personal finance

Where to Turn If You Still Need Help After Enhanced Unemployment Benefits End

Twenty/20

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For the past year and a half, workers who lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic have received not only traditional state unemployment benefits, but federal payments as well. 

But now, after multiple extensions, key federal programsincluding payments for part-time workers and freelancers, and extended benefitshave finally lapsed, leaving millions without an income and millions more with significantly less income each week.

There are still a few programs in place to aid those who are struggling, but keep in mind that eligibility requirements vary, especially by location, so not everyone will qualify for them. 

Still, if you need help, here's where to look.

Advance child tax credit payments

What it is: The monthly advance child tax credit payments currently being made through the end of the year are worth up to $250 each month for each child aged 6 to 17, and up to $300 per month for children under 6 in 2021. The first advance payment went out in July, and the third will be delivered next week. 

Who is eligible: Americans with dependent children 17 and under who have a Social Security number are eligible for the new credit if they meet income requirements. Individual filers with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) below $75,000, heads of household with AGI under $112,500, and married couples filing jointly with AGI below $150,000 qualify for the full amount.

How to apply: Most parents will receive them directly in their bank accounts, and don't need to take any action. But you can check on the status of your payments, and make any necessary changes to your personal information, on the IRS' website.

Nutrition benefits

What it is: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, benefits will rise in October for the first time since 1975. The average increase will be $36.24 more per person per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

Who is eligible: Eligibility requirements are overseen by the federal government, but states can impose some of their own rules. Check with your state's SNAP office to see if you qualify.

How to apply: If you already receive SNAP benefits, then you won't have to do anything to get this increase. If you think you're eligible but don't yet get them, then apply through your state's SNAP office.

State eviction bans and rental relief

What it is: The nationwide eviction ban was recently struck down by the Supreme Court, but some states still have their own moratoriums in place, including California, Illinois and New York. 

In addition to eviction bans, there are still billions of dollars in emergency rental relief available to tenants behind on their housing and utility payments.

Who is eligible: To qualify, someone in your household must be eligible for unemployment benefits or have lost income or incurred a significant expense during the coronavirus pandemic. There are other requirements that you can read about here.

There's an extra incentive in some states, including Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Oregon and Washington, to apply as soon as possible: Renters who do so will be protected from being evicted while their applications are processed.

How to apply: Renters who would like to apply for the aid can find a list of programs in their state here. You can also contact your local legal aid office for help.

Federal student loan pause

What it is: Federal student loans have been paused for over a year, and President Joe Biden recently extended that break through Jan. 31, 2022. That's a few more months where borrowers won't be responsible for their monthly bill or interest.

Who is eligible: All borrowers with student loans from the Department of Education.

How to apply: Borrowers don't need to take any steps to continue their payment pause. Once the suspension ends, you'll start receiving billing statements again, at least 21 days before a payment is due.

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Don't miss: Housing advocates warn of impending crisis for tenants as eviction bans, unemployment benefits end

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