Coronavirus & Pro Bono Planning Resource Center
The coronavirus pandemic is affecting all Americans and the U.S. economy. In this fluid and rapidly developing environment, there’s a strong need for credible, accurate information delivered in a timely manner. FFP is committed to providing pro bono financial planners, their clients, our grantees and partners with necessary tools and resources to help navigate the crisis as it relates to personal finance and pro bono financial planning. Topics covered below include Financial Resources for Individuals & Families, COVID-19 Legislation & Policies, Coronavirus Coverage in Advisory Profession Media, Trainings & Webinars, and Resources for Pro Bono Engagements.
As the situation develops, we will post additional information, resources, links and opportunities on this page that can help planners and families.
Financial Resources for Individuals & Families
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) provides a list of resources to help individuals and families protect themselves financially from the financial impact of coronavirus, both in the short and long term. This includes:
- Mortgage and Housing Assistance
- Tips on managing your finances
- Understanding fraud and scams
- Resources for service members
The CFPB also has a free, downloadable Financial Toolkit that contains several useful worksheets to help individuals create a budget, track their spending, prioritize bills, create a debt payment plan, and more; it also provides Bulk Publications and other resources nonprofits and practitioners can use to help people in need.
In “Your Money: A Hub for Help During the Coronavirus Crisis,” the New York Times provides basic information on topics such as government benefits, free services and financial strategies. The guide is organized into the following categories:
- How unemployment insurance works
- Help for renters trying to stave off eviction
- Ways to keep the lights on and the phones working
- More things that might help
The New York Times also provides answers to common consumer questions about Social Security and the coronavirus, including if you should claim your benefits early and how to file for benefits.
The New York Times discusses several steps that renters can take to avoid eviction, even as eviction moratoriums end.
CBS answers questions on being furloughed due to coronavirus.
Bankrate offers guidance on what to do if you’ve lost your job due to coronavirus.
- The IRS has launched two portals: a stimulus payment registration portal where non-tax filers can supply their bank information in order to receive their stimulus payment through direct deposit, and a stimulus payment tracking portal where tax filers can track their payment, confirm payment type and enter their bank information in order to receive their stimulus payment through direct deposit.
- AARP has compiled the contact information for all 50 state unemployment agencies.
- The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering several relief options to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a Emergency Loans for Small Business Guide.
- Small businesses can apply here for an emergency loan through SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
- SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application is available here.
- If your nonprofit received a PPP loan, Network For Good’s webinar “Staying Afloat: PPP Loan Forgiveness, Accounting, Tracking and Reporting For Nonprofits” provides comprehensive instructions to properly account, track, and report PPP loan funds.
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a list of resources that could help individuals with their energy bills.
- Benefits.gov has developed a Coronavirus Help Center to help Americans navigate government benefits and assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.
- MilitaryOneSource provides information on how COVID-19 affects service members’ pay, benefits, and more.
- GreenPath, Inc.: GreenPath, Inc. is a non-profit, financial wellness organization that has been empowering people to lead financially healthy lives since 1961. It offers free credit counseling and debt management solutions that are personal and tailored to each situation. Call 1-800-550-1961 to speak with a team member.
- National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC): NFCC promotes the national agenda for financially responsible behavior. Call 1-800-388-2227 to speak to a counselor near you. Para ayuda en Español llama al 1-800-682-9832.
- Britepaths and the Financial Empowerment Center at South County (in Virginia) offers free virtual financial coaching and classes. Please call 703-704-6101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment to speak to a qualified financial coach or to inquiry about upcoming classes.
- The CASH Campaign of Maryland also is available to provide virtual financial coaching to those in need. Please visit http://cashmd.org/financial-coaching/ for more information.
COVID-19 Legislation & Policies
Federal, state, and local governments are working to respond to the growing public health threat of coronavirus, or COVID-19. The following resources provide some information on what the United States government is doing in response to the virus.
- The NY Times examines the recent Executive Orders on supplemental unemployment benefits, suspension of some payroll taxes, extended relief for student loan borrowers, and eviction relief.
- August 25, 2020 update: 30 states are now able to offer an extra $300 a week in federal unemployment benefits.
- September 2, 2020 update: The CDC orders a halt on evictions for renters who meet the eligibility criteria.
- The NY Times explains the $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus bill, also known as the CARES Act. Find answers about stimulus payments, unemployment benefits, student loans, and more.
- Extended deadlines for 2019 IRA contributions, waived RMDs for 2020, and additional relief provisions: Financial Planning Magazine highlights how the stimulus package helps retirees.
- NPR breaks down the Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- COVID-19 Legislation by State
- SavingForCollege lists the states and student loan companies who have agreed to provide forbearance to borrowers with private student loans.
Coronavirus Coverage in Advisory Profession Media
FFP’s media partners are covering top stories and trends as COVID-19 takes a daily toll on the market and American economy. Visit their sites for the latest financial news on the crisis:
Trainings & Webinars
The Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training is a free, 50-minute online module that helps financial planners understand the basics of how to provide pro bono service to underserved members of the community. The Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training is approved for one hour of continuing education (CE) credit by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board). After viewing the training in its entirety, volunteers must take and pass a self-assessment to receive their CE credit. The Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training is Presented by Capital Group.
*A version of the Pro Bono Financial Planning Volunteer Training specially geared to FPA members is also available on FPA’s site here.
Using Financial Empathy to Help All Clients Achieve Financial Well-being and Empowerment: Race, ethnicity, and gender play a significant role in how consumers interact with the financial services industry. This webinar explores financial well-being across a diverse set of identity groups and discusses the how financial planners can use financial empathy to empower individuals to improve their well-being. The webinar deck is available here.
Pro Bono Financial Planning During the COVID-19 Crisis: What Advisors and Clients Need to Know provides advisors with information relevant to pro bono service during COVID-19, including: an overview of the stimulus package; discussion of legislative provisions such as unemployment insurance, rent/mortgage, retirement accounts, taxes, and more; and additional resources for pro bono advisors and their clients.
Public Benefits & Other Social Services: What Pro Bono Advisors Need to Know provides a comprehensive overview of public benefits and social services, including: detailed explanations of entitlement and welfare programs such as Social Security Disability Insurance and SNAP, eligibility criteria, and how to apply. The webinar deck is available here.
If your nonprofit does not currently recruit pro bono financial planners, we have developed 5 steps Nonprofits Can Use to Get Started to help you engage volunteer financial advisors in your programs.
Resources for Pro Bono Engagements
Sample Client / Planner Letter of Engagement: A letter of engagement, which must be signed by the financial planner and the client, is an important tool in a pro bono relationship. The Foundation for Financial Planning provides a letter of engagement for pro bono financial planners. The Financial Planning Association also provides a letter of engagement for FPA members that engage in pro bono financial planning.
- Secure your Financial Future: Building Wealth is a personal finance education resource that presents an overview of wealth-building strategies for consumers, community leaders, teachers and students.
- Accomplishing Financial Mission Workbook PDF (military population)
- Navigating Your Financial Roadmap Workbook PDF (all populations)