Updated: Aug 6, 2021
We know many students have lost access to jobs on- and off-campus due to social distancing restrictions, so we want to help you find access to money quickly.
Access to cash if you’ve lost your job
If you lost one or multiple jobs due to coronavirus, you are likely eligible for unemployment benefits and should file for them immediately. Unemployment benefits are provided at the state level. Find out how to apply for unemployment in Pennsylvania. When applying online or by phone (888-313-7284), it’s best to have the following information available:
SSN (social security number)
Home address and mailing address (if different)
Valid email address
PIN - Personal Identification Number (optional) - If you have previously filed an unemployment claim (UC) using your previous PIN can prevent you from having to re-enter your information
Direct deposit bank information (optional) - bank name, address, account, and routing number
For help looking for jobs, contact PA CareerLink centers by scheduling an appointment online, by calling 1-833-750-JOBS (5627), or by visiting their Career Seeker Virtual Resource Center. If you need help with finding affordable clothes for interviews and work in general, The Wardrobe, formerly called Career Wardrobe, is a nonprofit that provides both casualwear and professional clothing at low-cost prices, as well as free to anyone with a referral.
If you are pregnant, or have dependent children or relatives in the home, you may also apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). This public benefit provides support through bi-weekly cash allowances and other key supportive services. If you were already receiving assistance, be sure to connect with your caseworker to discuss how to manage unexpected changes in school or work schedules due to COVID-19 so that you continue receiving your benefits.
If you are not eligible for TANF, you may apply for the state’s Department of Human Services General Assistance program based on specific criteria. There are several ways to apply for the General Assistance program, including:
In-person at your local County Assistance Office (also accepts paper applications and may be limited to capacity during the pandemic)
Local Financial resources
Philadelphia Legal Assistance Offers legal assistance on housing, child custody, unemployment compensation, and tax issues.
New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC) Offers supportive services to help individuals and families track personal finances, along with housing assistance regarding renter’s rights, representation in housing court, and help with applying for mortgage forbearance. 2771 Ruth St., Suite 1 215-427-0350 firstname.lastname@example.org
People’s Emergency Center Offers counseling services for banking, budgeting, credit, and debt elimination needs, along with emergency, transitional, and permanent housing assistance. 267-777-5800 Community Resource Hotline: 267-777-5477 email@example.com
Philadelphia Interfaith Hospitality Network Offers individual counseling and weekly workshops for establishing a bank account, restoring credit, creating a savings plan, negotiating debts, and securing benefits (i.e., SNAP, TANF, etc.). Additional services include assistance with emergency and transitional housing. 7047 Germantown Ave. 215-247-4663 ext. 140
Asociacoin Puertorriquenos en Marcha (APM) Offers financial and supportive services to individuals and families including education on budgeting, debt reduction, credit repair, foreclosure counseling, predatory lending counseling, and money management. 600 Diamond St. 215-235-6070
Congreso de Latinos Unidos Offers assistance with housing counseling, rapid rehousing through the Office of Homeless Services referrals, tax preparation assistance, breast-feeding and parenting education, healthcare services, and support and advocacy for survivors and children exposed to domestic abuse and violence. 216 W. Somerset St. 215-763-8870 267-765-2272 firstname.lastname@example.org
BenePhilly Offers support and guidance with social service applications and legal assistance at various local organizations. 2761 North 22nd St. (mobile unit) 833-373-5668
Campus Philly Offers job and internship listings specifically for college and recent post-graduate people, including virtual events to directly connect with employers in the region who are currently hiring for entry-level jobs and/or internships.
Access help to pay for college
Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for financial aid, including the federal work-study program. Make sure you are mindful of the federal and state deadlines associated with the FAFSA.
If you are experiencing housing insecurity, the National Association for the Education of Homeless Youth and Children (NAEHCY) offers tips on how to apply for financial aid.
Your college or university may also offer special scholarships or grants if you are an essential worker. Check with the respective financial aid and/or services office to learn more about this potential funding opportunity.
You may also apply for emergency aid at your college or university. The information may be on their COVID-19 information webpage but if you do not find the application, a quick Google search for “emergency aid” or “emergency fund” and your institution’s name can help to locate it. Connect with the Dean of Students’ office to inquire about aid available for food, housing, and other basic needs, ask a trusted faculty member if your college has a “FAST Fund” available.
Access help to understand your student loans
The CARES Act protections for federal student loan borrowers has been extended to September 30, 2021 for interest accrual and payments. Nonpayment during this time will not affect public service loan forgiveness and other forgiveness or loan rehabilitation programs. Credit reporting, wage garnishment, and tax refund seizures will be halted during this forbearance period as well. If you have educational loans from a private lender or institution you should review their website to identify what relief they may be offering during the pandemic.
Access information for emergency loans
Like financial aid, we always recommend that you start with accessing money you won’t need to pay back; however, sometimes an emergency loan may be necessary. You may consider free interest loans that organizations like Central Scholarship and the Hebrew Free Loan Society, who are offering assistance during the pandemic.
Still in need of help? Check out the other sections of the Philadelphia Local Guide.
Please note: Edquity does not endorse nor is Edquity associated with any business, organization, product or service that is mentioned in these Guides. Edquity is not responsible for ensuring the accuracy of the information provided, which may change over time. We encourage you to contact the business or organization listed to receive the most up-to-date information.