Updated: Apr 4
During this tremendously trying time for our nation and the world, we understand that people are concerned and uncertain about what the future holds. We, the Sharon Baptist Church, are committed to 'holistically developing people', by ministering to your spiritual needs, and also, providing resources to help families deal with the financial and physical burdens associated with these difficult times.
There is Help Available
The healthcare industry is becoming increasingly overwhelmed and unemployment claims have reached record highs. In response, the federal government has enacted the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help support our fragile economy as this coronavirus pandemic continues to spread. The CARES Act was created mainly to help provide support for corporations, small businesses, hospitals, families and those recently experiencing unemployment. In addition, state and local government entities are providing help for families affected by these recent health and financial crises.
Below is a categorized list of some of the relief and assistance being offered, as well as links, to get more information about the various services.
As part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, the Department of Treasury will be sending out direct payments to families. The payments are based on filing status, subject to income limitations, and completely phased out at certain income levels. Individuals with income between the Max AGI and Phase-Out amounts will receive a reduced payment amount. Individuals with income amounts greater than the Phase-Out amount will not receive stimulus payments. An additional amount of $500 will be added for all children 16 and under. The payments will be based on 2019 tax returns, if filed, otherwise 2018 returns. No definitive timetable has been given for these payments but the government has said it could take up to 20 weeks for all of them to be disbursed.
Filing Status Amount Max AGI Phase-Out
Single $1,200 $75,000 $99,000
Head of Household $1,200 $112,000 $136,000
Married $2,400 $150,000 $198,000
On March 21st, The Treasury Department extended Tax Day from April 15th to July 15th. Individuals now have an extra 90 days to file their returns and pay their tax liability, without penalty. Currently, the New Life Credit Union VITA Site has suspended services, but will reopen once the shelter-in-place orders have been lifted.
The CARES Act also provides $349 billion in economic relief for small businesses, through Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). Both these loans were designed to help small businesses maintain operations during this crisis and keep employees on payroll. The EIDL's have very low rates and a deferment period, and can include a $10k cash advance. The PPP loans are forgivable, if the business retains or rehires all its employees and uses 75% of the funds for payroll related expenses. For more information, visit SBA.gov.
Unemployment Compensation Assistance
Although unemployment continues to soar to record highs, the CARES Act increases the benefits to those whose employment status has been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. The CARES Act also expands the insurance coverage to include independent contractors, self-employed, and part-time workers. For more information visit the Department of Labor for your state: PA: uc.pa.gov, NJ: myunemployment.nj.gov, and DE: ui.delawareworks.com
As a result of the CARES Act, lenders are prohibited from foreclosing or starting foreclosing procedures for 60 days. Consumers also have the right to request a forbearance of up to 180 days. For federally backed mortgages, individuals will not incur late fees and there will be no delinquencies reported to credit agencies, during the forbearance period. Financial institutions have been encouraged to work with borrowers, so check with your current lender to find out about the different options available to you.
Student Loan Interest
The federal government has suspended auto payments for federally held student loans until 9/30/2020 and all loans will be automatically put into forbearance. Additionally, the interest rate during this period will be 0%. This DOES NOT apply to privately held student loans. Please contact your lender if unsure about eligibility.
On March 6, 2020, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman signed an emergency order prohibiting termination by utilities that are under the Commission's jurisdiction, including PECO and PGW. The order is in place for as long as Governor Wolf's Proclamation of Disaster is in effect. If you have problems paying utilities, contact your service provider for possible emergency assistance programs.
Below is a link to information of food sites in the Philadelphia area available to any family in need.
Food can be picked up Monday through Thursday from 10am to 12 noon. No ID or proof of income is required. The sites will supply 5 days of food for each family in need. There are also meal sites for high school students throughout the city.
We trust God to sustain us all through this unprecedented time and pray his peace will comfort you, even amid great uncertainty. Please continue to keep our healthcare workers in prayer daily. Be blessed and be safe!