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National COVID-19 Resources

by Cindy

by: Cristian Sorto

The world has recently been struck with an incredibly rapidly growing pandemic caused by the virus COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus. The economy has been drastically impacted by the virus due to encouraged and enforced quarantines that have forced people to be out of work and resources.

For the week ending in March 28, the US Department of Labor registered more than 6.6 million initial unemployment insurance claims which surpasses the previous record set only a week earlier. Unemployment assistance can be found at Benefits.gov according to state. Eligibility for unemployment benefits can de determined through 5 very easy questions and depending each state’s unemployment guidelines and individual situations, there is a possibility of additional benefits and grants. These benefits, in addition to the unemployment claim, are meant to aid in keeping individuals afloat while there is no flow of income.

The senate passed a $2 trillion corona virus response bill known as the CARES Act that is aimed at keeping businesses and individuals sustained during a sudden halt of the economy. The emergency relief package is estimated to total $300 billion in cash payments to individuals and couples with a social security number. The one-time payments will be based on things such as type of tax filing, year of tax filing, and family size. No action is required from eligible recipients to receive the pay out, but it is encouraged to e-file for 2019 as soon as possible and provide direct deposit information as it will be the fastest way to receive the aid. Aside from The CARES Act, many employers have begun to implement programs aimed at helping those who are impacted by the virus with qualifications and assistance varying by the employer.

A portion of the CARES Act will also be allocated towards major food security programs to aid For families with lower incomes that have been left unemployed, the CARES Act set aside funds to help with access to food. Child nutrition is a huge concern across the nation as schools are forced to be conducted online from home. Many kids depend on free school lunches as a source of nutrition and $8.8 billion will be dedicated towards giving schools more flexibility to provide lunch for students. Some schools across the country offer free carry out lunch for students in need.

Many community and franchise restaurants are also offering to provide a free lunch to kids in need. For aid families with home meals, $15.5 billion will be used towards food stamps as applications are expected to increase significantly. Eligibility for food stamps depends one household size, household income, and legal status. Steps on the three methods for food stamp application may also be found at Benefits.gov. Food banks are another resource for those who are in need of assistance towards finding adequate nutrition. There will be $450 million going towards food banks and other community food distribution programs across the nation. Local food banks can be found at FeedingAmerica.org.

This pandemic has impacted everyone in the nation and its unknown how long it will last or how grave it will be. Many will be forced to face tough economic times, but there are many national resources to take advantage of for help in this troublesome period.  

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