Updated Last: Jan. 20, 2021
DebtWave Credit Counseling, Inc. remains open, operating during our normal business hours.
Monday – Thursday 6 AM – 6 PM Pacific
Fridays 6 AM – 5 PM Pacific
The entirety of our team is working remotely as part of the global effort to social distance. Due to the increase in call volume and web traffic, we may experience some technical difficulties during this time, and apologize for any inconvenience.
COVID-19 Debt Management FAQ’s
We understand that many of our clients have been affected financially by this pandemic. Incomes have been reduced and jobs have been cut across the United States. We hope everyone will be back on their feet soon.
In the meantime, we have put together some common questions as well as some resources. We’ll continue to update this page with new information as this situation unfolds.
Can you lower my current payment?
Yes! DebtWave Credit Counseling, Inc. now offers a financial hardship ‘safety net’ program for clients enrolled in DebtWave’s debt management program. Known as the Extended Modification Solution or EMS program, DebtWave’s financial hardship plan allows for a further reduction in a consumer’s monthly payment to their participating creditors. While primarily designed for consumers financially affected by COVID-19, DebtWave’s EMS program is available for any active client experiencing financial hardship, including financial hardship not directly related to the coronavirus.
Can I skip a payment?
As of right now, no. Credit card companies haven’t informed us of any special exemptions from payments at this time. Regular monthly payments remain due every 30 days. If you skip a payment, your creditors may remove from this plan and increase your interest rates back to where they were before. Some exemptions are being made, but on a case-by-case basis only.
What about my credit report?
Under the CARES Act, lenders are required to report to credit bureaus that consumers are current on their loans if consumers have sought relief from their lenders due to the pandemic.
What other options are available?
At DebtWave, our team is comprised of certified credit counselors. If you need help, please call us. We’d be happy to walk through your budget and let you know what options might be available.
- Find information about filing for unemployment benefits in your state at the U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) CareerOneStop site. The site also offers instructions on how to apply for benefits.
- Find out about the DOL’s other local and regional employment programs and services in your state.
While many jobs are not available right now, other companies are looking for workers ASAP (Grocery stores, online learning, pharmacies, technology companies, hospitals, and delivery services such as Instacart). Here’s a crowdsourced list of companies who are hiring employees now as well as those companies who have put a freeze on hiring.
Other companies like Google, have announced certification programs for careers with its organization, replacing requirements such as a four-year degree from a university.
Rent & Mortgage Payment Assistance
At this time there is no nationwide resource available to assist with mortgage or rent payments.
You can use this tool created by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Stanford Law School to find more information about the eviction and rent protections in your state.
A new federal law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages.
- First, your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020. Specifically, the CARES Act prohibits lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale, during this period of time.
- Second, if you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request an extension for up to another 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship.
Learn more here.
A new federal eviction ban ordered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is in place for renters hurt by job loss during the coronavirus pandemic from Sept. 4 through Dec. 31, 2020.
As of Sept. 2, 2020, the Trump administration said it will ban evictions of tenants who are unable to pay rent through the end of the year with a broad new order under the CDCs public health powers. The agency order, the result of an Aug. 8 executive action by President Donald Trump directing the CDC to study the issue, would impose criminal penalties on landlords who violate the ban. Evictions for reasons other than nonpayment of rent will be allowed to proceed.
In some situations, the FHA, VA, and USDA have extended eviction protections until December 31, 2020. In addition, if your landlord is getting CARES Act relief from mortgage payments on your home, then you may be protected from eviction for a longer period.
In California, tenants who pay at least 25% of their rent from Sept. 1 through Jan. 31 will be protected from eviction. However, those who fail to meet the minimum rent payment could be removed beginning Feb. 1., 2021. Under the law, tenants were also given a reprieve on unpaid rent between March and August 2020, but the law also allows landlords to sue for the back rent during that period beginning in March 2021.
For more resources, visit the U.S. Housing Department’s coronavirus resource page for renters or speak with a housing counselor by calling 877-542-9723.
- If you do not have access to or cannot afford to maintain internet access at home, but need access to the internet for work or school, there are several options available:
- Access From AT&T: Low-cost home internet package for qualifying individuals and households. Note this package is not special for COVID-19 but is available at a lower cost.
- Comcast Internet essentials: Low-cost home internet package for qualifying individuals and households. Now available for free for the first two months.
- Mediacom: Offering internet access to students at a reduced rate.
- Verizon: Reduced fee internet services available at a 3-tier level for low-income customers.
Several internet providers have announced they are waiving late payment fees, increasing caps on internet speeds, and will not disconnect customers for not paying monthly bills on time. Contact your provider or visit their website for more information.
Auto Loan Payments
- Worried about making your auto loan payment? The CFPB offers resources to help you work with your lender to avoid falling behind.
- Student Loan Repayments will Resume on Jan. 31, 2021. For more information, visit the Federal Student Aid page.
- In August 2020, the Trump Administration and Education Department issued a three-month extension regarding the suspension of principal and interest payments on federally-held student loans via Executive Order. Loan servicers are expected to notify borrowers of the extension through the fall. Borrowers can expect to see this extension reflected in their accounts over the next several weeks.
- The extension until Dec. 31, 2020, does NOT apply to about 9 million borrowers — those with private student loans, Perkins loans, and Federal Family Education Loans not owned by the federal government.
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides automatic suspension of principal and interest payments on federally-held student loans through September 30, 2020. These suspended payments will count towards any student loan forgiveness program.
- Federal student loan borrowers do not need to take any action to suspend payments. Your federal student loan servicer will suspend all payments without any action from you. You do not need to contact your student loan servicer.
- The suspension of payments applies only to student loans that are held by the federal government, which are the vast majority of student loans issued since 2010. Some federal student loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans are owned by commercial lenders, and some Perkins Loans are held by the institution you attended. These loans are not eligible for this benefit at this time. This benefit also does not apply to private (non-federal) student loans owned by banks, credit unions, schools, or other private entities.
- Other relief options: You may be able to lower your monthly student loan payments by enrolling in a payment plan based on your income or a plan that extends the amount of time you will have to repay your loan.
For more information on student loans and the coronavirus, visit the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Coronavirus Resource page.
Additional COVID-19 Resources
For additional resources in your area, please call 211 or visit 211’s COVID resources page here. 211 has specific updates regarding available resources to help individuals access the following:
- Health Insurance and Medical Expenses
- Home Internet Access
- Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans for Small Businesses
- Unemployment Benefits
- Federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)
- Mortgage, Rent, and Utilities Payment Assistance
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps
- Food Assistance
- Relief for “Gig Economy” Workers & Contractors
- Mental Health & Crisis