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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Last Updated Wednesday, October 21st, 4:34pm

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.

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

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

Update: Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments were distributed in September for the benefit weeks between August 2 and September 6 for unemployed New Yorkers receiving UI benefits. For more information, visit the Department of Labor website or read the factsheets: [English] [Spanish]

  • 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.

Federal Economic Impact Payments (stimulus payment)

  • Adults and families with work-eligible social security numbers (SSN) can receive a one time $1200 economic impact payment 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 did not file a 2019 tax return, have not received your Economic Impact Payment, and have not registered for a payment, use the Non-Filers Tool by November 21, 2020 to register.
  • If you haven’t received your payment, use the Get My Payment tool to check the status of your Economic Impact Payment.

Learn more about Federal Economic Impact Payments on ACCESS NYC.

Emergency Cash Grants (One-shot deals)
You may be eligible for an emergency cash grant if it will help you:

  • pay back rent to avoid eviction
  • pay bills to maintain or restore utility service(s)
  • pay for moving expenses, security deposit vouchers, broker’s fees, or temporary storage for furniture and personal belongings

Here are fact sheets with more information in your language:

You can also contact HRA’s Infoline at 718-557-1399 to learn more.

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
Any New Yorker can receive free meals available at more than 200 NYC public schools. Meals can be picked up from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm, on school days only.

  • All sites offer vegetarian and halal options. Some sites offer exclusively kosher certified meals.
  • No registration or ID is required.
  • You can pick up multiple meals at once.

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

Learn more about food options NYC.gov/getFood

Reserve a spot at your local food pantry

  • Plentiful is an app that lets you reserve a spot in line at a participating food pantry near you.
  • Download Plentiful and use it to save time on your next visit to a pantry!

Emergency Food Assistance

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

  • All children who receive free or reduced-price school lunches will automatically receive P-EBT food benefits. The maximum benefit one child can receive is $420 for the March – June 2020 period. Children who are eligible are:
    • Students between ages 5 – 18
    • Children between ages 3 – 4 who attended Universal Pre-Kindergarten
    • Young adults ages 19 to 21 who are still in school
  • 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.
  • You may call the P-EBT Food Benefits Helpline [833-452-0096] if you have questions about the benefits you received.
  • Fill out this contact form if you have any questions about P-EBT food benefits.
  • Learn more about Pandemic EBT from OTDA.

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.

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
Under state law, most evictions for nonpayment of rent can​not take place until January 1, 2021. Tenants may have protections under either or both New York State Law and an order from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants (MOPT) Tenant Help Line is available to answer questions about your tenancy and whether the orders or law may apply to you, and to connect you with free legal assistance through the Human Resources Administration’s Office of Civil Justice.

To learn more about Tenants’ Rights, check out the NYC Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants.

Tenant Resource Portal
The portal has resources for residential tenants to help them avoid eviction and stabilize their housing situations. It 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
Homebase services may include:

  • 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.

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.

HEALTH INSURANCE & HEALTH CARE

Low-cost health insurance from New York State

  • The COVID Special Enrollment Period for private health insurance for uninsured New Yorkers is extended to December 31, 2020. Get free enrollment assistance for health insurance from GetCoveredNYC.
  • Every New Yorker can get health insurance, regardless of immigration status.
  • There are low-cost and free plans for people who qualify, and counselors to help you choose a plan.
  • Certain programs like Medicaid, Essential Plan, and Child Health Plus are open for enrollment year-round and do not have a deadline.
  • Apply at nystateofhealth.ny.gov, or call 855-355-5777.

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

2020–2021 School Year

  • Learn about the DOE plan for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • If you want your child to learn 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 DOE program that provides free child care. It is available for children from 3-K through 8th grade on days when they are scheduled for remote learning. It is not available to children who opted for 100% 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.

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

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.

Some IDNYC Enrollment Centers are now open
You can now enroll for IDNYC by making an appointment on IDNYC’s Online Portal. You may also renew your card on the 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 learner permit, you must make a reservation to take a car permit test at a DMV location. Note that reservations are filling up quickly. Find a location and make a reservation at https://dmv.ny.gov/offices/dmv-office-locations.

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 and safe legal help for immigration related issues
Through Action NYC, you can get free legal screenings to find out if you qualify for any immigration benefit. You can also get free legal help from an experienced attorney or representative regarding citizenship, green card application/renewals, DACA, TPS, and more.

Call 1-800-354-0365 on weekdays between 9am – 6pm to make an appointment.

Learn more about Action NYC

Online English lessons
We Speak NYC offers free weekly online classes for intermediate English Language Learners ages 16+.

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.
  • Learn how to join on DocumentedNY

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 November 3, 2020. Learn more about remote notarization.

Overnight Transportation for Essential Workers

The MTA has guidance for travel between 1am – 5am for when subways are not running.

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.

Hotline languages and hours, call 646-437-8080 to get help

  • English (Monday – Thursday 2-8pm, Friday 2-5pm)
  • Spanish and Mandarin (Monday & Tuesday 2-8pm, Wednesday & Thursday 5-8pm, Friday 2-5pm)
  • French (Wednesday 5-8pm, Thursday 2-5pm)
  • Creole (Thursday 5-8pm)
  • Arabic (Monday 5-8pm)
  • Hindi, Urdu, and Korean (Wednesday 5-8pm, Thursday 5-8pm)

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 a library 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.

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 Wednesday, October 21st, 4:34pm