As we all know, the US government is planning on sending out direct payments through a stimulus effort to help those affected by the coronavirus pandemic in the next week or so.
The question for us as credit unions is – what should our members to do with that money? How do we help them to use the economic impact payment safely and in a way that benefits their financial health & well-being during this difficult time. Here are the six things the Foundation advises for credit unions to share with their members:
- Prioritize: Focus on the bills that keep a roof over your head, the lights on and food on the table. Check with your local jurisdiction as many utilities and communications providers are working with consumers to waive fees, keep the power on and your internet connection working.
- Talk: With your credit union and other lenders. Many are offering low or 0% small dollar loans, skip-a-pay, loan modifications and other sources of help so you can use your payment for what you need now.
- Save some of it: If you set aside even $100-200, that can provide a cushion for bills that are coming in a couple of weeks. America Saves has solid resources and information to help with access to food and unemployment benefits.
- Don’t hoard cash: Keep it in your credit union. It’s safest there.
- Protect: There are lots of bad guys out there trying to use this crisis to get at your stimulus check and your money. Watch out for suspicious emails, texts or phone calls. Here’s a great article that can help you keep an eye out for these threats.
- Pay your taxes: The deadline for filing and paying income taxes has been extended to July 15th. If you haven’t saved to pay your income taxes, you may want to consider using the economic impact payment to pay your taxes.
We hope this helps as you work to navigate this economic impact payment disbursement time with your members. Please let us know if you have any questions or additional ideas that you would like to share by emailing us at [email protected]. Also, visit our COVID-19 resource center for additional information that may be helpful to you and your organization during this pandemic.
Image source: Shutterstock/Rohane Hamilton