With Democrats and Republicans unable to come to an agreement on extending the $600 in supplemental unemployment benefits that expired last month, the President bypassed Congress and signed an Executive Order this weekend providing $400 dollars a week.
The order will likely face legal challenges. So, in the meantime, people like Jenni Wasowski are going to have a hard time making ends meet.
"That extra $600 really helped me because it filled the gap between what I used to make and all the money that we're losing," she says.
Wasowski’s husband, who works at Kent State, had to take a pay cut. She lost her job as a fitness instructor at nursing homes and assisted living centers. All the while,the pair has three children to support.
It’s not that she is not looking for work.
"The jobs that are out there are not enough for me to actually pay somebody to care for my three kids and make anything after that,” she explained.
While it's scary, take a breath. There are ways to cut expenses right now.
Ramona Ortega, founder of the financial site "My money My Future" says, “What we're talking about is really slashing and downsizing your budget."
It's best to start with saving on housing. Ortega has a few suggestions.
“If you have relatives, I've seen a lot of co-habitating. Potentially getting roommates. If you can break a lease or if your lease is up, thinking about downsizing,” she says.
Next, while typically taboo, tap into your credit if you can.
“You can ask for a credit extension,” she says. “If your credit is decent, you might be able to open up another credit card. Again, this is only for an emergency.”
And if you're employed with a 401k, ask to take a loan against it, instead of withdrawing the money, since penalties have been waived.
Then there are little things like switching to a pre-paid phone. And cancelling all auto payments you don't need like apple pay.
Once you get your budget in line, put aside your pride and ask for help.
First step, United Way 211. Nancy Mendez of the Greater Cleveland Chapter says, “These are our help link navigators that can not only assist you with issues around rent, but also utilities, food assistance, transportation.”
Next, a simple Google search will show you multiple State and Federal programs...like www.benefits.ohio.gov, and www.benefits.gov, which matches you based on demographics like if you're a Vet or have a disability.
Ben Huber, Co-Founder of DollarSprout , a site which helps you make money, says, with benefits.gov, "You're going to see you answer one set of questions you're available for ten relief programs. You answer another set of questions. You're all of a sudden up to twenty or thirty programs."
www.needhelppayingbills.com also lists free services, but includes Charitable and Community organizations as well.
"These Community Action groups might help you find childcare, food kitchens. They go beyond the scope of what the Federal government or your State government may provide,” he tells us.
And in times of trouble, this is exactly why these agencies are here.
Wasowski admits, "At first I was kind of embarrassed to even file for unemployment. But then my husband said, ‘you've been working for over 20 years and you've been paying into the system and you've never had to do it before.’ So, that’s what it’s there for.”
FEDERAL AND STATE BENEFITS
- Https://www.greaterohio.org covid19-relief#foreclosures
restaurant employee relief fund
bar magic relief - a hospitality relief dashboard made specifically to assist those in the culinary, food service, and hospitality industries during this time of crisis.
southern smoke foundation - a crisis relief organization for people in the food and beverage industry.
usbg foundation - bartender emergency assistance program
Chamber of Commerce
SMALL BUSINESS LOANS
U.S. Small Business Association
Ohio Development Services Agency
Ohio Chamber of Commerce
Women’s Small Business Accelerator
Cuyahoga County Small Business Stabilization loans
Greater Cleveland Partnership
Cleveland Small Business Grants
Women’s Business Centers of Ohio