HOUSTON - Two new reports reveal the financial devastation many individuals and families face from the pandemic, and could face well into the future.
Millions of Americans who used to be middle class have slipped into lower income brackets during the pandemic, according to a new report from credit counseling agency, Money Management International.
"What we also see is they have debt levels, and rent payments and mortgage payments that you would associate with people who are solidly middle class," explained Michelle Sloan Jones, Chief External Affairs Officer for Money Management International.
MMI reports a 777% increase in Hispanics needing financial help, and a ten-fold increase in low-income Americans needing help. And many are at risk of crashing off a financial cliff soon.
"We have the eviction moratorium ending in June. We have the federal unemployment benefits set to end on a wide scale in September. We also have the end of forbearance on student loans," said Jones.
Meantime, the Identity Theft Resource Center published its 2021 Consumer Aftermath Report that shows nearly 30% of ID theft victims who contacted them over the last three years were hit by identity theft again, and that many suffer financial hardship from it.
"When I looked at these opportunity costs, 83% were unable to find housing, and 63% of our respondents had to incur debt to meet their financial obligations," said Eva Velsaquez, President and CEO of the ITRC.
The report also shows the emotional toll of identity theft. 10% reported considering suicide.
"Let that sink in. Ten percent of the people we surveyed were so overwhelmed by this event that they considered ending their life as an option," said Velasquez.
So what can you do if you're facing hardship? MMI says research shows one of the best solutions is to get financial counseling.
"Reach out. Do not think I can't do anything until I have all the money to pay my bills. That's not the case. You need to reach out when you're in trouble," said Jones.