COVID-19 Resources: Income, Employment, and Financial Assistance

Direct Financial Assistance

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)

The federal government passed the CARES Act on Friday, March 27. Adults with annual incomes up to $75,000 will receive $1,200 payments, plus $500 per child. Americans earning over $75,000 may also receive some financial aid. Read a summary of the bill here.

To see what aid you are likely to receive, use this calculator from the Washington Post. For help understanding how you will receive the stimulus check, read this. To check the status of your Economic Impact Payment, check here.

Federal stimulus checks will go automatically to people who receive Social Security benefits and don’t normally file tax returns because their income is too low.

Which immigrant families will receive a Federal Stimulus check? Only those with a Social Security number who have a green card or are “resident aliens” will qualify. This includes people with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS). But many people who meet these prerequisites will still be disqualified from receiving cash payments if they have a spouse or child who does not have a valid Social Security number. Read this article from Immigration Impact for more detailed information.

CARES Act FAQ: English, Spanish


Weston CARES Fund

The Weston CARES Fund provides assistance to those facing food insecurity, eviction, and/or foreclosure. Individuals are eligible to receive up to $1,000 in the lifetime of the fund. To apply for assistance, visit their website.


One Fair Wage Emergency Fund

Emergency fund for service workers affected by the coronavirus crisis.


Restaurant Employee Relief Fund

Emergency fund for restaurant industry employees experiencing hardship in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. Grants made on a first-come-first-serve basis, subject to availability of funds.


Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE)

Nonprofit organization that grants support to food and beverage service employees with children. Grants are given to qualifying service workers experiencing extreme hardships, such as major medical diagnoses of a parent of child, death of a parent of child, or loos of home due to a natural disaster. Funds are also being allocated to those affected by the current crisis, supporting food and beverage employees with children who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have someone living in their home who has been diagnosed.


Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation

Raising funds and redistributing as direct financial aid to undocumented families.


Brandeis Emergency Fund

The Brandeis University Office of Student Financial Services administers and distributes the Brandeis Emergency Fund, which is available to both undergraduate and graduate students experiencing some kind of financial emergency when other resources are not available.


Modest Needs Grants

Provides grants to families living on or around the poverty line.

Unemployment and Sick Leave

MA Unemployment Office

To file for unemployment:

  1. Go online daily, from 6:00am-10:00pm.
  2. Call 617-626-6800, 8:30am-5:00pm.

To be eligible for unemployment, you must:

  • Have earned at least $5,100 during the last four completed calendar quarters
  • Be legally authorized to work in the US. You will have to provide your Social Security Number and work authorization card.
  • Be unemployed, or working significantly reduced hours, through no fault of your own
    or
  • Be unable due to work due to the COVID-19 emergency. As long as you stay in contact with your employer and are available to return to work when asked, you qualify.

When applying, be sure to write the name of your employer exactly as it is written on your W2. You will get checks 1-2 weeks after applying. 

Independent contractors: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is now available to independent contractors. PUA provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are unable to work because of a reason relating to COVID-19, but who are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. Requires either a SSN or USCIS(A) number. Wage records may include 1099 tax forms, paystubs or bank statements. Apply now

If you are working part-time while you are getting UI, you can still get partial UI benefits because wages up to 1/3 of your benefit are not deducted from your UI check. For example, if your regular UI benefit is $300 weekly, you can earn $100 weekly and you will not lose any of your regular UI benefit. Once you earn more than $100, the UI benefit you get goes down with each dollar over $100 that you earn. But even if you only get $1.00 of partial UI, you still get the extra $600 between 3/29/2020 and 7/25/2020.

Unemployment is NOT counted in public charge determination

Still not sure if you qualify? Check this helpful graphic.

More Questions?  Dept of Unemployment Assistance has “town halls” online to answer questions  to answer all UI questions through the Mass.gov website. You can also contact the department through this online form.


WATCH Housing & Basic Needs Clinic

Assistance in applying for unemployment (first try the online form).  If you have trouble, contact Suzi at WATCH by leaving a message at 781-891-6689 ext. 200 and you will get a return call.


Mass Legal Help

For current unemployment claims:

  • Applicant does not have to attend seminars at the MassHire career centers .
  • Dealing with the effects of COVID-19 counts as "good cause" if you miss deadlines.
  • All appeal hearings will be held by telephone only.

DUA may now pay unemployment benefits if:

  • Worker needs to be in quarantine.
  • Employer tells worker to stay away from work because of the risk of of infection.
  • Worker stays away from work so
    • he/she will not infect other people or be exposed to COVID-19, or
    • to care for a family member .

Applicant does not need to provide medical documentation.

Employers who are impacted by COVID-19 may request up to a 60-day grace period to file quarterly reports and pay contributions.


Families First Coronavirus Response Act

This emergency measure from the federal government expands sick to leave to more workers, striving to ensure that those who are sick can stay home. Emergency paid sick leave also covers those who need to stay home to care for a sick child or family member, as well as contract workers (commonly referred to as gig economy workers) who are eligible for a tax credit in case they need to take emergency sick leave.

For more information, read this fact sheet.


Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General

If you or someone you know is having their rights violated regarding sick time, travel compensation, or other issues as a result of the public health situation, please call the Consumer Advocacy and Response Division hotline at (617) 727-8400

Also from the AG: Frequently Asked Questions: Employee Rights and Employer Obligations.

Taxes

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA)

The Bentley VITA tax preparation program sponsored by Watertown Savings Bank has been converted to an online-only program. Please visit www.bentley.edu/VITA to complete the online questionnaire. If you qualify to receive free tax preparation help, a Bentley VITA representative will get back to you about how to participate in the online Bentley VITA program.

If you need help filling out the online questionnaire, email suzi@watchcdc.org


Internal Revenue Service

The IRS announced a 90 day extension to file federal income taxes (3/17/20).