COVID-19 Resources





Introduction

Our nation is facing one of the gravest health and economic emergencies in more than 100 years. The coronavirus pandemic has had a deep impact on every aspect of American life — and bold action is required to address the health emergency, mitigate the economic damage and provide for a strong recovery. 
Since the beginning of the epidemic, House Democrats have focused on ensuring our nation’s response puts workers and families first: their health, their wages and their wellbeing.

We have already passed and signed into law three sweeping pieces of legislation:
• The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
• The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
• The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

Together, these laws dramatically expand critical financial lifelines for families, establish new benefits and protections for workers, create new tools for small businesses to meet payroll and other expenses, and provide relief for students and schools.

This Families First Coronavirus Constituent Service Resource Toolkit will help you understand all the benefits that are available to you and your community — and how to access them.



Individuals & families

Unemployment insurance

More laid-off and furloughed workers than ever before (including those new to the job market) will be eligible for Unemployment Insurance and will see an additional $600 per week to match the average paycheck for up to 4 months of benefits. These benefits will be available immediately.

Residents seeking more information about UI benefits should contact the state unemployment insurance program. 
Florida's Reemployment Assistance
Florida's Reemployment Assistance - paper applications

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance & Florida Unemployment Fact Sheets and Questions & Answers (State of Florida)

Direct payments to individuals & their families 

Individuals making up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married workers) will receive payments of $1,200 with an additional $500 payment per minor child. The payments decrease ratably and stop altogether for single workers making more than $99,000 ($198,000 for married workers and $218,000 for a family of four.)

These payments will be issued by the IRS via direct deposit and will be based on 2019 or 2018 tax return or 2019 Social Security statement.

If someone has not filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and does not receive Social Security benefits, the IRS recommends filing a 2018 return to receive payment. If the IRS does not have the taxpayer’s bank account information, the taxpayer should look for a letter from the IRS detailing how to receive their payment.

If you receive Social Security, retirement or other social safety net benefits, you may still qualify for direct payments. These payments will not be taxable nor represent “resources” for program eligibility purposes. Click here for more information from the IRS

Food assistance

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, ensures that Americans receive the food they need, especially if they are newly unemployed. Congress has invested in SNAP in the last three bills to help Americans put food on the table during this crisis. In order to apply for SNAP, contact the State of Florida Food Assistance

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) provides access to nutritious foods to low-income pregnant women or mothers.

To see if you are eligible for WIC benefits click here. To learn more about how to apply for WIC click here. To learn about WIC in Florida, click here.

Food banks

Congress has now secured $850 million in emergency funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help food banks face increased utilization and demand in countless communities across the country due to the coronavirus. For more information, visit Feeding Tampa Bay.  

Homeowners & renters protections

Mortgage Forbearance: Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages (for members of federally-recognized tribes) and those with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac have the right to request forbearance on their payments for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months without fees, penalties, or extra interest. Homeowners should contact their mortgage servicing company directly.

Eviction Protections:  Renters residing in public or assisted housing, or in a home or apartment whose owner has a federally-backed mortgage, and who are unable to pay their rent, are protected from eviction for 4 months. Property owners are also prohibited from issuing a 30-day notice to a tenant to vacate a property until after the 4-month moratorium ends. This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and federally-issued or guaranteed mortgages. Renters whose landlord is not abiding by the moratorium should contact the relevant federal agency that administers their housing program or their local Legal Aid office.

Energy assistance for low-income families

 

Emergency paid leave

 

Small businesses

Small business forgivable loans & grants

Congress secured $350 billion in forgivable loans and $10 billion in grants to small businesses, tribal business concerns, and certain nonprofits.

Loans through a new SBA 7(a) Paycheck Protection Program can be forgiven when used for payroll costs (including paid leave, health care, and other costs) to retain workers, and other expenses such as rent, mortgage interest, and utilities. Independent contractors, sole-proprietors, and other self-employed persons are eligible for these loans.

Small businesses can also apply for up to $10,000 in grants to retain workers and pay for debt obligations.

Small businesses, tribal business concerns, 501(c)(3) nonprofits, and 501(c)(19) veterans organizations in your district should contact their lender and the Small Business Administration office directly. 

Small business forgivable loans & grants

Employers who provide required leave to their employees and who employ less than 500 employees are eligible for a tax credit to offset the costs of such leave. This tax relief will be provided against quarterly payroll taxes (those paid in connection the Form 941). For additional guidance, please refer to the IRS’s website

Medium-sized businesses

 

Students & Educators

Student loan relief for borrowers

If you have student loan debt, Congress secured several options outlined below for borrowers that help provide relief through September 30, 2020. During this period, a borrower will be able to:
• Pause payments for federal student loan borrowers who have Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), which means these borrowers will not be required to make any payments toward outstanding interest or principal balance.
• Suspend interest accrual for such loans so that these balances don’t accrue.
• Avoid forced collections such as garnishment of wages, tax refunds, & Social Security benefits.
• Halt negative credit reporting.
• Ensure a borrower continues to receive credit toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Driven Repayment forgiveness, and loan rehabilitation.
• For additional guidance on how to apply and learn about next steps as this critical relief becomes available, please refer to the U.S. Department of Education website.

School meals

 As more schools close due to coronavirus, Congress has provided emergency funding for Child Nutrition Programs to ensure students can still receive their free or reduced-price school meals during this time. To learn more, click here to learn more about what Florida is doing during this time.

Stabilization funding for education

Congress secured $30.75 billion in funding for school districts, states and higher education institutions to ensure state resources and investments are not diverted from life-long learning.

For additional guidance on how to apply and learn about next steps as this critical relief becomes available, please refer to the U.S. Department of Education website


Resources & Information

Team Castor COVID-19 Quick Guide

COVID-19 Resource Toolkit

Lista de Recursos sobre COVID-19

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Provisions Related to Unemployment Compensation in the CARES Act

Information for Small Businesses in the CARES Act

Small Business Relief Measures in the CARES Act

Direct Cash Assistance: What you need to know

Direct Cash Payment Timeline