Do You Need Help Paying Bills? Here’s What to Do


We are in an unprecedented situation. The coronavirus (or COVID-19) is going to significantly impact the world economy, just how bad things are going to be, we can only speculate. But right now, things are already dire for some of you. If you need help paying bills or other forms of financial assistance, this post has a comprehensive list of resources.

Millions of Americans are out of a job in record numbers.

A record 3.3 million people filed claims for unemployment in the US last week as the Covid-19 pandemic shut down large parts of America’s economy. The figure is the highest ever reported, beating the previous record of 695,000 claims filed the week ending 2 October 1982.

Many of you reading this may be among that 3.3 million. A stimulus plan is coming, but we don’t know when. Unemployment benefits and stimulus checks could be weeks away.

While we wait for Washington to finish wrangling, we have mortgage payments, rent payments, utility bills, phone bills, the list goes on, that we have to pay.

To say nothing of our credit card bills and student loan debt.

But if you need help paying bills, support is available. We’ve made this list as exhaustive, comprehensive, and up to date as we could.


The coronavirus relief package, which is expected to fully pass in late March, greatly expands unemployment insurance. The first thing you should do is apply for unemployment benefits in your state if you’re eligible.

Getting unemployment may mean you don’t need help paying bills, or at least will need a lot less.

Federal Benefits

There are two main categories of government assistance benefits. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance will cover those who can’t work because of the outbreak, and that includes those in the gig economy, independent contractors, those who are ill, and those caring for an ill loved one.

The second part is an extra $600 a week for the next four months for those who have lost their jobs and are getting unemployment benefits in their state.

The $1,200 stimulus checks aren’t going to do much to help people pay their bills over the coming months, but the unemployment benefits will.

Once you’re receiving unemployment insurance in your state, you will be eligible for the $600 per week the federal emergency plan provides through July 31, 2020, on top of your state benefits.

And the $600 is across the board, it doesn’t matter how much you were making.

State Benefits

The weekly state benefits vary by state, and you can find a complete list here. Massachusettes leads with a maximum benefit of $742 per week while Mississippi is bringing up the rear with a max of $235 per week.

The number of weeks benefits are available also varies and is available on the linked chart.

Note: Most states provide up to 26 weeks, but this new bill provides an additional 13 weeks.

After that, an extended benefits program could be triggered, which will give an additional 13 to 20 weeks of state unemployment benefits.

Part-Time Benefits

If you worked part-time before this or your hours were cut because of it, your benefits will vary by state. Some provide unemployment benefits for part-time workers, and some don’t.

The bill provides funding to states that want to extend benefits to those who lost hours but were not laid off, but not all states will participate, and it’s up to each state to decide that.