New research is revealing just how much the pandemic continues to hurt American households financially.
Despite additional unemployment benefits and three rounds of 'stimulus' checks, 40% say their current income is less than it was before the crisis.
More than 25% say they are having difficulty keeping up with expenses. And 9% report a 'shortage of food' in their homes.
Other numbers to consider: 15% are behind on their rent, and while mortgage delinquency is in the single digits, that number is likely to spike as forbearance ends June 30th.
New unemployment claims in Tennessee continue to rise (news article).
The Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development says the numbers are "unprecedented". Thousands of those who filed months ago still haven't received any benefits yet, as the state is slowly sifting through all claims to prevent fraud.
Additionally, 'system errors' over the last week have caused some claimants to believe their benefits were exhausted when, in fact, they still had money available (news article).
Another new study found that stimulus checks were, for the vast majority, properly used. Researchers found that recipients applied more than 70% of the money to savings or to pay down debt. The common misconception is that government money provided during the pandemic was mismanaged or spent on frivolous luxuries, when in fact, these studies have found quite the opposite.
Families all across America, including and especially in Tennessee, were hard hit by the pandemic and the results will likely continue to be felt for years. Many families have found themselves in financial trouble and are struggling to find answers to their problems.
The law office of T. Verner Smith has helped thousands of Tennessee families struggling with financial problems and we offer a free consultation to determine how we can help you. Call us at (731) 423-1888.
Area employers are having a hard time finding workers.
The reason, however, may be more complicated than you think.
The most common refrain is, 'Why work when you can get free government money?'
But in reality, that's only a small part of what's going on here.
According to a new article from the Associated Press (here) many Americans are simply rethinking their careers.
From the article, "In March, U.S. job openings rose 8% to a record 8.1 million, but overall hiring rose less than 4%." The article features several examples of workers in the service industry who were forced out of their jobs during the pandemic, and have taken that time to explore other options. One worker, 57 year old Ellen Booth, was a lifelong bartender. When her employer closed during COVID, she started an on-line class to be a medical coder. 25 year old Shelly Ortiz had a career as a restaurant server. When her employer reopened, she returned cautiously, concerned about exposure from customers. She finally quit after a co-worker tested positive and the restaurant refused to deep clean. She decided to enroll in a film-making college class and is graduating this month.
All of those in the article admitted money is tight, some digging into their retirement savings...but they have no intention of going back to their previous careers. They are no longer chasing the 'money dream', they say...their qualify of life is most important now. The pandemic has definitely had an effect on workforce dynamics...from workers realizing they can work from home, to those who are actively changing careers, to others striking out on their own...and the results are being felt, as fewer workers are interested in taking the jobs available.
If the pandemic had lasted only a few months, rather than over a year, everything may have returned to normal in the labor market. But such a long time period, not only allows, for often forces people to reimagine their lives and make substantial changes.
If you have found yourself re-evaluating your employment future, or have already found a new way of life that is more rewarding to you...yet your old life has left you in a financial whirlwind...reach out to us and let's discuss ways to clean up your financial problems. Either through debt restructuring, negotiations with creditors, budget adjustments, and if required, bankruptcy. There are several remedies available, including legal options if needed. Call the office of T. Verner Smith today at 423-1888.
Tennessee Governor Lee took the dramatic step earlier this week of refusing the $300 per week federal unemployment supplement. Although the federal program will continue elsewhere through September, Tennessee will put on the brakes July 3rd (story).
Tennessee is also ending participation in federal programs that have allowed the self-employed to qualify...AND the initiative that extended payments after regular benefits expired.
The bottom line: after July 3rd, it's back to a maximum of $275 per week for the unemployed who qualify, no unemployment for self-employed, and no extension of regular benefits.
For those who have been taking advantage of the system, the supposition is they'll likely be able to find a job, since there are approximately 250,000 jobs available...but what about those who are truly struggling and are truly unemployed? Many who legitimately can't go back to work yet. Can you imagine getting by on $275 a week? Especially now as inflation is pushing the price of necessities higher every week?
Not to mention, not everyone has been able to get their unemployment checks. Thousands of Tennessee residents, although they qualified, haven't received any money in weeks or months. There is a Facebook group page titled 'Unofficial Unemployment Tennessee Information and Help' (link here ), and a quick visit will give you some insight into those who are struggling:
One post said, "Been waiting for months and still ain’t got nothing."
Another, "I'm pregnant and not getting paid anything from my job on my leave...people never know what people are going through." and another, "People have been waiting 6 months for a payment. I spent probably 20 hours on the phone with Unemployment trying to get my claim fixed. It’s still not fixed."
Most every family is literally just one 'life event' away from being in a financial mess - an unexpected medical emergency involving your parent, spouse, or child...business reorganizations, layoffs or closings...a wage earner suddenly required to be home for family reasons...a divorce...any number of life changing events.
If you've found yourself in one of these situations, and the upcoming date of July 3rd will put you even further behind, call our office today.
We have helped thousands of Tennessee families struggling with financial problems and we offer a free consultation to determine how we can help you. Call the law office of T. Verner Smith at (731) 423-1888.
In March of last year, The Cares Act allowed homeowners to 'skip' their mortgage payments for up to 360 days. Nearly 5% of all mortgages are still in forbearance. That's over 2 million homeowners. Now, as those deadlines are occurring, many homeowners are surprised to find the lender can demand all of the skipped payments due at once.
That is obviously not a realistic option for most families. Most lenders will have other options for getting the loan current, including deferring the payments to the end of the term, or increasing the monthly payment. However, lenders can, by law demand whatever payments they want to bring the account current, including demanding all past payments due at once.
A number of families may not be able to meet the new conditions and losing their home to foreclosure is a real possibility. According to a new report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (link), people of color will be hardest hit, as 9% of black mortgage borrowers, and 8% of hispanic borrowers are in forbearance...compared to less than 4% of whites.
If your family has found itself in this situation, and losing your home is a real possibility, call us at the law firm of T. Verner Smith. If you qualify, there are legal options that can stop foreclosure, the eviction process, and lawsuits.
This is just one example of how families affected by the COVID19 crisis were forced into seeking help, and now that timelines have exhausted, they can be unprepared or unable to answer new financial demands.
Our office has helped thousands of Tennessee families struggling with financial problems and we offer a free consultation to determine how we can help you. Call us at (731) 423-1888.
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