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How to get financial relief during coronavirus pandemic

Posted at 4:42 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-31 19:03:36-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Wednesday begins a new month, which means your rent, mortgage, and other bills are due.

The first of the month can be challenging during a normal time, but add in the coronavirus pandemic and it can cause some people to panic.

WPTV is working to help relieve some of your stress by providing options during this challenging time.

We asked for your questions and concerns on the WPTV Facebook page. In a matter of minutes they came pouring in, and we took your questions right to an expert.

"I’ve been out of work for two weeks and rent and everything else is due. What can I do?" a man named Linton wrote.

"What you can do is contact your landlord, because the landlord may be able to qualify for some type of assistance," said Paul Baltrun, the President of Key One Capital Mortgage Corporation in West Palm Beach.

Baltrun said to ask your landlord for options. Maybe suggest a payment plan or ask to waive late fees. For homeowners, he said some lenders are offering a forbearance program for 12 months.

"At the end of 12 months, the lenders are instructed to try to work something out with the homeowner because those 12-month payments they just won’t go away," Baltrun said.

"How am I supposed to pay my car payment?" a man named Josh asked on our WPTV Facebook page.

"I would immediately contact that person’s lender to find out if that lender is offering any type of forbearance," Baltrun suggested.

"My property taxes are due tomorrow. What can I do?" a woman named Natasha asked.

Florida’s Department of Revenue pushed back the due date for property tax payments from March 31 to April 15.

FPL also announced a one-time decrease in your electric bill by nearly 25 percent beginning on May 1.

Baltrun said there are also options for small business owners. If you have fewer than 500 employees, he said you can apply for an emergency disaster loan for up to $10,000. It can be used fro current payroll, utilities, and expenses your business normally has.

"As long as you use that amount towards those typical business expenses it will be completely forgiven," Baltrun said.

Baltrun added another option is the paycheck protection program, which is essentially two-and-a-half months of expenses for payroll, health benefits, utilities, rent, or your mortgage payment.

"It’s a bridge for two-and-a-half months months. It [encourages] small businesses to retain their employees and it’s full loan forgiveness," Baltrun said.

Baltrun’s company has set up a free hotline number to have more of your questions answered. The number to call is 877-332-1965.