COVID-19 Resources: Income, Employment, and Financial Assistance
Direct Financial Assistance
Emergency fund for service workers affected by the coronavirus crisis.
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.
Cash benefits from Massachusetts government.
If you need help making ends meet, you can apply for economic assistance (cash benefits) through the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA). DTA offers 3 economic assistance programs: Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC), Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC), and the State Supplement Program (SSP). The benefits include 2 monthly payments, health insurance, and employment support while you work to get back on your feet. Must be US citizens or legal non-citizen status.
Financial assistance is available primarily for housing costs, moving expenses, fuel, and utilities. Income eligibility and other criteria apply. For information regarding these resources call 781-647-5327 or email your questions via this contact page.
Asian Community Emergency Relief Fund
The fund will provide immediate and direct financial support to people in our community who have lost work and are having trouble meeting their basic needs, and may not be eligible for other public benefits.
To apply, call: Cantonese (617) 681-5416; Mandarin (617) 902-0342; Khmer (617) 952-4556; Vietnamese (617) 701-6028. All hotlines also speak English.
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.
Aids those who are both ineligible for unemployment insurance and will not receive a stimulus check, and struggling with income, food, or housing insecurities. Currently applications exceed funding but they are still accepting applications on a rolling, weekly basis, and will contact applicants as funding becomes available.
To file for unemployment:
- Go online daily, from 6:00am-10:00pm.
- 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
- 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 and others. Check here to see if you are eligible. 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.
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. 203 and you will get a return call.
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.
Looking for a Job? Check out the MassHire Career Center for jobs and training opportunities.
- Job listings and job matching
- Referral services
- Massachusetts JobQuest online job search engine
- Career counseling
- Job search guidance
- Career and job search Workshops
- Computer skills classes
- Access to Labor Market information
Taxes and Other Financial Support
** CLOSED -- Bentley University VITA Program in partnership with WATCH
The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) offers free tax help to people who make $60,000 or less and need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation to qualified individuals in the Waltham community.
Offer a range of services, including a free (covid-19 specific) debt analysis assessment to help save money on overdue payments, manage family budget, and get out of debt safely and responsibly without incurring additional debt. For more information call (800) 235-1407.
They are offering free consultation services to help clients maintain financial wellbeing during this unprecedented time. Their services include including Budget Counseling, Housing Counseling (HUD and Reverse Mortgage), Bankruptcy Counseling, Financial Education, and Debt Management.