How to Find Help for a Financial Crisis in Your Area
Most people who ask this question should have asked this one: What can I do to prepare for a possible job loss?
However, it is difficult and takes time to prepare for a possible job loss. Some come suddenly and without warning as what is happening due to the COVID virus. There is no way anyone could have anticipated this situation.
Here are some things you can do starting today that can help you get through a job loss as well as prepare for any future ones.
Good Record Keeping for Personal Documents
Good record keeping can help you quickly determine what resources are already available to you, including your healthcare and insurance benefits. All your sensitive information should be kept in a secure place or even in an online storage service that is password protected.
You may have some or all of the following documents:
- Passports and photo IDs (keep that driver’s license in your wallet)
- Health insurance ID cards
- Birth certificates
- Social Security cards (you do not need this on your person)
- Bank account information
- Annual tax returns for the last 7 years
- Digital account information/passwords can be kept on an Excel sheet which is password protected and stored in your online service
- Lease/rental or mortgage documents
- Life, renter’s, auto and other insurance records
- Medical records and medication lists
- Wills, trusts, and legal documents
If you have many of these paper documents, you may want to consider a fire-proof safe to store them at your residence. They are relatively inexpensive.
Money Is Tight: Feeding Your Family for Less or Free
Everyone needs access to low-cost and nutritional food. There are local food shelters and food banks (Feed America has locations nationwide) that can assist you. There is a food stamp program that reduces your food expense. You should also have a supply of food that can help you in an emergency, particularly foods with a long shelf life.
A few foods to consider having on hand at all times are:
- Beans of any kind
- Other canned foods: soups, meats, ready-to-eat items, etc.
- Pasta and rice mixes
- Dried fruit or nuts
- Cereals of any kind
And other foods you enjoy that are boxed or canned and have long shelf lives.
Emergency Financial Help
There are many local services to aid you with your finances. These include helping you establish a budget and track your expenses, so you know exactly where your money is going and can get the maximum benefit from it. Of course, if you are eligible, you should file for unemployment immediately upon learning of your job loss.
Emergency Healthcare Assistance
There are low-cost healthcare services in most communities and prescription savings programs as well. Most medical facilities and doctors will provide substantial discounts for paying at the time of service, often 50% or more. You will need to have a cash reserve, but it can save you a lot of money.
Home Repair Services
There are a number of online services where you can check reviews, prices, and other information before selecting a service provider for any home repairs. This is a good practice to follow, as accepting the first price given is often a costly mistake. Even if someone refers you to a service company, check out their reviews and pricing before committing to using them.
Additional Financial Crisis Resources
Depending on where you live, you can find additional resources like:
- Childcare services with reduced rates
- Senior citizens have access to many free or discounted services
- Digital and tech services: some states provide free help and services to those you need help with being online, telephone services, and other digital needs.
No matter what, there are a lot of available services for financial help in your time of need. Contact your local city, county, or state to discover all the resources that may be available to you.