Growing Money

In these times of challenge, we are here with you.

For many of us, life is no longer normal. What we did that was working (or kind of working) for us in February may not be working for us now. We are worried about losing jobs, losing daycare and school, having a hard time getting food. These are hard times. We will all need to do things differently than we have done them before. We will be creative, resourceful, and brave. Our Growing Money team will be sharing information, ideas, and resources here on our website. We are also still holding some of our classes on budgeting and credit by webinar and meeting with people 1:1 by phone rather than in person. Please click “Classes/Workshops” to the left to learn more. See below for more information about resources available to you for your home, family, money and taxes.

Resources and Information for the Home:

What Help Is There From the State and What Rules Have Changed?:

Vermont's Agency of Commerce and Community Development has put together a clear and thorough resource page. Check here to see what benefits you qualify for and how things like rental evictions and utility shut offs are being handled during this time: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19/individuals

Help from Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas:

You may qualify for paying less on your GMP or VT Gas bill. The link brings you to application forms. There is one form for GMP and a different form for VT Gas. They have different eligibility requirements – so you might qualify for one or for both. If you need help with the forms, call Economic Services Division at 1-800-775-0516. If you are 60 years old or older, you can also call Vermont's Senior Helpline at 1-800-642-5119.  

https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/eap

If you are behind on a gas or electric bill, you may be able to set up a repayment plan to stretch your payments back over time. This will help prevent disconnects.

Need to Apply for Benefits by Phone?

Call the Benefits Service Center to apply for help with Green Mountain Power and Vermont Gas, and General Assistance, at 1-800-479-6151. For help in a language other than English, call the Benefits Service Center at 1-855-247-3092.

Call the Unemployment Claims Center to apply for Unemployment: 1-888-807-7072 to file your claim. Dial 1-877-214-3330 if you have questions after filing.

Free Access to Phone or Internet:

Lifeline Program (also known as the “Obama phone”):

https://publicservice.vermont.gov/publications-resources/consumers/lifeline

Are you having trouble paying your rent or mortgage during COVID19?

If you are concerned about how to pay your mortgage or rent during the COVID19 pandemic, please visit https://www.consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus/mortgage-and-housing-assistance/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=HousingHub_C

Resources and information for Family:

Food:

3Squares = money for food from the State. You get an EBT card that looks and works like a debit card, and can be used just for food. Sometimes people worry: “If I use 3Squares, then someone else won’t be able to get it.” That’s not true! Everyone who applies for 3Squares and meets the requirements receives it.

https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/3SquaresVT

Contact your child's school. Many schools are finding ways to get breakfast and lunch to children who qualify for free and reduced lunch. If you didn't qualify for free and reduced lunch before but do now, contact the school to reapply.

Go to your local food shelf. To find a food shelf near you, call 1-800-585-2265 or visit https://www.vtfoodbank.org/agency-locator 

 

Reach Up

Do you have kids at home and none of the adults at home are working? Apply for Reach Up. This provides some money each month towards essential needs: https://dcf.vermont.gov/benefits/reachup

Need to Apply for Benefits by Phone?

Call the Benefits Service Center to apply for Reach Up, 3Squares and General Assistance, at 1-800-479-6151. For help in a language other than English, call the Benefits Service Center at 1-855-247-3092.

Call the Unemployment Claims Center to apply for Unemployment: 1-888-807-7072 to file your claim. Dial 1-877-214-3330 if you have questions after filing.

 

Resources and Information about Money and Taxes

Unemployment:

NEW: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) will allow for unemployment insurance benefits to individuals not eligible for regular Unemployment Insurance, such as the self-employed. Learn more at https://labor.vermont.gov/CARESact_Vermont/SelfEmployed

The Vermont Department of Labor introduced an alphabetical structure by last name for you to follow when submitting your claim. For more information visit: https://labor.vermont.gov/alphabetized-structure-information

Do you need to file for unemployment? Call to file your claim:

Full-Service Filing of Claims: 1-877-214-3330.
If the phone number above is busy and this is the first time you are calling to file a claim, then call the Supplemental Initial Claim Intake: 1-888-807-7072.
Electronic Form for Initial Intake:
https://labor.vermont.gov/unemployment-insurance/ui-claimants/establishing-unemployment-claim
Department of Labor: labor.vermont.gov

Need Funds Now?

Some banks and credit unions are looking for creative ways to help. Some examples: North Country Federal Credit Union has established a 0% loan program for its current customers. New England Federal Credit Union is offering a loan for those who lose employment income. Opportunities Credit Union has a program to help customers skip a payment on their consumer loans. Check in with your bank or credit union.

Have Student Loans?

NEW: Student loan relief for borrowers who are not covered by the Federal CARES Act is now available. Do you have a private student loan? Learn more: https://dfr.vermont.gov/press-release/student-loan-relief-secured-borrowers-not-covered-federal-cares-act

Federal student loan payments are not required until September 2020, and interest will not be added to loans during this time. What does this mean for you? Should you keep making payments? Do you have federal or private loans? This article from Forbes may help: https://www.forbes.com/sites/advisor/2020/03/26/what-to-do-about-your-student-loans-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-crisis/#42777c051509

Additionally please visit: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/05/coronavirus-and-your-student-loan-debt?utm_source=govdelivery

There are a number of repayment options available for federal student loans. Sometimes changing the type of repayment option you have could help you meet your monthly payment and long-term payment needs. Explore the options at https://www.vsac.org/pay/student-loan-repayment/repayment-options

How do I protect my credit during COVID-19?

NEW:  Worried about your credit during COVID-19? Credit reports are now free, every week. For more information visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/05/credit-reports-are-now-free-every-week?utm_source=govdelivery 

 

The recently passed Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act places special requirements on companies that report your payment information to credit reporting companies. Learn more: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/protecting-your-credit-during-coronavirus-pandemic/

 

The following website includes information on student loans and other loans, dealing with debt collectors, unemployment, scams, and more: 

https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/protect-yourself-financially-from-impact-of-coronavirus/

 

”Your valuable tips, shared personal experiences and tough-love kind of questions inspired me and my husband to shape up, and since taking your course, we’ve paid off over $8,000 in credit card debt, closed two credit cards out (we have several more that we’ve had a great credit history with for years), and put away more into savings than we’ve ever had.”

Do you and your household struggle with finances?

You don’t have to deal with this challenge by yourself. Growing Money services will help you gain skills needed for day-to-day financial management. We will also help you use those skills to achieve your goals. Our purpose is to support you in becoming financially stable and building your household assets.

We will work with you to:

  • Define financial goals so you know exactly what YOUR priorities are
  • Figure out where, if possible, to cut household costs
  • Use a spending plan to make the most of the income you have
  • Determine the best approach to paying down debt
  • Access the safest and most effective products for increasing your credit score
  • Set up and successfully save into a security fund

And much more!

Contact us:

802-860-1417 x 114
growingmoney@cvoeo.org

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CVOEO addresses fundamental issues of economic, social, and racial justice and works with people to achieve economic independence.


 

Serving more than 10,000 households annually,
impacting the lives of over 23,000 individuals