Information and Resources on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
July 31, 2020 Update:
With the expiration of unemployment benefits, I know many of you are anxiously awaiting news of a COVID-19 relief bill. While negotiations are ongoing, we unfortunately do not yet have a draft bill. We are hopeful that we will vote late next week, but that is also not confirmed. In the meantime, if you still haven’t received unemployment that you applied for prior to July 31, you can reach out to our office for assistance at 718-662-5970 or by sending a message HERE.
Information and Resources on COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
Below is a collection of resources for NY-14 constituents gathered from the City, State and federal government related to COVID-19.
Additionally, our office is honoring members of the NY-14 community who have gone above and beyond to help their neighborhood and our district during this time. Please fill out this form if you would like to nominate any NY-14 constituents for their service.
The Congresswoman would also like to extend her condolences to our community members in the Bronx and Queens who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. If you’re comfortable, you can share your information here.
NY-14 constituents can contact our office with any additional questions by calling 718-662-5970 or by sending a message HERE.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Workplace Rights, including information about how to file safety complaints
It is critical that all NY-14 constituents continue to take prevention efforts seriously, in order to prevent a second wave of infections. All New Yorkers are also officially required to wear a face-covering in public and when they cannot maintain 6ft distance from others. You must also wear face coverings on public transport and while taking private transport or riding in for-hire vehicles. See here for more information on face coverings.
Testing is also critical to preventing a second wave. COVID-19 testing is now available to ALL New Yorkers. And, all New Yorkers should get tested now, whether or not you have symptoms or are at increased risk.The test is safe, free, confidential and easy. It's also critical to our re-opening and preventing a second wave. Find a testing site near you here: http://nyc.gov/covidtest. You do not need insurance.
If your first COVID test is negative, you should get tested again if you
● are concerned about possible exposure
● have spent time in a large crowd
● have had exposure to someone with confirmed or possible COVID-19
● have symptoms
● work in a congregate setting like a nursing home or shelter are planning to visit someone at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness
All New Yorkers’ are asked to participate in the City and State’s contact tracing program. Contact Tracers work with people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to identify people they have had contact with and let them know they may have been exposed to the disease.
If you get a call from “NYS Contact Tracing” (518-387-9993), Test+Trace, or a 212 number, PLEASE answer the phone. Answering the phone will keep your loved ones and community safe. All calls are confidential and private. Learn more here.
Do not call 911 or go to the ER unless it is a medical emergency. If your symptoms are mild or you’re asymptomatic, start by calling your healthcare provider. If you do not have a healthcare provider, call 311 or 1-844-NYC-4NYC. You will be connected with a health care provider regardless of immigration status, insurance status, or ability to pay.
Do not go to a health care center without first calling. If you suspect you may have COVID-19, you should also not arrive at any health care center without first calling ahead. When you ultimately do go, put on a facemask before you enter the healthcare facility. These steps will help the healthcare provider’s office to keep other people in the office or waiting room from getting infected or exposed.
My apartment is overcrowded and self-quarantining is very difficult. What should I do? The City of New York's COVID-19 Hotel Program provides select individuals and groups (e.g., healthcare workers) a place to stay to reduce the spread of COVID-19. To determine if you are eligible and make a reservation go to nyc.gov/covid19hotels
Need a healthcare provider? Call 844-692-4692 or 311, regardless of immigration status, insurance status or, ability to pay.
Fill out NYC COVID-19 Engagement Portal: This City website is intended for individuals, or those authorized to report on behalf of individuals, who have recently met any of the following criteria:
● Experienced symptoms of COVID-19
● Tested positive for COVID-19
● Have come into contact with someone who may have COVID-19
● Currently in quarantine
This website is designed to provide you with information about COVID-19 and help the City track the status of infections across the City. You can enter your information here.
New York City is currently in Phase Three. More information on Phase 3, including safety requirements for the workplace settings that reopened during this phase are available here.
If you feel your office is not following proper guidelines, you can call 311 and ask for “Business Reopening Complaint” or the "Worker Protection Hotline.” Be as specific as possible about the problem. You can report anonymously.
If you have been to a demonstration, you should be tested. The state has set up 15 testing sites prioritized for protesters. These sites are by appointment only. Learn more here.
So far, the House has passed six major bills to address the public health and economic consequences of COVID-19.
The first bill, Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020, was an 8.3 billion dollar emergency response package for federal agencies, mostly to fund treatment, testing, and research. The Congresswoman voted for this bill.
The second bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which made testing free and created a limited paid sick and family leave program. If you work for a private company with fewer than 500 people, then your employer should provide you with paid sick or family leave if you have to miss work due to COVID-19, starting April 1. More information is available here.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also allocated $1 billion to addressing food insecurity for seniors, children, low-income families, and provided state funding for Medicaid and unemployment benefits. If you are already using these benefits, you should see this increase in funding right away. If you have recently lost your job, you may now qualify for Medicaid and nutrition assistance through WIC and SNAP. For more information on Medicaid, see here, for more information on food assistance see here. The Congresswoman voted for this bill.
The third bill - the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or CARES Act - provides cash relief for those individuals who reported earning $99,000 or less on their last tax filing. For more information see here.
The CARES Act also creates a new pandemic unemployment insurance program. Americans laid off due to COVID-19 can now receive up to $600/week through July 31, on top of New York’s regular unemployment payment. For more information see here.
CARES also creates additional resources to keep small businesses afloat, including disaster loans available through the Small Business Administration. For more information go here.
The Congresswoman voted against the CARES Act because it provided a $4 trillion bail-out to corporations with little oversight. Many immigrants are also excluded from the stimulus checks - including mixed-status families. For example, if you are a U.S. citizen and you file your taxes jointly with a partner who does not have an SSN, you are not eligible for cash assistance nor is your child, regardless of your child’s documentation status. Additionally, though the PPP program was set up to assist small businesses, it is not operating that way. At least 90% of businesses owned by people of color have been or will likely be shut out of the PPP. About 70% of Latinx-owned businesses that filled out a questionnaire from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce reported that they had finished their application but had not received any funding. (cite)
The fourth bill - the ‘Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act - sent $60 billion to the Small Business Administration’s disaster loan program, $75 billion to hospitals, $25 billion to COVID-19 testing, and $310 billion to the Paycheck Protection Program - a Small Business Administration (SBA) program that provides forgivable loans to small businesses suffering due to COVID-19. For more information on PPP, go here.
The Congresswoman voted against this bill because it did not do enough to ensure that small businesses would actually benefit from the PPP program, and because it did nothing to address many other urgent priorities facing hard hit communities - including hazard pay, burial assistance or relief for immigrants.
The fifth bill - the HEROES Act - is a $3 trillion dollar legislative package designed to provide financial relief to communities and families. Though imperfect, the Congresswoman voted for this bill because it finally included some of the key provisions she’s been calling for since this crisis began. Namely, the Act includes $175 billion in renting and housing assistance, funds to reduce incarceration, and much needed financial relief for many in the immigrant community. Additionally, and perhaps most critically, the bill provides state and local funding to New York. Our emergency responders in New York are at a breaking point. The City and the State is considering cuts to schools, healthcare and other essential services because they are simply out of money. We have no choice - to stave off further, long-lasting harm, we must bring home this local funding. Regrettably, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declined to bring up this bill in the Senate.
Recently, Congress voted on three more bills related to the PPP program. One of these bills extended the application period for loans through August 8, and the other made the following improvements to the PPP program:
- Forgiveness for expenses will be extended beyond the 8-week covered period to 24 weeks.
- The current limitation on non-payroll expenses (such as rent, utility payments and mortgage interest) for loan forgiveness will be increased from 25 to 40 percent.
- The entire program will be extended from June 30 to December 31.
- Loan terms will be extended from two to five years.
- Businesses that take PPP loans will have full access to payroll tax deferment.
- The rehiring deadline will be extended to offset the effect of enhanced Unemployment Insurance.
We know many of you are concerned about the July 31 expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits and mounting back rent. While we do not yet know if a COVID-19 relief bill will be passed into law in July, please know that I strongly believe that unemployment benefits should be extended beyond the end of the pandemic and that all back rent should be forgiven, and I will fight for these solutions in Congress..
There is a moratorium on evictions through August 20.
The City is ready to receive applications for emergency rental assistance for those in need and in most cases the entire process can be done without a visit to a local benefits office.
If a tenant receives an eviction notice, they can determine their eligibility for free legal services by calling the nonprofit Housing Court Answers - (718) 557-1379.
Tenants concerned about eviction can call 311 and ask for the Tenant Helpline or go to the website of Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenant.
The IRS maintains the most up to date FAQ regarding stimulus checks (aka Economic Impact Payments), including how to get a status update on its delivery and what to do if your stimulus check is less than expected or if you believe you’ve received a stimulus check in error. You can access it here.
If the FAQ does not answer your question, the IRS created a special phone line for taxpayers with questions about their stimulus checks: 800-919-9835.
The state maintains the most up to date FAQ on unemployment insurance, including what to do if you have filed your claim and not received a phone call from the state within 72 hours. You can see it here.
We know many of you are concerned about the July 31 expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits. While we do not yet know if a COVID-19 relief bill will be passed into law in July, please know that I strongly believe that unemployment benefits should be extended beyond the end of the pandemic.
The CARES Act only provided stimulus checks to U.S. adults with Social Security Numbers (SSN) are eligible for cash assistance. This includes green card holders, H-1B visa recipients, and DACA recipients.
Unfortunately, this leaves out a great many in our immigrant community. For example, if you are a U.S. citizen and you file your taxes jointly with a partner who does not have an SSN, you are not eligible for cash assistance nor is your child, regardless of your child’s documentation status.
On May 15, Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez voted in support of the HEROES Act which would make stimulus checks available to all U.S. adults with Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITINs). Regrettably, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declined to bring up this bill in the Senate.
Here are some city, state, and federal resources for which the undocumented community does qualify:
Unemployment Insurance: If you have valid work authorization and are unemployed or underemployed that is related to COVID-19, you are eligible for Unemployment Insurance or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. This includes DACA/TPS recipients. Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for unemployment insurance under State law. Additional information can be found here.
Testing: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act made coronavirus tests free, including for the uninsured and the undocumented.
Health Care: The City will provide medical care no matter what your immigration status is and whether you can pay for it or not. Seeking or using healthcare services related to COVID-19 will NOT impact your ability to apply for a green card or citizenship. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has stated that medical care related to COVID-19 – including preventive care, testing, and treatment – will not be held against you in a “public charge” test. The Federal Government has also issued a directive temporarily stopping immigration enforcement at or near health care facilities, including hospitals, clinics, urgent care, and doctors’ offices.
Healthcare workers should also not ask you about your immigration status. However, if they do, you can refuse to provide this information and you can tell them you have a right to be treated.
Everyone has a right to an interpreter at no-cost when seeking medical care. You may request language interpretation directly from the healthcare staff.
If you need help finding a doctor or getting medical care, call 311.
You can get help accessing health insurance. Help is available regardless of immigration status and in many languages. Visit NYC's Office of Health Insurance Services or call 311. You can also text CoveredNYC to 877-877 to communicate in English. Text SeguroNYC to 877-877 to communicate in Spanish.
Mental Health: COVID-19 is stressful for all of us. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself mentally and physically. If you’re anxious, stressed, or depressed about what is happening and find it difficult to function well, help is available from NYC Well. Call 1-888-NYC-WELL to speak to trained counselors for FREE. You can also text “WELL” to 61573 or chat online at http://nyc.gov/nycwell.
Working Conditions: Under federal law, all workers - even those who are undocumented - have a right to a healthy and safe workplace; a right to information; a right to training by the employer about how to safely perform the work; and a right to report unsafe working conditions. Finally, federal law protects workers against retaliation for asserting their rights. If you feel your workplace is putting you at risk for contracting COVID-19 or otherwise violating labor laws, you can call the New York State Attorney General’s Office at (212) 416-8700 or Labor.Bureau@ag.ny.gov.
Nutrition Assistance: The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also allocated $1 billion to addressing food insecurity via SNAP, WIC, and food banks. To find food assistance near you, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1- 877-8-HAMBRE. Undocumented immigrants are also eligible for WIC - a program for pregnant women, children under 5 and their mothers. You can call 311 and ask for WIC assistance or call 844-540-3031.
Legal Assistance: Immigrants and refugees can continue to access free legal assistance and other services through ONA’s statewide network of providers, even remotely. Call the confidential, multilingual NYS New Americans Hotline at 1-800-566-7636 to be connected to a provider. Immigration legal services hotline - can speak directly with an immigration lawyer if needed 1-800-354-0365 Action NYC phone number
English Language Classes: In response to COVID-19, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs’ We Speak NYC program, a free English language learning program that provides civic-focused instruction through videos centered on topics relevant to immigrant New Yorkers, will be offering online conversation classes. Register Here to sign up for a class, get reminders, and educational materials, or click here to check out different class times and drop in!
DACA Renewal: If you live in NYC and need to renew your DACA, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) is encouraging New Yorkers to do so by calling ActionNYC at 1-800-354-0365. ActionNYC will provide application assistance remotely.
Also of note for the immigrant community: in response to COVID-19, President Trump signed an executive order stopping the entry of people seeking to immigrate permanently. The restriction applies only to people who were outside the United States as of 11:59 PM on April 23, and don’t yet have a valid immigrant visa.
There are some exceptions. This executive order does not apply to :
● Physicians, nurses, and healthcare workers and their spouses and children
● EB-5 immigrants
● Spouses and children of US Citizens
● Prospective adoptees
● Individuals who would further law enforcement objectives
● Members of the Armed Forces and their spouses and children
● Iraqi/Afghani Special Immigrants and their spouses and children
● Individuals whose entry is deemed ‘in the national interest’
Immigrants may still seek protection through asylum, withholding from removal due to a chance of being persecuted back in their home country, or under the Convention Against Torture.
Additional Information for Immigrants:
The City put together a resource guide specifically for immigrant communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, including information on financial assistance.
New Yorkers who have concerns or questions about public benefits and immigration can also call the ActionNYC hotline at 1-800-354-0365, or 311 and say ‘ActionNYC,’ Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm for free, safe immigration legal help.
For more information and to what other state programs you may be eligible for, please go to the state’s webpage on Coronavirus here. You can also send the state a question online here. Or call the state’s 24-Hour Coronavirus hotline: 1-888-364-3065.
The recently-passed CARES Act tasks the Small Business Administration with distributing financial relief to small businesses through two major programs: the Paycheck Protection Program and EIDL Grants. Due to overwhelming demand, the SBA will now only be accepting applications for EIDL from agricultural enterprises. If you’d applied for EIDL prior to May 4, your application may still be approved. All small businesses may still apply for the Paycheck Protection Program.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a new, first-come-first-serve program for small businesses aimed at helping them maintain their employees. The maximum size of the loan is up to two months of your average monthly payroll costs from the last year plus an additional 25% of that amount, capped at $10 million. The loan can be used for employee compensation; vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave; providing group health care benefits; payment of retirement benefits; payroll taxes; and payment of interest on mortgage obligations, rent, utilities, and interest on pre-existing debt obligations. If employers maintain payroll, the loans will be forgiven. You should only apply through an SBA certified lender. Find eligible lenders and learn more here.
Sole proprietors, gig workers and independent contractors are eligible for PPP. PPP can be used to cover your salary. However, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, or sole proprietorship payroll costs are capped at $100,000 in 1 year. To be eligible for PPP, self-employed individuals, independent contractors, or sole proprietors must provide information about “payroll costs,” including payroll tax filings reported to the IRS, Forms 1099–MISC, and income and expenses from the sole proprietorship.
You can get assistance applying for this relief through SBA’s local Resource Partners, who provide advice and training to help small businesses. Small Business Development Centers, Women’s Business Centers, and Minority Business Development Centers near you can be found here.
Additional information about the SBA relief programs are available here.
City and State Resources for Small Businesses:
The City is providing 2 million pieces of PPE to small businesses citywide. Find a distribution partner near you here.
The City also created a Small Business Restart Hotline - call 888-SBS-4NYC or 888-727-4692
Other critical information for small businesses, including trainings and webinars on reopening, are available at http://nyc.gov/business
The City has also created The Open Restaurants program to assist existing street-level establishments that have been authorized to re-open under Phase 2 and want to use outdoor areas on a temporary basis. Go to nycopenrestaurants.info for more information. The City has also created this FAQ for restaurant owners.
The City’s Department of Small Business Services also operates the Commercial Lease Assistance Program, which can help review leases to determine what a business’s rights and obligations are, negotiates payment plans for arrears, etc.
The City Has Compiled This Resource to See What Benefits You May Be Eligible For: https://access.nyc.gov/pandemic-benefits-guidance
Emergency Cash Assistance: The City’s "One Shot Deal" emergency assistance program helps people who can't meet an expense due to an unexpected situation or event. To apply and learn more, see here.
Help Finding a Job: Call the Workforce Career Center at 718-960-2458 to prepare for, and connect to jobs across New York City's five boroughs and in every sector of the economy. You can also apply online here. Current employment opportunities include TLC drivers, Stop & Shop, Fresh Direct & PBM Guardian Industry Services.
Financial Planning After a Job Loss: The IRS has created this FAQ to answer your questions about tax planning and withdrawing from a pension/ retirement account after a job loss.
Childcare: If you are a restaurant, food, takeout and delivery worker, or residential and commercial building staff in New York City, you may now be eligible for childcare from the City through their Regional Enrichment Centers.
New York State will also provide child care scholarships to essential workers. Child care costs will be covered for essential staff whose income is less than 300% of the federal poverty level — or $78,600 for a family of four. Essential workers (including health care providers, law enforcement, food delivery workers, grocery store employees, and others) can use these scholarships to pay for their existing care arrangements. If an essential worker needs child care, they can contact their local child care referral agency to find openings.
Health Insurance: New Yorkers who are without health insurance should apply now through the state’s health insurance exchange. If you lost employer coverage, you must apply within 60 days of losing that coverage. Because of a loss of income, New Yorkers may also be eligible for Medicaid, the Essential Plan, or Child Health Plus.
To find a health care provider, call 844-692-4692 or 311, regardless of immigration status, insurance status, or ability to pay.
Utility Payments: The Governor directed the New York State Department of Public Service to suspend public utilities from cutting off service - including power and heat - to customers affected by COVID-19. For more information, please call the state’s 24-Hour Coronavirus hotline: 1-888-364-3065.
Debt Collection: Governor Cuomo and Attorney General James temporarily suspended state debt collection in response to coronavirus. The state will temporarily halt the collection of medical and student debt owed to the State of New York and referred to the Office of the Attorney General for collection, for at least a 30-day period. For more information, go here.
New York City Financial Empowerment Center counselors are also available to support those experiencing financial challenges. Book an appointment at http://nyc.gov/TalkMoney
Student Loans: New York student loan borrowers should visit the Department of Financial Services' website for more information about available student loan relief. Available relief includes 90 days of deferred monthly payments, waived late fees, no negative reporting to credit agencies and enrolling eligible borrowers in available long-term assistance programs.
Freelancers: If you're facing nonpayment issues, file a complaint here
Tax Payment: The Internal Revenue Service has extended its payment period for 90 days. You now have until July 15, 2020, to pay federal, state and city taxes. The City will also postpone its annual tax lien sale until August, in consideration for property owners who may be coping with the COVID-19 outbreak
Food/Grocery Assistance: Free meals are now available to anyone in New York. The city has 435 sites spread out around the five boroughs where people can get breakfast, lunch, and dinner all to go, free of charge. Children and families with children can pick up food between 7:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. while adults with no kids can pick up food until 1:30 p.m. each day. To find a location near you click here or text "NYC FOOD" to 877-877. Halal meals are available at these sites.
You can also apply for food assistance benefits and view a map of food pantries and community kitchens here.
The City has created the GetFoodNYC food delivery program to provide food for coronavirus (COVID-19)-vulnerable and food-insecure New Yorkers not currently served through existing food delivery programs. Find out more information here.
NYers can also use their SNAP benefits to order online. For more info head to: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/snap-online-shopping.page. SNAP clients who would otherwise be required to recertify their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/Food Stamps or Cash Assistance (CA) cases do not need to do so at this time. When recertification resumes, the agency will notify clients and community partners on this process.
NYCHA: NYCHA residents may qualify for a rent reduction based on rent hardship if all the following conditions are met: there is at least a 5% reduction to gross income; current rent is more than 30% of the net household income; reduction in income has lasted at least two months. For more information, go here.
Legal Assistance: The State established a new partnership with the New York State Court System to create a pro bono network of volunteer lawyers to provide New Yorkers in need with free legal assistance. Volunteers will begin to receive training and start offering assistance next week. Lawyers interested in volunteering can sign up at www.nysba.org/covidvolunteer
If you’re feeling anxious, stressed or, overwhelmed, you can connect with the NYC WELL's confidential helpline: Call 888-692-9355, text "WELL" to 65173 or, chat online at nyc.gov/nycwell. NYS Mental Health Hotline: 1-844-863-9314 (to schedule a free appointment).
The state is also partnering with Headspace, a global leader in mindfulness and meditation, to offer free meditation and mindfulness content for all New Yorkers as a mental health resource for residents coping with the unprecedented public health crisis. New Yorkers can access a collection of science-backed, evidence-based guided meditations, along with at-home mindful workouts, sleep, and kids content to help address rising stress and anxiety at www.headspace.com/ny.
My family is now struggling financially due to the loss of a loved one. Is there help available from the federal government?
Yes. If the head of your household died due to COVID-19, your family is eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. You will receive an extra $600 per week on top of the weekly benefits offered by New York state, through the end of July. That amounts to a total of $1,104. You are eligible for a total of 39 weeks of unemployment, though, after July, the weekly payment will be reduced to $504/ week.
You can apply online or call 1-888-209-8124.
Are there resources available to help with burial expenses?
Yes, low-income New Yorkers can receive up to $1,700 to meet funeral expenses for a deceased low-income New York City resident family member or friend. Learn more about eligibility requirements here or call 718-473-8310.
The application and supporting documents may be submitted by email at BurialServices@hra.nyc.gov or by fax at 917-639-0476 or in person at 33-28 Northern Boulevard, 3rd Floor Long Island City, New York 11101 (though the office is only open on Wednesdays). A list of supporting documents is available here.
This application must be completed and submitted within 120 days of the date of death of the individual (decedent) for whom a burial allowance grant is requested.
I’m having a hard time getting a death certificate.
If you have questions about the death certificate process or concerns about delays, you can call the Health Department at 347-396-7962, and funeral directors can contact the Burial Desk at 212-788-4545. Questions can also be answered via DOHMH chat or, via email at email@example.com. Death certificates can be ordered online.
Where can I access grief counseling?
It is natural after the loss of a loved one to feel anxious, stressed, or overwhelmed. You can connect with the NYC WELL's confidential helpline by calling 888-692-9355, texting "WELL" to 65173 or chatting online at nyc.gov/nycwell.
You can also call the New York State's COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline at 844-863-9314 to talk to specially trained volunteer professionals. They will be there to listen, support, and offer referrals from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.
Are there any restrictions on funerals or burials during COVID-19?
There are no restrictions or other guidelines on the handling or disposition of remains - your loved one can be cremated, embalmed, or buried according to your family’s preference. However, families are encouraged to limit the size of funerals and rituals which involve touching the deceased is discouraged. You do need to obtain a death certificate to hold a funeral - you can request an NYC death certificate online or by mailing a copy of the certificate application. For more information, the City has compiled a detailed guide for funerals and burials.
My loved one was overseas when they passed away. How can I bring them home?
When a US citizen dies outside the United States, the deceased person’s next of kin or legal representative should notify US consular officials at the Department of State by calling 1-888-407-4747. Consular personnel are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to assist US citizens for overseas emergencies. If a family member, domestic partner, or legal representative is in a different country from the deceased person, he or she should call the Department of State’s Office of Overseas Citizens Services in Washington, DC, from 8 am to 5 pm Eastern time, Monday through Friday, at 888-407-4747 (toll-free) or 202-501-4444. For emergency assistance after working hours or on weekends and holidays, call the Department of State switchboard at 202-647-4000 and ask to speak with the Overseas Citizens Services duty officer. In addition, the US embassy closest to or in the country where the US citizen died can provide assistance.
Can death certificates still be processed and delivered to funeral homes or families even if final arrangements have not been made?
Yes. Death Certificates are available once the death has been reported and the case has been registered. This means if a decedent is being held in a morgue for longer than usual without a set burial or cremation date, a death certificate can still be ordered.
Many of you are experiencing delays with mail delivery. Unfortunately, this is due to a lack of federal funding for the United States Postal Service (USPS) and other challenges related to COVID-19. To address this, the Congresswoman fully supports the Protect Our Post Offices Act (H.R. 6425), which provides emergency funding for the USPS and prevents further attempts to privatize it. During these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to support USPS and ensure its survival for generations to come.
In some parts of the country does the USPS now have an every other day delivery policy?
No, it is still the USPS policy to maintain current delivery schedules nationwide. However, due to COVID-19 and employee availability, there may be temporary delays to some mail delivery.
My post office has been closed for the past few weeks - when will it reopen and how will I get my mail in the meantime?
To inquire about delays with your specific delivery, find your postal office here and give them a call.
What steps is the USPS taking to clean/sanitize mail?
Current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance continues to indicate there is no evidence the virus is spreading through the mail. According to WHO, the likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low, and the risk of catching the virus from a package that has been moved, traveled, and exposed to different conditions and temperatures is also low. This guidance remains true for mail transport equipment.
How are USPS protecting themselves from COVID19 exposure?
All Postal Service employees are now required to wear cloth face-coverings or masks where they are mandatory in support of local or state face covering directives or orders, like in New York, and in all facilities where social distancing cannot be maintained.
In addition to face coverings and social distancing, Postal employees are advised to follow these CDC recommended prevention methods:
● Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
● Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
● Stay home when sick.
● Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
● Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
● Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
● Use a 60-percent or higher alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
The City is connecting older New Yorkers who are feeling isolated with friendly volunteers to talk with over the phone. Call 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469).
Grab and go meals are no longer available at senior centers - instead, meal delivery is now available in all five boroughs. Seniors should call their local senior center for more information if they haven’t already received meals. They can also call DFTA's Aging Connect at 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469) or 311.
Are you concerned that a family member of yours isn't getting proper care in a nursing home? If so, we encourage you to file a complaint by calling 833-249-8499 or by visiting www.ag.ny.gov/nursinghomes.
Invisible Hands is also helping connect volunteers and individuals in need during this crisis. You can request a volunteer to help deliver groceries and supplies here.
NYC schools will not fully reopen in the fall - though learning will take place 5 days/week. The exact model will be left open to each school - but most students will come to school 2 days/week and be remote 3 days/week. Students will have lunch in their classrooms instead of cafeterias, and schools are being cleaned nightly.
Any family can also choose all-remote learning, for any reason.
Schools will select which one of the five possible models they are adopting and send specific student schedules in August.
More information is available here.
Please visit the City’s website for all the ways NYers can get and offer help with all issues related to COVID-19. The State has provided a list of other ways everyone can help here. For donations, please call 1-833-NYC-0040.
The First Responders Fund has been created to assist COVID-19 health care workers and first responders with expenses and costs, including child care. Donations can be made electronically or by check sent to Health Research, Inc., 150 Broadway, Suite 560, Menands,
NY 12204. Please specify the donation is for "COVID-19 NYS Emergency Response."
There is no excuse for racism. There is no ethnic group at an inherently greater risk of contracting or spreading the virus.
If you are the victim of a hate crime or witness what you believe to be a hate crime, please call 911 or visit your nearest police precinct. NYPD officers will not ask about the immigration status of anyone seeking assistance or help to report a crime.
If you experience any discrimination, dial 311 and ask for the Commission on Human Rights. To file a complaint with the state, go here.
Governor Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont yesterday announced a joint incoming travel advisory that all individuals traveling from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 quarantine for a 14-day period from the time of last contact within the identified state. This quarantine applies to any person arriving from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a 7-day rolling average or a state with a 10% or higher positivity rate over a 7-day rolling average. The full list of states is available here.
The State Department has issued a Level 4 Global Health Advisory. The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for an immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
If international travel is unavoidable, or travelers are already overseas, you are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. You should also take the additional steps outlined here.
Constituents should also avoid non-essential domestic travel and travelers should be prepared for the possibility of travel restrictions with little or no advance notice.
You can call 311 with any questions and assistance will be available to you in many languages.
To get regular updates on the latest developments regarding COVID-19; Text COVIDESP to 692-692 for updates in Spanish.
Text COVID to 692-692 to get real-time updates from the City. Sign up here to get real-time email updates from the State.
You can send the state a question online here.
The state also has a 24-Hour Coronavirus hotline: 1-888-364-3065.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse or otherwise in an unsafe living situation, there is help. The NYC Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-621-4673 (HOPE). You can also visit any NYC Family Justice Center to get free and confidential assistance. If you are in an emergency, call 911.
NYC Survivor Resources is providing up-to-date information about resources for those who are being harmed or feel unsafe in the NYC area. NYC Survivor Resources offers counseling, legal support, and additional sources of assistance by county. If you are experiencing an emergency, please dial 911. If you need immediate support over the phone, call the domestic violence hotline by calling 1-(800)-621-HOPE (4673).
During this crisis, New Yorkers with disabilities can reach out on Twitter to @NYCDisabilities, 311 or visit http://nyc.gov/disability for more information. Deaf New Yorkers can also connect via video phone at 646-396-5830.
If a loved one is missing due to COVID-19, New Yorkers should file a report at nyc.gov/CovidMissing. People without internet access can file a report by calling 311 or 212-NEW-YORK (212-639-9675) from outside New York City.
The CDC and WHO provide regular updates on the virus and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals. You can sign up for the CDC's email updates here. You can sign up for the WHO's email updates here.
The LGBT Center’s Information and Referral Team is continuing to offer virtual front desk services, where they can answer questions relating to food, health insurance, housing, and more. You can reach out to them via phone (212-620-7310) or via online chat Monday - Saturday from 9 A.M. to 10 P.M. and on Sunday from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M.
The LGBT Center is also continuing to provide one-on-one remote mental health counseling sessions, virtual recovery groups, youth support groups, and more. Information on all of the LGBT Center’s virtual programs can be found here.