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Coronavirus Resources and FAQs

For Rep. Demings' telephone town hall on the Coronavirus, please click here.

Contents

  1. About the Virus
  2. Testing and Medical Care
  3. Emergency Relief Checks
  4. Small Business and Non-Profits
  5. Unemployment and Reemployment Insurance
  6. Additional Financial Assistance
  7. Housing and Utilities
  8. Food Assistance
  9. Protecting Your Credit Score
  10. Expanded Sick Leave
  11. Student Loans
  12. Veterans
  13. Child Support
  14. Incarcerated Individuals
  15. Farmers and Citrus Growers
  16. Community Health Centers
  17. Census
  18. Re-Opening Florida
  19. En Kreyol: FAQ
  20. En Español: ¿Qué está haciendo el Congreso?

About the Virus

It is vital that you take this outbreak as seriously as possible and follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to prevent the spread of this new strain of Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

COVID-19 is a flu-like virus which spreads through liquid droplets in the air and on surfaces. It can spread without you noticing, and people who appear healthy can be infected. Visible symptoms include a high fever and a dry cough.

This disease is significantly more severe than the seasonal flu, frequently requiring hospitalization and medical intervention. It is especially deadly for seniors and Americans with compromised immune systems, but everyone is potentially at risk, and growing numbers of young and healthy Americans have been hospitalized.

Any time you are close to another person, or touch a surface and then touch your face, you are at risk of exposure. To protect yourself and others, please:

  1. Wash your hands often, with hot water and soap. You should wash for at least 20 seconds, which is the minimum amount of time required to break down bacteria and germs.
  2. Stay home to the greatest extent possible (please be aware that Orange County is currently on a mandatory shelter at home order, banning all non-essential movement).
  3. If you must go out, maintain a six-foot separation between yourself and other people.
  4. Cover your mouth with your elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  5. Avoid touching your face—especially your eyes, nose, and mouth—as much as possible.
  6. Disinfect surfaces with bleach, high-concentration alcohol, or soap and water.

Rely on trusted sources like Orange County, the Florida Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Be wary of false information on social media.

 

Testing and Medical Care

Q: What should I do if I feel sick?

A: Call your primary health care provider. Do not go to an emergency room. Do not go to a doctor's office. This will spread the virus.

For more information on testing, you can contact the Florida Health Department COVID-19 Hotline, which is open 24/7, at 1 (866) 779-6121.

You can find all available testing sites here.

Q: Who should get tested for Coronavirus/COVID-19?

A: First responders, medical workers, any anyone showing symptoms.

However, anyone can be tested at the mobile testing sites regardless of symptoms. Testing is free, and appointments are preferred. However, walkups are also accepted. Identification is not required. To make an appointment call 407-723-5004 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Q: If I have private insurance, will I have to pay for a coronavirus test?

Our relief bill requires all private insurers to cover 100% of coronavirus tests, including fees if you have to visit a doctor’s office or ER to get the test.

Q: I have been laid off and lost my health care. What do I do?

A: Please remember that if you lose your job, you have a sixty-day window to sign up for health care on the Affordable Care Act Marketplace at this website or at 877-564-5031. There are trained Navigators who can help you though this process.

Q: When will there be a vaccine? How much will it cost?

A: Research teams are currently working on a vaccine, but most experts expect it to be at least a year. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) requires that vaccines are 100% covered, with no cost to you.

Q: As we try to do “social distancing,” are tele-health services available?

A: This depends on your health care provider. Our legislation gives the Trump Administration the authority to allow increased tele-health services for Medicare recipients.

Q: Can I stock up on my prescription medication during the shelter-at-home order?

A: Medical care and picking up prescription medication is considered “essential” and you can leave home to do so. In addition, our legislation relaxes the rules for Medicare, allowing you to fill 90 days of a prescription, rather than 30.

Q: I am having a difficult time with anxiety during this period. Is help available?

A: Yes. The CDC recommends that you take care of yourself, your friends, and your family by taking breaks from the news, taking care of your body, and taking time to enjoy hobbies and connect with others. You can find resources here.

If you are in crisis, please call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990, or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat online with someone who can help you here.

Q: I am in an abusive home environment and struggling during the stay-at-home order. Is help available?

A: Yes. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available confidentially at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-799-7233 for TTY. If you’re unable to speak safely, you can text LOVEIS to 22522, or chat online here. You can get help creating a safety plan here.

In addition, Harbor House of Central Florida provides emergency shelter for families in crisis, as well as counseling, legal advocacy and other services. Pets accepted. Their 24 Hour Crisis Hotline is 407-886-2856. Their email is contactus@harborhousefl.com.

 

Emergency Relief Checks

Congress has passed a $2.2 trillion relief package to help families and businesses survive this pandemic. This includes direct checks of $1,200 for most Americans, plus $500 for each child.

If you have not yet received your relief payment, please check the IRS page here or call the hotline at 800-919-9835. If you are having trouble, you should also contact our office.

The IRS has a frequently asked question page here.

Small Businesses and Non-Profits

The federal one-stop-shop with resources can be found here. Additional information can be found here.

First, the Paycheck Protection Program is available to organizations under 500 employees. In short, it can help you keep staff on payroll with loans that will be automatically forgiven. To access these loans, you’ll need to contact the Small Business Association. You’ll get the loan through your bank or credit union. A full FAQ from the Treasury is available here

Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million are also available through the Small Business Association, with low interest rates. You should know that while both of these programs are available, you can’t use them to cover the same expenses. You can see if your business qualifies and apply for assistance here.

If you have a current application for a disaster loan, you can check its status here.

Employers who provide required sick leave to their employees and who employ less than 500 employees are eligible for a tax credit to offset the costs. You can find more information here.

In addition, the employer side of certain payroll taxes are deferred through the end of 2020. Deferred taxes will not become due until end of 2021 and end of 2022, with 50% of the liability being paid at each date. This relief also applies to independent contractors.

Any business or nonprofit forced to fully or partially suspend operations, or that has seen a significant drop in revenues, is eligible for a 50% credit for wages paid to furloughed or reduced-hour employees (up to $10,000/employee). Talk to your payroll service provider, or look for more information, which will be made available soon at www.irs.gov.

Debt relief is available for 7(a) loans. Under this program, the SBA will pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020. The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months.

Finally, under Congress’ relief package, the SBA will be offering an eight-week forgivable loan (The Paycheck Protection Program) to let you keep your employees on the payroll from 2/15/20 – 6/30/20.

Q: How do I apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)?

A: Apply at any SBA 7(a) lending program—likely your community bank. Find lenders here.

Q: Who is eligible for the PPP?

A: Small businesses with under 500 employees, including nonprofits and franchises. The program covers independent contractors/gig economy workers. Your business is eligible even if you’ve also accepted a state bridge loan or disaster loan.

Q: How much can I borrow under the PPP?

A: 250% of average monthly payroll, up to $10 million. This should be used to cover eight weeks of payroll (2/15/20 – 6/30/20) and keep workers employed. There are no fees.

Q: Can the PPP loan be forgiven?

A: Yes—if you use it for payroll, mortgage/rent, and utilities. Forgiveness will occur at the end of the 8-week period (2/15/20 – 6/30/20). If you’ve already laid off employees, you still qualify if you rehire them before 6/30. If your loan is fully forgiven, you’ll pay no interest.

Q: What are the loan term, interest rate, and fees for a PPP loan?

A: For any amounts not forgiven, the maximum term is 10 years, the maximum interest rate is 4%. No fees.

Q: What is available for non-profit organizations?

A: The Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loans, and certain other payroll forgiveness are all available to non-profits.       

Q: What is a 7(a) loan and how do I apply?

A: 7(a) loans are an affordable loan of up to $5 million for borrowers who lack credit elsewhere. You apply for a 7(a) loan with a bank or a mission-based lender. SBA has a free referral service tool called Lender Match to help find a lender near you.

Q: What is a 504 loan and how do I apply?

A: The 504 Loan Program provides loans of up to $5.5 million to approved small businesses with long-term, fixed-rate financing used to acquire fixed assets for expansion or modernization. It is a good option if you need to purchase real estate, buildings, and machinery. You apply through a Certified Development Company, which is a nonprofit corporation that promotes economic development. SBA has a free referral service tool called Lender Match to help find a lender near you.

Q: What is a microloan and how do I apply?

A: The Microloan Program provides loans up to $50,000 to help small businesses and certain not-for-profit childcare centers to start up and expand. The average microloan is about $13,000. These loans are delivered through mission-based lenders who are also able to provide business counseling. SBA has a free referral service tool called Lender Match to help find a microlender near you.

Q: I am unfamiliar with SBA loans, can anyone help me apply?

A: Yes, SBA resource partners are available to help guide you through the loan application process. You can find your nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC) or Women’s Business Center here.

Q: How do I know if my business is a small business?

A: Please visit this page to find out if your business meets Small Business Association’s federal small business size standards. You will need the 6-digit North American Industry Classification Code for your business and your business’ 3-year average annual revenue.

Q: How do I apply for an economic injury disaster loan?

A: Apply for an EIDL online here. Your SBA District Office is an important resource when applying for SBA assistance.

Q: I am unfamiliar with the EIDL process, can anyone help me apply?

A: Yes, SBA resource partners are available to help guide you through the EIDL application process. You can find the nearest Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Women’s Business Center, or SCORE mentorship chapter here.

Q: I may have to file for bankruptcy. Is there any new help for me?

A: This legislation lets you reorganize under Chapter 11 using less expensive procedures if you are a small business with up to $7.5 million in debt. This is available for one year.

Q: What if I recently lost my job and I can’t afford my Chapter 13 plan payments?

A: If you are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19, you can request a modification of your Chapter 13 plans, including extending payments by up to seven years.

Q: Does the emergency relief from recent federal legislation hurt my ability to file for bankruptcy? 

A: No, and you don’t have to give that relief to your creditors.

 

Unemployment and Reemployment Insurance

We understand that many Floridians have been frustrated by the slow and broken unemployment system managed by the state government. We have asked the governor to make the repairs to this system faster.

There are also new pandemic benefits being offered - more on this below.

If you need unemployment insurance, you can get more information and sign up here, or call 1-800-204-2418.

If you or a family member has been impacted by COVID-19, you may be eligible to receive Reemployment Assistance. You can get more information and apply here. A detailed FAQ is here. You qualify if:

  • You have been quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency
  • You have been laid off or sent home without pay due to COVID-19
  • You are caring for an immediate family member diagnosed with COVID-19.

Information on companies currently hiring can be found here. Additional help finding a job can be found here

Q: I’m having trouble registering on the website. What should I do?

A: Technical issues with the Florida unemployment website have been a serious problem, and I’m working with other Members of Congress to push the governor’s office to get it fixed. We also recently passed around $60 million in new federal money to fix Florida’s system. In the meantime, please continue to call, and reach out to my office if you are unable to obtain assistance.

Q: I’m an independent contractor or self-employed. Do I qualify?

A: Our legislation includes new and expanded unemployment relief for self-employed, gig-workers, independent contractors, and workers with irregular work history. However, the state of Florida has yet to implement these new rules. We are pushing them to make this happen as soon as possible.

If you are self-employed, you should also review the new assistance available to small businesses.

Q: What if I’ve been out of work because of COVID-19 for several weeks already?

A: You will be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of federal benefits. You will still receive them through your state. Florida's governor has not yet said whether benefits will be retroactive.

Claimants can modify their filing effective date as far back as March 9; however, the federal benefits will only extend as far back as March 29. Additionally, if a claimant would like to request to modify their claim filing effective date, they should visit www.FloridaJobs.org and select the link “Request to Modify Claim (Application) Filing Effective Date.” 

The webpage can be found here: https://claimdate.myflorida.com/recertification

Q: How long will the expanded benefits be in place?

A: You can apply for this expanded unemployment insurance until December 31, 2020. This does not change the amount of time which you can receive unemployment insurance.

If you have exhausted your state benefits, you need to RE-APPLY and you will be eligible for 13 additional weeks at Florida’s state rate of $275. The additional $600/week in federal pandemic benefits applies only to weeks of unemployment beginning March 29, 2020 and ends with the week ending July 25, 2020.

Q: Is there a waiting period?

Q: No. Our legislation rewards states that waive the waiting week between applying for unemployment compensation and receiving it. Florida has now taken advantage of this. You do not need to wait.

Q: I recently filed for unemployment—can I expand or lengthen my benefits?

A: We are waiting for guidance from the state of Florida on this question. However, under our legislation, claims will be backdated to cover the period since the initial date that the claimant was laid off due to COVID-19.

When your benefits have been exhausted, you need to RE-APPLY and you will be eligible for 13 additional weeks at Florida’s state rate of $275.

New Pandemic UI Benefits

How Do I Know If I’m Eligible?
Floridians who are eligible (beginning on or after August 1) for state or federal Reemployment Assistance benefits, are unemployed or partially unemployed due to COVID-19 and have a weekly benefit amount of at least $100 in a state or Federal Reemployment Assistance program may be eligible to receive the additional $300 LWA benefits. This includes individuals receiving:

  • State Reemployment Assistance
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
  • Extended Benefits
  • Short-Time Compensation
  • Trade Readjustment Allowance

Q: How Long Will These Funds Be Available?

A: The state of Florida has received guidance from FEMA and the U.S. Department of Labor indicating that states should be able to receive approximately three weeks of benefit payments for eligible claimants. This program will be available for a limited time and additional approvals may be granted on a week by week basis pending funding availability.

Q: How Will I Receive These New Benefits?

A: The Department of Economic Opportunity is working to implement these benefits as quickly as possible through direct deposit or paper check. A paper check will be issued if the payment method selected is a debit card.

To ensure payments are received as quickly as possible, DEO highly recommends Reemployment Assistance claimants select direct deposit as their preferred method to receive benefit payments. More information about how to update your banking information or mailing address can be found here.

 

Additional Financial Assistance

If you need financial help, healthcare, or are in crisis, please call the free Heart of Florida United Way’s hotline. It is available 24/7 by dialing 211 or by texting your zip code to 898-211.

Additionally, your local credit union may be able to provide low interest loans (in some cases even 0%), the ability to skip a payment on mortgages and other loans, and other assistance programs.

You can also contact your creditors to ask about possible adjustments to your payment plans. For housing debts, please see the Housing section below.

 

Housing and Utilities

Orange County has currently suspended all evictions and foreclosures. Many utility companies have also suspended disconnections due to late payment.

Florida’s statewide eviction moratorium will expire at midnight on October 1st. There is also a national eviction moritorium applying to federally-backed properies (see below to find out if you qualify) through the end of the year. If you are in danger of losing your home, please visit this site for information that may help you.

Q: Is any mortgage relief available?

A: Yes. If you have a FHA, VA, USDA, 184/184A mortgage, or a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you are eligible for up to 6 months’ delay on your payments, with the possibility of another six months. You should contact your mortgage provider directly. See below for more.

Q: Is any rental relief available?

A: Additional federal rent assistance is not available at this time, but if you live in a property with a federal subsidy or loan (including public housing), then you can’t be evicted or be forced to pay a fee for 120 days, plus another thirty days allowance to stay in your housing before removal. If you receive housing subsidies (like Section 8) then you should recertify your income, which may lower your rent.

Q: What if I qualify for these protections but am being evicted anyway?

A: You should contact the federal agency that administers your housing program, or your local Legal Aid office. If you don’t know who to contact, please call my office at 321-388-9808. If your landlord changes locks or hires personal security to remove you without a legal eviction writ, contact your local police department.

If you already have past due rent and find yourself unable to keep your housing, you can use this resource guide compiled by the Central Florida Continuum of Care for assistance. It includes a detailed list of hotlines and housing services, including some options for those in need of temporary rental or mortgage payment assistance, in each Central Florida county. You can also dial 211 for more information.

Q: What assistance is available for homeowners?

If you are experiencing a hardship such as job loss, income reduction, or sickness due to COVID-19 and you are no longer able to make your mortgage payment, your mortgage servicer is available to help with mortgage relief options, including:

  • Payment relief through a forbearance plan offers a reduction or suspension of your mortgage payments for up to 12 months, offered in increments of up to six months
  • Late fee relief during your forbearance plan period
  • Repayment options following your forbearance. You are not required to repay missed payments all at once, but you have that option. You can also set up a repayment plan to catch up gradually or a loan modification to help keep payments affordable.
  • Borrowers with VA or USDA loans can enter into what’s called “standard modifications,” in which past due amounts are added back into loan balances and the term is extended to 360 months.

You must contact your loan servicer to notify them that you are unable to make your monthly payment and determine if you will need to enter into forbearance. Make sure that you get any offers or agreements in writing.

Q: Who is eligible for mortgage assistance?

Homeowners with “federally backed mortgages” are eligible for assistance under the CARES Act. Federally backed mortgages are defined as mortgages for single-family homes that are:

  • purchased or securitized by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac;
  • insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), including reverse mortgages or Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECMs);
  • guaranteed, directly provided by, or insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA);
  • guaranteed, directly provided by, or insured by the Department of Agriculture (USDA); or
  • guaranteed under HUD’s Native American or Native Hawaiian Home Loan Guarantee programs.

About 70% of mortgages in the United States are covered. 

Do I have a “federally backed mortgage?”

You can verify a Fannie Mae mortgage at https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup or by calling 800-232-6643.  You can verify a Freddie Mac mortgage at https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/ or by calling 800-373-3343.

You can also call your mortgage servicer directly. Your mortgage servicer is the company that you send your mortgage payments to each month.

 

Food Assistance

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida works with hundreds of partners to ensure that no Central Floridian goes hungry. Their locations can be found here. There is also a food assistance form if you are unable to make it to a physical location.

You can also call the National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1-877-8-HAMBRE.

Heart of Florida United Way has food assistance available by dialing 211 or by texting your zip code to 898-211.

Orange County Public Schools are currently handing out meals to students. details can be found here.

Please also remember that many restaurants are still open for delivery and carry-out meals. Our small businesses need our support during this tough time.

Q: How do I apply for SNAP?

A: You can find more information here, and apply here

Q: What other food assistance is available?

A: The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is available to low-income parents with young children. You can find out if you are eligible here.

 

Protecting Your Credit Score

Many payment deferment options are available to consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. While your financial institutions should be responsible in allowing everyone to use these measures without any penalty, it is possible that mistakes could be made that would affect your credit score for "nonpayment" of a bill. If you make use of a mortgage deferment or other bill deferment, you should call your bank, credit union, or other relevant organization to ensure that they are aware of your situation and correctly reporting your information. More information can be found here.

Here is a checklist of steps that can be helpful to ensure that your finances don't suffer through no fault of your own during this pandemic.

 

Expanded Sick Leave

As part of the Families First emergency legislation passed by Congress, certain employees were given expanded sick leave and family leave to help handle the COVID-19 crisis. Additional detailed Q&A can be found here.

Q: Who qualifies?

A: Most employees at private employers with fewer than 500 employees.

Q: What’s available?

A: 80 hours (two weeks) of additional, guaranteed paid sick time, at 100% of the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $511 per day) due to quarantine/isolation order, health-care provider guidance to self-quarantine, or seeking diagnosis for symptoms of COVID-19. If you’re taking care of someone else, pay is equal to ⅔ of regular pay.

Q: What are the qualifying reasons for coronavirus-related sick or family leave?

A: For paid sick leave, you must be unable to work or telework due to:

  • The employee is covered by a quarantine or isolation order by a federal, state, or local authority
  • The employee has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns over COVID-19;
  • The employee is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and is seeking diagnosis;
  • The employee is caring for an individual who is covered by a quarantine or isolation order or who has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine;
  • The employee is caring for a son or daughter if, due to COVID-19, the school or place of care is closed or if the childcare provider is unavailable; or
  • The employee is experiencing a “substantially similar condition” as specified by HHS and DOL

For paid family leave, the employee must be unable to work or telework due to needing to care for a son or daughter under 18 years of age because, due to COVID-19, the child’s school or place of care is closed or the child’s child care provider is unavailable.

Q: Are there documentation requirements?

A: If the need for paid family leave is foreseeable, an employee must provide the employer with notice as soon as practicable; and an employer may require reasonable notice procedures to receive paid sick leave. There are no increased documentation requirements under our legislation.

Q: When does this go into effect?

A: April 1, applying to leave taken between April 1 and December 31, 2020.

 

Student Loans

If you have a student loan held by the federal government (Direct Loans and FFEL Loans held by the U.S. Department of Education), your loans are frozen and you do not need to make payments through September 30, 2020.

If you have a Perkins Loan, a commercially-held FFEL loans, or a private student loan, you are not eligible. However, no interest will accrue on such loans for the same time period. 

During this period, you cannot be targeted from involuntary collections (garnishment of wages, tax refunds, and Social Security benefits) and you will not have any negative credit reporting for late payments during this time period.

Q: Who can tell me if my loans will have their interest rate reduced?

A: Contact your loan servicer online or by phone to determine if your loans are eligible. Your servicer is the entity to which you make your monthly payment. If you do not know who your servicer is or how to contact them, visit StudentAid.gov/login or call 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243; TTY for the deaf or hearing-impaired 1-800-730-8913) for assistance.

Q: If loans are frozen, does the clock stop on my Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Driven Repayment forgiveness, or loan rehabilitation?

A: No. Although frozen, you will continue to get credit during this period for Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Driven Repayment forgiveness, and loan rehabilitation even though they will not be making payments. If borrowers want to continue making payments during this time to pay down principal and previously accrued interest (since no interest is accruing as of March 13) they are free to do so.

Q: Do I need to fill out any paperwork?

A: No. The freeze is automatic.

Q: Does this pause count towards private student loans?

A: No, but your provider may have an opportunity to postpone payments. Contact them directly.

 


Veterans

The VA’s Coronavirus information page is here. You can find a VA health care facility here.

Q: I’m a VA employee working lots of overtime due to COVID-19. Can I still receive overtime pay for hours worked, even if it puts me above the Federal pay caps?

A: Yes. Under Section 20008 of the CARES Act, any VA employee involved in COVID-19 response efforts can receive pay for all hours worked, even above the normal pay caps, for work done in support of VA’s response to COVID-19.

Q: I’m a veteran receiving pension and health care benefits from VA. Will the emergency income from the CARES Act (the Recovery Rebate) count towards my income for determining my eligibility for pension, health care, and other needs-based benefits?

A: No. Under Section 20010 of the CARES Act, the 2020 Recovery Rebate payment cannot be counted as income when determining a veteran’s eligibility for any VA needs-based benefits.

Q: I run a veteran-owned small business. Can the CARES Act help me?

A: Yes. If you are a veteran-owned small business, you can receive support through the Small Business Paycheck Protection Program to cover 8-weeks of your payroll, the mortgage interest, rent, and utility costs. There will be up to 100% loan forgiveness options for a veteran-owned small businesses that protects/fully maintains their workers.

Q: I have a VA-backed mortgage, am I protected against foreclosure during the COVID-19 emergency declaration?

Yes, under CARES Act Section 4022, federally backed mortgages, including those guaranteed or insured by the VA are protected from foreclosure for 60 days beginning on March 18, 2020. If borrowers are facing financial hardship, they can by requesting a forbearance for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months, through their mortgage holder.

Q: I receive VA benefits and my school is converting to online education because of COVID-19, will I still receive my housing allowance?

A: Yes, VA will continue to make housing allowance payments to students using VA education benefits at the on campus rate, if the school converted to online education due to COVID-19.

 

Child Support

If someone owes past-due child support, their economic impact payment can be garnished to pay that child support. These are the levels at which this may occur:

  • At least $150 in public assistance cases
  • At least $500 in cases with no public assistance

Q: Where can I find more information about Economic Impact Payments and federal offsets?

FAQs about Economic Impact Payments.

FAQs about Offsets, including child support.

Q: Can I see the status of the payment in my Child Support Program eServices account?

A: Yes. Offset payments received by the Child Support Program and disbursed are recorded on eServices.

Q: I am owed past-due support. Why didn't I receive a payment from the Economic Impact Payment of the parent who owes support?

A: It is possible that the parent who owes support is not eligible for a federal Economic Impact Payment.

Q: What if the amount of past-due support I owe is less than the amount of the Economic Impact Payment?

A: Only the amount of past-due support you owe will be offset. The rest will be sent to you.

Q: How will I know if my Economic Impact Payment has been offset?

A: You will be notified by mail.

Q: What if my Economic Impact Payment is offset in error?

A: Contact the Treasury Department within 20 days after you receive the notice. The department will review your case and render an informal verdict. After you receive that decision, you will have 30 days to file an additional written request for an administrative hearing to contest it.

Q: What if I am married to a parent who owes past-due support and filed a joint tax return?

A: Half of the total Economic Impact Payment will be sent to each spouse. Only your spouse's Economic Impact Payment will be offset for past-due support. If you did not file an injured spouse claim with the IRS, you can file an injured spouse claim with the IRS to obtain your share of the payment. Contact the IRS by calling 800-829-1040 or go to this website

The Child Support Program may disburse up to $1200 of an Economic Impact Payment once it is received from the U.S. Treasury. Amounts above $1200 are held for 180 days to allow time for the spouse of the parent who owes support to claim their share of the payment.

 

Incarcerated Individuals

Our office has been working to ensure the safety of incarcerated individuals, prison staff, and the surrounding communities. If you have a concern regarding policies or practice inside a Central Florida prison, please contact our office.

Q: I have an elderly or ill family member in prison. Is there any opportunity for early release?

A: Yes. This bill gives the Director of the Bureau of Prisons expanded authority to release people who are serving the last year of their sentence to home confinement.

Q: I am not being allowed to visit my family member in prison because of the coronavirus. Is there an alternative to in-person visits?

A: Yes. This bill instructs the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to do more to set up video visitation for inmates in federal prisons, free of charge.

Q: I have a family member involved in the federal justice system, what is going to happen to their case?

A: This bill allows federal courts to hold some hearings by video, but only if the defendant agrees.

 

Farmers and Citrus Growers

During this period, new flexibilities are available to you. Additional information from the USDA is here. Talk to your crop insurance provider about these provisions.

Q: Can I submit notifications and reports electronically during the pandemic?

A: Yes, for written agreement issues, acreage and production reporting, and upcoming sales closing dates (deadlines to buy crop insurance).

Additionally, notice of the policyholder’s election can be done by phone if it includes additional documentation, or online if there is also a confirmation in writing (a signed or e-signed form) no later than July 15.

If you have 2020 crops insured under the Common Crop Insurance Policy Basic Provisions, and have a production reporting date (PRD) of March 15 or later, approved insurance providers can accept production reports until whichever is earlier:

  1. The acreage reporting date (ARD), or
  2. 30 days after the production reporting date (PRD)

Q: Is There Flexibility on Payments?

A: Yes. Approved insurance providers can provide additional time to make fee payments. 

Additionally, any interest on premium payments and administrative fees will be waived, up whichever is earlier:

  1. 60 days from the scheduled payment due date, or
  2. The termination date on policies with premium billing dates between March 1 and April 30.

Approved insurance providers can also give you more time to make payment for written payment agreements that are due between March 1 and April 30. For payments due during this time, they can be extended for up to 60 days and still count as a “timely payment.”

 

Community Health Centers

Congress’ emergency relief provides $1.32 billion for community health centers (CHCS). This funding is in addition to the $100 million distributed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to CHCs on March 24th. Community Health Centers can also access the PHSEFF fund.

Q: Is there support for tele-health in the legislation?

A: Yes. The HHS Secretary is required to provide Medicare payment to FQHCs (including CHCs) for telehealth services provided to seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries.

 

Census

To protect census workers and the American people, the in-person visits to count Americans have been delayed. Please remember that you can fill out the census online, or respond by phone in many different languages:

  • English: 844-330-2020
  • Spanish: 844-468-2020
  • Chinese (Mandarin): 844-391-2020
  • Chinese (Cantonese): 844-398-2020
  • Vietnamese: 844-461-2020
  • Korean: 844-392-2020
  • Russian: 844-417-2020
  • Arabic: 844-416-2020
  • Tagalog: 844-478-2020
  • Polish: 844-479-2020
  • French: 844-494-2020
  • Haitian Creole: 844-477-2020
  • Portuguese: 844-474-2020
  • Japanese: 844-460-2020
  • English (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-418-2020
  • Spanish (for Puerto Rico residents): 844-426-2020
  • For information on services for people who are deaf or hard of hearing: TDD number at 844-467-2020.

Re-Opening Florida

Efforts are under way to reopen parts of Florida and Orange County. While I believe that we do need to return to normal business as soon as it's safe, I also believe that more needs to be done to make testing and other safety measures available. 

You can find information about Orange County's efforts to ensure that we can safely re-open here.

You can find more information about the Governor's plan to re-open Florida here.

En Kreyol

Men repons pou kek kesyon nou resevwa sou chek relie pesonel yo nan pake ed federal la pase nan kongre a:

Ki pwosesis ki genyen? Eske mwen dwe aplike?

Chek yo ap voye otomatikman bay chak Ameriken ki te ranpli  yon retou taks nan 2018/2019.  Si ou pat ranpli, ou ka bezwen pran aksyon adisyonel, map pataje-l yon fwa enfomasyon sa a vin disponib.

Konbyen tan li ap pran?

Sa depann de administrasyon an ak ajans federal yo.  Si ou gen yon depo direk ak IRS, lajan yo ka vini byen vit.  Otreman, li ka pran 3 a 6 semen.  Nou pral pataje plis enfomasyon le nou jwenn li.

En Español

El Congresos se está moviendo rapidamente y de forma bipartidista para enfrentar el brote del coronavirus (COVID-19) estratégicamente de manera que ayudará a los individuos que han sido más afectados por este brote. El Congreso ya ha abrobado tres proyectos de leyes y ahora está trabajando en cuarto proyecto de ley para seguir ayundando a las personas afectas por el brote del coronavirus.

El viernes 27 de marzo, la Cámara de Representantes aprobó la Ley CARES, la Ley de Ayuda, Alivio y Seguridad Económica en respuesta al Coronavirus, que tendrá como objetivo ayudar a las familias, trabajadores, pequeñas empresas e industrias en todo el país a medida que nos recuperamos como nación de esta crisis de salud pública y los impactos económicos del brote. Posteriormente fue firmado por el Presidente en ley.

  • Cada persona elegible que gane menos de $75,000 por año, e incluyendo personas sin ingresos, recibirá un cheque de $1200 y cada niño elegible también recibirá un cheque de $500.
  • Las pequeñas empresas recibirán $350 mil millones en subsidios si se comprometen a mantener a los trabajadores en nómina, $17 mil millones para proporcionar alivio de los pagos de préstamos de la SBA durante 6 meses y $10 mil millones para subsidios de emergencia de la SBA para costos operativos: alquiler, hipoteca, servicios públicos, etc.
  • Las personas que están desempleadas recibirán $600 por semana además de otros beneficios del seguro de desempleo durante 4 meses.
  • Las grandes industrias recibirán $500 mil millones en ayuda a través de la Reserva Federal, y requieren el mantenimiento de al menos el 90% de los empleados hasta el 30 de septiembre de 2020, las recompras de acciones y los dividendos de los bancos hasta 1 año después de que finalice la ayuda, y restringe a los ejecutivos de poder aumentar su propia compensación.
  • Los proveedores de atención médica recibirán $100 mil millones para cubrir los costos relacionados con el coronavirus.
  • Los sistemas escolares locales y las instituciones de educación superior recibirán $30.75 mil millones en apoyo.
  • SNAP recibirá una financiación adicional de $15.8 mil millones.
  • Establece un Fondo de alivio de coronavirus de $150 mil millones para los estados.

El 14 de marzo, la congresista Demings votó por H.R  6201, la ley bipartidista para Priorizar a las Familias en la Respuesta Contra el Coronavirus, que fue firmada por el presidente el 18 de marzo. Esta ley, en adición al paquete de emergencia de $8.3 mil millones que fue firmada como ley el 6 de marzo, para enfrentar el brote del COVID-19 a través de:

  • Asignar fondos para asegurar pruebas gratuitas del coronavirus para cada persona en Houston que necesite una prueba, incluyendo a las personas sin documentos;
  • Aumentar fondoso para Medicaid para apoyar a los sistemas de salud locales, estatales, tribales y territoriales para que tengan los recuroses para combatir esta emergencia de salud pública;
  • Fortalecer las iniciatives alimentarias, como SNAP, desayunos y almuerzos estudiantiles, alimentos para las personas mayores y los bancos de comida.
  • Proveer dos semanas de licencias de enfermedad pagadas y hasta tres meses de licencias familiares y médicas para los trabajadores elegibles y mejores beneficios de desempleo. También le reemborsalá a los negocios pequeños que ofrecen licencias de enfermedades pagadas.
    • Los trabajadores son elegibles dos semanas de licencias de enfermedad pagadas si se ponen en cuarentena voluntaria, buscan un diagnóstico o atención preventiva, o son tratados para COVID-19. También pueden recivir dos semanas de vacaciones pagadas al nivel de dos tercios de pago para cuidar a un familiar o niño cuya escuela ha cerrado o si su proveedor de cuidado infantil no está disponible debido al coronavirus.
    • Usted es elegible para 12 semanas de licencia laboral protegida para cuidar a un niño en caso de cierre de la escuela o si su proveedor de cuidado infantil no está disponible debido al coronavirus. Las dos primeras semanas son gratuitas, pero las siguientes 10 semanas serán pagadas. Los empleados recibirán no menos de dos tercios de su salario habitual.​

El texto de H.R. 6201, la ley bipartidista para Priorizar a las Familias en la Respuesta Contra el Coronavirushe Families First Coronavirus Response Act, puede ser encontrado aquí.

La Presidenta de la Cámara de Representantes Nancy Pelosi ha publicado el siguiente "Familias Primero: COVID-19: Manual Digial de Recursos para Constituyentes" con información sobre algunos de los componentes clave de la Ley CARES. Este documento contiene información útil sobre beneficios de desempleo, pagos directos en efectivo y subvenciones para pequeñas empresas que se incluyó en el paquete de ayuda de la Ley CARES aprobada en el Congreso y firmada en ley por el Presidente.