Resources for Memphians Experiencing Financial Hardship
On this Page
- Homeowners and Renters
- Defer Payments on Your Student Loans
- Limited Internet Access
- Contact the Social Security Administration
- The Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability
- Economic Impact Payments
- Unemployment Insurance
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has extended a ban on evictions and foreclosures for homes backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) through the end of 2020. This applies to roughly 8.1 million homeowners with single-family mortgages.
On May 15, 2020, House Democrats passed the Heroes Act, legislation that provides crucial aid for Memphians as the coronavirus pandemic persists. To assist hardworking Americans with housing, the Heroes Act would expand the availability of mortgage forbearance to all multifamily borrowers and the current eviction moratorium to virtually all renters for 12 months.
Here’s how you can learn more or get help:
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Guide to coronavirus mortgage relief options.
- Visit the CFPB to find a housing counselor. You may also call (800) 569-4287.
The CARES Act, which was signed into law on March 27, 2020, allows Americans to opt to suspend their federal student loan payments through September 30th. To set this up, you must contact your loan service provider.
The bill also suspends all involuntary debt collection on student loans, including wage garnishment and tax refund reduction. Additionally, regardless of whether you choose to suspend your payments, interest on all federal student loans has been automatically suspended through September 30, 2020.
Below is a list of major loan providers. If you’re not sure who your student loan servicer is, you can call Federal Student Aid at 1-800-433-3243.
- CornerStone: 1-800-663-1662
- ECSI: 1-866-313-3793
- FedLoan Servicing (PHEAA): 1-800-699-2908
- Granite State — GSMR: 1-888-556-0022
- Great Lakes Educational Loan Services, Inc.: 1-800-236-4300
- HESC/Edfinancial: 1-855-337-6884
- MOHELA: 1-888-866-4352
- Navient: 1-800-722-1300
- Nelnet: 1-888-486-4722
- OSLA Servicing: 1-866-264-9762
Millions of Americans who are now eligible for the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) or Medicaid are also eligible for the Federal Communications Commision’s Lifeline program. The Lifeline program is the primary federal program charged with helping low-income families obtain broadband and telephone services. To increase awareness about the program, I sent a letter along with my colleagues urging the FCC to work with other federal agencies and ensure that those who are eligible have the information they need. Learn more about the Lifeline program here.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Social Security Offices are currently only offering phone services. Here is a link to find your local field office. If you know which office you are trying to reach, please find the number below:
- Austin Peay Highway office: 1-855-420-8557
- Monroe Avenue office: 1-866-336-2212
- South Third St office: 1-855-782-9155
More information about the Social Security Administration and its current services in light of the coronavirus outbreak may be found here.
The Commission has a number of resources available for elderly and disabled adults, including assistance with grocery delivery. Please visit https://www.tn.gov/aging.html, call 1-866-836-6678 or email TN.Aging@tn.gov
Non-Filers: Submit Information to the IRS by October 15, 2020
Americans who typically don’t file federal income tax returns must claim an Economic Impact Payment through the IRS's Non-Filers tool by October 15, 2020. Those unable to access the Non-Filers tool may submit a simplified paper return following the procedures described in the Economic Impact Payment FAQs on IRS.gov. People can also wait until next year and claim it as a credit on their 2020 federal income tax return by filing in 2021.
Beginning two weeks after they register, people can track the status of their payment using the Get My Payment tool on IRS.gov. To help address fraud concerns, a copy of the letter is available on IRS.gov. The IRS will mail letters to 9 million Americans regarding this information beginning September 24th.
Non-Filers: Submit Information on Dependent Children to Receive $500 Supplemental by September 30, 2020
Americans who typically don’t file federal income tax returns and who have not received the $500 supplemental payment for qualifying dependent children must submit information using the IRS's Non-Filers tool by September 30th to receive the payment. For information about qualifying children, see the IRS’s Economic Impact Payment Information Center.
My Office Can Help
The IRS has sent out the majority of its Economic Impact Payments, but some Memphians have still not received their payment. If you need help with your Economic Impact Payment, please call my Memphis office at 901-544-4131 and leave a voicemail with your callback number. The IRS has also made a phone number available for assistance with Economic Impact Payments at 800-919-9835.
Background on Economic Impact Payments
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congress passed and was signed into law on March 27, 2020, made cash rebates available to millions of Americans. Individuals making $75,000 or less ($150,000 for couples filing jointly) will receive a $1,200 check. This phases out up to $99,000 ($198,000 for couples filing jointly). Families received $500 for each dependent child under 17. All individuals with a Social Security number, including Social Security retirement and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients, are eligible.
To receive the economic impact payments, most people did not need to take any action. The IRS automatically calculated and distributed the payments to eligible Americans who already filed their 2019 tax returns. For those who had not yet filed their 2019 returns, the IRS used information from their 2018 tax returns. The payments were deposited directly into the banking account on the return filed or mailed to the filer’s home address depending on how they filed previous returns.
If you are not required to file taxes but you are a Social Security retirement recipient, Social Security disability recipient, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient or Railroad Retirement benefits recipient, you also should have received the payment automatically.
Background on Receiving an Economic Impact Payment as a Non-Filer
The IRS launched a web tool on April 10, 2020 for non-filers to receive the economic impact payments. However, non-filers who receive Social Security retirement benefits, Social Security disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Compensation and Pension benefit payments from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or Railroad Retirement benefits and do not have dependents should not use this tool because people in these groups should receive the economic impact payments automatically. People who should use the Non-Filers tool include:
- Lower income: This may include single filers who made under $12,200 and married couples making less than $24,400 in 2019 who did not file a 2018 or 2019 return because they are under the normal income limits for filing a tax return.
- Social Security retirement, Social Security disability, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), VA beneficiaries and Railroad Retirement recipients with qualifying dependents: These groups will automatically receive $1,200 Economic Impact Payments. However, people in these groups who have qualifying children under age 17 had to claim the $500 payment per child by May 5th using the “Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info” option.
Individuals will be asked to provide information including Social Security number, name, address, and dependents. Again, please find this tool here.
IRS Debit Cards
Please be aware that the IRS sent many Economic Impact Payments as prepaid debit cards instead of paper checks. These debit cards arrived in plain envelopes from "Money Network Cardholder Services." Do not throw these debit cards out-- they are your $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. Learn more on the IRS's website here.
Impact on Past-Due Child Support
The CARES Act did not exempt the Economic Impact Payments from federal offsets for child support arrears. If you are overdue on child support payments, the amount you owe in child support may have been deducted from your economic stimulus payment.
Working Timeline for Economic Stimulus Payments
- Week of April 13: The IRS began making direct deposit payments to those who filed 2018 or 2019 tax returns.
- Next, the IRS planned to make payments to Social Security beneficiaries who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019 and receive their Social Security benefits via direct deposit.
- End of April: The IRS began to issue paper checks at a rate of about 5 million per week. This could take up to 20 weeks.
- The checks will be issued in reverse “adjusted gross income” order, starting with people with the lowest income first.
Track Status of Payment
Use the IRS’s “Get My Payment” tool to track the status of your payment here.
Please note, “Get My Payment” cannot update bank account information after an Economic Impact Payment has been scheduled for delivery. To help protect against potential fraud, the tool also does not allow people to change bank account information already on file with the IRS.
Tax Preparers and Delays with Economic Impact Payments
Please note that if you used a tax preparer or received a refund anticipation loan on your most recent tax filing, your economic impact payment may go to your preparer instead of you and cause serious delays in getting your payment. Please visit the IRS Get My Payment page to make sure the IRS has your accurate direct deposit information.
My office can help: If you are experiencing issues with filing for unemployment benefits, please contact my Memphis office at 901-544-4131. Please leave a voicemail with your callback information and someone on my staff will get back to you as soon as possible.
Please be aware that due to the Senate's inaction, the federal unemployment supplement of $600 per week expired the week ending July 25, 2020. On May 15, 2020, House Democrats passed the Heroes Act, legislation that provides crucial aid for Memphians as the coronavirus pandemic persists. To address the dramatic spike in unemployment, this bill would extend the federal unemployment supplement of $600 per week through January 31, 2021. Unfortunately, the Senate has refused to vote on this legislation.