Tips to not let Hurricane Harvey wreck your finances too.
Hurricane Harvey is still wreaking havoc in Texas and Louisiana, and it will likely be a long time before victims are able to assess the damage done to their homes and finances.
For those who are out of danger, there are a few simple things to do now that could offer both immediate financial relief and protection down the line.
If you think you'll be away from your home for a few weeks, call your utility and cable providers to suspend service or have your bills rerouted to a P.O. Box or temporary location.
Call your lenders
It's also a good idea to let your lenders know that you've been impacted by a storm. Credit card companies, student loan providers and others may reduce minimum payments or defer late fees for those impacted by a disaster like Harvey.
"Make sure to call your home mortgage company and other lines of credit to see if they will allow you to negotiate a lower payment for a few months or extend your grace period," advised Jon Ulin, a certified financial planner and Managing Principal of Ulin & Co. Wealth Management, a branch of LPL Financial in Boca Raton, Florida.
Late payments can hurt your credit score, so letting creditors know what's going on with you could prevent a tricky situation later on. "You want to nip those things in the bud," said Bishop.
Apply for federal and local disaster assistance
If you've been unable to get to work because of a natural disaster, you can apply for Disaster Unemployment Assistance. The Texas Workforce Commission is accepting applications now through September 27. Once you've applied, you have 21 days to submit the required documents. More information is available on the TWC website.
TWC's director of communications Lisa Givens added that the organization "can offer a temporary income replacement in the form of Unemployment insurance benefits for eligible workers until they are able get back on their feet."
FEMA also offers financial assistance. Harvey victims may be eligible for Transitional Sheltering Assistance or Critical Needs Assistance, a one-time payment of up to $500 per household. FEMA has also expedited payment for National Flood Insurance policy holders. Those who qualify could get up to $10,000.
FEMA's Disaster Assistance website can help you find local resources and applications for other types of aid.
Toyota Financial Services (TFS) announced it is offering payment relief options to its customers affected by Hurricane Harvey. This broad outreach includes any Toyota Financial Services (TFS) or Lexus Financial Services (LFS) customer in the designated disaster areas.
We at Toyota Financial Services care about the safety and well-being of our customers and want to help those impacted by the hurricane. Impacted lease and finance customers residing in the devastated areas may be eligible to take advantage of several payment relief options, some of which include:
- extensions and lease deferred payments
- redirecting billing statements
- arranging phone or on-line payments
Toyota Financial Services will proactively attempt to contact customers in the affected areas to assess their needs and inform customers of the options available to them.
Customers who would like to discuss their account options are encouraged to contact TFS or LFS:
Toyota Financial Services customers may call (800) 874-8822 or contact TFS via email using the Mail Center function after logging into ToyotaFinancial.com.
Lexus Financial Services customers may call 800-874-7050 or contact LFS via email using the Mail Center function after logging into LexusFinancial.com.
We extend our heartfelt thoughts to those affected by the natural disaster.
Mortgage Relief from Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac for Homeowners Affected by Harvey and Irma
If you are affected by Hurricane Harvey or Irma, you may be eligible to temporarily stop making your monthly mortgage payment for up to 12 months.
You must contact your mortgage servicer (the company where you send your monthly payments) as soon as possible.
If you have difficulty contacting your mortgage services, contact the Homeowner’s HOPE hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673) for assistance and FREE confidential support from a HUD-approved housing counselor. For more information, see attached flyer
For additional disaster recovery resources, please visit www.harrisrecovery.org