Earlier this year, history was made. The United States government shutdown, which began on December 22nd, 2018, lasted a full 35 days, finally ending on January 25th, 2019. This shutdown was the longest one in our country’s history, and it affected over 800,000 federal workers and their families. If the government shutdown impacted you, one of your family members, or someone you know, you might have questions and concerns about your financial options, or even be worrying about bills and of course, your credit score.
At Quality Credit Repair, we’re not just the go-to debt relief company serving residents in and around Philadelphia. We’re also your trusted source of knowledge and information when it comes to helping to get and maintain a good credit score. If you’ve been affected by the historic government shutdown, then we can help.
So before you tap into your savings account or borrow money from a friend or family member, let’s take a look at some financial questions you might have about the shutdown and what you can do to lessen its impact on you.
What If I Used My Credit Cards to Pay for Everything?
If you’ve maxed out your credit cards trying to cover bills and other expenses, it can negatively affect your credit score. In fact, as your reliance on credit goes up and your balances get higher, your credit score can continue to drop.
Consider speaking with one of the many banks who are offering help to those who temporarily lost their salaries due to the shutdown. Many of these personal loans carry zero percent interest. You can also speak with one of our specialists to discuss your debt consolidation options.
What If I Missed My Mortgage Payment?
Most mortgages typically come with a 15-day grace period. After this duration, you’ll most likely be charged with a late fee, generally a percentage of your monthly payment. However, if this late payment stretches over 30 days, your credit score could suffer a dip of up to 100 points or more. Unfortunately, the higher your score is, the bigger the drop can be.
If you’re in this scenario due to the shutdown, talk to your lender and explain your situation. It’s possible that you could get your late fee removed. Whatever you do, don’t ignore it. If the unfulfilled payment goes 120 days, then your lender might even begin the foreclosure process. Don’t wait—address this now!
What If I Can’t Pay My Medical Bills?
Before panicking or borrowing from your retirement savings to pay down your medical bills, consider your options. You can start by contacting your creditors and discussing your situation as a government employee. Hospitals will sometimes offer zero percent interest payment plans, so you can negotiate a monthly payment that’s agreeable and affordable.
Remember, many Americans report their credit scores have suffered because of unpaid medical bills. If you don’t pay and then don’t contact your creditors and ask for help, then your bills can be reported as delinquent to credit bureaus, causing your score to plummet. The good news is, as of September 2017, all three credit bureaus need to wait 180 days before they can put your unpaid medical bills on their credit reports.
How Can I Move Forward?
Now that the shutdown is over, try to focus on creating an emergency fund. Start small, even at $25-$50 a month, and try to save enough to cover the bare necessities for six months if possible. The next time a financial disaster strikes, you’ll be more prepared, and the experience will be less stressful.
For more information on our debt relief counseling services, contact Quality Credit Repair today.