Housing, Food and Healthcare
Federal, state and local governments are taking action to offer relief and, in some instances, this includes helping and protecting many renters. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides certain protections from eviction and late fees due to nonpayment of rent for most tenants in federally subsidized or federally backed housing.
Many utilities that sell electricity and gas around the United States are suspending disconnections of customers who do not pay their bills during the Coronavirus crisis, or are being ordered to suspend disconnections by regulators or other government officials. But this varies by state and locality.
Federal fair housing laws protect people from discrimination, including harassment and intimidation, in housing and related services on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status and disability. Laws prohibit discrimination in nearly all housing transactions and residential settings across the nation, including rental housing, nursing homes, permanent shelters and other places where people live and receive services together.
Feeding America is the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization and provides a tool to help locate a food bank in your area. Enter your zip code in the box and the site will show you the location, opening times and contact information for food banks near you.
With schools closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, children who rely on free or reduced-priced meals at school may be able to continue to get meals that they would have normally received at school. USDA has put together a USDA Meals for Kids Site Finder. Families can use this tool to find directions to nearby sites as well as hours of operation and contact information. Rules vary by location but generally meals may be taken home, and parents or guardians may pick meals for their children if the state allows.
Medicaid and CHIP provide benefits to people who are determined eligible by states. Some benefits are required and some are optional. For information on benefits offered in your state, where to access services and how to apply for coverage in your state, see Medicaid.gov.
All Marketplace plans cover treatment for pre-existing medical conditions and can’t terminate coverage due to a change in health status, including diagnosis or treatment of COVID-19. While your coverage benefits will remain the same, you should log in to update your Marketplace application if COVID-19 impacts your income or household. You may be able to change your plan if certain situations apply.
The National Center on Law and Elder Rights has released new COVID-19 Medicare Enrollment Information. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, people who are eligible for Medicare may need to enroll in coverage for the first time. This includes people who have lost employer-based coverage and people who missed other enrollment periods. Other individuals who are already enrolled in Medicare may need to switch Medicare Advantage or Part D prescription drug plans to better meet their needs.
It is important to have health insurance coverage during the pandemic or find a program you are eligible to enroll in, particularly if you have a disability or other chronic health condition. In most cases, you should be able to complete one application to find what’s available through the health insurance exchange. And, if you need help, there are navigators or certified application counselors affiliated with local nonprofits to help you.
There are a variety of help lines which provide support in a variety of ways. Many provide support 24/7 via telephone and some use private messaging, TTY or help in Spanish.
You are not alone in finding these times stressful. Getting our lives back into a comfortable routine takes time. Review how you may be feeling and which actions on the checklist you can do now to feel more in control. If you cannot do it alone, there are resources to help you!
Some states and local governments are requiring the use of face masks when in public spaces. Wearing a face mask is one way to slow the spread of COVID-19, but wearing a face mask may be difficult for some people with a disability.
The Southeast ADA Center has created a fact sheet to answer questions about wearing face masks and the legal rights that a person has under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
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The Financial Resilience Center was developed by National Disability Institute with generous funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation.