The COVID-19 pandemic is creating upheaval in people’s lives, especially the most vulnerable, and NCLC is working with allies, government officials, and businesses, to help. This list of resources, which will be updated as new information is available, is a guide to help families navigate their financial lives during these turbulent times. It also includes best ways to connect with NCLC while our staff works from home to avoid community spread.
NCLC staff are working with allies, federal and state policymakers, and industry to push for relief for consumers facing financial distress in light of the coronavirus crisis.
General Consumer Protections
- COVID-19 Crisis: Consumer Financial Protection Policy Recommendations, March 2020 (NCLC and AFR Education Fund)
- Major Consumer Protections Announced in Response to COVID-19 (Federal and State), March 24, 2020
- Senate COVID-19 Stimulus Bill is a Start but Falls Far Short for Families, Students, and the Nation’s Most Vulnerable, March 26, 2020
- Group letter to federal agencies urging suspension of all non-COVID-19 rulemaking during the public health emergency, March 24, 2020
- Group letter to federal agencies requesting a 90-day tolling (extension) of public comment periods during the COVID-19 pandemic, March 20, 2020
- 63 Groups Call for Credit and Debt Protections to Address Financial Distress From COVID-19, March 22, 2020
- Group letter to Congress on financial stimulus recommendations for COVID-19 to provide substantial relief for workers, consumers, and small businesses, March 20, 2020
Bank and Prepaid Card Accounts, Bank Fees
- States, including New York, have ordered or encouraged relief affecting ov
erdraft, ATM and credit card late fees.
NCLC & Other Recommendations
- Banks and credit unions that offer safe checkless checking accounts that meet the Bank On National Account Standards (including no overdraft or NSF fees) and are likely open to people with blemished account screening histories can be found at the very bottom of this Bank On page.
- Group letter urging Congress to adopt amendments to the Bankruptcy Code in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, March 24, 2020
Credit and Debt
- The federal banking agencies have issued guidance encouraging institutions to work with affected customers.
- Coronavirus Emergency: Consumer Debt Collection Lawsuits – How States Can Help, March 2020
- What State and Federal Policymakers Can Do to Protect Public Health and Protect Consumers from Medical Debt, March 2020
- Credit Reports and the Covid-19 Crisis: What States Should Do to Help Consumers, March 2020
- S. 3508 (Schatz, Brown), Disaster Protection For Workers’ Credit Act – NCLC (on behalf of its low-income clients) supports this bill which would establish a minimum 4-month moratorium on negative credit reporting to protect consumers’ credit records during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also gives consumers the option to seek another 9 months of credit reporting protection if they continue to experience economic hardship, by informing a CFPB database. The bill will also provide free, unlimited credit reports and credit scores for a year from the end of the pandemic. Beyond this crisis, the bill extends these protections to people impacted by future major disasters. NCLC press release.
NCLC & Other Recommendations
- Group letter urging free access to telephone and video conferencing (where available) for all those incarcerated in Massachusetts, given the suspension of personal visitation to prevent the spread of COVID-19, March 20, 2020
- Fines and Fees Justice Center’s COVID-19 Policy Recommendations urging state and local governments to make immediate changes to their criminal, traffic and municipal ordinance fines and fees policies to protect public health and ensure that fines and fees are not a barrier to people’s basic needs throughout this emergency.
- Group comments to the U.S. Housing and Urban Development re: Mortgagee Letter 2020-04 and urgent steps needed to protect reverse mortgage borrowers during the COVID-19 public health crisis, March 24, 2020
- S. 3509 (Brown) To Protect American Families Facing Financial Hardship or Foreclosure Due to a Declared Disaster, Including COVID-19 – NCLC (on behalf of its low-income clients) supports this bill. NCLC Press Release.
- For mortgage borrowers facing difficulties as a result of the pandemic, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, FHFA, and the VA have issued guidance for borrowers and reminders to loan servicers about options available for borrowers in hardship.
- HUD issued a foreclosure and eviction moratorium for all FHA-insured Single Family mortgages for 60 days, effective March 18, 2020.
State & Local Relief
- COVID-19 Related State Foreclosure Moratoriums and Stays.
NCLC & Other Recommendations
- NAACP: Ten Equity Implications of the COVID-19 Outbreak in the U.S.: the Imperative for Civil Rights Advocacy, Monitoring and Enforcement, March 2020
- H.R. (Pressley, Omar), Student Debt Emergency Relief Act – NCLC supports this bill, which will provide immediate relief for workers and families crushed by record levels of student loan debt during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
- Senators Schumer, Murray, Brown and Warren unveiled an emergency student loan payment and relief plan, March 19, 2020. NCLC supports this bill. NCLC Statement. Group Statement.
- What the CARES Act Means for Repayment of Federal Student Loans, March 28, 2020
- Making Sense of Federal Student Loan Repayment Relief During COVID-19, March 24, 2020
- Student Loan Cancellation is a Critical COVID-19 Equity Issue, March 23, 2020
- Covid-19: What the U.S. Department of Education, Lenders and Student Loan Borrowers Should Do Now, March 13, 2020
Utilities and Bridging the Digital Divide
- Group letter to the FCC: Emergency Request for Increased Lifeline Support During the COVID-19 Crisis, March, 23, 2020
- Letter to Senate leadership: Request for Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in COVID-19 Response Bill, Mar. 21, 2020
- Access to the internet for emergency alerts, medical advice, arranging for delivery of supplies, and social contact is more important than ever in this emergency. NCLC is encouraging internet and broadband providers to lift data caps and increase data speed for low-income consumers to help bridge the digital divide.
State & Local Relief
- NCLC filed formal requests with utility regulators to impose a moratorium on all utility shut-offs during the COVID-19 crisis in California (moratorium imposed) and Massachusetts (moratorium imposed). For a regularly updated list of moratoriums and other state responses, please see the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners website.
- MA and PA requesting halt of door-to-door marketing by Competitive Energy Suppliers.
- Coronavirus Crisis: How States Can Help Consumers Maintain Essential Utility Services, March 2020
- COVID-19 Pandemic Requires Federal, State and Municipal Action to Stop Involuntary Utility, Water, and Telecommunications Shut-offs, March 2020
- Press release: Covid-19 Crisis: Advocates Call for U.S. Governors to Take Immediate Action to Ensure Residents are Protected from Utility Shut Offs, March 27, 2020
- NCLC’s Fair Debt Collections Conference, originally scheduled for late March in Portland, Oregon, will instead be a webinar series of 8-10 webinars on a range of debt collections, student loans, and TCPA issues on March 30-31, 2020.
- NCLC’s Mortgage Conference is scheduled for June 15-16 in Baltimore, Maryland, with an all-day pre-conference intensive on bankruptcy on June 14. We are monitoring the course of the coronavirus and are optimistic that we can go forward with this conference. In the meantime, people interested in attending should save the date.
- NCLC’s annual Consumer Rights Litigation Conference will be November 19-22 in Atlanta. Course proposals should be submitted by Tuesday, March 31 here.
The coronavirus crisis is likely to reduce families’ essential income, as businesses suspend or reduce operations. For state advocates working with their state legislators to protect people impacted by income losses due to COVID-19, NCLC’s report may be of help. No Fresh Start in 2019: How States Still Let Debt Collectors Push Families into Poverty surveys all 50 states and has a number of charts and maps assessing the extent to which state laws protect basic income and assets needed for survival: wages, home, car, bank account, household goods.
- For consumers needing legal help, please visit NCLC’s website for a list of resources on how to get legal assistance.
- NCLC’s free articles on Consumer Debt Advice.
- Surviving Debt: Expert Advice For Getting Out of Financial Trouble As many Americans grapple with the fallout from this unprecedented crisis, NCLC’s 50th anniversary edition of Surviving Debt is an invaluable resource for consumers and consumer advocates. We have made the digital edition of Surviving Debt free to all during the COVID-19 crisis. Read and download, print, or email content on debt issues. Print books are also available with bulk discounts at NCLC’s Digital Library bookstore.
- The National Digital Inclusion Alliance website includes a list of free and low-cost broadband internet plans.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Protecting Your Finances During the Coronavirus Pandemic.
- Tips from the Federal Trade Commission for avoiding scams related to COVID-19.