Friday, March 13 was the last day of normalcy many of us remember pre-COVID-19.
In the time since over 18,400 constituents in our district have contracted COVID-19 and 376 have died due to the virus. Not a day goes by that I don’t think what more I can do.
Stopping the bleed: Before many stay-at-home issues were ordered, Congress raced to pass emergency relief for families. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was passed late the night of March 14, with a focus on testing, paid family leave, and food assistance. This bill included legislation that I coauthored to provide free testing for uninsured patients. I also led a bipartisan effort to ensure our government used its authority under this law to provide recipients of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) access to nutritious foods as stores were depleted due to increased demand. The Senate passed, and the president signed the bill on March 18.
On March 16, I issued my staff to work from home and stay safe while flattening the curve. We continue to work from home, finding ways to help constituents, receiving hundreds of calls per week. People are feeling the strain from their pocketbook to their minds – none of it through any fault of their own. Our casework load has doubled since COVID-19. My staff are working around the clock to continue to help working families cut through red tape to get help. If you need help with the IRS or another federal agency, please contact me.
I have touched every corner of my district virtually, holding meetings and phone calls, and face timing with:
- Hospitals and community health clinics
- Food banks, providers, and nutrition agencies
- Small businesses and local chambers of commerce
- Teachers, superintendents, and college administrators
- Labor unions
- Immigration agencies and advocacy groups
- Local law enforcement
Stabilizing: In late March, Congress came back into session to pass the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to stabilize the economy. The bill included the payroll protection program (PPP), economic stimulus checks, and increased unemployment benefits by up to $600 per week while also, for the first time, allowing independent contractors or gig workers to tap into the program. We fought hard to turn this legislation from a republican led corporate bailout to a worker-first relief package. It was passed and signed by the president on March 27.
While continuing to hold meetings and calls, I’ve held weekly “Live with Linda” conversations on Facebook to address constituents, provide the latest updates, and answer questions. You can follow me on Facebook to watch the next one. I’ve also sent out weekly e-newsletter updates with helpful information on testing sites, PPP applications, and stimulus checks. Sign up to receive my weekly updates.
Starting to Repair: On May 13, the House passed a third bill, the Heroes Act, to provide further support for our local governments, our families, and our democracy. It offers $1 trillion dollars for our struggling states and cities, another round of direct payments to individuals, new resources to ensure safe elections and an accurate Census count, and funding to ensure that the Postal Service can continue to stay in operation.
Inspired by the numerous members of our community reaching out to me for help and suggestions, I fought hard for, and won, key provisions in the Heroes Act; I authored bills to provide hazard pay for frontline workers, childcare funding for essential workers, emergency assistance for vulnerable populations, and free coronavirus treatment for all.
In addition to these three major bills, I have signed on to 27 pieces of legislation related to COVID-19 and l43 letters to push the federal government, particularly the Trump administration to do more and direct more resources to our communities in need.
I know my work is not done. I know Americans are hurting and frustrated.
Now is the time to stand up, be counted, and play a part in our democracy. Take the first step by filling out your Census form so you can be counted and so your community gets funding. Let me, and other elected officials, know how you feel, what you need, and how we can help. I am your representative and I take your voice all the way to the floor of Congress.
While the president has failed to meet the moment, we have not. I look forward to hearing from you.
For up-to-date information on the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the State of California's response, as well as ways to help out during this pandemic, please visit the following:
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Los Angeles County Department of Public Health: 2-1-1
- Orange County Health Care Agency: (833) 426-6411
- California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
- California COVID-19 Medical Supply Contributions
Congress passed legislation to provide most Americans with direct economic assistance during this unprecedented time.
How will I receive my money?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will work to deliver this money quickly. For people who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, your payment will be sent to the account or address already on file with the IRS.
How much will I receive?
The payment is $1,200 for each adult individual ($2,400 for joint filers) and $500 per qualifying child under age 17.
- This payment is reduced by $5 for every $100 of income if a taxpayer’s income exceeds $150,000 for a joint filer, $112,500 for a head of household filer, and $75,000 for anyone else (including single filers).
- Taxpayers must have Social Security Numbers for themselves and their qualifying children in order to receive the payment.
What else do I need to know?
If you are a Social Security recipient that is not normally required to file a federal income tax return, you do not need to file one in order to receive this payment. For additional information, including the form, click here.
Where is my payment?
The IRS is still working to ensure that everyone who qualifies for an economic impact payment gets one. If you would like my office to make a direct inquiry to the IRS on your behalf, click here.
What if I didn't get assistance because of my immigration status?
California is providing a one-time state-funded disaster relief assistance to undocumented adults who are ineligible for other forms of assistance. Those who qualify can receive $500 in direct assistance, with a maximum of $1000 in assistance per household. For more information, click here.
California's Employment Development Department (EDD) provides a variety of services for those affected by COVID-19. Visit the EDD website for more information and check out the EDD's Frequently Asked Questions.
If your hours have been reduced or you have lost their job due to COVID-19 measures, you may qualify for unemployment benefits. Governor Newsom waived the 1-week wait time and applicants may not be required to be actively looking for work. Learn how to file an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim.
- Those who choose to stay home due to underlying health issues that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19 may qualify for UI benefits.
- If your child’s school is closed and you have to miss work to care for them, you may qualify for UI benefits.
- DACA and TPS recipients with a valid work authorization permit qualify for EDD benefits in the State of California.
- Unfortunately, this benefit is not available to undocumented persons whose hours are reduced or lose their job for reasons related to COVID-19.
If you are unable to do your usual job because you were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 while in the regular course of their job, you may qualify for worker's compensation. For more information, click here.
Sick or Quarantined
- If you are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19, you can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim with the State of California.
- If you are unable to work because you are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19, you can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim with the State of California.
If you are self-employed, you may have benefits available from EDD employment insurance programs that you or your employer may have paid into over the past 5 to 18 months. For more information, click here.
LA County Food Bank
If you are of need of immediate food assistance, please dial 2-1-1 or visit their food pantry locator.
Orange County Food Bank
To find your nearest food pantry location, text your ZIP code to 898-211 or click here.
CalFresh provides monthly food benefits to individuals and families with low-income and provides economic benefits to communities. It is the largest food program in California and provides an essential hunger safety net.
Apply for benefits online or over the phone by calling the LA County Department of Public Social Services Customer Service Center at (866) 613-3777.
Meal Services for Students
Many schools in our area have canceled classes and are offering meal service plans for students. Please visit your school district's or school's website for specific information about how your children are affected.
- ABC Unified School District
- Anaheim Union High School District
- Bellflower United School District
- Buena Park School District
- Centralia Elementary School District
- Cypress School District
- East Whittier City School District
- El Monte City School District
- El Monte Union High School District
- El Rancho Unified School District
- Fullerton Joint Union High School District
- Little Lake City School District
- Long Beach Unified School District
- Los Nietos School District
- Montebello Unified School District
- Norwalk-La Mirada School District
- Paramount Unified School District
- South El Monte Union High School District
- South Whittier School District
- Whittier Union High School District
- Whittier City School District
- Valle Lindo Elementary School District
All Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices are currently closed and as a result, Americans should expect service delays. To find your local field office, click here. For additional information related to the SSA's services during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.
The Treasury Department postponed the income tax filing date from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses now have three extra months to file and make payments without interest or penalties. If you are planning to get a refund, you can still file early and get your money sooner.
If you cannot file a return by that date, you can request an extension by filing Form 4868 for an automatic extension until October 15, 2020. You can find this on the IRS website, which has additional information on filing for an extension. For additional updates on IRS operations during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.
If you are experiencing hardship as a result of COVID-19, you may request up to a 60-day extension to file your state payroll reports and/or deposit state payroll taxes without penalty or interest. A written request for an extension must be received within 60 days from the original delinquent date of the payment or return.
- Toll-free from the U.S. or Canada: 1-888-745-3886
- Hearing-impaired (TTY): 1-800-547-9565
- Outside the U.S. or Canada: 1-916-464-3502
The State of California has also pushed its tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020. FTB is postponing until July 15 the filing and payment deadlines for all individuals and business entities for:
- 2019 tax returns
- 2019 tax return payments
- 2020 1st and 2nd quarter estimate payments
- 2020 LLC taxes and fees
- 2020 Non-wage withholding payments
Visit the State of California Franchise Tax Board for further information on up-to-date filing information for state taxes.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act includes funding to cover the costs of COVID-19 tests for veterans. For more information and guidance for veterans, click here.
Our community’s local VA clinic is located in Santa Fe Springs.
- Address: 10330 Pioneer Boulevard, Suite 180 Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670-6012
- Phone: 562-347-2200
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that spreads from person to person. While the family of coronaviruses has been around for some time, COVID-19 is a new kind of coronavirus. COVID-19 was first detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China.
For more information on the total number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, click here.
If You Think You Are Sick
Call ahead: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and may have had contact with a person with COVID-19, or recently traveled to countries with apparent community spread, call your health care provider or local public health department first before seeking medical care so that appropriate precautions can be taken.
Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before emergency medical services arrive.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has additional steps you should take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick.
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported — ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
This list is not all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms, like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
There are two kinds of tests are available for COVID-19: viral tests and antibody tests.
- A viral test tells you if you have a current infection.
- An antibody test tells you if you had a previous infection.
If you develop COVID-19 symptoms, please contact your health care provider about getting a viral test. Free COVID-19 testing is now available to all Los Angeles County and Orange County residents by appointment. There are several sites in our community.
To learn more and find the testing site nearest you in Los Angeles County, click here.
Orange County residents can find a full list of testing sites by going to Orange County’s COVID-19 page or by calling 1-833-426-6411.
Preventing The Spread
According to the CDC, there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of the virus, including:
- Wear cloth face coverings when around others outside of your home.
- Maintain a distance of six feet from anyone not in your household.
- Wash your hands frequently and for 20 seconds.
- Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands.
- Stay home if you have any signs of illness.
- If you don’t have to travel, please stay put.
Infographics on the CDC's coronavirus prevention guidance:
Remember to visit the CDC's website for the latest updates on the coronavirus and how you can prepare in your homes and your community.