May 19, 2020
Managing your personal finances during a pandemic: Tips and tricks
The repercussions of the pandemic are felt not just in our minds but also in our wallets.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government is implementing emergency response plans that include financial support, while other service providers, including financial institutions, telecommunication providers and insurance companies are stepping up with ways to help consumers save money, defer payments and avoid penalties.
Here are some ways you can reduce your financial anxiety during the pandemic:
Federal Government Support:
You can apply for Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits without a medical certificate if you are currently in quarantine.
If you are not EI eligible, you can claim a federal taxable benefit of up to $2,000 a month for four months if you meet one of the following criteria:
You were required by your employer to stop working due to COVID-19 and don’t have access to paid leave or other income support; you are sick, quarantined or taking care someone who is sick; you are home without pay and have to care for children who are sick or need care due to school/daycare closures; you stopped being paid because of a lack of sufficient work and/or your employer requested you don’t come to work; you are self-employed.
There is a six-month interest-free moratorium on the repayment of student loans.
Taxpayers now have until June 1, 2020 (extended from April 30) to file their taxes.
Financial Institution Support:
Many banks are offering deferrals of mortgages for up to six months for some as well as debt relief for loans and credit cards.
If you have to draw from savings, start with cash and TFSAs since there are no tax implications. If your income is already affected and you must borrow money, consider interest rates carefully and how you will pay back the loan.
Telecommunication Provider Support:
Major telecommunication providers have removed data caps on internet and data plans, waived long-distance and international roaming fees, and are offering flexible payment plans and free channel previews. If you defer the payment of your bill, your service(s) will not be suspended during the pandemic.
Insurance Company Support:
Major insurance providers may be offering cost reduction for clients. For example, you may save money if you decide to park and store your car until the pandemic is over.
The Well-being Task Force
Faculty of Medicine
How to manage your personal finances during the COVID-19 crisis - Sophie Nicholls Jones, 2020
MUN Guide to Financial Supports and Programs