Updated Last: June 2, 2020
At this time, 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 avoid large groups. Due to the increase in call volume and web traffic, we may experience some technical difficulties during this time and apologize for any inconvenience.
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 this hardship is only temporary and everyone will be back on their feet soon.
In the meantime, we have put together some common questions we are getting from many concerned clients right now, as well as some resources. We’ll continue to update this page with new information as this situation unfolds.
COVID-19 Debt Management FAQ’s
Can you lower my current payment?
Yes! It is possible that creditors can lower your monthly payment with us if you have been on the debt management program for at least four (4) months. We will work out partial payments with your creditors to keep the benefits of lower interest rates intact. However, this new program may cause you to fall behind and hurt your credit.
Additionally, if you have paid off at least one creditor while on the plan and rolled that payment over to another creditor, we can reduce your monthly overall payment by only making minimum payments to creditors at this time. Please note that this will likely increase your payoff timeframe.
Please contact your counselor right away for more information by calling us at 888-686-4040.
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.
- 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 both hiring employees now as well as those companies who have put a freeze on hiring.
- Keep Americans Connected Pledge: On March 13, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai called on broadband and telephone service providers to promote connectivity for Americans impacted by the disruptions caused by the coronavirus. In order to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity as a result of these exceptional circumstances, he asked them to take the Keep Americans Connected Pledge.
- Learn more about the pledge and the companies and associations that have signed on.
- Optimize Your Home: The FCC has issued a consumer alert that provides tips to consumers to help them optimize their home networks during the pandemic.
- Supporting Consumers: The FCC is working to keep Americans informed about the latest COVID-19 phone and text-based scams. Learn more and hear scam audio.
- A new federal law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages. Learn more here.
- 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.
What mortgage relief options do I qualify for?
Your mortgage relief options depend on who owns or backs your mortgage. Here we’ll explain how to find out what you qualify for.
First, figure out who services your mortgage. This is who you need to contact.
Your mortgage servicer is the company that you send your mortgage payments to each month.
If you don’t know or can’t remember who currently services your mortgage, there are several ways to find out, including looking at your mortgage statement for contact information.
If you don’t have a federally backed mortgage, you still may have relief options through your mortgage loan servicer or from your state.
Second, figure out if your mortgage is federally backed.
To be eligible for protections under the CARES Act your mortgage must be federally owned or otherwise backed by one of the federal agencies and entities listed below. Most mortgages are federally backed.
If you don’t know who owns or backs your mortgage, you can call your servicer. The servicer has an obligation to provide you, to the best of its knowledge, the name, address, and telephone number of who owns your loan. Your mortgage documents and note may also tell you, especially if you have a VA or FHA loan.
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.
- 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.
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
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.