DCWP Commissioner Salas Urges New Yorkers To Use It’s Free Financial Resources

May 12, 2020

Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas today urged New Yorkers to access their financial empowerment resources and to get their Economic Impact Payment by direct deposit because its faster and safer. Anyone who filed their 2019 (or 2018) tax return and did not provide direct deposit information, must enter account information by noon on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, to get their payment by direct deposit. DCWP has various resources and services to help New Yorkers navigate financial hardships, including information about stimulus payments and how to access them, dealing with debt collectors, free financial counseling by phone, virtual tax preparation, and information about opening a bank account and student loan payments.

“So many New Yorkers are struggling financially right now and might not even know when they’ll see their next paycheck,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “We want to make sure New Yorkers know that we are here for them. Whether it’s filing your taxes and getting your full refund, budgeting how to spend your stimulus check, opening a bank account, or getting debt collectors to stop calling – we can help.”

DCWP’s financial resources include:

  • Debt Collection: If you are facing financial hardship due to COVID-19, you can request debt collection agencies to stop contacting you about your existing debt with a joint letter from the agency. DCWP has created a joint letter template that you can fill out and mail (required by federal law) so debt collectors can’t contact you until the State of Emergency in New York City has ended. Translated information about the letter will be available soon. If they continue to contact you, you can file a complaint with DCWP by calling 311 or visiting nyc.gov/consumers. DCWP also has a Debt Collection Guide so you know your rights when a debt collector contacts you.
  • Economic Impact Payments: If you filed your 2019 (or 2018) tax return and did not provide direct deposit information, you must enter account information at irs.gov/getmypayment by Wednesday, May 13 at 12 p.m. to get your payment by direct deposit, which is faster and safer. If you receive federal benefits and are not required to file taxes, NYC Financial Empowerment Centers can guide you on how to use IRS tools to check the status of your stimulus payment and get your payment by direct deposit. For more information, DCWP created What You Need to Know about Economic Impact Payments.
  • NYC Financial Empowerment Centers provide free financial counseling by phone. The Centers’ professional financial counselors can help you deal with a sudden loss of income, budget—including opening a bank account and direct deposit, how to spend your stimulus payment or tax refund, deal with debt, communicate financial hardship to your creditors, and more. Visit nyc.gov/TalkMoney to schedule an appointment. Financial counseling is confidential and offered in multiple languages, and there are no income or immigration restrictions.
  • NYC Free Tax Prep is now offering remote tax preparation services.
    • Virtual Tax Prep is an end-to-end service where an IRS certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)/Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) volunteer preparer will video conference with you to prepare your 2019 tax return using a secure digital system. This service is available for families earning $64,000 or less in 2019 and single filers earning $45,000 or less in 2019. Note: Volunteer preparers can also assist non-filers with stimulus payments.
    • Assisted Self-Preparation allows you to complete your tax return online on your own and an IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparer will be available by phone or email to answer your questions. Eligibility requirements vary by site.

Visit nyc.gov/taxprep or call 311 for more information. The IRS deadline to file is now July 15, 2020.

  • Opening a Bank Account: A bank or credit union account keeps your money secure and can save you money from check cashing and money wire transfer businesses. It can help you take advantage of tools to manage your money and monitor your spending. And if you are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment or IRS tax refund, you can get the payment faster with direct deposit. DCWP has compiled information about various banking options, which is available at nyc.gov/TalkMoney.

DCWP’s Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) works to educate, empower, and protect New Yorkers and their communities so they can improve their financial health and build assets. For more information about OFE and its programs other programs, visit nyc.gov/dcwp.

NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 75,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance.

Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at nyc.gov/dcwp or on its social media sites, TwitterFacebookInstagram and YouTube.

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