Resources for Individuals
Unemployment – The third COVID 19 Relief Package, the CARES Act, greatly expands those who are able to receive benefits such as self-employed, contract, artist and gig economy employees, adds 13 weeks of unemployment benefits to Connecticut’s existing 26 weeks and adds a $600 per week additional federal payment to make the average worker whole during this crisis. One needs to file an unemployment claim with the Connecticut Department of Labor to access these benefits. If you’ve already filed, then your fine. If your benefits recently expired, reopen your claim to access the additional 13 weeks.
Also, please know that the CT DOL has received 2 years worth of claims in the past month and are still dealing with unprecedented demand which will delay your claim. They are working on implementing the benefits provided in the CARES Act as well as they lacked the mechanisms to deliver them when it passed. You can find more information on the Connecticut Department of Labor’s updates FAQ list here http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/DOLCOVIDFAQ.PDF
One time Economic Impact Payment – The CARES Act also contains a one time $1200 payment for single filers who make up to $75,000 a year, $150,000 for those filing jointly, and a $500 credit for each qualifying child under the age of 17. These payments phase out after those amounts. If you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return, or received a SSA 1099 for those on Social Security or a RRB 1099 for those on Railroad Retirement, you need no do anything to receive a payment. The payment will be sent to you as you would normally receive a refund, SS or Railroad Retirement.
Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans' benefits as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits. If you fall into this category, your safest route to ensure timely payment is to file your payment Information with the IRS here https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here
All information, including checking for eligibility and checking the status of your payment, can be found on the IRS website here.
To help provide additional assistance, the IRS is establishing a special phone line for taxpayers with questions about their Economic Impact Payments (EIP). That number is 800-919-9835.
Health Insurance – If you lost your health insurance coverage as a result of the COVID 19 crisis Access Health CT has opened up their Open Enrollment Period through April 17th. In addition to the enrollment period being reopened, losing one’s employment is a qualifying life event that would allow you to enroll. You can do so here on Access Health CT’s website www.accesshealthct.com
2-1-1 Resource Guide of Community-Based Programs
For help identifying and connecting with basic needs programs like food, utilities, healthcare, diapers, and more, visit https://uwc.211ct.org/covid19resources.
School Meals: Many school districts are continuing to provide meal service during extended school closures due to COVID-19. Visit the State Department of Education (SDE) (https://portal.ct.gov/sde) and use the links in the banner to determine which districts are providing food just to students and which are providing emergency meals for the community. For more information and links to view the distribution sites for some of the larger cities and towns, click here.
SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline (DDH): The Disaster Distress Helpline (800-985-5990) provides immediate crisis counseling and help to individuals nationwide who are experiencing psychological distress as a result of a natural or man-made disaster, or incidents of mass violence. The Helpline is available 24 hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week. The Helpline connects callers to professionals from the closest crisis counseling center in the nationwide network of centers. The Helpline staff will provide confidential counseling, referrals and other needed support services. Individuals can call or text ‘TalkWithUs’ to 66746. Other Talklines: For a list of other talklines/helplines that are available to individuals needing support, click here.