Make Ends Meet: Financial problems abound for many; here’s how to recover

Make Ends Meet: Financial problems abound for many; here’s how to recover

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The coronavirus pandemic has altered many aspects of daily life.

Unemployment is at an all-time high. Out-of-pocket expenses are higher for many because families are working, learning, playing and doing everything at home, translating into higher utility and food bills.

These hardships don’t just affect your pocketbook; they can impact overall well-being also.

“Financial worry is one of the most common stressors in life normally,” said Nancy Brooks, executive director of Louisville’s National Alliance on Mental Illness. “Currently during the pandemic, 84 percent of Americans say that they are facing financial struggles and hardships.”

Many would agree there has been nothing normal about 2020. Unemployment, debt, unexpected expenses or a combination of a number of financial factors can lead to mental and physical problems that affect the quality of your life.

“People that are struggling with debt are two times more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than those who are not,” Brooks said.

Overwhelming feelings of sadness and anxiety can lead many people to some very unhealthy coping mechanisms.

“People will drink too much,” Brooks said. “They’ll abuse other substances, whether they’re pharmaceutical or illegal substances. You know, gambling. I’m gonna get out of this debt. Worst-case scenario, they create a mental health condition that requires immediate attention or that takes you to thoughts of suicide or hopelessness.”

Mark Lamkin, founder and CEO of Lamkin Wealth Management, said he agrees with Brooks.

“Financial stress is real,” Lamkin said.

Brooks and Lamkin also agree that even if your money problems seem overwhelming and permanent “right now,” things can get better.

“If you don’t know what you’re spending right now, there’s no way to set that budget,” Lamkin said. “The easiest thing to do is just go through the last six months of your checkbook and look and see what you’re spending.”

The experts said it’s important to examine expenses and reprioritize spending. If you need to, cut out everything but the essentials to save money.

Jill Gonzalez, from WalletHub.com, said anyone can use the site’s free consumer tools to help make better financial decisions.

“Call whoever you can call in terms of your creditors or issuers from banks for your credit cards, to your mortgage, your individual landlord,” Gonzalez said. “You really have to put yourself out there and ask these questions. You certainly are not alone right now.”

When reaching out for help, your financial problems and tension may not ease overnight, but the experts say to take things one day and one dollar at a time.

Agencies in Kentucky and Southern Indiana can help you make it through rough times. Do not be afraid or ashamed to reach out.

The following section of this story list sites we have given throughout the pandemic that can offer help however these are not the only places helping at this time. These are not the only sites or programs available. We cannot guarantee an answer to your problem however these programs were set up to assist those in need in WAVE Country.

#1. If you need help paying your rent and you live in Indiana, The Indiana Rental Assistance program at Community Action of Southern Indiana is now accepting applications. If approved, renters can receive up to six months in rental assistance to help cover past due and ongoing monthly rent payments. To apply go to www.indianahousingnow.org or call 1-844-463-7368.

Individuals may be eligible for the program if they:

•Are a renter in Indiana who lives outside of Marion County

•Have lost part of their income due to the COVID-19 pandemic

•Are having trouble paying their rent

•Are on the verge of having their lease terminated due to an inability to pay their rent

•Are currently not receiving rental assistance from another source

•Live in a household with incomes at or below 50% of the area median income

•Have a current lease and a landlord willing to accept rental assistance on their behalf.

If you don’t have a computer, you can call toll-free 1-844-463-7368. You can also email www.esg@ihcda.in.gov to ask a representative to assist you in applying. There is no application due date currently. The Rental Assistance Portal will remain open until all available funding has been obligated to eligible households.

#2. Community Action Agencies across Kentucky will begin accepting applications for the Subsidy Component of the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) November 2, 2020. Applications will be accepted through December 11, 2020 or until funds are depleted. To apply, qualified residents should contact their local outreach office operated by one of the 23 Community Action Agencies located across the state. The Subsidy Component is designed to help low-income Kentuckians offset home heating costs based on a household’s income and primary fuel type. Benefits are paid directly to the primary fuel vendor in the form of a voucher. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, income eligibility has been increased to 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. For everyone’s safety, Community Action Agencies may provide special accommodations, adjust locations and times, and may ask that LIHEAP applicants follow safety protocols. Because these may change and vary between counties, applicants are encouraged to contact their local Community Action office for more information.

All applicants will be required to supply the following documentation at time of application:

• Proof of Social Security Number or Permanent Residence card (Green Card) for each member of the household.

• Proof of all household’s (all members) income from the prior month.

• Most current heating bill, statement from your landlord if heating expenses are included in your rent, or a statement from utility company if you participate in a Pre-Pay Electric Program. • The account number and name on the account for main heating fuel sources and electric bill. More information about LIHEAP, including contact information for all local Community Action agencies can be found at the Community Action Kentucky website at www.CAPKY.org.

#3. This information has several ways to contact the Unemployment office. It contains information for websites and phone numbers that may aid in your quest to get help with unemployment benefits.

Dial the claims number, 1-877-369-5984, on a touch-tone phone. Select the second option in the main menu. Enter your Social Security number and PIN to log in to the system. Listen to the details of your claim, including your last payments and the balance of the claim.

https://kcc.ky.gov/Pages/Locations.aspx to find the Unemployment office closes to you.

https://kcc.ky.gov/Pages/In-Person-UI-Services.aspx to schedule an appointment with unemployment

Unemployment Insurance Information 1-502-564-2900 (General Information)

1-502-875-0442 (File a Claim)

1-877-369-5984 (Request a Payment)

502-564-3240 (Federal or military claims)

502-564-3240 (Claims that combine wages earned in Kentucky with wages earned out of state)

502-564-2384 (Kentucky claims for a person who lives in another state)

502-564-2369 (Claims filed on behalf of an employee by an employer)

502-564-0020 (Dispute resolution)

502-564-2387 (Report possible benefit fraud)

502-564-3925 (Potential or pending appeals)

Claiming benefits by phone. Claim your weeks or check your payment by telephone at 1-877-3my-kyui or 1-877-369-5984. By using Voice Response Unit (VRU) and a touchtone phone, you may claim your weeks or request the status of your last week claimed. This service is available on Sunday from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. ET and Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. Please have the following information readily available before you place your call to the voice response unit: · social security number; · personal identification number (pin); · date you returned to full-time work, if you have returned to work; · number of hours you worked, if you were paid or will be paid for the work · amount you earned before any deductions were made. The system is easy to use. It will talk you through the step-by-step process. In most cases, you will get three attempts to enter the correct information. If you are claiming two weeks, the system will take you through the same set of questions twice; once for the first week and again for the second week.

#4. Various Agencies

Team Kentucky Fund – https://teamkyfund.ky.gov/

One Louisville: COVID-19 Response Fund - https://www.cflouisville.org/one-louisville/

Community Ministries - https://slcm.org/acm-covid19-response

Financial Assistance Program of the Louisville Metro Department of Community Services - https://louisvilleky.gov/government/community-services/services/are-you-seeking-emergencyrentalutility-assistance

Catholic Charities of Louisville, Inc. - https://cclou.org/sister-visitor-center/

Emergency Financial Assistance Program of the Lexington-Fayette County Urban Government Division of Community Services – https://www.lexingtonky.gov/emergency-financial-assistance

Kentucky Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) - https://chfs.ky.gov/agencies/dcbs/dfs/pdb/Pages/liheap.aspx

Home Energy Assistance programs administered by Community Action Kentucky; Community Winter help, Inc. in Jefferson County - https://communitywinterhelp.org/about/

Federal Emergency Management Agency Individuals and Households Assistance Program; and the Kentucky American Water program named H20 –

https://www.dollarenergy.org/needhelp/kentucky/kentucky-american-waters-h20-help-others-program/

Salvation Army –

If you are an individual who can demonstrate that you’ve lost income due to COVID-19 and need financial assistance, contact any Neighborhood Place to apply for their Eviction Prevention program by either calling (502) 977-6636 or visiting https://evictionprevention.itfrontdesk.com/apptonline/landing.html?client_code=LOUEVICT to set up an appointment to fill out an application.

#5. If you need childcare assistance in Indiana reach out to Brighter Future Indiana by calling 1-800-299-1627.

#6. Do not ignore your mental wellbeing. NAMI of Louisville offers a variety of services available even during the pandemic.

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