Managing Your Budget During This Crisis – COVID-19

California Coast recognizes that the COVID-19 outbreak has brought unforeseen financial hardship to many. Our hearts go out to those affected and we hope the following tips and resources will assist those who are navigating their way through financial troubles.

You may find yourself with reduced or no income as companies try to protect their employees and their communities by closing their doors. Here are steps you can take to help improve your income in times of crisis.

1. If you are still working but getting fewer hours, first take a look at your paystub. What changes can you make?

  • Can you change your tax withholdings to exempt?
  • Can you cash out a portion or all of your vacation or sick hours?
  • Can you suspend your 401k contributions temporarily?
  • Can you defer 401k loan payments, if you have one?
  • If you have a 401k, you can withdraw without penalty if you meet certain criteria due to COVID-19, including being quarantined, being laid off, hours reduced, furloughed, child care changes, or if you or spouse has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus.
  • Do you have flexible spending accounts? Use that for any additional medical expenses. Authorized expenses have been expanded to include over-the-counter medicines such as Tylenol, Aleve, cough medicines, and pain relief.
  • Are you paying for life insurance? How much is your life insurance coverage? Can you get more for less through outside company?
  • If you are paying for anything extra such as parking expenses or Legal Aid, can you suspend or cancel the service?

2. If you were laid off, let’s take a look at unemployment. You can now apply even if you are:

  • Self-employed
  • Seeking part time employment
  • Did not have enough work history to qualify before.

The qualifications:

  • You or family member have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • You provide care for sick person or for your child for whom school was closed.
  • You are in quarantine.
  • You are unable to reach your job or your job was closed due to COVID-19.
  • Your spouse who earned the main income died from COVID-19.

You will receive the normal unemployment benefits calculated by your state for an extended 39 weeks as well as an additional $600 per week through July 31st. The bill waives the usual week waiting period but please be aware that there has been a great increase in unemployment applications. The California Employment Development Department site states that the application process takes at least 3 weeks. With the higher influx, it could take longer, so plan accordingly.

3. If you do not have a job and do not qualify for unemployment benefits:

There may be companies that are hiring to help with the increased workload during this crisis:

  • Grocery and open stores such as Target and Wal-Mart
  • Drug stores such as Walgreens and CVS
  • Amazon and other online shopping stores such as Instacart
  • Outschool for teachers
  • Zoom and other online social connection companies

There are also increased opportunities in the community. Can you help seniors with their shopping? Offer home cleaning services (keeping your social distance). If you search for options, you may find something that will help get you through this rough patch.

DISCLAIMER: The tips provided are for informational purposes only and in no way should be relied upon for financial, tax, or legal advice. The information is subject to change without notice. California Coast Credit Union encourages you to do your own due diligence when making decisions regarding your financial management.

REFERENCES: - COVID-19 unemployment information - Information about withdrawing from 401k