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How to Deal with Financial Hardship During Outbreak

Posted at 8:39 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 21:39:23-04

Nearly 18,000 Oklahomans have filed for unemployment in just the last week, setting a record in the state. Nationally, unemployment is also setting records due to the coronavirus pandemic.

If you find yourself financially struggling, there are some things you can do to start lightening the financial load.

“One of the most important things that you can do is to call your credit card issuer and ask them for help. It may be a little intimidating to call the bank, you may feel like they’re not going to work with you, but banks have programs set up that kick into gear in times of crisis like this,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for Lending Tree.

Schulz says while these programs are set up to help, no one is going to reach out and offer them to you.

“You need to make the call. You need to take the initiative and it just goes a long with what I always say, nobody cares as much about your money and your credit as you do. So, it’s important that you take the initiative, you take action and do what you can for yourself in this super unusual time,” Schulz said.

Programs will vary depending on the lender, credit card company or bank, but it never hurts to ask what is available.

“A lot of times you may be able to be offered a short term reduction of your interest rate, maybe an extended payment deadline, maybe waived fees or maybe they will even reduce the amount of that minimum payment that you make if they don’t waive it altogether,” Schulz said.

He also says that help from other areas may take a while to get to you.

“When the federal reserve makes moves, it takes time to kick in, those government stimulus checks aren’t coming for a little while. So, there are things that you can do today with just a phone call that can really have an impact," Schulz said.

If you need to file for unemployment, click here.

If you’re looking for a job or an employer looking for resources, click here.

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