Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florida. ...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Apr 14, 2021

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Summary

  • Nearly 9 million Americans have yet to receive their economic stimulus checks from 2020 and 2021.
  • COVID hardships loans were a short-term solution at the beginning of the pandemic but may have caused more financial hardship as we enter year two.
  • Some alternative financial sources include online and local communities, attending college, or starting your own business.

The COVID-19 pandemic has left many unemployed or otherwise financially distraught, even well into the pandemic now stretching longer than one year. Some may already be struggling to make covid payments on hardship loans from 2020.

Assistance has been mostly left up to credit unions, banks, and lenders to work with their existing customers with personal loans, but that doesn’t reach everyone in need.

However, this late in the game, many Americans have suffered long-term financial damage with declining credit scores as they struggle to keep up with housing and family needs.

COVID loans may no longer be the best option and are certainly not a long-term solution. But it doesn’t hurt to apply. Find loans to help by entering your ZIP code above.

Where can I find COVID hardship loans?

Whether the U.S. is in a peak, a dip, or a plateau, it’s clear that government and corporate entities must work together. Corporations are expressing their desire to help, but there really hasn’t been a straightforward and logistical way to go about assisting Americans.

Also, due to failed logistics, some 9 million Americans did not receive stimulus checks in 2020 or 2021.

Until the U.S. economy figures out a way to bounce back, Americans are left to apply for loans that may offer some of the following options:

  • Loans for smaller amounts from $500 to $5,000
  • A quick application process that may result in same-day funds
  • Short-term loans that may last as few as three months or up to a few years
  • No payments for the first three to six months
  • Reduced interest rates, and sometimes zero percent interest

Sadly, the bills from earlier pandemic loans will be coming in soon, if they haven’t already, so this sets up Americans for possibly more financial hardship in the future.

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What are some COVID hardship loan alternatives?

There are many Americans out there who are donating the stimulus money they received. They may not need the additional funds because they work in an industry that has either sustained or has seen a boost.

This is where you have to tuck away your pride, reach out, and ask for help. We realize this is difficult for some of us, but it’s a fair and honest way to get the financial assistance you need, and it’s easier to do than you would think.

How can social media help during pandemic hardships?

Due to isolation, many have been much more active on social media. Your post asking for assistance will likely not go viral, but it will reach the people who care about you most — those in your social groups.

Searching and posting on social media can help get your message out. If you belong to a subset of society like most of us do, you would be surprised how much members of your community want to help, but just don’t know how to or to whom to offer it.

Examples of these subsets can be based on your special interest or otherwise personal characteristics like being a member of the LGBTQ+ community or even something as small as a Facebook group focused on your obsession with hiking, scrapbooking, writing, etc.

What local financial assistance is available?

You can also always call 2-1-1. This service is confidential and will connect you with local sources of financial assistance which is often quicker and more reliable than flooded government programs.

2-1-1 is a national program provided by the United Way. Just pop in your ZIP code on their website to find resources automatically.

If you prefer to hear another human voice, which is especially needed during this lonely time, call the helpline to speak with a real and compassionate person.

Can going back to school help me through COVID hardship?

Going back to school is a good option for those who see their industry not bouncing back anytime soon. There’s no better time to explore a possible new career than a pandemic.

Anyone, regardless of credit history or employment status, can apply for federal financial aid to attend college-level classes. Usually, you must be a degree-seeking student and be enrolled in 12 or more credits to qualify.

Going back to school can be a short-term and long-term solution to sustainability. Federal financial aid will cover living expenses by offering loan amounts well over the cost of tuition. You are not required to pay back the loans while in school, interest rates are low, and there are programs towards forgiveness based on your future income level.

There are even local programs at community colleges that can’t be funded by federal financial aid, but private donations made to the colleges can provide scholarships, especially for programs that get you a quick certification to get you back in the job market in no time.

Classes are still being held online and some colleges have redesignated spaces on their campuses to allow for certain programs to continue in person.

Can starting my own business help me through COVID hardship?

Yes. In fact, you can get a business loan if you are unemployed. Starting a small business is quite possibly one of the best options because so many state-level and federal-level programs are funding start-ups up to 100 percent. America prides itself on local businesses now more than ever.

There are local small business incubator programs that may be offered through area community colleges or corporations in industries that fuel and keep your city running.

COVID hardship loans were once a good short-term solution, but there may still be loans available that will fit your needs. Explore your loan options by entering your ZIP code below.