By Emma Holton

My boyfriend and I live together. We split our monthly expenses; rent, utilities, car insurance, renter’s insurance, and grocery bills. 

Like so many others, he was laid off on March 17th due to the coronavirus pandemic. We had no choice; he immediately applied for unemployment insurance. 

It’s been 3 weeks, and we’ve not received any checks from the government, just a form that arrived a week ago asking for him to verify that he’s been looking for work.

A few days ago, he got a letter saying the maximum benefit he’d been awarded was $0. Clearly, a mistake. One that will take weeks to fix. Last week, 6.6 million Americans have sought unemployment, and we’re currently in line behind 878,000 Californians filing claims.

Meanwhile, it’s the first of the month, and our rent is due. Luckily, we had enough savings to cover it. It turns out, 78% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and 41% of American adults can’t cover a $400 emergency expense. So, what happens when there’s a pandemic? What percentage of households are prepared to cover that?

It feels like this pandemic has divided us into two groups, those that have been financially impacted almost instantly and those that will be impacted in the months to come. So, what are we supposed to do next month or the months after that? 

I plan to take advantage of my company’s financial wellness program called HoneyBee. The program provides me access to funds to help me pay my bills and a financial coach to walk me through this uncertain time.

We all need a little bit of help right now, so ask your employer, “What financial wellness programs can you offer me?”