Dear Addy: Panicked and Confused

Dear Addy, 
Due to the recent COVID-19 crisis, my employer has made drastic cuts to my work schedule and I am facing potential unemployment. As a person living with a bleeding disorder, I’m not sure how this will impact me. I’ve been getting benefits through my employer for a while now, but without a job, how will I pay for my care and other necessities?
Panicked and Confused

Dear Panicked and Confused
You are not alone. Many individuals have found themselves asking the same questions. Thankfully, we have a few resources to share with you that can help you navigate these issues.
Health Insurance
Having continued access to comprehensive health insurance has always been a priority for the bleeding disorders community. With the advent of COVID-19, you should know that there are coverage options available to you if you experience a change in your job status. Check out this information on accessing health insurance coverage from HFA and NHF.
Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment insurance is a joint state and federal program that distributes cash benefits to eligible individuals who are fully unemployed or partially unemployed through no fault of their own. Partial unemployment refers to employees who have seen a reduction in their earnings or hours by more than one-third. Eligible persons can file for unemployment benefits without a waiting period if they have experienced a change in employment status due to COVID-19. However, please note that while unemployment benefits are a joint effort between the state and federal government, states establish their own rules for eligibility and distribution of benefits, so be sure to research your specific state’s guidelines. Also, please note that, depending on your state, eligibility for unemployment benefits may only apply to full-time employees and not include some part-time, temporary or self-employed workers.
Mortgage, Rent, Utilities, and Student Loans

  • You mentioned your concerns regarding the payment of other necessities, such as rent, mortgage, utilities, or student loans. Recently, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a nationwide eviction and foreclosure moratorium. This covers homeowners with loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Other lenders and housing authorities have followed suit with their policies. If you have concerns about payment, be sure to contact your loan servicers or leasing office to discuss your payment options.
  • Many states, in conjunction with several large corporations, have agreed to halt the cutoff of services (phone, internet, water, electricity) to individuals that are unable to make payments. Such services may not be automatic so you should contact your utility companies to take advantage of any potential benefits.
  • Various student loan lenders have enacted new repayment policies some of which include suspended payments, without interest and no impact on your credit score. The U.S. Department of Education is offering a payment waiver for at least 60 days to eligible individuals. As previously mentioned, such privileges are not automatic so you must personally contact your lender to discuss eligibility and payment options.

You can find more information about these topics, plus sick leave, extension of the federal tax filing period, and more in this helpful New York Times article.