CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Over 30 million Americans have applied for unemployment, and although millions have received their economic stimulus checks, many are still struggling to pay bills.
Debt expert Jack Brandon said his company, San Antonio-based Debt Redemption, has received an increase in calls asking the same questions.
" 'I’m starting to fall behind on my credit cards: What can I do? How can I stop this? I can’t continue to make my payments,' " he said. "You know -- 'What are my options?' "
Brandon said when it comes to credit-card debt, there are plenty of options. One is asking the bank for a deferment, or forbearance, on a monthly payment.
"But if they do, they’re also very likely to freeze your available balance right there, too," he said. "If you’re having trouble making a payment, they don’t want you going out and charging more money."
If you have vehicle or mortgage payments that are causing you stress, Brandon said you can defer those payments, too, but it's possible interest will be added.
"When they’re letting you skip a payment, whether it’s a credit card, personal loan, a mortgage, a car note -- it doesn’t matter," Brandon said. "The interest is accruing; they’re not just giving it away."
It's important to know that federal student loans fall under the CARES Act, which means a 6-month payment pause and interest waiver applies to that debt.
Those needing help also can save money by calling utility providers, or other companies to which they owe money, to ask about hardship assistance programs.
Brandon said if you need debt relief help, make sure you seek a company that has a license and a good reputation.
Finds reputable assistance programs here on the USA.gov website.