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Individuals and families are confronting changes to their finances because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Regular bills and living expenses don’t stop. Prioritizing means making choices about which bills you will pay in full, pay partially, or pay late. Bills must be paid, but the order in which you pay them can sometimes help make it through the month.

Evaluate All Expenses

Taking stock of your situation is the most important step you can take. List your expenses, the amounts, and due dates. Consider which expenses, if any, can be skipped or paid later. Consider paying only the minimum if you are paying extra on any loans. You may take a short-term hit with higher interest rates, but you can always make up the difference when your paychecks resume.

Carefully Evaluate How to Pay Your Expenses

Now may be a good time to tap into your emergency fund. Things get trickier if your emergency fund is running short. You may need to get creative with how you cover your expenses. Try not to take out expensive personal loans, and avoid the trap of payday loans. You may also need to consider using credit cards or other loans to make ends meet during the short term. This can be dangerous ground, so tread carefully.

Open Lines of Communication

Talk to your lenders or creditors to see if there is anything you can do regarding upcoming bills. For example, call your landlord and explain the situation and ask if they would be willing to grant you an extension. You can also contact utility companies, credit card companies, and other lenders. Many utility companies have agreed not to suspend services in the short term. For information on agencies that offer assistance in your area, call 211 or go to www.211.org.

Alabama Announces Support for Workers Affected by COVID-19

Based on current guidance from the US Department of Labor, the Alabama Department of Labor is modifying existing unemployment compensation rules to allow workers to file a claim for unemployment compensation benefits if they are affected in any of the following ways.

  • Quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency
  • Laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by their employer due to COVID-19 concerns
  • Diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Caring for an immediate family member who is diagnosed with COVID-19.

For more information, visit the Alabama Department of Labor athttps://www.labor.alabama.gov/covid19resources.aspx.

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