FOOD ASSISTANCE  

The Belmond Area Food Pantry has plenty of food for distribution. The food pantry has very few restrictions on who can receive food deliveries.

  For more information on the food pantry or to request a delivery, call JoEllen Reynolds at Trinity Lutheran Church, 641-444-4149.

  There will not be a community meal at Trinity Lutheran Church this month due to restrictions imposed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

  The Food Bank of Iowa’s monthly mobile food pantry in Belmond will be held on Tuesday, April 28 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

  The mobile pantry is free and open to the public, steered to individuals in need of food assistance. The pantry will be set up as a drive-through service again this month. Food will be delivered directly to vehicles by volunteers. This is the same plan that was used in March.

  Please do not arrive at the mobile food pantry before 2:30 p.m.

ELDERLY ASSISTANCE

  During the Covid-19 outbreak, Wright County Public Health is encouraging persons 60 and older to stay home and practice social isolation. The agency is offering free services for grocery shopping, picking up medications, and running important errands.

  If you need help, call Stacy at Wright County Public Health: 515-532-3461.

UNEMPLOYMENT HELP

  If you are laid off due to Covid-19 or have to stay home to self-isolate, care for family members or due to illness related to Covid-19, you can receive unemployment benefits.

  Eligibility requirements include working for wages from an employer who claims you as an employee in six of the last 18 months and have earned at least $2,500 in the same time period.

  More specific explanation of benefit eligibility can be found at: https://www.iowaworkforce development.gov/2019-unemployment-insurance-claimant-handbook.

  Once you have filed a claim, you can expect to receive payment within 7-10 days after the date the claim is filed.

STUDENT LOAN HELP

  Student loan borrowers hit hard by the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak can find some help thanks to legislation passed by Congress.

  The federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act suspends payments on federal student loans until Sept. 30.

  Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller urged private lenders and creditors not part of the CARES Act to provide a reprieve for distressed borrowers.

  If you are paying off student loans, here’s what you need to know.

  Not all loans qualify. The suspension mandated in the CARES Act is only for loans held by the U.S. Department of Education. It does not cover the FFELP (Federal Family Education Loan Program) or Perkins loans held by private lenders, nor does it cover private loans. However, some private lenders might provide these benefits on a voluntary basis. If you’re not sure whether you qualify, contact your loan servicer. If you don’t know who your loan servicer is, you can look it up at Federal Student Aid: studentaid.gov/fsa-id/sign-in/landing.

  If your loan does qualify, you don’t need to do anything. Your payments will automatically stop through Sept. 30. Interest is suspended, too. No interest will accrue on your loan until Sept. 30, so your outstanding loan balance won’t grow while your payments are suspended.

  Collection on defaulted loans is also suspended. If you’re in default, your wages will not be garnished until Sept. 30.

  You can still pay if you want to. If you choose to continue paying off your loans during the suspension, your monthly payments will be the same as before the suspension.

  You won’t lose eligibility for loan forgiveness. If you’re in a public service loan forgiveness program or an income-driven plan that requires a certain number of consecutive payments, this period of suspension will not count as an interruption.

  You will still be responsible for your loan. After Sept. 30, you will be responsible for paying on your loan once again. The amount will not be reduced.

  If you’re an employer, you can contribute up to $5,250 toward each worker’s student debt through Dec. 31 on a tax-free basis.

  Guidance on student loan suspension is subject to change. You can find recent news and updates at Federal Student Aid: studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus.