Member of Congress
I know this is a challenging time. In Massachusetts and across the country, the disruption to our daily lives by the coronavirus has caused anxiety, uncertainty, and financial stress for so many of our families. For over 400,000 of our fellow Americans, that disruption has come in the form of a coronavirus diagnosis. And while the vast majority of people who come down with this illness will fully recover, we should all keep in our thoughts and prayers the loved ones of those who have not been so fortunate during these difficult days.
I also want to thank everyone playing a role in keeping us safe and healthy. Our doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals are working around the clock to care for the sick. Our police, firefighters and EMTs continue to serve our communities. Our grocery store workers and pharmacists are ensuring that we have the food and medicine we need for our families. And countless others are working at food banks and pantries and in school kitchens and cafeterias to make sure that nobody goes hungry.
We will overcome this challenge. And when we do, I hope we look back at this time and remember the millions of people working together to meet this moment with strength and perseverance. The selfless courage, camaraderie, and concern for one another we see on display right now is who we are as Americans. We should all take pride in that.
Congress has now passed three emergency relief packages to help address the massive health care and economic disruptions caused by this pandemic. Some of the money and resources we allocated have already begun to flow to those who need them, and some will begin flowing in the days and weeks ahead.
Here is some important information regarding those resources to help keep you informed:
There is a dedicated Coronavirus Information Page on my website that we are updating daily with the most recent information available.
I have created a Small Business Resources Page to help provide information to employers that have been economically impacted by the coronavirus.
I have created a Frequently Asked Questions Page about Economic Impact Payments (direct payments to millions of Americans) that Congress authorized in the CARES Act.
The Mass. Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) is issuing emergency SNAP (food stamp) supplements to many SNAP households to help buy food during the pandemic crisis. Congress approved special SNAP supplement benefits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fastest and easiest way to apply is to online here.
With help from the United Way, Massachusetts has set up a COVID-19 Hotline which you can access by calling 2-1-1.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has set up a 24-hour Emergency Hotline for you to call should you have any questions or concerns. The Hotline number is (617) 983-6800.
Massachusetts has also launched a COVID-19 text message notification system for important updates as the public health situation continues to change. You can opt-in by texting "COVIDMA" to 888-777.
If you or your company has personal protective equipment (PPE) like medical grade facemasks, Massachusetts has also launched a new online portal for you to donate or sell your PPE to help the state's response efforts.
The Mass. Department of Unemployment Assistance put together this guide on How to File for Unemployment during COVID-19*
*Please note that Massachusetts is currently working to implement many provisions of the CARES Act including an additional $600 to the weekly benefits received by traditional unemployment claimants, retroactive to March 29, 2020. Massachusetts is also implementing a 13-week extension of benefits to unemployment claimants as quickly as possible. You should apply as soon as possible to make sure your benefits are processed quickly. Massachusetts is also implementing provisions of the CARES Act that make unemployment benefits available to individuals who are self-employed, have exhausted their regular benefits, are not financially eligible for regular unemployment benefits, and others not traditionally covered under the regular unemployment program. The application for these filers will be available soon and benefits may be retroactive to the week ending February 2, 2020.
If you have additional questions, I want you to know that my office is here to help you in whatever way we can. You can find contact information for all my offices by clicking here, or you can email me by clicking here.