Last updated January 6, 2021
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We hope you and your loved ones are safe and comfortable during the current COVID-19 pandemic. To help you navigate necessary systems and helpful services during this time, in which many of our lives have become disrupted, we have compiled resources and information. The following resources are organized by the location in which the resources are available or applicable, including:
It is important to only listen to accurate information from trusted sources. The best source for health-related information on COVID-19 is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Please do not rely on or use questionable websites to find information. The federal government has flagged several phone scams, as well as false webpages advertising COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. As of now, there is no COVID-19 vaccine. Furthermore, despite President Trump’s statements, the malaria drug, chloroquine, has not been approved for the treatment of COVID-19. Taking chloroquine without doctor’s orders can result in harmful side effects, including death.
Do not give personal information over the phone or to any questionable source. This includes Social Security numbers, credit or debit card numbers, birth dates, and medical insurance information.
The Social Security Administration has issued a warning to the public about fraudulent letters being sent to homes threatening the suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19. If you receive a letter like this, do not respond. The Social Security Administration states it will will never:
- Threaten you with a benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fine or fee;
- Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment;
- Require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card;
- Demand secrecy from you in handling Social Security-related problem; or
- Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.
The FBI also issued a public announcement describing various scams taking place during COVID-19 on March 20, 2020. The USDA released a warning about a text message scam that is targeting SNAP recipients.
Below are National resources and information grouped by location. Please stay safe and contact us with any concerns or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website is the best resource for all health-related information for COVID-19.
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic (World Health Organization)
- Current emergencies, Coronavirus (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS])
Resources for pregnant women
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) During Pregnancy: Frequently Asked Questions for Pregnant Patients (Massachusetts General Hospital)
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Information about Coronavirus Disease 2019 (CDC)
- HELP: MLP Resources for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women
Resources for people experiencing intimate partner violence or abuse
Resources for victims of abuse and violence have NOT stopped during the COVID-19 crisis.
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline is open 24/7, confidential, and free. Available at 800-799-7233, by texting LOVEIS to 22522, or through online chat.
- The National Sexual Assault Hotline is open 24/7, confidential, and free. Available at 800-656-4673 and through online chat.
- The StrongHearts Native Helpline for domestic and sexual violence is available 7am-10pm CT, confidential, and specifically for Native communities at 844-762-8483.
- The Trans LifeLine is a trans-led organization that provides peer support for trans people between 10am-5am ET at 877-565-8860.
- The National Parent Helpline provides emotional support from trained advocates to parents Monday through Friday 1pm-10pm ET at 855-427-2736.
- Frequently Asked Questions Involving Courts and COVID-19 (Women’s Law Project)
- Tips for safety planning during the COVID19 crisis (Sanctuary for Families)
Resources for people who use drugs
- Safer drug use during the COVID-19 outbreak information can be found here:
- Safer Drug Use During the COVID-19 Outbreak (Harm Reduction Coalition and Vital Strategies)
- Resources for drug use and COVID-19 risk reduction (Vital Strategies)
- Trans Needle Exchange (a nonprofit mail-based service providing free needle supplies for trans folk)
Resources for people in recovery
- Virtual recovery resources and supports (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA])
- COVID-19 Recovery Related Resources (Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance)
- Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery (CCAR) is hosting All Recovery Meetings Monday through Fridays via Zoom.
Resources for mental health
- Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for social distancing, quarantine, and isolation during an infectious disease outbreak (SAMHSA)
- Coping With Stress and Social Distancing During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak (New York City Health Department)
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Línea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
- Crisis Text Line: Text “PA” to 741-741
- Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255), then press 1
- Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990
Resources related to sexual health
Resources for people experiencing homelessness
Resources for the LGBTQ+ community
- Coronavirus, COVID-19, and Considerations for People Living with HIV and LGBTQIA+ People (Fenway Health)
- How LGBTQ+ People Can Get Help and Resources During Coronavirus (Michelle Kim)
- 20 Ways to Support the Queer Community During Coronavirus (Wren Sanders)
- Trans Needle Exchange (a non-profit mail-based service providing free needle supplies for trans folk)
- The Coronavirus (COVID-19): What Trans People Need to Know (National Center for Transgender Equality)
Resources for students who are homeless or in foster care
- BEYOND THE FOOD PANTRY: COVID-19 Response for Students Who are Homeless or With Experience in Foster Care (Juvenile Law Center)
Resources for parents
Helping Children Cope With Changes Resulting From COVID-19 (National Association of School Psychologists)
Supporting Children During Coronavirus (COVID19)(National Child Traumatic Stress Network)
Resources for older adults
- Resources for older adults and people with disabilities have been posted by the Administration for Community Living (ACL).
Resources for immigrants and individuals who speak languages other than English
Information in languages other than English
- Information on COVID-19 in Asian languages:
- Information from trusted resources in indigenous, endangered, and low-resourced languages are available here.
- A round up of multilingual resources on COVID-19 (Switchboard)
- COVID-19 fact sheets from NY Office of Immigrant Affairs (20 languages)
- Resources for undocumented communities
- Línea Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454
- COVID-19 Translated Resources and Materials from the PA Department of Health
- American Bar Association Legal Aid and/or Advocacy Organizations (organized by state)
- Legal Services Corporation Find Legal Aid (searchable field by zip code on lower left of the webpage)
- Legal Services Corporation Website: LSC and COVID-19
- National Consumer Law Center Website: COVID-19 & Consumer Protection
- National Housing Law Project Website: Protecting Renter and Homeowner Rights During our National Health Crisis
- National Legal Aid and Defender Association Website: COVID-19 Updates and Resources
- National Low-Income Housing Coalition Website: COVID-19/Coronavirus and Housing/Homelessness
Public benefits and income supports
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP or “food stamps”)
The SNAP maximum allowance has been increased by 15% from January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021. The added extra 15% will be added in the second half of the month for January. Afterwards, the new SNAP amount will come in the first half of the month on your normal payment date.
The new maximums are $234 for a household of 1, $430 for a household of 2, $616 for a household of 3, $782 for a household of 4, $929 for a household of 5, $1114 for a household of 6, $1232 for a household of 7, and $1408 for a household of 8 ($176 for each added person).
There are currently extra SNAP benefits in January 2021, Emergency Allotments (EAs). This is separate from the 15% increase in SNAP benefits boost. These benefits will continue for the duration of federal and state emergency public health declarations. From January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021, you are eligible for the EAs if you received SNAP in January 2021 and didn’t get the maximum benefit for your household size. The extra benefits will be loaded to your EBT card in the second half of January. You do not need to file additional paperwork for the EA.
The previously announced changes to SNAP have been stayed by a federal court indefinitely. Individuals who lost SNAP as a result of the time limit will be able to reapply for SNAP.
Because these emergency SNAP benefits were allotted to households that were not receiving the maximum SNAP benefit allotment, households with the lowest or no income were excluded from additional benefits. CLS sued the USDA, and with the cooperation of Department of Human Services, lowest income households in Philadelphia should be able to receive extra SNAP in addition to their maximum benefits.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Unemployment Assistance
Pandemic unemployment benefits have been extended for 11 weeks, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). They must be claimed by April 5, 2021, and they don’t apply to any weeks of unemployment before January 2, 2021. If your unemployment claim is inactive, you do not need to file a new claim to receive the extension; instead, reopen your claim and continue filing.
Unemployment claimants who qualify for an extra $300/week (e.g. those who qualify for Unemployment Compensation (UC), Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and Extended Benefits) will be automatically paid out until March 13, 2021. You do not need to file a separate application, and the benefits are not retroactive.
If you are an app-based driver, you are now eligible for regular unemployment benefits in PA. You can apply for benefits if your work involves assignments through a mobile app, predetermined rates for trips or assignments, customer reviews, negative consequences for declining assignments, GPS tracking of your driving, and restrictions on your ability to subcontract AND you have lost work through being fired, lack of work (received significantly fewer assignments and your weekly pay has decreased by at least 25%), or voluntary quit (health condition that prevents you from driving, high-risk for COVID-19 or share a house with someone who is high-risk for COVID-19, lost childcare, no access to vehicle). You will need to email UCappeals@pa.gov 10 days after you apply or once you receive a Notice of Determination. Include your full name and mailing address, the date of your application to UC benefits, last four digits of your social security number, and proof of your earnings from each driving company you work for (e.g. 1099s and monthly pay statements).
The Social Security Administration is closed to the public due to COVID-19. Individuals will continue to receive their benefits during the COVID-19 crisis. In-person services are currently canceled and local Social Security offices will not accept walk-in visitors. The Social Security Administration will provide limited service by phone, mail, and online. If you currently have a hearing scheduled at a Social Security office, the office will contact you prior to your hearing to offer you a hearing by phone. The Social Security Administration is extending deadlines during the COVID-19 crisis.
Philadelphia Legal Assistance and Generocity put together this useful guide to changes and clarifications about benefits that are relevant to Pennsylvania workers.
Housing and utilities
All evictions and foreclosures on HUD-backed properties have been suspended until the end of April 2020. The moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for homeowners has been extended through the end of 2020. The CDC and federal eviction moratoriums have been extended to January 31, 2021.
Beginning March 27, there’s also a federal eviction moratorium for 120 days on the filing of any new evictions against tenants in any type of federally-related subsidized housing, including LIHTC and Housing Choice Voucher Programs (including “Section 8 housing”).
The utility shutoff moratorium appears to continue until the end of the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation (November 30), and the winter moratorium will begin on December 1 to protect low-income consumers (at/below 250% federal poverty level).
Though the LIHEAP Recovery Crisis Program has ended, the regular season reopened on November 2, 2020 and closes April 9, 2021.
For the 2020 tax return, you can claim stimulus checks you were entitled to but did not receive through your 2020 tax return.
The Internal Revenue Services (IRS) extended the deadline to file federal taxes to July 15, 2020. If you don’t owe money, these could have been filed by October 15, 2020. Additional information about Coronavirus tax relief can be found here.
Free tax preparation
Free, virtual tax preparation is available for low-income families through the Campaign for Working Families at GetYourRefund.org. Once there, verify your identity, answer some required questions, and upload your tax documents.
Consumer and debt relief resources
- Protecting your finances during the Coronavirus Pandemic (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau)
- Surviving Debt: Expert Advice for Getting Out of Financial Trouble (offered free during the COVID19 crisis from the National Consumer Law Center)
Resources for people with student loans
- Information on federal student loan forgiveness
- Coronavirus and Forbearance Info for Students, Borrowers, and Parents (Federal Student Aid, U.S. Department of Education)