Published in: Research | March 19, 2020

Where to Find Financial Help During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Our biggest concern during the COVID-19 pandemic is our health and the health of our loved ones.

But lost work, lost business, and uncertainty are creating financial concerns for the healthy and sick alike. Sick individuals and their families may also be dealing with medical bills or, in worst-case scenarios, end-of-life expenses.

At The Ascent, those of us who are currently healthy and able to work want to help others who aren’t so lucky. So we’ve put together this list of financial resources that might provide some relief. We've released guidance on how to manage your finances during the novel coronavirus pandemic, but we know that some people need more concrete assistance.

Below, you’ll find information on nationwide relief for everyone, nationwide relief for workers in specific industries, and local relief that’s available to affected individuals and businesses in certain cities and states.

Nationwide relief for those affected by COVID-19

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

This bill would provide paid sick leave and free coronavirus testing, expand food assistance and unemployment benefits, and require additional protections for healthcare workers. It has passed the House and Senate and is awaiting the president’s signature. Some states, cities, and counties already have paid sick leave laws.

Federal economic stimulus package

Details are still unfolding, but the proposed $1 trillion plan may include direct payments to individual American taxpayers based on income and family size. Additional funds would help small businesses pay employees, and support the travel industry and other heavily affected industries.

Ally Bank Customers

  • Existing auto loan customers: No payments due for up to 120 days. No late fees; interest will still accrue.
  • New auto loan customers: Defer first payment for up to 90 days.
  • Mortgage customers: No payments due for up to 120 days. No late fees; interest will still accrue.
  • Banking customers: No fees for expedited checks or debit cards. No overdraft fees. More than the usual six monthly savings account transactions will be allowed.

Customers must contact Ally Bank to activate these relief options.

Other bank customers

If your bank offers specific relief for customers affected by COVID-19, we want to hear about it. Let us know on Twitter or Facebook so we can add it to the list.

In general, banks, credit card companies, and lenders are asking customers who need help to contact them for personalized assistance. Some banks are waiving early withdrawal penalties on certificates of deposit. Some creditors are increasing credit lines. Extremely low interest rates may benefit those who need to borrow.

Utility customers

Some local utilities are suspending disconnections and waiving late fees for affected customers.

Nationwide relief for salaried and some hourly workers

If you have a short-term disability policy, you may be eligible for medical leave benefits if you can't work. Contact your human resources department or your short-term disability benefits company.

Workers' compensation probably won't cover workers who fall ill with COVID-19.

State disability insurance may cover those affected by the novel coronavirus.

Nationwide relief for small businesses

U.S. Small Business Administration

  • Program name: Economic Injury Disaster Loans
  • Type of assistance: Low-interest loan
  • Minimum qualifications: Small business, small agricultural cooperative, or private nonprofit organization in a declared disaster area

Facebook

  • Program name: Facebook Small Business Grants
  • Type of assistance: Cash grant and ad credits
  • Minimum qualifications: Small business
  • Program not yet operational; more details of this $100 million program to come

Nationwide relief for workers in specific industries

Some of the following programs are always available, but it’s extra important during these uncertain times for people to know that these resources can be accessed.

Air Force Aid Assistance

  • Program name: Air Force Aid Society
  • Type of assistance: No-interest loans and/or grants
  • Minimum qualifications: Air Force, Airmen, and families

Amazon

  • Program name: Amazon Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: Up to two weeks of pay to all employees diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed into quarantine
  • Minimum qualifications: Amazon delivery drivers and seasonal employees

Amazon is also hiring 100,000 new full and part-time fulfillment center and delivery positions across the United States. Regular pay of at least $15/hour will be increased by $2/hour.

American Guild of Musical Artists

  • Program name: American Guild of Musical Artists Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: Financial assistance for rent, utilities, mental health, and medical care; as well as other basic living expenses
  • Minimum qualifications: Any AGMA member in good standing or on honorable withdrawal

Army Emergency Relief

  • Program name: Army Emergency Relief
  • Type of assistance: No-interest loan
  • Minimum qualifications: Active duty soldiers, their eligible family members, and more

CERF+

  • Program name: The Artists Safety Net
  • Type of assistance: Grant
  • Minimum qualifications: Established artists working in a craft discipline who are infected with COVID-19 and require intensive medical care

The Clara Abbott Foundation

  • Program name: COVID-19 Financial Support
  • Type of assistance: Grant
  • Minimum qualifications: Certain current and former Abbott employees

Coast Guard Mutual Assistance

  • Program name: Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
  • Type of assistance: Loans of up to $6,000 for loss of pay by a spouse; child care needs due to school closures; and costs while quarantined, such as lodging and food
  • Minimum qualifications: Member of the Coast Guard community, including active duty members, reserve members, and immediate family members

DoorDash

  • Program name: COVID-19 Financial Assistance Program
  • Type of assistance: Up to two weeks' worth of average weekly earnings
  • Minimum qualifications: Diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under quarantine individually by a public health agency; active on the DoorDash platform for at least 60 days and have completed at least 30 deliveries in the last 30 days.

  • Program name: COVID-19 Merchant Financial Assistance
  • Type of assistance: Commission relief and marketing support
  • Minimum qualifications: DoorDash partner, independent restaurant

Equal Sound

  • Program name: Corona Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: Cash
  • Minimum qualifications: Musician who has lost income due to a canceled gig as a result of COVID-19

Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grants

  • Program name: Emergency Grants
  • Type of assistance: Grants of $500 to $2,500
  • Minimum qualifications: Artists living and working in the United States with committed performance or exhibition opportunities

The Goalie Guild

  • Program name: COVID-19 Financial Aid
  • Type of assistance: Emergency funds
  • Minimum qualifications: Hockey goalie trainers, coaches, players, parents, and families

Inspire Brands

  • Type of assistance: Catastrophic paid leave
  • Minimum qualifications: Corporate team members of Arby’s, Jimmy John’s, Sonic, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Rusty Taco

Instacart

  • Program name: Extended Pay
  • Type of assistance: Up to 14 days of pay for any part-time employee or full-service shopper who is diagnosed with COVID-19 or placed in mandatory isolation or quarantine, as directed by a local, state, or public health authority
  • Minimum qualifications: Part-time employees and full-service shoppers

Lyft

  • Type of assistance: Funds based on Lyft rides provided over the last four weeks
  • Minimum qualifications: Drivers diagnosed with COVID-19 or put under individual quarantine by a public health agency

Major League Baseball

  • Type of assistance: TBD ($30 million program)
  • Minimum qualifications: Part-time and seasonal Major League Baseball ballpark employees

Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society

  • Program name: Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society
  • Type of assistance: No-interest loans and/or grants
  • Minimum qualifications: Active duty or retired Sailors and Marines, eligible family members with military ID card, surviving spouses, reservists on active duty of 30 days or more

One Fair Wage

  • Program name: Emergency Coronavirus Tipped and Service Worker Support Fund
  • Type of assistance: Cash
  • Minimum qualifications: Restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers, and more

Postmates

  • Program name: Postmates Fleet Relief Fund, Coronavirus
  • Type of assistance: Company health savings account contribution
  • Minimum qualifications: Fleet members who have completed at least one delivery in the last 14 days and have a Starship HSA

The Recording Academy and MusiCares

  • Program name: MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: Grants up to $1,000
  • Minimum qualifications: Music industry professionals who have had booked work canceled and have worked in the industry at least five years or have at least six commercially released recordings or music videos

Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation

  • Program name: RWCF COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: Cash
  • Minimum qualifications: Individual workers facing economic hardships or health crises as a direct result of COVID-19; businesses that will need help reopening once the crisis is over

Starbucks

  • Type of assistance: Catastrophe pay. At the end of 14 days, if partners are still unable to return to work, they may be eligible for additional pay replacement up to a maximum of 26 weeks.
  • Minimum qualifications: Any employee who has been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 or comes in close prolonged contact with someone in their store or household who has; partners experiencing symptoms; those who may need to take extra precautions, such as those 60 years or older or who have underlying health conditions.

Target

  • Type of assistance: Quarantine and confirmed illness pay, 100% of pay for up to 14 days; free back-up family care
  • Minimum qualifications: Target team member

Uber

  • Program name: Coronavirus financial assistance
  • Type of assistance: Financial assistance for up to 14 days based on average daily earnings over last six months
  • Minimum qualifications: Uber driver or delivery person who has made a trip using Uber platform in the 30 days before March 6, 2020; diagnosed with COVID-19 or are personally placed in quarantine by a public health authority

USBG National Charity Foundation

  • Program name: Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
  • Type of assistance: Grant
  • Minimum qualifications: Bartender or the spouse or child of a bartender

Walmart

  • Program name: Walmart Associates in Critical Need Trust
  • Type of assistance: Grant
  • Minimum qualifications: Walmart associate

  • Type of assistance: Missed pay
  • Minimum qualifications: Workers with COVID-19 or who are under mandatory quarantine

Does your company or nonprofit offer a relief program we’ve missed? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook and we’ll add it to the list.

Local relief for individuals and businesses affected by the novel coronavirus

California

League of California Community Foundations

  • Program name: COVID-19 Funds
  • Type of assistance: Varies by local foundation
  • Minimum qualifications: Individuals, families, nonprofits, small businesses

#PayUpHollywood, Scriptnotes, Junior Hollywood Radio & Television Society, and YEA!

  • Program name: Hollywood Support Staff COVID-19 Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: One-time stipends of $450 or $900
  • Minimum qualifications: Los Angeles-based support staff members in entertainment

San Francisco Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Northeast Community Federal Credit Union

  • Program name: COVID-19 Small Business Resiliency Fund
  • Type of assistance: Up to $10,000 for employee salaries and rent
  • Minimum qualifications: Business with one to five employees, lost revenue of 25% or more, less than $2.5 million in gross receipts, licensed or permitted by the City or County of San Francisco

District of Columbia

Virtual Tip Jar

  • Type of assistance: Cash tips via PayPal or Venmo
  • Minimum qualifications: Servers and bartenders in Washington, DC

Georgia

Giving Kitchen

  • Type of assistance: Financial assistance
  • Minimum qualifications: Food service workers in Georgia who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and/or those who are under doctor’s orders for a mandatory quarantine

Louisiana

Gayle Benson, New Orleans Saints and Pelicans Owner

  • Program name: Arena Assistance Fund
  • Type of assistance: Not known
  • Minimum qualifications: Pelicans employees who work on game days

New Orleans Business Alliance

  • Program name: Temporary Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: $500 to $1,000
  • Minimum qualifications: Lower-income workers who live in Orleans Parish and earn at least 60% of their pay from gig-economy jobs affected by COVID-19

Massachusetts

City of Boston and Boston Center for the Arts

  • Program name: Boston Artist Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: Grants of $500 or $1,000
  • Minimum qualifications: Individual artists who live in Boston whose creative practices and incomes are being adversely impacted by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

State of Massachusetts/Massachusetts Growth Capital Corp.

  • Program name: 2020 Small Business Recovery Loan Fund
  • Type of assistance: Low-interest loans up to $75,000; no payments for first six months
  • Minimum qualifications: Massachusetts-based small business owners and nonprofits with fewer than 50 employees

Minnesota

Springboard for the Arts

  • Program name: Personal Emergency Relief Fund
  • Type of assistance: Up to $500
  • Minimum qualifications: Minnesota artists whose gigs have been canceled

New York

Light Industry, Screen Slate, and other community partners

  • Program name: Cinema Worker Solidarity Fund
  • Type of assistance: $200
  • Minimum qualifications: Hourly workers at cinemas in New York City who are experiencing wage disruption because of COVID-19 closures

New York Foundation for the Arts

  • Program name: Rauschenberg Emergency Grants
  • Type of assistance: Up to $5,000 for unexpected medical emergencies
  • Minimum qualifications: Visual and media artists and choreographers who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents in the United States, District of Columbia, or U.S. Territories

City of New York

  • Program name: NYC Employee Retention Grant Program
  • Type of assistance: Grant for 40% of payroll for two months
  • Minimum qualifications: Established NYC businesses with fewer than five employees whose revenue has decreased at least 25% due to COVID-19

  • Program name: NYC Small Business Continuity Fund
  • Type of assistance: No-interest loan of up to $75,000
  • Minimum qualifications: NYC businesses with fewer than 99 employees whose revenue has decreased at least 25% due to COVID-19; demonstrated ability to repay the loan

North Carolina

Hornets Sports & Entertainment, HSE Ownership, and Hornets Players

  • Type of assistance: Lost wages
  • Minimum qualifications: Part-time hourly employees of the Charlotte Hornets NBA team and Greensboro Swarm G-League team

Pennsylvania

Bryn Mawr Trust

  • Program name: BMT COVID-19 Personal Relief Loan
  • Type of assistance: Low-interest, expedited, unsecured loans
  • Minimum qualifications: Existing BMT deposit or loan customers

Texas

Southern Smoke

  • Program name: Emergency Relief Program
  • Type of assistance: Grants of $500 or $1,000
  • Minimum qualifications: People employed by or who own restaurants or bars, or are employed by a restaurant or bar supplier, with unforeseen expenses that cannot or will not be covered by insurance

Virginia

Charlottesville Restaurant Community Fund

  • Type of assistance: Cash
  • Minimum qualifications: Charlottesville restaurant worker

Washington

Seattle Artist Relief Fund Amid COVID-19

  • Type of assistance: Cash
  • Minimum qualifications: Individual artists in the greater Seattle area with immediate financial need due to COVID-19

Seattle Office of Economic Development

  • Program name: 2020 OED Small Business Stabilization Fund
  • Type of assistance: Grants of up to $10,000
  • Minimum qualifications: Small businesses with physical establishment in Seattle, five or fewer employees including the owner, affected by COVID-19, owner is at or below 80% of the area median income

Stay well and help each other . . . from at least six feet away, of course

Remember, nothing is more important than your health and the health of your family, friends, coworkers, and clients. You can get help to recover from economic hardships related to lost income, but health isn't always recoverable, so please don’t put yourself or others at risk if you feel sick.

Our communities can recover more quickly and do more to help those who are affected if we work together to stay healthy during this challenging time.

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