Resources for Residents During the COVID-19 Emergency

Last updated: 12/30/2020

Important Tips from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) 

  • Wear a cloth face mask when you are within six feet of other people
  • Stay six feet away from others when at all possible
  • Wash your hands often
  • Answer any calls with the prefix (833) or (857). The Community Tracing Collaborative may be trying to reach you to inform you that you have had contact with a confirmed positive case of COVID-19

Network of Care Massachusetts has created a COVID-19 Behavioral Health Information Hub, which compiles resources on more than a dozen topics, including Mental Health, Substance Use, Health Insurance, Housing and Shelter, Food Assistance, Financial Security, Domestic Violence, and Suicide Prevention, among others.

Vaccine resources

Local Information and Resources 

Local bulletins and important municipal updates for each community

Unemployment resources

This is the Massachusetts state landing page for updates to DUA benefits, following the 12/27/2020 stimulus bill. That legislation includes the following provisions: 

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

  • Will provide 11 weeks of an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants.
  • A claimant must be eligible through a separate unemployment program to receive FPUC.
  • Once implemented, FPUC will be available to cover weeks of unemployment between the week ending January 2, 2021 and the week ending March 13,2021.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • Will provide additional weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 50 weeks.
  • Weekly certification will be required.
  • New Claimants filing after January 31, 2021 will be required to provide documentation of employment, self-employment, or a qualifying job offer within 21 days of filing. Claimants with established claims receiving payments in 2021 will have 90 days to provide such documentation.
  • PUA will be available until at least week ending March 13, 2021. Some claimants may be able to claim additional weeks of benefits through week ending April 10, 2021, if they have not reached the maximum number of week.

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

  • Will provide 11 additional weeks of benefits, to a maximum of 24 weeks.
  • PEUC will be available until at least week ending March 13, 2021. Some claimants may be able to claim additional weeks of benefits through week ending April 10, 2021, if they have not reached the maximum number of weeks.

High Unemployment Period Extended Benefits (HUP EB)

  • Will remain active due to continued federal funding until conditions for  the 20-week entitlement “trigger off” or until week ending March 13, 2021.

In general, your weekly base benefit amount is approximately 50% of your previous earnings up to a maximum of $823. You can receive benefits for up to 39 weeks. The typical one-week waiting period and job search requirements have been waived during this emergency.

You can find more information on UI in our office’s dedicated Unemployment Insurance Guide. This guide is also available in a number of languages: 

  • Información en español
  • Informação em português
  • Thông tin bang tieng viet
  • Information in Mandarin
  • Information in Arabic
  • If you have filed for unemployment, answer any calls coming from (617) 626-6800, the number for the DUA call center. They are trying to help resolve your claim. 
  • Here you can find multilingual options for the official Massachusetts unemployment guide.
  • Unemployment Insurance Benefits and Returning to Work: a guide for workers
  • On 5/14/2020 our office held a town hall with Secretary Rosalyn Acosta of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. You can watch a recording of that call here. It addresses a number of questions, including:
    • Are workers under 18 eligible for unemployment? Yes, they are eligible for PUA
    • If you are currently receiving UI but your benefit is about to expire, do you need to apply for the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation extension? No, PEUC, the extra 13 weeks of benefits provided by the CARES Act, will automatically be added to the term of your benefits. There is no additional or different application process. 
    • I am an independent contractor and I routinely do work for companies in Rhode Island and New Hampshire in addition to Massachusetts. Can I still get PUA? Yes. You can apply for PUA in one state where you earn income, and you can count toward your claim income you have earned in other states. You may not apply for benefits in multiple states.
    • Can I have taxes withheld from my weekly PUA benefit? No. In order to stand up the system as quickly as was done, some functionality was excluded, including the opportunity to withhold taxes from your benefit. Your benefit will still be taxed as income, and DUA will provide the appropriate paperwork for this in the coming months. 
    • I am still employed, but I or a family member I care for have been sick with COVID-19 long enough that I have used up all of my earned sick, vacation, and holiday time. Can I apply for unemployment until I or my loved one is recovered? Yes, you are eligible either for regular UI under the emergency regulations, or if you are a gig worker/1099/did not earn sufficient income in 2019 to qualify for UI, you can apply for PUA. 

Resources for food and housing security

  • If you don’t know where you are getting your next meal:
      • School lunch programs: Schools are still providing free lunch to children who typically receive it in-school. You can find more information in the following links on Malden, Melrose, Reading, Wakefield, and Winchester, and for Stoneham email Superintendent John Macero at jmacero@stonehamschools.org 
      • Apply for  SNAP: Applicants for SNAP are encouraged to follow online instructions, as staff members are overwhelmed by the number of calls. Offices are closed for in-person visits.
        • A link to the Mass Law Reform Institute’s SNAP FAQ on suspension of the ABAWD time limit/work rules, in English & Spanish.
        • FAQs on SNAP during COVID-19 covering a wide variety of issues and concerns from Mass Legal Services, in English and Spanish.
      • Project Bread’s FoodSource Hotline number is 1-800-645-8333. They provide free food assistance for all Massachusetts residents 
  • If you are concerned about losing your housing
  • For general financial assistance
    • Information on student loans deferment and interest during Covid-19.
    • Flexible cash assistance through the COVID-19 Family Support Fund from the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley.  
    • For information about federal Economic Impact Payments (stimulus checks), you can visit the IRS EIP Information Center, where you will also find an FAQ on the subject. 
      • They also provide a “Get My Payment” tool to help people track the status of their payments, and an extensive FAQ for this tool on the same page. 
  • The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency has compiled a map of public resources during the pandemic, such as food banks, houses of worship and Project Bread site locations.

Healthcare, mental health and wellness resources

    • If you need health insurance or have experienced a job change and no longer have health insurance through work, apply through the Massachusetts Health Connector. Here is more information from Health Connector, including for those who are recently unemployed.  
      • If you already have health insurance coverage through the Health Connector, make sure to return to your application to update all changes in circumstances to ensure that you are receiving the most appropriate benefits. Even if you have not received financial assistance in the past, you may be newly eligible for subsidies that could lower your monthly health insurance premium.
      • Additional resources for Health Connector can be found here and here
  • Access to telehealth, including full coverage telehealth for medically necessary services related to COVID-19. 
      • If you are concerned that you may have Covid-19, you can use this Buoy Health website to screen your symptoms and connect with a provider via telehealth. 
  • For behavioral & emotional health:
  • Resources for domestic violence and suecide prevention:
    • National Domestic Violence hotline: (800) 799-7233; TTY 1 (800) 787-3225 
    • The Trial Court has compiled COVID-19 resources for abuse and harassment prevention orders 
    • National Suecide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
    • Call the SafeLink Hotline, 877-785-2020, to be connected with your local domestic violence program. 
      • In Senator Lewis’ district that program is RESPOND, which you can reach at 617-623-5900. RESPOND is providing risk assessment, safety planning, individual support, flex funds (e.g., for cab fare, changing locks, etc.) and other services and referrals as needed. 

Substance Use Disorder resources 

Resources for parents & caregivers

  • If you are looking for help with educational resources:
      • For parents whose children are learning remotely, Department of Education, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Institute, and your local library are all eager to provide you with teaching material and tools
      • The Department of Early Education and Care has partnered with WGBH to create a website of educational resources for children from birth to five years old.
      • Jumpstart has free online resources for grades K-5, including math, social studies, science, and more. Learn more here
  • For help talking to your child about COVID-19
  • Emotional supports for you and your children
    • The Children’s Room is available to support children and teens age 3.5-18 who have experienced the death of a parent or sibling. All grief support services are free of charge. You can reach out through their website or call 781-641-4741
    • The Children’s Trust has compiled a list of online playgroups and parenting support groups, as well as more parenting resources and supports here
    • Parental Stress Line, from Parents Helping Parents. Trained volunteer counselors offer non-judgemental ways to relieve stress relating to their children and parenting. Multiple languages spoken. Call 800-632-8188. Learn more  

Resources for Seniors

Resources for Veterans 

  • Veterans can still access Chapter 115 benefits by calling their local VSO. 
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 
  • MA Dept of Veterans Services S.A.V.E. Team: 1-888-844-2838 
  • Homeless Veterans Hotline:  1-888-866-2838 

Multilingual resources & resources for immigrants

  • General resource, or lists of resources
  • Unemployment
  • SNAP/food security 
      • A variety of SNAP COVID-19 FAQs for newly unemployed households, and about the SNAP supplement, in English and Spanish.
      • A link to the Mass Law Reform Institute’s SNAP FAQ on suspension of the ABAWD time limit/work rules, in English & Spanish.
  • For immigrants and refugees
    • Helpful materials on “public charge” concerns.

Regulatory & licensure resources

General & miscellaneous resources

  • General resources/resource guides
    • Resource page from U.S. Senator Ed Markey.
    • Mass.gov/Covid19 is the Commonwealth’s comprehensive landing page for news updates and resources. You can also call 2-1-1 to reach the state’s COVID-19 hotline or text “COVIDMA” to 888-777 for SMS updates from state authorities.
    • CDC.gov/coronavirus is the federal government’s comprehensive landing page for news updates and resources. 
      • Multilingual CDC resources are located here.
  • Our office has also made a Small Business & Nonprofit Resource Guide
  • Information and tools regarding civil legal issues from Mass Legal Help 
  • An FAQ on mass.gov on personal protective equipment, and links for:

If you have further questions or need assistance, please contact Senator Lewis at Jason.Lewis@masenate.gov or (617) 722-1206. 

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