Coronavirus Resources

 

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Dear Friend,  

Friday, March 13, 2020 was the last day of normalcy many of us remember pre-COVID-19.

Since then, more than 100,000 constituents in our district have contracted COVID-19 and 2,000 have died due to the virus. Thousands more have faced economic challenges, relying on unemployment checks and food assistance. And the pandemic exacerbated health and economic inequities: people of color have contracted the disease at much higher rates, eight in ten minority-owned businesses are on the brink of closure, and more than two million women have been forced out of the workforce.

Under the leadership of President Biden, Democrats in Congress delivered desperately needed relief to get our communities back on their feet.  As of June 15, the State of California has reopened. Businesses and families are getting back to normal. There is truly light at the end of the tunnel, but a great deal of work remains to ensure everyone can benefit from reopening our economy safely. As your Member of Congress, it is my priority to keep you informed about our government’s response efforts and share resources available to you and your family.

Below you will find the latest information on resources available to residents of Los Angeles and Orange County.

 

Help is Here: The American Rescue Plan

In March 2021, I proudly supported a historic relief package to help our nation recover. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is helping our community reopen and rebuild by putting shots in arms, money in pockets, children in schools, and people in jobs.  

Here and below you will find additional information on how ARP is helping California.

 

COVID-19 Vaccine

The American Rescue Plan has helped us deliver more than 237 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines across the country. As a result, over 17 million people in Los Angeles County and 1.5 million in Orange County are now fully vaccinated. In California we are on our way to stopping the spread of COVID-19, saving lives in our communities, and getting back to normal. But we still have more to go.

I encourage you to follow state and local guidance, including following these steps to help keep our community safe.

When it is your turn, please roll up your sleeve and get vaccinated.

There are several ways to schedule a vaccine appointment. You may do so online by registering using California’s “My Turn” system here. LA County residents can also click here to find more information on booking an appointment. OC residents can do the same here.

Los Angeles Country residents with disabilities or without computer access can call (833) 540-0473 between 8:00 am and 8:30 pm 7 days a week for assistance with appointments.

Orange County residents can call the COVID-19 Hotline is available to help Orange County residents with booking appointments, location selection, or assistance with transportation. Live operators are available Monday-Friday from 8 am to 5 pm at (714) 834-2000.

You can visit vaccines.gov, text your ZIP code to 438829, or call 1-800-232-0233 find additional vaccine sites near you.

Finally, earlier this month, the Biden Administration and WhatsApp launched a Spanish-language vaccine finder on WhatsApp to help Spanish-speaking communities find the nearest vaccine location, get a ride, and get accurate information about the vaccination process. To use this free service click here or text “Hola” to 1-833-636-1122 in WhatsApp.

Important facts to remember about the COVID-19 vaccine:

  • COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective in protecting your health.
  • All COVID-19 vaccines are free for all Californians.
  • Vaccines are available for everyone age 12 and over.
  • You will not be asked about your immigration status when you get a vaccine.

You can learn more about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines here.

Continue taking steps to protect our community.

Los Angeles County and Orange County have updated their guidelines on the use of masks to match State guidance. Please remember the following.

EVERYONE, regardless of vaccination status, must wear a mask:

  • On planes, trains, buses, ferries, taxis and ride-shares, and all other forms of public transportation.
  • In transportation hubs, like airports, bus terminals, train stations, marinas, seaports or other ports, subway stations, or any other area that provides transportation.
  • Healthcare settings.
  • State and local correctional facilities and detention centers.
  • Shelters and cooling centers.
  • Indoors at any youth-serving facility (such as K-12 schools, childcare, day camps, etc.).
  • Any business or government office serving the public that requires everyone to wear a mask.

In addition, unvaccinated people must also wear a mask in indoor public settings and businesses, for example:

  • Movie theaters.
  • Restaurants.
  • Retail Spaces.
  • Family entertainment centers.
  • Mega-events.
  • Government offices serving the public.

While we have made tremendous progress, highly transmissible variants of COVID-19 continue to spread in Southern California.

As of July 17, LA County Department of Public Health requires residents, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask indoors in public places as a precautionary measure.

For more information on when you need to wear a mask, LA County residents can see here and OC residents can visit here for more information.

 

Health Insurance – Get Covered!

If you currently do not have health insurance, I encourage you to go to www.coveredca.com where you can find health insurance plans available to you and your family.

Covered California has created a special enrollment plan allowing any Californian who is uninsured and eligible to enroll in health care coverage through the end of 2021. In addition, the American Rescue Plan provides new financial help – including subsidies for those receiving employment benefits. I recommended checking Covered California again to see what help you can get! Remember, you can enroll in Med-Cal year-round.

 

FEMA Funeral Assistance

Due to our work in Congress, FEMA will be providing financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses that occurred after January 20, 2020. Assistance can be up to f $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application. 

Starting on April 12, FEMA began accepting applications for Funeral Assistance through their dedicated call center. The following conditions established by FEMA established conditions must be met:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19. Applicants may submit a statement or letter from the death certificate’s certifying official, medical examiner, or coroner, that attributes the death to COVID-19 fatalities that occurred between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a qualified non-citizen who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.

You can find more information on eligibility and the necessary documentation here.

COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Line Number: 844-684-6333 | TTY: 800-462-7585

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday; 8AM – 8PM Central Time 

 

Situation Updates

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, the State of California's response, as well as ways to help out during this pandemic, please visit the following:

 

Direct Payments

The American Rescue Plan authorized an additional round of direct Economic Impact Payments. If you were eligible for previous rounds of direct payments, you may be eligible for this round. 

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 2019 or 2020, your payment will be sent to the account or address already on file with the IRS.

How much will I receive? 

Those eligible will automatically receive an Economic Impact Payment of up to $1,400 for individuals or $2,800 for married couples, plus $1,400 for each dependent. Unlike the prior rounds of Economic Impact Payments, families will get a payment for all their dependents claimed on a tax return, not just their qualifying children under 17.

To be eligible for a direct Economic Impact Payment, recipients must:

  • Have an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 for singles and married persons filing a separate return, up to $112,500 for heads of household, and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns and surviving spouses. Payment amounts are reduced for filers with incomes above those levels.
  • Qualifying recipients, including children, must have a Social Security Number. However, unlike previous rounds of direct payments, heads of household are not required to have a Social Security Number to receive a direct payment for children who do have a Social Security Number.

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.

I never received my first or second round Economic Impact Payment. How can I claim it?

If you didn't get a first and second Economic Impact Payment or got less than the full amount, you may be eligible to claim the 2020 Recovery Rebate Credit and must file a 2020 tax return even if you don’t usually file a tax return.

 

Workers

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.

Unemployment Benefits 

If your hours have been reduced or you have lost your job due to COVID-19, 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 to apply. 

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 must 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.

Worker’s Compensation

If you are unable to do your usual job because you were exposed to and contracted COVID-19 while in the regular course of your job, you may qualify for worker's compensation.

For more information, click here.  

Sick or Quarantined?

Self-employed?

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.  

 

Resources for Small Businesses

I voted to create the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to save jobs right here in our community.

I have consistently supported legislation that provides additional resources for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program to get small businesses immediate help. I am proud that the American Rescue Plan expanded eligibility for nonprofits and included $25 billion in targeted grants for restaurants that are struggling.

If you are a small business owner who needs help, please explore the resources below for assistance.

Are you a small business owner who needs help but don’t know where to start?

Browse through these federal, state, and local resources for assistance.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

This federal initiative was created by the bipartisan CARES Act, which I supported.

Here is what you need to know:

  • PPP provides loans to help small businesses stay afloat and keep their workers employed during this crisis. The loans are offered at a low interest rate and may also be forgiven.
  • Though PPP stopped accepting new applications last year, I’m pleased to share that both parties came together to pass a new bipartisan relief bill in December 2020 that included more resources for PPP. The Small Business Administration (SBA) said that it began reopening PPP in phases during the week of January 11th, 2020.
  • The latest relief bill made various changes and improvements to PPP. Here are some of those changes, as according to the SBA:
    • Borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs.
    • Loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures.
    • Eligibility expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, among other types of organizations.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

An EIDL can offer long-term, low interest help for small businesses, nonprofit organizations, sole proprietors, and independent contractors. I was glad to vote for bipartisan relief legislation to provide more resources for EIDL and extend the application deadline until December 31st, 2021.

Here is what you need to know:

  • An EIDL can be used to cover payroll, inventory, debt, and other expenses like rent and utilities.
  • Qualifying small businesses and other entities can use EIDL to help stay afloat during this health and economic emergency. They may be able to help cover costs that may not already be covered by a separate PPP loan.
  • Interest rates are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits.
  • SBA loans may be repaid for up to a maximum of 30 years. The first payment is deferred for one year.
  • Small businesses, nonprofits, and others may now be able to apply for EIDL relief until December 31st, 2021. However, please apply as soon as you are able. Applications are approved pending on the availability of funds.
  • Click here to learn more about EIDL.
  • Click here to apply for an EIDL now. 

EIDL Advance

Additionally, EIDL Advance may also be able to provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to eligible businesses. These emergency grants do not have to be repaid.

  • EIDL Advances are generally made to small businesses who serve communities with more modest incomes. To qualify, a business must have seen a 30% or more reduction in their gross receipts in any eight-week period during this pandemic.
  • Due to high demand, funding for this initiative unfortunately ran out in 2020. However, I was glad to vote for a new bipartisan relief bill in December 2021 so the program could resume.
  • Click here to learn more about EIDL advance on the SBA website. 

Additional SBA Relief

Here are other programs and relief resources you can consider.

  • SBA Express Bridge Loan: If you are struggling and need immediate assistance, this program can help you access up to $25,000 in relief quickly if you already have a relationship with an SBA lender. This assistance can help keep you afloat until you complete applications for other assistance, such as an EIDL.
  • Shuttered Venture Grant: This is a new grant that is part of the new coronavirus relief law that I supported and was enacted in December 2020. It will provide relief to live venues that have seen their businesses harmed from the pandemic including museums and theatrical performances. The SBA is currently setting up the program and is not accepting applicants, but you can click to learn more about it.
  • SBA Debt Relief Options: You may also be eligible for debt relief under SBA programs. For instance, if you already have a 7a loan, the SBA may pay up to 6 months of principal and interest payments. 

Contacts

I’ve heard from small business owners who have had difficulty navigating available assistance programs and don’t know where to turn to get the help they need. Our team is here to connect you with all the help we can.

Please explore the following resources to see if you can find the assistance you need:

Help for non-profit organizations

Non-profit groups provide crucial community assistance and like so many organizations, they need support more than ever now. If you run a non-profit, here are some resources that may be available to you.

  • Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance
    • I’ve been glad to support emergency legislation to make billions more available to help small businesses at this time. These loans are also available to private non-profits, startups, cooperatives, and the self-employed. 

 

Relief for renters and homeowners

Congress has appropriated billions of dollars to assist families struggling to pay their rent or mortgage.

Programs that distribute these funds are run by your local government. Please visit their website to apply. Families struggling to pay their rent, mortgage, and utility bills can now apply for assistance. Right now, there are three separate programs at the local, county, and state level of government. Each program has its own eligibility standards and receiving funds from one may disqualify you from receiving assistance from other programs. If you have questions or need help, contact our office for assistance.

The American Rescue Plan provided additional emergency aid to help struggling homeowners and renters stay in their homes. Likewise, it has new support for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) so folks can pay their utility bills and keep their electricity on.

Shortly after taking office, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order to extend the moratorium on rental evictions outlined below through at least March 31st, 2021. On February 16th, the administration also extended foreclosure moratorium and mortgage forbearance protections through June 30th, 2021. Most recently, the Biden administration unveiled a raft of measures to prevent people who lost income during the pandemic from losing their homes, including extending nationwide eviction and foreclosure bans until July 31. You can read more about their initiatives here.

The State of California's  COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act, signed into law on January 29, 2021 extended eviction protections to COVID-19 impacted tenants through June 30, 2021 and established the state’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program. The LA Board of Supervisors extended the Los Angeles County Temporary Eviction Moratorium through September 30, 2021. You can find more information here. You can get additional help by going to Housingiskey.com or calling 1‑833‑430‑2122.

What you should do if you unable to pay rent?

  • Let your landlord know in writing within seven days of the rent due date. 

  • Save documentation as proof. 

  • Pay as much of your rent as you can.

Who is eligible?

While not everyone will qualify for this assistance, you can apply for it regardless of your citizenship or immigration status. There is no charge to apply for or receive this assistance.

For more information:

Additional information about the extension of the COVID-19 Tenant Relief Act and new state or local rental assistance programs, including more information about how to qualify for assistance, can be found by visiting http://housingiskey.com.

If your landlord is attempting to evict you and you took all the above steps, contact a local legal aid provider and learn about your protections.

Other State of California tenant resources:

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has more information on these protections for renters and homeowners so you can know how to get help. Here's what you should know:

Avoid foreclosure: A bipartisan law called the CARES Act, which I supported, includes a moratorium on foreclosures for many homeowners.

  • According to the CFPB, if you’re a homeowner with a federally backed mortgage (whether that’s Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, the VA, and USDA), your lender or service cannot begin a judicial or non-judicial foreclosure against you. They also can’t finalize a foreclosure judgement or sale.
  • Additionally, other resources and protections may be available to homeowners who may not have a federally backed mortgage. According to the CFPB, federal law generally prohibits loan servicers from beginning the foreclosure process until a loan is 120 days or more past due.
  • Anyone who cannot make their mortgage payments on time should let their servicer know as soon as possible. It may be possible to work out a plan to help avoid foreclosure.
  • On February 16th, 2021 the Biden Administration extended these foreclosure moratorium protections through at least June 30th, 2021.
  • Please click here to learn more on the CFPB website.

Mortgage forbearance: The CARES Act also provides many homeowners with federally backed or funded mortgages with the option of a forbearance if they need one.

  • Qualifying homeowners may be able to request a forbearance of 180 days and request an extension for a total of up to 360 days without any additional fees or interest.
  • However, it’s important to know that forbearance does not mean your mortgage payments are forgiven or erased. You will still have to repay any missed or reduced payments later, though in many circumstances, it may be possible to do so over a longer period of time.
  • On February 16th, 2021 the Biden Administration extended these mortgage forebearance protections through at least June 30th, 2021.
  • Please click here to learn more about mortgage forebearance, and other relief that may be available, from the CFPB.

Rental assistance: Help may be available to renters who are struggling due to the health and economic crisis.

Here’s how you can learn more or get more help:

 

Nutritional help

The American Rescue Plan provided more resources so schoolchildren can buy healthy and nutritious food under the Pandemic-Emergency Benefit Transfer (EBT). It also boosts the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, which helps young families access healthy food and health care.

  • The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and access to health care to low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children under 5. The monthly WIC food package includes foods chosen to improve nutrition. To apply for WIC, you can call (888) YOUR WIC or (888) 968-7942 to schedule an appointment.
     
  • The CalFresh Program, federally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), issues monthly electronic benefits that can be used to buy most foods at many markets and food stores. The CalFresh Program helps to improve the health and well-being of qualified households and individuals by providing them a means to meet their nutritional needs. You can apply for CalFresh here.

Food Distribution

Many people are having trouble putting food on their tables during this health and economic crisis. To help, I've supported legislation to strengthen the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) so families can get the healthy foods they need. There are a variety of other resources available to help as well.

Here are some resources you can explore:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): Helps individuals and families afford the food they need to eat. I've voted for bipartisan, emergency response legislation to strengthen SNAP and ensure families can receive the help they need.
    • Protecting SNAP recipients from fraud: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a scam warning for SNAP recipients after receiving reports of fraud attempts. If you’re a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipient, please read the following information.
      • SNAP Scam Alerts: Stay on top of potential scams by visiting USDA's website.
      • Be suspicious of any unknown individual, organization, or website that requests your confidential information, which may include your social security number, bank information, or your SNAP EBT card or PIN number.
      • If you believe you are the victim of fraud, contact your local police department regarding procedures for filing a report.
      • You may also contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to file a consumer complaint online. This is the federal agency responsible for protecting consumers from identity theft scams.
  • ​​Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): Provides healthy foods and services to pregnant and breastfeeding women, new moms, and kids under age 5.
    • WIC prescreening tool: An online tool from the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service that you can use to see the likelihood of your eligibility for WIC. This is not an application for benefits. 
  • K-12 student meals: Many schools are continuing to work to ensure free meals are available to children ages 1-18 across our state. Below is known information for school districts within our congressional district. If you're school district isn't listed, visit www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids to learn more.
  • Meals on Wheels: This program ensures qualifying older adults can access home delivered meals.
  • For additional food assistance resources: Call the USDA National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1- 877-8-HAMBRE

Los Angeles 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

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.

 

Social Security

Social Security Administration (SSA) field offices are open by appointment only, so 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.

 

Veterans

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