The following is a summary of parts of the CARES Act passed by Congress on March 25, 2020 and is not meant as tax or financial advice, it is for information purposes only.

What if I Cannot Pay My Bills Due to the Coronavirus?


With our country engulfed in the Coronavirus Pandemic, many are asking: What if I cannot pay my bills?  A financial hardship and crisis have been dropped on people due to being laid off, furloughed or having hours and pay cut.

It is ok to feel scared and anxious about the financial challenges you may face.  What is important is that you remember, this is not your fault, and was not something you could have planned or prepared for.  I hope that this post helps you take care of yourself and your family, with as little penalty and stress as possible.

In this post I will discuss the different relief packages allowing some bills to be suspended, and/or missed without penalty.  I will also discuss how to prioritize which bills to cover first, and which can potentially wait if you need that money for things like food, medication, and gas to get to work.

What if I cannot pay my MORTGAGE?

First, all foreclosure actions have ceased.  More importantly, The CARES Act contains a provision providing Mortgage Relief to those in need.  This applies to all federally backed mortgages, through services such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  If a homeowner is unable to make mortgage payments due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the homeowner may request and receive a grace period of no required payments for 180 days and potentially an additional 180 days if needed and requested.  There is no requirement to provide proof of financial hardship to take advantage of this benefit.  Also, no penalties, interest, or fees will be assessed under this benefit.

If you are not sure if your mortgage is federally backed, you may go to the Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac website, or call your mortgage lender and ask.  Links to use are below:

Fannie Mae Mortgage Lookup

Freddie Mac Mortgage Lookup

Mortgage Servicer Lookup

You must COMMUNICATE with your MORTAGE LENDER immediately.  DO NOT wait until you have missed a payment.  Your mortgage lender will not know you need to take advantage of this grace period unless you COMMUNICATE with them.

What if I cannot pay my RENT?

In most states, landlords are not permitted to pursue evictions until further notice.  Eviction proceedings have also been temporarily suspended for all Federal Housing.

While evictions are suspended, that does not mean if you fail to pay rent, the landlord will not rush to court to evict you once things return to normal.  This is a bill I strongly suggest paying if possible.  If you cannot make the payment, COMMUNICATE with your landlord before you miss a rent payment and get agreements in writing.

What if I cannot pay my UTILITIES?

The government and utility providers have instituted programs prohibiting utility shut-offs (electric, water, gas, etc.) during the Coronavirus Pandemic.

While these programs are in place, you should COMMUNICATE with your Utility Service Provider if you are unable to pay your bill, and do not wait until you have missed a payment.

What if I cannot pay my PHONE/INTERNET?

States and providers like Comcast and Verizon, have decided to waive fees and not cut off services for a period of time during the Coronavirus Pandemic.  COMMUNICATE with your provider before missing a payment.

What if I cannot pay my STUDENT LOANS?

Under the CARES Act, Federal Student Loan payments are frozen for 180-days or until September 20, 2020.  Most student loans are federally backed, so it applies to a majority of student loans.

Call your Student Loan provider to confirm they are federally backed.  Even if they are, still COMMUNICATE with them before missing a payment.  To determine if your student loans are federal and for more student loan forbearance information click below:

Student Loan Lookup

What if I cannot pay my CREDIT CARDS?

No specific relief programs have been announced regarding credit cards.  However, some credit card companies such as Capital One, Citi, and Chase are providing accommodations to those suffering hardships due to the Coronavirus Pandemic (click on bank name for its Coronavirus Page).  Be prepared to document your job loss, cut in pay, or medical emergency.  Links for other credit card companies are: DiscoverAmerican ExpressBank of AmericaBarclay’sWells FargoUSAAVisaMastercard, and Paypal.

It is essential you COMMUNICATE with your credit card companies.  They will not assume hardship but may be willing to provide you relief or flexibility.  Do so before you miss a payment.

Other considerations regarding credit cards are:

(1) if you ignore them and miss a payment, your credit score will suffer and COMMUNICATING with them may prevent that.  Additionally, you have the option of adding a consumer statement to your credit report explaining your situation in 100 words or less to hold off damages to your credit score, to do so for each credit agency, click below:




(2) Make the minimum payments to keep your cards current and active; you may have no choice but to utilize credit cards to provide for everyday needs if this crisis continues longer than expected, or your financial situation becomes tighter.

What if I cannot pay my CAR LOAN?

There are no current programs or assistance regarding auto loans.  Before you miss a car payment, COMMUNICATE with your lender as you may have a chance of being granted some relief for your hardship.

If your car is about to be or is repossessed during the pandemic, contact an attorney immediately!

What if I cannot pay my CAR and LIFE INSURANCE?

There are no relief programs created to address these bills.  It is unknown but unlikely insurance companies will work with customers to provide extensions or forgiveness due to hardship

COMMUNICATE with your insurance company before missing a payment.  If your auto insurance lapses and you are involved in an auto accident, you are going to have a serious issue on your hands; you may also have legal problems for driving without insurance.  For life insurance, a lapse may result in loss of coverage after years of premium payments, you may no longer be insurable, and if anything should happen, your family will no longer get the insurance you planned for.

This information and advice is based on my reading and research of the available Coronavirus related programs, communications issued by certain industries and companies, and my 20 years of working with clients in financial distress through financial budgeting and strategy, debt defense, and bankruptcy guidance.

If you are suffering a financial challenge now, it is not your fault, and there are programs, and assistance available, but you must be proactive and COMMUNICATE with your creditors.

If you need any assistance, advice, or legal action regarding your current financial situation, please contact me at

215-291-2944 or

I will listen, provide guidance, and help with urgency and effectiveness, but most importantly, with compassion and dignity.

Be Strong, Be Confident, Be Positive, and Be Safe!