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Resources for CT Residents Affected by the Coronavirus

Resources for CT Residents

Please note: the information and coordination of certain programs provided under new federal legislation is updated constantly. As Connecticut works quickly to accommodate new relief programs, please be sure to check department websites frequently.

FAQs

How do I know if I qualify for unemployment?

Individuals who have been furloughed or laid off are eligible for Unemployment Insurance (UI) with expanded eligibility and benefits. This includes an additional $600 a week for up to four months – known as Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which is intended to replace 100% of wages of the average American worker lost during this crisis. The FPUC will be paid at the same time as the Connecticut unemployment insurance checks.

Under the CARES Act, self-employed individuals, gig economy workers, and many individuals in the entertainment and performing arts industry may be eligible to receive unemployment insurance based on recent earnings in addition to the FPUC supplement.

For more information from the CT Department of Labor please see here.

Where can I find the latest CDC guidelines?

See here for the CDC’s guidelines on coronavirus and here for answers to more frequently asked questions.

What do I do if I am experiencing symptoms?

If you think you may be experiencing symptoms or have been in contact with someone with an unknown respiratory illness or a positive test for COVID-19, please call your healthcare provider. You may also call 833-ASK-YNHH (833-275-9644), Yale New Haven Hospital’s hotline, with questions about COVID-19.

Where can I pick up school meals for my child?

Connecticut has taken crucial measures to prioritize social distancing as much as possible. With schools closed, New Haven and Hamden schools have provided this map to locate school meal distributions.

I am experiencing food insecurity - am I eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)?

You may be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Please visit this website or call the SNAP helpline at 866-974-7627.

What if I am a small business owner – how can I get help?

Small businesses, non-profits, and veterans organizations will be eligible for several forms of relief.

The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program is offering emergency relief to qualifying small businesses and non-profits impacted by the outbreak. See here for more information. Please keep in mind, the assistance being offered for small business relief is evolving.

The federal government is also offering relief. Forgivable loans through the new Paycheck Protection Program can be used for payroll costs including paid leave and healthcare. Independent contractors and other self-employed individuals will be eligible for these loans. Small businesses are also eligible for up to $10,000 in Emergency Economic Injury grants to retain employees and pay for debt obligations. Debt relief will also be available to new and current SBA borrowers for the next six months.

For more information, visit the Small Business Administration website here.

What are the direct payments and who receives them?

Under the CARES Act, individuals and families will be eligible to receive direct payments. Individuals making up to $75,000 and married couples making up to $150,000 will receive $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples) with an additional $500 for each minor child. Payments decrease as individuals make up to $99,000, where they stop completely ($198,000 for married couples and $218,000 for families of four).

The payments will be issued through direct deposit or mail from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). They will not be taxable or interfere with eligibility for social safety net programs. They will be based on 2019 or 2018 tax returns or your 2019 Social Security Statement. Please see here for recommendations from the IRS if you have not submitted tax returns for either year and do not have a Social Security statement.

Individuals who receive Social Security payments or other social safety net support may still be eligible for direct payments through the CARES Act. Please see here for more information.     

What happens if I don’t have or lost my health insurance coverage?

For those of you who have lost health care coverage as a result of the current crisis, you can apply here through Access Health CT as this is a Qualifying Life Event.

Private insurers and Medicare will be required to cover all testing and preventive services for COVID-19; this includes a vaccine if/when it becomes available.

The CARES Act also requires that Medicare allow refills and new prescriptions to be available to beneficiaries for up to a 3-month supply.

Medicare has also expanded telehealth services under the CARES Act so that patients can avoid potential exposure to COVID-19 while still participating in critical check-ins with their healthcare providers. The Department of Health and Human Services has provided guidance for providers. Please contact your healthcare provider directly for additional information on their specific protocols.

Will utility companies shut off my service if I can’t pay my bill?

While utility shut offs are not in my jurisdiction and are regulated by the State of Connecticut, I can provide information from Governor Lamont’s executive orders. On March 13, 2020, officials banned all utility services from shutting off residential services (electric, natural gas, water) if an individual or family cannot make a payment.

Is there any relief for student borrowers?

If you have student loan debt, you will be eligible to pause payments for federal student loans without interest accrual until September 30, 2020. For information and frequently asked questions from the Office of Federal Student Aid, please see here.

What kind of mortgage and rent payment relief is available?

Under the newly enacted CARES Act, renters who are in public or assisted housing, a home or apartment whose owner has a federally backed mortgage, or who are unable to pay rent are protected from eviction for 4 months. Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 and 184A mortgages in addition to mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be eligible to request forbearance on payments for up to six months, with possible extension. Homeowners should contact their mortgage servicing company directly for complete, up-to-date information.

The State of Connecticut has also reached an agreement with over 60 credit unions and banks to offer relief to those experiencing financial hardship due to the pandemic. This agreement includes:

  • A 90-day grace period on mortgages to allow homeowners to reduce or delay payments.
  • Relief from mortgage-related fees and charges for 90 days.
  • No new foreclosures for 60 days.

Credit scores will not be affected by taking advantage of these relief provisions. Again, please contact your participating financial institution directly to apply for available relief.

What if I have an issue for the local Social Security office?

As of March 17, 2020, local Social Security offices will be closed for public, in-person services. However, you can still utilize its online services or contact your local field office, which is still providing critical services over the phone.

Has the federal tax filing deadline been extended? What about CT?

The deadline to file federal taxes has been extended to July 15th. Please see here for more information from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) has also extended its deadline to July 15th. For details from DRS, see here.

Governor Lamont’s recent Executive Order, “Stay Safe, Stay Home”, has ordered the closing of all non-essential businesses and elimination of all in-person functions. The order excludes essential services such as healthcare providers, food services, and law enforcement. For more information on this order, please see here.

Connecticut residents can call 2-1-1 or visit 211ct.org for general inquiries about the coronavirus outbreak – available 24/7. Furthermore, please know that my staff and I are a resource to you throughout this crisis and moving forward. Please contact us with any questions or concerns at 203-562-3718.

Additional Resources

State Department guidance for citizens returning to the United States

Department of Homeland Security guidance for citizens returning to the United States

New Haven, Hartford, Hamden and Bridgeport Mayors Sign Emergency Order Prohibiting Gatherings of More than Ten Individuals

State of Connecticut updates and resources

Congressional Research Service COVID-19 Update

Emergency Paid Family Leave for Low Income Families