Coping with COVID-19: From housing, to health care, to rebooting your savings

Earlier this year, when it became clear that the coronavirus pandemic would profoundly affect our lives, raising daunting challenges for consumers across the country, Consumer Action launched our COVID-19 Educational Project. Approximately six months into the year-long effort, we’ve just published our sixth fact sheet in the project’s “Coping with COVID-19” series.

Published: Thursday, November 05, 2020

Establishing or replenishing savings” covers why and how to create or add to an emergency fund. While having a financial cushion has always been essential, the record unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic has made evident just how crucial it is to have reserves to fall back on. The four-page fact sheet, funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, covers how much you should aim to sock away, what to consider when choosing where to keep your emergency fund, savings tips and inspiration, and a list of FinTech tools that can help savers get and stay on track.

“While it seems like the most difficult time to save money, it’s also the most important time—and it can be done, slowly but surely, even during these trying times,” said Consumer Action’s executive director, Ken McEldowney.

Other fact sheets in the “Coping with COVID-19” series include:

Telemedicine: What to know about virtual doctor visits: The pandemic has driven people to forgo non-urgent in-person doctor visits in an effort to suppress the spread of COVID-19. As more people receive medical care remotely, via smartphone, tablet or computer, it's important to understand when and how virtual visits might be an option, whether they're covered under private and government-sponsored health plans and what privacy issues they raise.

Making a job or career transition: The pandemic has put millions of Americans out of work, with many others reevaluating their job and career choices in light of how different industries are faring. This guide will help workers identify job opportunities, weigh their education and training options, make wise choices, and understand where to get more information. (Funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation.)

Estate planning: Critical decisions for uncertain times: The COVID-19 pandemic has driven home the wisdom of making critical end-of-life decisions before a crisis strikes. This publication outlines the key estate planning decisions everyone should make now (i.e., what happens to your body and belongings in the event of your death), explains which documents and tools help ensure that your wishes are carried out (e.g., wills and advance directives), and provides resources for learning more, getting help and taking next steps. (Funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation.)

Fair housing rights for those affected by the pandemic: The federal Fair Housing Act protects rental housing applicants, tenants, homeowners and prospective homebuyers from various forms of discrimination. This publication explains how these same rights may protect you from discrimination related to the COVID-19 pandemic (e.g., a landlord attempting to evict you because you’ve had the virus), and the steps to take if you do experience unfair treatment.

Financial assistance for undocumented workers: Millions of undocumented workers don’t qualify for the federal economic aid available to U.S. citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic (even if they’re paying taxes). This publication provides tips and resources for finding state, local and private financial assistance programs that are designed specifically for undocumented immigrants (or that don’t ask for immigration status when determining eligibility). (Funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation.)

All fact sheets are available for free download from Consumer Action’s COVID-19 Educational Project website, and we’re planning on releasing more fact sheets in the coming months (on topics to be determined based on the changing pandemic/needs of consumers).

The project also includes a library of webinars, as well as a regularly updated guide to resources to help consumers deal with the challenges of pandemic-related job loss, housing and food insecurity, health care, debt repayment and more. The COVID-19 Educational Project is made possible with major funding from Wells Fargo and additional support from AT&T, Bank of America, Capital One, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Square.

 

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