Las Vegas, Nev. – In a Medium post published today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) highlighted resources available to Nevadans who are having trouble paying bills during the coronavirus crisis and encouraged them to consult her Disaster Resource Guide for more information.
Full text of the post can be found here and below:
What to Do If You Have Trouble Paying Your Bills in the Middle of the Coronavirus Crisis
By U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto
Given the economic effects of the current coronavirus pandemic, many Nevadans are worried about bills now coming due. I’m committed to helping Nevadans and all Americans as much as possible during this crisis, and my Disaster Resource Guide has extensive information about the financial assistance available to both individuals and businesses. In general, reach out to your creditors as soon as possible—and in writing if feasible—to see if they can offer any relief, since many companies are making special arrangements to help customers through this difficult time.
During the coronavirus pandemic, utilities across Nevada are working with customers to make sure Nevadans have access to electricity, heat, and water. Some may need to turn to the Nevada Energy Assistance Program and other programs for energy and utility assistance. Additionally, many water utilities, NV Energy, and Southwest Gas are temporarily stopping disconnections and offering flexible payment options for customers affected by the coronavirus. My Disaster Resource Guide has extensive information on local utility shut off suspensions and guidance on other actions being taken to help customers.
Because so many Americans are relying on the internet to stay connected to work or school, telephone and internet providers are also waiving fees or suspending disconnections. My Disaster Resource Guide offers details about what these companies are doing to support residential and small business customers. Some are even providing WiFi and other services to help people who need internet access, so it’s good to contact your local company for more information.
The disaster resource guide also has recommendations about handling car and credit card bills. If it’s difficult to make car payments right now, you should reach out to your lender. Many auto lenders have forbearance programs in place so that you can pause your payments. Similarly, many credit card companies have signaled they are willing to work with borrowers. In both cases, the most important thing is to contact these companies rather than simply failing to make a payment, as missing payments can have serious effects on your credit now and into the future.
Nevadans with outstanding student loans may be able to get a break on payments; federal student loan borrowers can suspend payments for at least 60 days without penalty. Borrowers should contact their loan servicers to confirm the suspension applies to their payments, and non-federal student loan borrowers should contact their loan servicers to determine whether monthly payments are still due.
If you’re having trouble making a rent or a mortgage payment, there’s also help available. Homeowners in housing financed by federally-backed mortgages can get forbearance on their mortgage payments for at least six months, and they cannot be foreclosed on for 60 days. Many landlords and lenders are making other arrangements to work with renters and homeowners. The Disaster Resource Guide has full details, and I’ve also summarized the big picture here. You should also be aware that Governor Steve Sisolak has suspended evictions for the duration of Nevada’s state of emergency.
Finally, organizations across Nevada are working to provide food assistance to children and families. You can find a discussion of the options available here, as well as full details in the Resource Guide.