Helping Give Away Psychological Science/COVID-19 Financial Resources
This page gives information regarding various financial information that may be helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic. This page provides information on how to file for unemployment benefits, the implementation of new social services programs, the stimulus package, student loan payments, and food security. Disclaimer: Much of this information varies on a state-by-state basis. North Carolina is being used as an example throughout the page. Please validate this information for your specific state.
Unemployment benefits provide temporary benefits to those who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, while they are actively searching for a new one. Benefits are typically a percentage of the unemployed person's income over the past year, up to a maximum that is decided on a state-by-state basis. Most states' benefits last for 26 weeks. Michigan, Missouri, and South Carolina pay for 20 weeks. Arkansas pays for 16 weeks and Alabama pays for 14 weeks. Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Idaho, and North Carolina have sliding scales tied to unemployment levels. If you have exhausted your benefits, you may be eligible for extended benefits.
Under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the federal government will increase state unemployment benefits by $600 per week for four months, and 19 states have dropped the standard one-week waiting period before collecting benefits. gig workers and freelancers, who previously were not able to claim unemployment, will be covered.
How to File for Unemployment
Please be advised that this information came from the North Carolina government. Requirements may differ based on different states. Before you apply for unemployment insurance, you will need your social security number, details from your most recent employer about separation, details regarding any retirement pay, bank routing number and account number for direct deposit, and your past 2 years work history. Eligibility requirements include:
- Unemployment due to no fault of your own.
- Monetary eligibility- you must have made sufficient wages to establish a claim.
- Be physically able, available, and actively seeking work
- Must register to work with your resident state's job service office. For North Carolina, this is: NCWorks Online.
Filing for unemployment insurance varies by state, so search for your state's Department of Commerce for more steps.
This section includes social services available for those impacted by COVID-19.
The federal government includes the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program that gives funds to states and territories to provide financial assistance to families. Qualifications include:
- The applicant must be pregnant or responsible for a child under age 19.
- Must be a U.S. national, citizen, legal alien, or permanent resident.
- Have low or very low income.
- Be under-employed (working for very low wages).
- Unemployed or about to become unemployed.
The Department of Health and Human Services vary programs for different states, so please validate any information for your state. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has a webpage with a list of COVID-19 information for local social services. This website can be found here.
Search for food pantries in your area here. If you do not find anything near you, contact your local religious organizations to see if they have a food pantry at their location.
Search for Feeding America food banks in your area here.
Food and Nutrition Services
Food and Nutrition Services (Food Stamps) is a federal program that provides low-income families food they need to sustain a nutritionally adequate diet. For more information on how to apply in North Carolina, click here. To apply in a different state, search for the Department of Health and Human Services for your state.
If you are looking for temporary jobs, visit this link for a list, including grocery stores, Amazon, pharmacies, and delivery services. In order to find a job with the employer of your choosing, search that employer online and follow their steps to apply.
Under the CARES Act, there is a temporary suspension of principal and interest payments on student loans from the federal government through September 30, 2020. No application is required. If you made a payment after March 13, you may request a refund. Please be aware that this only includes federal government student loans, not private student loans. 
Tips to Avoid Scams
During this time of heightened anxiety, scammers may try to take advantage of you and trick you into giving them your personal information. Here are some tips to avoid getting scammed.
- Ignore online or telephone offers for vaccinations or treatment packages for COVID-19.
- Do your research about who you are donating to.
- Never give out your personal or banking information to callers. Government agencies will never call you to ask for personal information.
- Always check the CDC's website for the most current information about the COVID-19 virus.
- Ignore text messages claiming to be government agencies asking for your information.
- Do not click on any links in emails or text messages that seem out of character from the person sending it. They may have been hacked.
- "What You Need to Know About Unemployment Insurance", "The New York Times", March 17, 2020
- "Coronavirus Financial Aid Bill: What's in It for Consumers", "Consumer Reports", March 27, 2020
- NC Department of Commerce Employment Security, "Before you apply"
- Benefits.Gov "Temporary Assistance for Needy Families"
- North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services "Food and Nutrition Services"
- Kristen Evans "What you need to know about student loans and the coronavirus pandemic", "Consumer Financial Protection Bureau", April 9, 2020
- Federal Communications Commission, "COVID-19 Consumer Warnings and Safety Tips" April 8, 2020