind is that freelancing is not necessarily easy money. It requires hard work, commitment, and discipline to complete projects without oversight. If you can manage it, you’ll have a nice source of extra income during the pandemic.

Ask for Creditor Assistance

Source:matrix-support.com

You can also ask your creditors and lenders for payment assistance.

One silver lining to coronavirus is that many financial institutions are becoming more understanding about payments. The biggest indicator of this was the federal tax filing deadline being pushed back by three months.

Other businesses are following suit. This includes credit card companies, mortgage companies, and student loan providers.

While some companies are automatically offering assistance in the form of eliminating late fees and reducing minimum payments, you may not be benefiting from this. You should reach out to your creditors and let them know your situation.

Realistically, most lenders will be understanding because COVID-19 is unprecedented. It has a severe financial impact on everyone and it’s unreasonable for creditors to expect prompt payment with all things considered.

When you speak to them on a personal level, they may be able to help you out. You may be able to refinance a mortgage or pause credit card and student loan payments.

Seek External Help

A final suggestion is to not be afraid of seeking external help.

Many people are proud and don’t feel good about asking others for money. Unfortunately, times are dire and without easy ways to make money, you may have less flexibility than you’d like.

While you may not be financially flush, plenty of others are thriving. In particular, several relief funds have been created to help specific groups like small businesses and artists.

While federal and community relief are two good options, you should also look locally. Specifically, you should reach out to friends and family members that you know can help.

You might be surprised by the generosity of others. Considering that nobody has experienced a pandemic like what we’re seeing today, it’s a way to come closer despite currently needing social distance.

Closing Thoughts

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Because coronavirus has halted many businesses, you may find yourself working reduced hours or none at all. This is surely terrifying because you have bills to pay and finding a new job isn’t easy right now.

With this in mind, there are a few things you can do about lost income. You can reduce your expenses, file for unemployment, consider freelance work, ask for creditor assistance, and seek external help.

Ideally, you’ll take advantage of multiple financial strategies. While your options for work are limited, you can still survive during COVID-19 by being resourceful.

Peter is a freelance writer with more than eight years of experience covering topics in politics. He was one of the guys that were here when the foreignspolicyi.org started.