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Financial help available for gig workers during COVID-19 crisis

Financial help available for gig workers during COVID-19 crisis
Posted at 3:07 PM, May 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-08 15:09:27-04

Independent workers or those who are newly unemployed and looking to get into gig work are getting new financial help. This comes as so many of us try to make ends meet as the country works to rebound.

National nonprofit GreenPath Financial Wellness is partnering with the Association of Independent Workers to help.

“Pre-pandemic we knew that about 60% of these full-time gig workers would have trouble covering a $400 emergency and today through no fault of their own, many more are facing financial challenges,” said Rick Bialobrzeski, Executive Vice President of Strategy at GreenPath.

GreenPath is now offering financial counseling, debt management, and help with benefits and insurance programs specific to independent workers. It’s all free over the phone.

GreenPath has been having a lot of people ask about mortgage assistance and if it's a good deal for them. Also, people are calling confused about which assistance programs are available to them. You can get answers to both of these issues.

The pandemic is also creating new opportunities for gig work. But financial experts say don't just jump into it.

“I would not go into gig workout without doing some research first and making sure I felt good financially about what I needed to do and a plan for doing that,” said Bialobrzeski.

The most important thing to remember through all of this is there is no judgment in reaching out for help. And the longer you wait, the less financial experts may be able to do for you.

Some gig workers have been getting creative as they've been waiting for their benefits.

For an example, Indianapolis photographer Ashley Raines says her business is at a standstill. So, she's switching gears to pay the bills and has started taking online orders for appreciation baskets.

"It's called BBB — Bag It Box It Basket — and it makes it easier on men to gift women to show their appreciation," Raines said.

Before Raines hand delivers the bag, box or basket, the customer sends her on a shopping trip with a list of the type of items the recipient would enjoy.

"For some men, if it's a love basket he might say put her a little outfit in there so I'll look for an outfit or I had a lady ask me to make one for her mother, she wanted it to be a relaxation basket, so I found her a robe, some slippers, bath bombs," said Raines.

She says the one positive thing from the pandemic is it has given her the push she needed to act on the business ideas she's been sitting on.