COVID-19 Financial Resources

The Financial Empowerment Center

We’re Here to Help: One-On-One Financial Counseling

The Financial Empowerment Center offers free one-on-one financial counseling at no cost to any individual in Summit and Medina counties. Our professional financial coaches can help you navigate financial challenges, contact your creditors, negotiate payment plans, and develop a plan to stay on track with your finances during this uncertain time. In response to COVID-19, appointments are available by phone or remote video conference. To schedule, call 2‑1‑1 or click here.


Do you have a quick question about your finances? Ask a Financial Coach

Schedule a 15-minute phone call with a financial coach to answer questions related to stimulus payments, taxes, student loans, filing for unemployment, or other financial issues. Your coach will assist you however they can and follow up with additional resources if needed. To schedule, call 2-1-1 or click here.


COVID-19 Financial Resources
Page Contents:


COVID Relief Stimulus Payments

American Rescue Plan Economic Impact Payment 3

  • The IRS has begun delivery of the third round of Economic Impact Payments (EIP) authorized by Congress in the American Rescue Plan Act passed in March 2021.
  • Eligible individuals will automatically receive a payment of up to $1,400 for individuals, $2,800 for married couples, plus $1,400 for each dependent. Unlike EIP1 and EIP2, families will get a payment for all their dependents claimed on a tax return, not just their qualifying children under 17.
  • Normally, a taxpayer will qualify for the full amount if they have an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 for singles and married persons filing a separate return, up to $112,500 for heads of household and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses. Payment amounts are reduced for filers with incomes above those levels.
  • To check the status of your third EIP payment, go to the IRS Get My Payment Tool: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
  • For more information, visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus-tax-relief-and-economic-impact-payments

COVID Relief Bill Economic Impact Payment 2

  • The December 2020 COVID Relief bill provides $600 to individuals making up to $75,000 per year and $1,200 to couples making up to $150,000. An additional $600 payment will be made per dependent child under the age of 17.
  • Payments are automatic for eligible taxpayers who filed a 2019 tax return, those who receive Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits as well as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries who didn’t file a tax return. Payments are also automatic for anyone who successfully registered for the first payment online at IRS.gov using the agency’s Non-Filers tool by November 21, 2020.
  • Taxpayers that did not receive their either Economic Impact payment or did not receive the full payment they were entitled to may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. This will require filing a 2020 tax return.
  • For more information about payments click here.

CARES Act Economic Impact Payment 1

  • Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed in March 2020, eligible tax filers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 should have automatically received an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child age 16 or under. Additional information is available at the IRS Economic Impact Payment website at www.irs.gov/eip.
  • Taxpayers that did not receive their CARES Act Economic Impact Payment or did not receive the full payment they were entitled to may be able to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit. This will require filing a 2020 tax return.

Unemployment Compensation

  • The Ohio Office of Unemployment Insurance Operations has compiled frequently asked questions regarding COVID-19’s impact on unemployment benefits, including information on an expeditated claim process for employees laid off because of the pandemic. Click here to see the list. The Department of Job and Family Services also has a Unemployment Insurance Resource hub with helpful FAQs about eligibility, the application process, and troubleshooting technical errors: https://unemploymenthelp.ohio.gov/employee/
  • For workers who qualify for traditional unemployment benefits, click here for a step-by-step guide to filing for unemployment. You can file online for unemployment at unemployment.ohio.gov 24 hours/day, 7 days a week. As your submission is processing, do not hit refresh because that will send your submission to the end of the virtual line. Be sure to remember your Personal Identification Number (PIN). You can also apply by phone at 1-877-644-6562 or TTY 1-614-387-8408, M-F from 7am-7pm, Saturday from 9am-1pm, or Sunday from 9am-1pm.  If your PIN is not working, you can call 1-866-962-4064 to request a new temporary pin. 
  • Unemployment insurance is a week-to-week benefit so claimants must claim each week of unemployment by logging onto unemployment.ohio.gov. Unemployment claims are filed when the week is over. For detailed instructions for filing weekly claims related to COVID-19, click here
  • For workers who are traditionally ineligible for state unemployment, including self-employed workers and 1099 tax filers, you may qualify under the new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program. To view eligibility and apply for benefits under this new program, click here
  • The Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce has developed a Resource page for Employers and Employees affected by Covid-19. Click here for more information. 

Filing Your Taxes

  • IRS has established a special webpage focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus.  This page also includes Free-File resource to prepare your federal return online for free. Click here for more information.
  • United Way of Summit & Medina County is facilitating free virtual tax preparation assistance for residents of Summit and Medina Counties to e-file federal and state taxes. For more information, visit www.uwsummit.org/vita. You can also call 2-1-1 for other free tax preparation services.

Accessing Your Financial Institution

  • Local banks and credit unions are posting information on their websites about their response to COVID-19 including changes to their current operations and assistance available to their customers. You can also see a list of specific programs offered at local banks and credit unions at Ohio Bankers League and Ohio Credit Union League
  • When possible, it is recommended that you do transactions using Online or Mobile Banking, Phone Banking, Drive-Thru, or ATMs.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic increases the importance of a safe and affordable mainstream bank or credit union account for managing your money remotely, including to receive wages and government benefits securely and more quickly. To view information about Bank On certified checking accounts that can be opened online, click here.

Trouble Paying Credit Cards

  • If you have seen a reduction in pay due to COVID-19 and are struggling to make your credit card or loan payments, contact your lender right away. Explain your situation and ask about hardship programs that may be available. Regulatory agencies have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers impacted by the coronavirus. Credit card companies and lenders may be able to offer you a number of options to help you. This could include waiving certain fees like ATM, overpayments, and late fees, as well as allowing you to delay, adjust, or skip some payments.
  • Check the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) resource “What Should I Do If I Can’t Pay My Credit Card Bills” for additional tips. Click here for more information.
  • Call 2‑1‑1 to be connected to nonprofits in your community that offer free credit and financial counseling. 

Trouble Paying Your Mortgage

  • If you do not have enough money in savings to cover your mortgage payment or rent, contact your lender immediately. Don’t wait until you’re behind on payments. Lenders may work with you to waive late fees, set up a repayment plan or offer loan forbearance.
  • If you live in Summit County and have been financially impacted by COVID-19, you may qualify for assistance through Summit County Cares. More information available at http://summitcountycares.org/
  • Check the CFPB’s resource “If I Can’t Pay My Mortgage Loan, What Are My Options” for additional tips. Click here for more information. 
  • On March 18, 2020, The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) authorized the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to implement an immediate foreclosure and eviction moratorium for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages. This foreclosure moratorium on FHA, VA, and USDA loans has been extended until June 30, 2021. If you have a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, your lender cannot foreclose on your home until after March 31, 2021. Click here for more information as well as details about requesting forbearance.
  • If you are a Summit County homeowner and having trouble paying your property taxes, contact the Summit County Fiscal Office for payment plans and other options. They can be reached at 330-643-2600 or 330-643-2632.
  • Call 2‑1‑1 to be connected to nonprofits in your community that offer housing or financial counseling or visit your 2‑1‑1 online database and look for “Financial Assistance” under the “Housing & Shelter” category.

Trouble Paying Your Rent

  • If you are unable to make your rent payment, contact your landlord immediately and try to work out an agreement. 
  • If you live in Summit County and have been financially impacted by COVID-19, you may qualify for assistance through Summit County Cares. More information available at http://summitcountycares.org/
  • The CDC implemented a temporary eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. To qualify for eviction protection, tenants must have an income of $198,000 or less for couples filing jointly or $99,000 for single filers. They must demonstrate they have sought government assistance to make their rental payments and declare they are unable to pay rent due to COVID-19 hardships.  They must also affirm they would have no other available housing options if they were to be evicted. Under this order, the tenant must provide a signed declaration to their landlord. To access this declaration, visit www.ohiolegalhelp.org/letters-forms/cdc-eviction-moratorium-declaration-form
  • Call 2‑1‑1 to be connected to nonprofits in your community that offer housing or financial counseling or visit your 2‑1‑1 online database and look for “Financial Assistance” under the “Housing & Shelter” category.
  • Community Legal Aid has compiled the following informational sheet on Eviction proceeding during COVID-19.

Trouble Paying Utilities

  • If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your service provider right away. Many utility providers offer emergency assistance programs. Check with your water, gas, electricity, and internet providers for the most up to date information.
  • If you live in Summit County and have been financially impacted by COVID-19, you may qualify for assistance through Summit County Cares. More information available at http://summitcountycares.org/
  • The City of Akron is offering water bill assistance through the Akron Cares program. For more information, contact 3-1-1 or visit akronohio.gov/akroncares
  • Call 2‑1‑1 to be connected to nonprofits in your community that offer utility assistance or visit your 2‑1‑1 online database and select the “Utilities” category.

Trouble Making Your Car Payment

If you think you may fall behind on your auto loan, call your lender and explain the situation. The sooner you contact your lender, the more options may be available.  Potential options include changing the payment due date, requesting a payment plan, or asking for a payment extension/deferral. For more information, click here to visit the CFPB’s article. 


Student Loans and Financial Aid 

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides automatic suspension of principal and interest payments on federally-held student loans through September 30, 2021. These suspended payments will count towards any student loan forgiveness program. For qualifying borrowers, your federal student loan servicers will suspend all payments without any action from you. Click here for more information.
  • The CARES Act excludes borrowers with Perkins loans and commercially held Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL).  If you’re not sure what type of loan you have, check your account online or contact your loan servicer. To find out who your loan servicer is, call the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243 or click here.
  • If your student loan is excluded from the CARES act, you can still contact your servicer to see what options are available. You may be able to enroll in an income-driven repayment program or apply for forbearance
  • The Department of Education has also stopped the collection of defaulted federally-owned student loans including garnishment of wages, the offset of tax refunds, and Social Security benefits. While most collection activity will be automatically stopped, if you are still experiencing a wage garnishment due to federally-owned student loans, you may need to contact your employer for next steps on temporarily lifting the garnishment.
  • The Department of Education has compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions for students, borrowers and parents. Click here for more information.

Short Term and Emergency Loans

  • Contact your local bank or credit union to discuss short term or emergency loans they may have available.
  • HFLA of Northeast Ohio offers no-interest loans to residents of Northeast Ohio. Click here or call 216-378-9042 to discuss options.
  • The US Small Business Administration (SBA) provides low-interest disaster loans to help small businesses recover from declared disasters. Click here for more information.
  • Be wary of taking out a high cost short term loan. Talk with your creditors to negotiate more time to pay bills, borrow from friends or family, request assistance from your faith-based institutions, or explore financial assistance programs by calling 2‑1‑1. 

Avoiding Scams

Consumers should be on alert for increased fraud during the COVID-19 outbreak. Consumers should not share financial or other sensitive information with anyone who contacts you unsolicited. You can visit the Federal Trade Commission’s Coronavirus website or the Department of Justice website for updates and to report scams.

Additional tips:

  • Fact-check information.  Scammers and sometimes well-meaning people share information that hasn’t been verified. Before you pass on any messages, contact trusted sources such as federal, state, or local government agencies.
  • Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know.
  • Don’t provide financial account details or other personally sensitive information via email.

Job Searching

While COVID-19 has caused layoffs and other changes to many employers, other businesses are still hiring. Resources are listed below.

  • The Ohio Means Job online site lists current job openings. Click here for more information.
  • ConxusNEO recently revamped two websites to better connect and serve the changed needs of job seekers and providers during COVID-19.  You can view their sites at conxusneo.jobs and raisegoodjobs.org.
  • Indeed.com has compiled a resource for people searching for a job. Click here for more information.

Call 2‑1‑1 to be connected to nonprofits in your community that offer job finding assistance or visit your local 211 online database and look for “Job Finding” under the “Jobs & Public Benefits” category.


Additional Resources

211 County Links: