Financial Benefits for Hospital Frontline Workers
It’s no surprise that the Coronavirus pandemic has impacted almost every aspect of Americans’ lives. But, for those fighting the virus on the frontlines, there are unique obstacles that they are faced with every day. Because of a greater risk of exposure, many hospital frontline workers might have been forced to self-quarantine or isolate from their families, might have anxiety or depression, or worse, lose their lives battling the COVID-19 crisis.
As a result of these challenges, hospital workers may experience some form of financial hardship. To help support hospital frontline workers during this time, the government, nonprofits, and other organizations are providing financial aid and other resources to those facing the virus head-on. So, if you’re a hospital frontline worker and need either financial assistance or other types of support, there’s help available.
The financial stress that many hospital frontline workers experience may make it challenging to complete their daily work. To eliminate the financial burden they may experience, there are grant programs available to meet the different needs of the workers.
For example, to help meet the financial needs of the surviving family of an eligible healthcare worker who has become critically ill or has lost their life due to COVID-19, the Brave of Heart Fund and the Front Line Hero Fund provides monetary grants. To check your eligibility, you can submit the required documentation on each fund’s website.
Loan and Credit Card Relief
Banks and credit card companies are taking steps to ensure the financial stability of their customers. Therefore, many are offering assistance to customers through a variety of programs.
For example, some may be offering additional assistance to customers, such as allowing deferred payment plans on mortgages, auto loans, and credit cards as well as paused foreclosure sales, evictions, and repossession.
Another example is American Express, who is waiving interest and late payment fees for eligible personal and business card holders through its Financial Hardship program .
So, no matter where you bank or have a credit card, reach out to determine the financial hardship programs available.
Employer-Sponsored Benefits and Compensation
Healthcare employers are taking key actions to address benefit and compensation concerns employees face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From revising current policies to implementing new benefits, healthcare employers are working to discover ways to better support employees. Some of these revisions or new benefits include:
• Hazard pay for employees who have increased exposure to the virus
• Weekly bonuses or special incentives for those who continue working through the pandemic
• Workers compensation for those employees who test positive for the virus
• Quarantine pay for those who need to self-quarantine due to contracting the virus
• Capping overtime hours to protect workers
• Making changes to sick leave policies
• Adjusting PTO policies
Other incentives may include providing childcare benefits, continuing benefits for reduced-hour or furloughed employees, and offering employee assistance funds or daily meals.
To discover the changes or additional benefits your employer offers, reach out to your human resources department to confirm the financial resources available to you.
Other Support Resources
During this time, many companies and organizations have also recognized the increasing support needs of hospital frontline workers.
From child care to food to housing to transportation, some organizations have launched programs designed to provide different forms of assistance to support those directly combating the virus.
For example, Amalgamated Bank and the Amalgamated Foundation created the Frontline Workers Fund to provide resources such as hotel rooms, transportation, protective gear, and other support for hospital workers and other first responders.
Federal Student Loan Forbearance and Forgiveness
For those facing financial hardship, federal student loan payments could add extra stress. As part of the CARES Act, federal student loan borrowers’ loan payments are automatically being placed on an administrative forbearance.
This administrative forbearance allows federal student loan borrowers to stop making monthly payments from March 13, 2020, to September 30, 2020.
Additionally, during this time, the interest rate has been reduced to zero percent for defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans, defaulted and non defaulted FFEL Program loans, defaulted and non-defaulted Federal Perkins Loans, and defaulted Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL).
While this benefit is available to every borrower who qualifies, there are other federal student loan relief programs that might be offered to frontline workers in the near future.
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has endorsed the Student Loan Forgiveness for Frontline Health Workers Act (H.R. 6720), which would provide federal student loan forgiveness to healthcare workers on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic if passed.
Introduced on May 5th by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), this bill would establish a program that would forgive all public and private federal graduate student loans for health care workers who have made significant contributions to patient care, medical research, and testing during the COVID-19 national emergency.
This is just one of the many bills that have been introduced to Congress to give federal student loan forgiveness to frontline workers. Other bills include the Opportunities for Heroes Act , which aims to forgive $25,000 of federal student loan relief or education benefits to frontline workers, and the Health Heroes 2020 legislation which will expand the National Health Service Corps and Nurse Corps scholarship and federal student loan repayment programs.
Student Loan Refinancing with SoFi
During a time of zero interest and payment pauses and potential forgiveness on federal student loans, it likely doesn’t make sense to refinance these federal student loans to ones charging interest and having regular payments, no matter how low that rate or payment might be.
But, keep in mind, these programs are not available for private student loans. Therefore, if you have outstanding private student loans, refinancing might be worth considering, especially if you’re experiencing some form of financial hardship.
With this in mind, it still may make sense to explore how refinancing could benefit those borrowers with outstanding private student loans.
With SoFi’s student loan refinance program, borrowers can consolidate and refinance in one straightforward step.
It’s important to note that, when refinancing federal student loans, you forfeit any benefits that come along with them—including Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) and income-driven repayment plans.
Student loan refinancing may be an option to consider after the government’s temporary interest waiver and payment pause expires or you don’t qualify for federal repayment benefits or a relief program listed above.
SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are looking to refinance federal student loans, please be aware that the White House has announced up to $20,000 of student loan forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for qualifying borrowers whose student loans are federally held. Additionally, the federal student loan payment pause and interest holiday has been extended beyond December 31, 2022. Please carefully consider these changes before refinancing federally held loans with SoFi, since the amount or portion of your federal student debt that you refinance will no longer qualify for the federal loan payment suspension, interest waiver, or any other current or future benefits applicable to federal loans. If you qualify for federal student loan forgiveness and still wish to refinance, leave unrefinanced the amount you expect to be forgiven to receive your federal benefit.
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Notice: SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income-Driven Repayment plans, including Income-Contingent Repayment or PAYE. SoFi always recommends that you consult a qualified financial advisor to discuss what is best for your unique situation.
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