The COVID19 Crisis and Student Loans: A Webinar Event for Borrowers and Practitioners

The Center for Financial Security (CFS), in collaboration with the Wisconsin Coalition on Student Loan Debt (WCSD) and Ascendium Education Solutions, Inc., is hosting a webinar entitled “The COVID19 Crisis and Student Loans: A Webinar Event for Borrowers and Practitioners” on June 2nd from 10:00 to 11:30 CST. The webinar will increase awareness about how COVID19 impacts student loan borrowers and on the various types of COVID19-related relief available.

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Financial Resources during COVID-19 Crisis: A Webinar Event for Wisconsin Practitioners & Educators

The Center for Financial Security at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in collaboration with the Division of Extension, hosted a webinar on April 27th. The purpose of the webinar was to provide timely resources, information, and updates on Wisconsin state agency responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted the financial well-being of households across the state. The information and resources were especially helpful for Wisconsin-based practitioners, educators, and those working with the public to address financial issues resulting from the COVID-19 crisis.

Presenters included representatives from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP), Department of Financial Institutions (DFI), Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Department of Children and Families (DCF), Department of Health Services (DHS), and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA).

CFS Faculty Director, Staff, Affiliates and Fellows Provide Expertise on COVID-19 Crisis

The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has caused devastating financial strain on families and individuals nationwide. From unprecedented levels of people applying for unemployment insurance, constantly shifting policy responses, and the impacts on housing and food insecurity, CFS experts are available and being called upon to provide insights on the crisis. A UW-Madison COVID-19 Experts list was released to help guide media to appropriate researchers.

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Newly Released Research Brief: Understanding Differences in Financial Well-being Based on Educational Attainment and Gender

With the support of a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation researchers, J. Michael Collins and Carly Urban, conducted a study that examines the financial well-being of young adults through the lens of gender and educational attainment. Using the CFPB’s Financial Well-Being Scale, the research contrasts the financial well-being of men and women among college graduates and high school only graduates.

UW-Madison Division of Extension: Financial Resources to Help Get Through COVID-19

The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is impacting households, communities, and businesses. A new national survey shows that 1 in 5 households in the US have already had their income cut or stopped altogether. UW-Madison Division of Extension has put together a list of frequently asked questions that highlight some common financial challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The answer to each question has links to government websites and the types of assistance that might be available. The resource list will be added to as new policies and resources are put into place.

Webinar: How does Housing Assistance Affect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Application for People with Disabilities?

This February 26th webinar focused on a recent study exploring how housing assistance may influence people’s decision to apply for and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The research was presented by Erik Hembre, who conducted the study with Carly Urban at the Center for Financial Security Retirement and Disability Research Center, supported by the Social Security Administration. Discussants, Kathleen Moore, a researcher and contractor with the Administration for Children & Families, and Arthur Jacobs, Housing Coordinator for the Mayor’s Office of People with Disabilities in New York, provided commentary on the implications of the study.

J. Michael Collins Yahoo Finance interview on healthcare costs and impact on retirement savings

“Planning for and managing out of pocket medical costs is an emerging form of financial literacy that all of us need to be aware of, including older people for whom health care expenses are a rising part of their retirement spending,” said J. Michael Collins, Faculty Director of CFS and Professor in La Follette School of Public Affairs and the School of Human Ecology, in a recent live interview with Yahoo Finance. Collins spoke about the impact of people choosing to use less healthcare as out-of-pocket costs rise, a decision that could lead to greater health and financial outcomes in the long run.

Supporting Employee Financial Stability: How Philanthropy Catalyzes Workplace Financial Coaching Programs

The Center for Financial Security and the Asset Funders Network (AFN) collaborated on a case-study investigation of employer-based financial coaching programs in the latest research: Supporting Employee Financial Stability: How Philanthropy Catalyzes Workplace Financial Coaching Programs. This brief shares innovative approaches employers believe increase recruitment and retention while impacting employee financial well-being.

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COVID-19 Crisis Q&A

Federal / State Assistance Programs

How do I assist individuals to use technology to access resources?

Where can I find FoodShare, SNAP, Section 8, utility assistance, SSDI eligibility & information?
FoodShare Wisconsin Eligibility
SNAP Eligibility FAQ
Section 8 Income Limits Wisconsin
Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program
SSA Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool

What programs are supporting families with children?
DCF COVID-19 Child Care Portal
DCF Childcare Info for Families
DCF Childcare Info for Essential Workers
COVID-19 Child Care Request Form for Workforce Families

How quickly are applications being processed?
Department of Workforce Development requests that claimants allow 30 day for processing

What programs & resources are available for the immobile?

How will DHS handle continuation of Medicaid coverage for individuals who become ineligible during the crisis?

Retirement & Disability

What resources are there for low-income seniors?
DHS Programs & Services for Older Adults

What is available for the ageing and disabled in regards to transportation?

Rural / Farm

What resources are available for rural communities?
COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide
Managing a Farm During COVID-19

What are the program eligibility & funds for farmers & small businesses?
Managing a Farm During COVID-19
Coronavirus Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Do any of the WHEDA resources apply to farmers and their family home?

Childcare

What financial support is there for small business in regards to childcare?

What support is available to family child care providers who make up a vast amount of the early childhood workforce?

What is being done for non-center-based, family childcare?

How does this work for the children who are eligible to receive free and reduced meals but their parents currently don’t receive foodshare benefits?
Child Nutrition Program COVID-19 Information

Criminal Justice System

Are there plans to assist people just coming out of the criminal justice system?
DOC Pamphlet: COVID-19 and Health Insurance

For programs not available to those under probation or parole, will qualifications change?

Digital Accessibility

How should one proceed if unable to access (online or phone) unemployment when eligible?

What resources (or alternatives) are available for those on the other side of the digital divide?
Wisconsin DPI Connectivity Programs

How can families with multiple children share a computer for both school and adult work?

Are there scholarships available for students that need a laptop?
Laptop distribution / rentals are occurring on a school-by-school basis. Please consult your institution to see what your options are.

Bill Payment

What resources are there for rent and utility assistance / bill payment?
Temporary ban on evictions and foreclosures
Wisconsin Home Energy Assistance Program
Extension Pamphlet: Dealing with a drop in income

Is there any cushion for clients in the process of eviction after the “stay at home orders” are lifted?

Will the deferment for rent, mortgage, and utilities just postpone a financial crisis for many low to moderate income families?

CARES Act

What is the difference between PPP and PUA?
PPP Loans vs Unemployment Benefits: How to Choose

Do you have to apply for UI first before applying for PUA?
If you have not worked for an employer in the last 18 months, who pays into UI, you can apply for PUA immediately.

Are those on SSDI eligible for PUA?
An individual cannot receive Social Security Disability (SSDI) payments and unemployment benefits concurrently (See s. 108.04(12)(f), Wis. Stats.) If an individual is receiving SSDI, they must report this information on their initial claim and weekly claim certifications. State law is applicable for PUA as well.

Will the CARES Act payments be counted as income and affect assistance program / subsidy eligibility?
Yes, those payments are considered income for federal and state tax purposes. You can ask to have state and federal taxes withheld from your unemployment payments. If you decide to have taxes withheld, we will deduct 10% for federal taxes and/or 5% for state taxes from your weekly benefit payment. You can opt to have taxes withheld at https://my.unemployment.wisconsin.gov.

How will the UI payments affect means-tested benefits?

Are sole proprietors without employees eligible for PPP and EIDL on the same terms as those with employees?

What local organizations are available to help people understand relief packages?
UW Extension Financial Educator Contact Page

Are those individuals who work for employers with self-funded unemployment funds, eligible for any additional benefits?

Post-Pandemic

How to help people get back on track after COVID-19?

When do FIs start to re-open their lobbies? And what does that look like?

Are there tax implications for the future with the special checks being sent and increases to monthly payments?
You will not owe income taxes on your stimulus check, however, unemployment benefits and your state insurance benefits are considered taxable income.

Miscellaneous

What resources are there for the homeless?

What resources are there for undocumented & mixed status families?
Voces de La Frontera COVID-19 Resource Page

What financial resources are there for families with COVID-19 infection?

What is the response of DCF?
DCF COVID-19 Response Page

What happens if a person with a high risk of COVID-19 complications is forced to quit their job or take a leave of absence to shelter in place?
DWD Wisconsin Exceptions to the Standard Quit Disqualification