Skip to main content

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Last Updated Thursday, September 17th, 11:10am

This page is updated daily by 5pm. Due to the fast-changing situation, info across ACCESS NYC may not reflect the latest updates.

Learn about City Agency Services Updates.

COVID-19

Every New Yorker can get a free, confidential, and safe COVID-19 test today! Available regardless of immigration status.

Find a testing site near your home.

BENEFITS & RIGHTS

Understanding benefits for workers affected by COVID-19

You may be eligible for certain benefits. Refer to the chart below to understand which benefits you may be able to get in your situation.

A translatable and accessible version can be viewed here.

various nyc worker benefits related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) 1

various nyc worker benefits related to Coronavirus (COVID-19) 2

Download a PDF of the COVID-19 benefits chart (Spanish PDF).

EMPLOYMENT & FINANCES

Tax Assistance

  • The filing deadline (Tax Day) was July 15, 2020.
  • You may be able to file your 2019 tax return for free at an NYC Free Tax Prep site or online through October 15, if you meet income requirements.
  • Learn more from about Free Tax Prep on ACCESS NYC.

Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Update: Starting September 14, 2020, you will receive an additional $300 for each week ending on August 2, 9, and 16th as part of the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program. These payments are available to those whose unemployment was caused by COVID-19. For most people, these payments will be automatic. The DOL will email you a DocuSign form if it needs additional certification from you.

  • New Yorkers receiving Unemployment may be eligible for it up to 59 weeks, up from 26 weeks before the pandemic. Learn more.
  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) expands UI for more workers including part-time, self-employed, and those without recent work history.
  • You may automatically qualify for larger payments and additional weeks of UI benefits.
  • If you started, but have not finished filing a claim, DOL claim specialists will call you to complete your claim. Expect a call from any number/ blocked number, and be ready to answer calls on your phone.
  • Call 1-888-209-8124 for extended telephone hours: Monday through Friday, 8am to 7:30pm, Saturday and Sunday, 7:30am to 8pm
  • Learn more about these updates and how to apply for Unemployment Assistance on ACCESS NYC.
  • All unemployment benefits, including the additional $600 per week in coronavirus relief any time during the year, are taxable and considered income for Federal tax returns.

Economic Impact Payments

  • Adults and families with work-eligible social security numbers (SSN) can receive economic impact payments from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
  • Payments are automatically deposited into your bank account if you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and received a refund via direct deposit.
  • If you do not normally file taxes AND have not received your payment, you must provide your information to the IRS using the Non-Filers Tool by October 15, 2020.
  • If you haven’t received your payment, use the Get My Payment tool to check the status of your Economic Impact Payment.

If you have dependent children, receive certain federal benefits, and don’t normally file taxes:

  • If you receive Social Security, SSI, RRB or VA benefits and have dependent children, you are eligible for a one-time Economic Impact Payment of $500 per child. This payment will be distributed in mid-October.
  • To get this payment, you must use the Non-Filers tool to provide information about your child. The deadline is September 30, 2020.
  • If you already used the tool to claim this payment, you will not need to enter your information again. You will receive your payment in October.
  • If you filed or plan to file either a 2018 or 2019 tax return, you should file the tax return. Do not use the Non-Filers tool.

If you have a valid SSN and are without a permanent address or normally don’t file taxes

  • You may qualify for a one-time $1,200 Economic Impact Payment, learn more.
  • Sign up with the IRS and add your payment information.

Learn more about Economic Impact Payments on ACCESS NYC.

Paid Safe and Sick Leave Updates

Free Financial Counseling
If you are experiencing sudden changes to your household budget or income due to COVID-19, counselors from NYC Financial Empowerment Centers can help you:

  • Manage your money and set up a spending plan
  • Contact creditors about existing loans, including student loans
  • Draft letters to creditors to lower payments or temporarily suspend payments due to hardship
  • Develop a strategy to minimize debt
  • Access local, state, and federal emergency resources

Book a free financial counseling appointment with an NYC Financial Empowerment Center Counselor.

Job Seekers

Funeral Assistance
Low-income New York City residents may be eligible for financial assistance to meet funeral expenses for a deceased low-income New York City resident family member.

  • Assistance includes burial allowance up to $1,700 and burial costs up to $3,400
  • Download the application for burial allowance.
  • You can apply up to 120 days from the date of the individual‘s death.
  • All applications received will be reviewed regardless of immigration status.
  • Applications received on or after March 12, 2020 will be considered for the increased burial assistance allowance.

Relief for Federal Student Loan Borrowers

FOOD

COVID-19 Food Assistance Resources
Options include:

  • Free Grab & Go meals at NYC Schools for children and adults
  • Meal Hub summer service operates at approximately 400 sites across the city and will continue regular service from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
  • Vegetarian and halal options are available at all sites.
  • Certain sites offer exclusively kosher certified meals.
  • All Meal Hubs now also offer take home pizza meal kits alongside grab-and-go meal offerings.
  • Emergency meal delivery those who cannot access food themselves.

Find a school with free Grab & Go Meals near you:

Learn more about food options NYC.gov/getFood

Food Benefits for All NYC Public School Students from Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

  • Every single NYC public school student ages 3-21 and regardless of income or immigration status will receive an amount up to $420 for the March – June 2020 period.
  • There is no application or documentation required, and it does not affect eligibility for other benefits or public charge status. Information about P-EBT will be mailed to households with eligible children through September 2020.
  • If you already have an EBT card or a Medicaid card, the money will be added to your card automatically.
  • If you do not have an EBT card, you will receive one in the mail. Parents are encouraged to call their school’s parent coordinator or secretary in order to update their address, if needed.
  • If you have any questions about P-EBT food benefits, please send an email to this address: otda.sm.eisp.PEBT@otda.ny.gov.
  • If you have already received a letter from OTDA notifying you that P-EBT food benefits have been issued to your household and you have questions, you may call the P-EBT Food Benefits Helpline: 1-833-452-0096
  • Learn more about Pandemic EBT from OTDA.

Emergency Food Assistance
To find the nearest food pantries and community kitchens, call the Emergency Food Hotline at 866-888-8777You can also see the list of Active Food Pantries and Community Kitchens.

SNAP (food stamps)

  • Get help paying for groceries with SNAP.
  • They come on a debit card that you can use at many grocery stores including some online, and farmer’s markets.
  • Learn more about SNAP and how to apply on ACCESS NYC.

Check your food stamp (SNAP) balance on your phone.

  • Fresh EBT is an app from a tech company that makes it easy to check your food stamp (SNAP) balance on your phone. Note: this is not government operated.
  • Free and available in English and Spanish. Download Fresh EBT.

Food stamps for women, infants, children (WIC)

  • WIC provides free healthy food and services to low-income women and children, including nutrition counseling, breastfeeding support, health education, and referrals.
  • Learn more about WIC and how to apply on ACCESS NYC.

Senior residents and food

Find Food Options In Your Community
The Coronavirus NYC Neighborhood Food Resource Guides is collected by Hunger College NYC Food Policy Center and Beta NYC.

Comprehensive food information by neighborhood and zip code:

  • meals for students and seniors during this time
  • delivery services for people with disabilities
  • resources for immigrants

Search for food in your neighborhood with the Coronavirus NYC Neighborhood Food Resource Guide.

Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) Nutrition Kitchens

  • The Department of Probation has opened five NeON Nutrition Kitchens throughout the city.
  • When you visit a NeON Nutrition Kitchen, you’ll get free, nutritious groceries and great service from our friendly staff. Everyone in the community is welcome.
  • Find a NeON Kitchen Near You.

Food Markets
CityHarvest offers free food every other week across NYC. Find a location near you.

HOUSING

Eviction Protection

  • No evictions can take place until October 1, 2020, at the earliest by order of the New York State courts.
  • Under a new State law, if you experienced a financial hardship any time after March 7, 2020, you may not be evicted for failing to pay rent first owed during that period.

Learn about Tenants’ Rights from the NYC Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants.

Tenant Resource Portal

  • The portal helps renters navigate free public and private resources that can help prevent eviction and stabilize their housing situations.
  • The portal is free and accessible to all residential tenants. Tenants will respond to a series of questions about their unique circumstances and be directed to the most relevant resources, such as help navigating an illegal lockout or eviction.
  • The portal also has up-to-date information on the general status of evictions in New York City Housing Court.
  • Check out the Tenant Resource portal.

Risk of homelessness and emergency rent assistance
Homebase offers:

  • Services to prevent eviction
  • Assistance obtaining public benefits
  • Emergency rental assistance
  • Education and job placement assistance
  • Financial counseling and money management
  • Help relocating
  • Short-term financial assistance

Learn more about Homebase and call 311 to find out how to get help.

Help for survivors of gender-based and domestic violence
Survivors of sexual violence, human trafficking, stalking, and intimate partner and family violence can get free and confidential services at NYC Family Justice Centers (FJCs), including:

  • Counseling for adults and children, and mental health services for adults
  • Help with safety planning, housing, shelter, and other needs
  • Legal help with orders of protection, custody, visitation, divorce, immigration, and housing matters
  • Help filing police reports
  • Financial services, job training, and education program referrals

To get help with domestic violence:

  • Call 911 in an emergency.
  • Call 800-621-4673 for help from the NYC Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline.
  • For the hearing impaired, TTY 866-604-5350 to speak with a counselor.
  • Learn more about how Family Justice Centers can help.

Free Affordable Housing Application Assistance
Ready to Rent, offered by the NYC Housing Preservation & Development, helps New Yorkers prepare to apply for affordable housing.

  • Free financial counseling
  • Free assistance with affordable housing applications
  • Get your credit checked
  • Calculate your income
  • Save for moving expenses

Create an account and book an appointment.

Emergency Cash Assistance
If your work schedule was reduced and you are unable to pay your rent, apply for a Cash Assistance special grant request to get emergency benefits.

Section 8
NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Section 8 voucher holders having trouble paying rent because of income loss should email DTRAI@hpd.nyc.gov.

Rent Freeze for Seniors and People with Disabilities Updates
Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) helps eligible senior citizens stay in affordable housing with a rent freeze. If their rent goes up, people with SCRIE do not have to pay the higher rent. The City pays the landlord the difference between the current rent and the future rent.

Disability Rent Increase Exemption (DRIE) provides a rent freeze to tenants with disabilities. If their rent goes up, tenants with DRIE do not have to pay the higher rate. The City pays the difference between the current and future rent.

Updates: Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, application processing times may be impacted. You can expect a determination within a few weeks of applying.

Expansion of NYC COVID-19 Hotel Program
The City will offer “Take Care Hotels” free of charge for individuals living with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and who are unable to separate safely at home. This can mean:

  • Your home does not have space for you to stay six feet away from others
  • You share rooms or a bathroom
  • You live with someone who is vulnerable
  • Any doctor, nurse, or physician’s assistant across the city can email CommCareCP@nychhc.org to refer a patient to a room.
  • If you don’t have a doctor, any symptomatic New Yorker can call the City’s COVID hotline at 844-692-4692 and ask for the COVID Hotel Program.
  • Learn more about the COVID-19 Hotel Program.

HEALTH INSURANCE & HEALTH CARE

Low-cost health insurance from New York State

Low-Cost or Free Healthcare from the City
NYC Care is available to all New York City residents regardless of immigration status. This is not an insurance plan.

  • Primary care, specialty, and emergency services (including hospital stays) are all available for NYC Care members.
  • Call the 24-hour NYC Care service at 646-NYC-CARE (646-692-3373) to enroll and make an appointment.
  • For help in other languages, visit nyccare.nyc.

SCHOOL & CHILDCARE

All public school buildings will remain closed for summer school in 2020. Remote learning and free meal pickup will continue. For more information, visit the DOE website.

2020–2021 School Year

  • NYC Schools has announced a plan for keeping students and families healthy during Fall 2020. Learn more about the plan for in-person and remote learning.
  • This fall, all NYC schools will offer blended learning. This means your child will have school both in-person and online on different days. All students will participate in blended learning by default.
  • If you want to instead have your child learning remotely (online) at any time of the year for any reason, complete this Learning Preference form. You will have the option to change back to blended learning at a few specific times during the school year, beginning in November 2020.

Learning Bridges: Childcare For Children from 3-K – 8th Grade During Remote Learning
Learning Bridges is a new program that will provide free child care options for children from 3-K through 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning. The Learning Bridges program will:

  • Be operated by community-based organizations and other partners
  • Provide opportunities for children to connect to their remote learning activities
  • Include time for art, recreation, and other age-appropriate activities
  • Follow the same rigorous health and safety precautions as schools

Learn about and apply to Learning Bridges.

Childcare While You Work

  • Submit a request to be matched with a safe, low-cost option for your family with WorkersNeedChildcare.org. Note: this is not government operated and is provided by Wiggle Room Now, a Public Benefit Corporation.
  • First responders, health care workers, key transit employees, grocery, restaurant, food, takeout and delivery workers, and residential and commercial building staff, can apply for Regional Enrichment Centers.

Devices for remote schooling
The NYC Department of Education is helping families that need remote learning devices.

After school and enrichment programs

  • All DYCD-funded programs based in NYC DOE schools, including Beacon, are closed.
  • DYCD-funded afterschool programs are conducting virtual check-in and/or remote learning, wherever possible.

IMMIGRANT COMMUNITIES

ACCESS NYC Resources For All Immigrants
For information for all of the government benefits, resources, services hosted on ACCESS NYC that are available to immigrants and do not include immigration status as an eligibility determination.

See ACCESS NYC Resources For All Immigrants.

IDNYC Enrollment Centers are Closed Until Further Notice
Appointments for new IDNYC applications are temporarily suspended. If your IDNYC card is about to expire, you can renew on IDNYC’s Online Portal.

Applying for a Driver’s License or Learner Permit
Under the ‘Green Light Law’, all New Yorkers age 16 and older can apply for a standard non-commercial driver’s license or learner permit regardless of their immigration status. However, you cannot apply for a Non-Driver ID card under the Green Light Law.

To apply for a permit or license, you will not need a social security card. You do need documents to prove:

  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • New York State residency

To apply for a learner permit, you must make a reservation to take a car permit test at a DMV location. Note that reservations are filling up quickly and you may not be able to reserve a spot soon. Find a location and make a reservation at https://dmv.ny.gov/offices/dmv-office-locations.

If you already have a learner permit but wish to get a driver’s license, check this page for more details: https://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license/get-driver-license.

Learn more about renewing or replacing a driver’s license here: https://dmv.ny.gov/driver-license

Report Hate and Bias to NYC Government
It is illegal for business owners or staff at places of public accommodations (e.g. grocery stores, medical facilities, restaurants, among others) to kick you out, refuse to serve you, or otherwise treat you less well than other customers because of fears or stigma around COVID-19. This includes harassment or discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived race, national origin, disability, or other protected classes.

If you have faced harassment or discrimination in housing, at work, or in any public place:

If you are a victim of, or witness a hate crime, call 911

Free, safe immigration related legal help
ActionNYC is a network of trusted and safe community organizations and schools.

  • Free legal screenings to find out if you qualify for any immigration benefit
  • Free legal help from an experienced attorney or accredited representative for a range of cases, including:
    Citizenship
  • Green card applications and renewals
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • And more

Call 1-800-354-0365 to make an appointment to get help:

Online English lessons

  • We Speak NYC is offering free weekly online classes.
  • Learn about New York City services available regardless of immigration status
  • View the schedule
  • Sign up

Telephone Assistance With Applying for Unemployment Insurance in Chinese and Spanish
Asian Americans for Equality, a non-profit, is offering assistance by appointment. To be ready, have the following information prepared:

  • Social Security Number
  • Mother’s Maiden Name
  • Valid New York State driver’s license or Non-Driver Photo Identification Card number
  • Complete mailing address and zip code
  • Employer Registration Number or Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN) of your most recent employer
  • Complete name, address, zip code and phone number of your most recent employer
  • Alien Registration Card number (if you are not a U.S. Citizen)

To make an appointment:

How to Apply for Unemployment from NY State – Video in Mandarin Chinese from Asian Americans For Equality.

Weekly Immigration Newsletter in Spanish published on WhatsApp
Documented is a non-profit news site, not affiliated with the government, covering NYC immigrants and immigration policies.

  • Contact Documented reporters to ask questions and make suggestions about news to include.
  • Question and answer sessions with special guests, where subscribers can text in questions to be answered by immigration lawyers, diplomats, professors or other experts.

To join (must have Whatsapp installed):

  • Click this link and send the message that appears
  • Save the number to your contact list. It is the only way you can receive every message sent and interact.

Additional Resources for Immigrant Communities

MENTAL HEALTH

Mental Health Support
Contact NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline, staffed by trained counselors, providing counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages.

Learn more about free mental health services from Thrive NYC
Services are tailored to the needs of:

  • aging New Yorkers
  • veterans
  • students and young people
  • people harmed by violence, crime or abuse
  • substance users

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES 

Updates:

Access-A-Ride Changes

  • Access-A-Ride is currently not collecting cash fare for the safety of drivers and customers.
  • Shared rides are not allowed but you can still travel with your personal care attendant or a guest.
  • The AAR eligibility process was temporarily adjusted. Assessment centers are temporarily closed. Those who wish to apply for AAR may call Eligibility at 877-337-2017, prompt #1 and speak with an agent for assistance. Those customers whose service is scheduled to expire shortly should also call Eligibility.

NYCHA RESIDENTS

NYCHA Rent Hardship

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Remote Notarization and Witnessing
You can now remotely have a document notarized through a video conference up until October 4, 2020. To remotely notarize a document, the following conditions must be satisfied:

  • You need to present a valid photo ID to the Notary during the video conference.
  • The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person and the Notary (e.g. no pre-recorded videos of the person signing).
  • You must state that you’re physically situated in the State of New York.
  • You must fax or electronically send a legible copy of the signed document directly to the Notary on the same date it was signed.
  • The Notary may notarize the transmitted copy of the document and transmit it back to the person; and
  • The Notary may repeat the notarization of the original signed document as of the date of execution provided the Notary receives such original signed document together with the electronically notarized copy within thirty days after the date of execution.

Learn more about remote notarization

Overnight Transportation for Essential Workers

Plan transit alternatives for subway service from 1 a.m.-5 a.m. and find resources to help you get where you’re going during the coronavirus pandemic.

Get Help From Your Neighbors
This page lists Mutual Aid Groups, voluntary community groups, in NYC and surrounding areas currently providing support. Groups listed here have not received any type of vetting and are not affiliated with government.

Phone hours:

  • Monday 1:30-8pm (English)
  • Tuesday 5:30-8pm (English, Mandarin)
  • Wednesday 1:30-8pm (English, Español)
  • Friday 1:30-5pm (English, Español)

Discounted Telephone Service

  • Lifeline is a federal program that offers a monthly discount to qualified low-income customers.
  • Apply for a reduced telephone rate provided by Verizon.

Learn more about the Lifeline discounted telephone service.

New York Public Library WiFi Hotspots
You can connect to free wifi from a public library, find one near you:

Hotspot and tablet loan program
Public libraries may have tablets and hotspots, depending on inventory, available to loan to those with a library card and who meet requirements:

LinkNYC Public WiFi
You can connect to free Wi-Fi through a LinkNYC kiosk. To connect, select the ‘LinkNYC Free Wi-Fi’ network from your device’s Wi-Fi settings, and register with your email. Find a Link kiosk near you.

Xfinity WiFi Public Hotspots
Xfinity WiFi Public Hotspots are now open to everyone on the “xfinitywifi” SSID.

Spectrum Internet offers low-income broadband service Spectrum Internet Assist for new customers in select areas.

  • Your family is eligible if you have a child that attends a NYC public school. Families with students in NYC public schools are recipients of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) through the NYC SchoolFood program which offers free breakfast, lunch and afterschool meals to all NYC public school students during the school year.
  • Call the Spectrum Internet Assist toll-free number for help enrolling at 1-844-525-1574.

Justice-Involved New Yorkers

  • Call the ACS Office of Advocacy at 212-676-9421 for concerns related to child welfare and juvenile justice.
  • The Correctional Health Services (CHS) Point of Reentry and Transition Practices (PORT) can help with medical needs/concerns. Call 646-614-1000 or email CHSPORTline@nychhc.org for help with prescriptions for people recently released from jail.
  • Re-entry individuals are eligible for certain public benefits. For more information, see the Re-Entry Benefits FAQ from the Legal Aid Society, a non-profit or call their hotline 888-663-6880.

More resources from the City of New York

Last Updated Thursday, September 17th, 11:10am