What to Do if You Haven't Gotten an Economic Impact Payment
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May 21st, 2020
So far, close to 130 million economic impact payments (EIP)—more than $220 billion worth—have been directly deposited into bank accounts or mailed in the form of paper checks to eligible people across the country. These funds are the result of a $2 trillion-plus stimulus relief package recently passed by Congress known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to help support American families and businesses during this global pandemic.
However, millions of Americans still haven't received their checks yet. Millions more are not eligible to receive EIP checks, including those without a social security number and anyone who can be claimed as a dependent on another person's tax return.
And even those people who have received their stimulus check may be realizing that a one-time benefit isn't enough to cover all expenses as COVID-19 shutdowns stretch into their third month and beyond.
For those feeling the effects of the extended lockdown and struggling financially, there are a range of assistance options available in Hawaii.
Recovery Grants for Oahu Residents and Small Businesses
The City and County of Honolulu recently announced two $25 million grant programs funded by the federal CARES Act. For families and individuals in need, benefits can include up to $1,000 per month towards housing costs, including mortgage, rent or utilities, as well as $500 per month for childcare, up to six months. To qualify, an individual must earn less than $84,000 a year and be able to demonstrate hardship due to COVID-19.
For Oahu business owners, one-time grants of up to $10,000 are available for small businesses with a commercial address, fewer than 30 employees and no more than $1 million in annual revenue.
Information on how to apply for these grants is available online at oneoahu.org. The site also offers up-to-date news from the City and County of Honolulu about which city services are functioning, as well as links to community resources.
State and private utility providers have announced relief measures for local residents. Governor David Ige extended the moratorium on evictions, which prevents any eviction from a residential dwelling in Hawaii for failure to pay rent, through May 31. Hawaii Gas and the Hawaiian Electric Company have also extended moratoriums on service cancellations for electricity and gas usage due to non-payment; Hawaii Gas will not be interrupting gas service through at least May 31, and HECO will continue to suspend any disconnections of power through June 30. Spectrum will neither terminate service nor charge late fees for residential or small business customers that are unable to pay for high-speed Internet and cable through June 30.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal program sponsored through the Department of Agriculture and administered by the Department of Human Services that provides food assistance if your income falls below a certain level.
For those on Hawaii Island in need of food, The Food Basket (808-933-6030) operates daily food pantries and soup kitchens, while the Hawaii Food Bank and Maui Food Bank distributes food to pantries and feeding programs throughout Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai and Lanai. (Call 211 for a referral to the nearest participating program.)
Additionally, the Hawaii Department of Education is providing free breakfast and lunch for children ages 18 or younger during the extended break. Meals can be picked up between 7:30 and 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday, excluding holidays, at various schools throughout the state.
For quarantined individuals and other families in need, nonprofit organizations such as Lanakila Meals on Wheels and Help Is On The Way may provide food delivery services. Our Kupuna connects elderly adults and senior citizens with volunteers who can assist in getting groceries, medication, and other essential supplies.
Loan Extensions, Forbearance and Emergency Loans
Bank of Hawaii is offering forbearance and extension programs on existing residential mortgages, home equity loans and lines of credit, and personal and auto loans, allowing borrowers to defer payments for up to six months. By participating in these financial assistance programs, no late charges will be assessed during any period of deferred payment.
Additionally, Bank of Hawaii is offering emergency loans of $1,000 to $3,000 with a fixed interest rate of 3.00 percent (2.998 percent annual percentage rate) over a 40-month loan term. There's no payment required for the first four months, and no loan origination fee. A Bank of Hawaii personal checking or savings account and valid email address are required for loan closings to be conducted electronically while at home. Subject to credit approval. Click here to learn more about Bank of Hawaii's financial programs and emergency loan options.
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