We understand. As we work together, we understand how difficult opportunities may be now. We are keeping up to date with ways to help provide some relief and security during these uncertain times. Read on as BARE shares relief resources and opportunities compiled from the U.S. Department of Labor, Business Insider on Credit Card Financial Assistance, ABC News, and the Government of Canada.
Credit Card Financial Assistance
As reported by Richard Kerr of The Points Guy, Amex will waive interest charges and late fees and offer lower interest rates on a case-by-case basis for those who request assistance. According to The New York Times, American Express will also allow cardholders to skip payments without accruing interest…
Additionally, if you booked a trip through Amex Travel and need to change or cancel your reservation, Amex will honor the travel provider’s policies. It’s also waiving the Amex Travel fee for making flight modifications through April 30, 2020.
See the Amex COVID-19 information page for more info.
Bank of America
Bank of America has a coronavirus help page, which it recently updated to add details about the assistance it’s offering to cardholders. If you’re not able to make your Bank of America credit card payment on time, you can submit a payment deferral request online. If you have any questions about what other options might be available, call the number on the back of your card.
According to The Wirecutter, Barclays has a variety of options available to cardholders facing financial difficulties, including skipping payments, waiving late fees, and increasing credit lines. On its coronavirus help page, Barclays also says it’s allowing cardholders to dispute transactions through their account online.
Capital One encourages cardholders facing financial difficulties to contact the issuer. The New York Times reports that Capital One is offering cardholders the ability to skip payments without interest, but again, contact the issuer to discuss your options before assuming you’re eligible for this.
Chase recently released more details on how it’s helping credit card customers financially impacted by COVID-19. The issuer also launched an online form where you can enroll to delay three monthly payments on your personal and business card accounts. If you need additional financial assistance, you should send a secure message through your Chase card account to see what options are available to you.
If you booked travel through Chase’s Ultimate Rewards portal and your trip is more than seven days out, you can request to cancel your booking and get a refund via an online form. (For trips seven or less days out, Chase recommends contacting its customer support team via the number on the back of your card).
Citi launched an online form where credit card customers can request assistance for their accounts. You can request waived late fees and waived minimum payments for two consecutive billing periods.
Additionally, according to Citi’s coronavirus resources page, cardholders can contact the issuer to discuss credit line increases and collection forbearance programs, which could allow you more time to pay off your bill. Call the number on the back of your Citi card for more information.
Discover hasn’t published any specific assistance program details, but it told USA TODAY that it will offer qualified cardholders support “related to payment timing, fees and late payments.” On its website it says customers who have been impacted by COVID-19 should contact the issuer via phone, the mobile app, or online.
According to USA TODAY, Synchrony Bank — which issues several popular store credit cards — is encouraging customers who need assistance to reach out online to discuss options including waiving certain fees and increasing credit lines.
In a statement to USA TODAY, U.S. Bank said it’s “reactively waving credit card fees” and “working to enhance skip-a-pay and payment deferral programs to meet U.S. Bank cardholders’ needs during this pandemic.” It also continues to offer its usual financial hardship assistance including increased credit limits and waived fees.
Wells Fargo announced that it’s offering fee waivers, payment deferrals, and “other expanded assistance” for credit card customers who contact the company.’
Whole Foods Market: On March 26, Whole Foods Market announced it is hiring for more than 5,000 seasonal and full-time positions. The company said its offering a starting hourly base rate of $15/hour with enhanced pay opportunities available until May 3, 2020, as well as flexible shifts and an expedited hiring process.
CVS: On March 23, CVS announced that it plans to immediately fill 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary roles in locations around the United States. The company says it will use virtual job fairs and interviews to hire store associates, home delivery drivers, distribution center employees and customer service representatives.
Dollar General: In a news release, Dollar General said it plans to double its normal hiring rate and add up to 50,000 new employees nationwide by the end of April. While Dollar General said it anticipates many of these roles will be temporary, managers hope to provide long-term opportunities to some of the new hires.
“We are proud to serve as one of America’s essential retailers, and we believe our customers are relying on us now more than ever to provide an affordable, convenient retail option,” said Kathy Reardon, Dollar General’s senior vice president and chief people officer, in a written statement. “The Dollar General family continues to do its part in helping our customers and neighbors during these unprecedented times. We invite individuals looking to start or grow a career, as well as for those whose job may be temporarily impacted by COVID-19, to apply for opportunities to help further our mission of serving others.”
The company said approximately 75 percent of the United States population lives within five miles of Dollar General store.
Papa John’s: The pizza chain says it is immediately hiring 20,000 team members as it works to deliver meals and offer carryout during stay-at-home orders in several states around the country.
Lowe’s: The company will be hiring 30,000 positions that will be a mix of full-time, part-time, overnight and seasonal roles. The jobs are available for displaced workers and those who are seeking short-term opportunities. The home improvement retailer is also offering special one-time bonuses of $300 for full-time workers and $150 for part-time workers.
Amazon: Amazon is hiring 100,000 people across the U.S. to fulfill orders. The online retailer said it will also temporarily raise pay by $2 an hour through the end of April for hourly employees. That includes workers at its warehouses, delivery centers and Whole Foods grocery stores, all of whom make at least $15 an hour.
Walmart: The nation’s largest retailer said it plans to hire 150,000 U.S. hourly workers for its stores and distribution centers through the end of May as online orders surge with households stocking up. The jobs are temporary, but many will become permanent, said spokesman Dan Bartlett. He said that the company is reaching out to industry groups in the restaurant and hospitality industry, both of which are getting slammed by lockdowns and travel bans.
Domino’s: Domino’s Pizza said it is hiring about 10,000 workers in the U.S. to meet rising demand for delivery and carryout. Domino’s put out the call for delivery drivers, pizza makers, managers and truck drivers. Domino’s U.S. stores remain open for carryout and it is also offering contact-less delivery.
Instacart: The grocery delivery service is looking to add 300,000 gig workers to its platform over the next three months, more than doubling the number of people it has picking and delivering groceries for customers. Instacart said it will focus on bringing on more personal shoppers in 10 states where demand is the highest: California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
Blue Apron: The meal-kit service said it has seen a sharp increase in consumer demand over the last week and is increasing its capacity to fill those orders. It said it’s hiring workers for temporary and permanent positions in New Jersey and California.
Sheetz: The convenience store chain is looking to hire 1,300 people to help respond to increased consumer demand.
Stop & Shop: The grocer will hire at least 5,000 new associates for regular part-time positions in its stores, distribution centers and delivery operations across New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island.’
‘US Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities
NOTE: Check with your state’s unemployment insurance program regarding the rules in your state.
Support for Dislocated Workers and States
The Employment and Training Administration announced the availability of up to $100 million in National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grants to help states, territories, and tribal governments respond to the workforce-related impacts of COVID-19.
Job Corps Students
The Employment and Training Administration announced that it is initiating a break for students at all 121 Job Corps centers from March 16 through April 14, 2020. The spring break period may be extended beyond April 14, 2020.
Injured Federal Workers
The Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs has published guidance for federal employees outlining Federal Employees’ Compensation Act coverage as it relates to the novel coronavirus.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs has issued a National Interest Exemption to facilitate response efforts for COVID-19.
Foreign Labor Certification
The Office of Foreign Labor Certification’s frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19.
Flexibilities for Mine Operators
The Mine Safety and Health Administration will work with mine operators when it comes to the following recertifications:
- Annual refresher training certification (30 CFR Part 46)
- Surface and underground annual refresher training certification (30 CFR Part 48)
- Certified person; sampling (30 CFR §§ 70/71/90.202)
- Certified person; maintenance and calibration (30 CFR §§ 70/71/90.203)
Exemptions to recertifications will not be granted; however, their due dates will be extended by at least the time the government is operating under the President’s emergency declaration.
Please note: This exception does not apply to new miner training. New miners must be trained before beginning work. Once the Emergency Declaration is lifted, mine operators should work with their respective district offices to ensure that all certifications are conducted in a timely manner.
Supporting Workforce Needs in the Agricultural Sector
The U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a partnership to facilitate the identification of domestic and foreign workers that may be available to fulfill critical U.S. agricultural sector workforce needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.’
CAN Support for Individuals
Individuals and families
- A new temporary salary top-up for low-income essential workers
We will work with provinces and territories through a new transfer to cost-share a temporary top up to the salaries of low-income workers (those who earn less than $2,500 per month on a full time basis), that the provinces and territories have deemed essential in the fight against COVID-19.
- Increasing the Canada Child Benefit
We are providing up to an extra $300 per child through the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) for 2019-20. This will mean approximately $550 more for the average family.
Those who already receive the CCB do not need to re-apply. Apply for the Canada Child Benefit
- Special Goods and Services Tax credit payment
We are providing a one-time special payment starting April 9 through the Goods and Services Tax credit for low- and modest-income families.
- Extra time to file income tax returns
The filing due date for 2019 income tax returns for individuals has been deferred until June 1, 2020. Any new income tax balances due, or instalments, are also being deferred until after August 31, 2020 without incurring interest or penalties.
Note: If you expect to receive benefits under the Goods and Services Tax credit or the Canada Child Benefit, we encourage you not to delay filing your 2019 income tax return to ensure that your entitlements are properly determined.
- Mortgage support
Canadian banks have committed to work with their customers on a case-by-case basis to find solutions to help them manage hardships caused by COVID-19. This includes permitting lenders to defer up to six monthly mortgage payments (interest and principal) for impacted borrowers. Canadians who are impacted by COVID-19 and experiencing financial hardship as a result should contact their financial institution regarding flexibility for a mortgage deferral.
Contact your financial institution for further mortgage assistance.
The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and other mortgage insurers offer tools to lenders that can assist homeowners who may be experiencing financial difficulty. These include payment deferral, loan re-amortization, capitalization of outstanding interest arrears and other eligible expenses, and special payment arrangements.
People facing loss of income
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)
We will provide a taxable benefit of $2,000 every 4 weeks for up to 16 weeks to eligible workers who have lost their income due to COVID-19.
The CERB is available to workers who meet all of the following conditions:
- live in Canada and are at least 15 years old
- stopped working because of COVID-19 or are eligible for EI regular or sickness benefits
- have not voluntarily quit their job
- had income of at least $5,000 in 2019 or in the 12 months prior to the date of their application.
On April 15, we announced changes to the eligibility rules to:
- Allow people to earn up to $1,000 per month while collecting the CERB.
- Extend the CERB to seasonal workers who have exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to undertake their regular seasonal work because of COVID-19.
- Extend the CERB to workers who have recently exhausted their EI regular benefits and are unable to find a job because of COVID-19.
An online questionnaire will help us direct you to the service option that best fits your situation (i.e. eligibility for Employment Insurance benefits or not).
Do not apply for the CERB if you have already applied for EI. Apply for the CERB
You can also apply over the phone: 1‑800‑959‑2019 or 1‑800‑959‑2041
- Indigenous Community Support Fund
We are providing $305 million for a new distinctions-based Indigenous Community Support Fund to address immediate needs in First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Nation communities.
- Supporting preparedness in First Nations and Inuit communities
We are providing $100 million to support a range of federal health measures, including support for preparedness in First Nation and Inuit communities.
- Making personal hygiene products and nutritious food more affordable
In addition to the measures above, Indigenous peoples can also access benefits listed under Support for individuals and Support for businesses.
People who need it most
- Improving access to essential food support
We are providing $100 million to national, regional, and local organizations across Canada to:
- Purchase, transport and distribute food and other basic necessities
- hire temporary help to fill volunteer shortages
- implement safety measures, such as the purchase of personal protective equipment, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 among volunteers and clients.
These organizations – including but not limited to Food Banks Canada, Salvation Army, Second Harvest, Community Food Centres Canada, and Breakfast Club of Canada – will work with partners to meet the urgent food needs of Canadians.
- Enhancing the Reaching Home initiative
We continue to support people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 outbreak by providing $157.5 million to the Reaching Home initiative.
- Women’s shelters and sexual assault centres
We are supporting women and children fleeing violence, by providing up to $50 million to women’s shelters and sexual assault centres, including facilities in Indigenous communities, to help with their capacity to manage or prevent an outbreak in their facilities.
- Youth support: mental health
We are giving $7.5 million in funding to Kids Help Phone to provide young people with the mental health support they need during this difficult time.
- Reduced minimum withdrawals for Registered Retirement Income Funds
We reduced the required minimum withdrawals from Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) by 25 per cent for 2020.
- Supporting the delivery of items and personal outreach
We are contributing $9 million through United Way Canada for local organizations to support practical services to Canadian seniors. These services could include the delivery of groceries, medications, or other needed items, or personal outreach to assess individuals’ needs and connect them to community supports.
- Immediate and essential services through the New Horizons for Seniors Program
We announced that organizations who received funding under the 2019-2020 New Horizons for Seniors Program community-based stream will be able to use their funding to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19.
Students and recent graduates
- Suspend repayment and interest on Canada Student Loans and Canada Apprentice Loans
All student loan borrowers will automatically have their loan repayments and interest suspended until September 30, 2020. Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause. This moratorium applies to the federal portion of student loans. Borrowers should check with their provincial or territorial student loan provider to see if payment is required on the provincial or territorial portion.
- Temporary changes to Canada Summer Jobs program
The Canada Summer Jobs program provides opportunities for youth to develop and improve their skills within the not-for-profit, small business, and public sectors, and supports the delivery of key community services.