The pandemic’s toll on the health and pockets of millions of Americans is devastating.

While some individuals with large retirement accounts are able to weather the pandemic out, there’s a large contingent of workers who are not as lucky, forced to tap into their retirement savings just to get by.

When the federal government issued $1,200 stimulus checks several months ago, there were those who tucked it away for a rainy day and those who put it to work immediately.

Before the pandemic, the unemployment rate stood at 3.5%. By April, it had risen to nearly 15%, putting nearly 21 million people out of work. While the unemployment rate has improved, those lost wages are making it very difficult for people to stay afloat. Consumer spending is also down significantly.

These factors correlate with another unfortunate phenomenon: People are dipping into their hard-earned retirement savings accounts.

One silver lining in all this is that the CARES Act allows people with traditional IRAs or employer-funded plans to make substantial withdrawals without a 10% penalty. Nevertheless, it can take up to six years for individuals to recoup their savings.

Saving for retirement will not get easier, either. While there are some positive developments as it relates to a vaccine, markets remain turbulent and there’s no clear indicator as to when things will turn around and provide long-term stability for retirement accounts to flourish once again.

Retirees heavily reliant upon Social Security benefits aren’t getting much additional help either. In 2021, recipients can expect a 1.3% cost-of-living adjustment. On average, that means an additional $20 per month.

With so much uncertainty and economic hardship, opportunities to build up savings may seem few and far between, especially to those entering or living retirement life.

Retirees over the age of 62 can leverage a home equity conversion mortgage to increase their financial resources during this challenging time.

The conversion mortgage program does a number of positive things, including eliminating monthly mortgage payments to allow retirees to boost their retirement income without having to move or sell their home. With this program, retirees retain the option to sell the home or pass remaining equity onto heirs while also stabilizing their financial means.

*(1) at the conclusion of a reverse mortgage, the borrower must repay the loan and may have to sell the home or repay the loan from other proceeds; (2) charges will be assessed with the loan, including an origination fee, closing costs, mortgage insurance premiums and servicing fees; (3) the loan balance grows over time and interest is charged on the outstanding balance; (4) the borrower remains responsible for property taxes, hazard insurance and home maintenance, and failure to pay these amounts may result in the loss of the home; and (5) interest on a reverse mortgage is not tax deductible until the borrower makes partial or full repayment. This material is not from HUD or FHA and has not been approved by HUD or any government agency.