COVID-19 Resources: Income and Employment

Direct Financial Assistance

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

The federal government passed the CARES Act on Friday, 3/27. 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.

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. Read a summary of the bill here.

The relief package excludes a number of individuals, including many immigrants. To understand who is and isn't covered, read this article from Immigration Impact.

CARES Act FAQ: English, Spanish

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.

Unemployment and Sick Leave

MA Unemployment Office

If you need to file a claim for unemployment benefits, go on line to daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm.

You can also file by phone by calling 617-626-6800. 8:30 am to 5:00 pm.

You will get checks 1-2 weeks after applying.  If you are a non-citizen You will have to provide your Social Security Number and your work authorization card. People with “work authorization” can apply for Unemployment.  People who work as independent contractors (paid with Form 1099) are currently eligible for Unemployment.  Unemployment is NOT counted in public charge determination

Are you eligible? Read this release from the Department of Unemployment Assistance.

More Questions?  Dept of Unemployment Assistance has “town halls” online to answer questions  to answer all UI questions through the website

NOTE: For those who are self-employed or 1099 applicants, please do not file for unemployment yet! The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development is awaiting federal guidance regarding how the application process - separate from the MA UI portal - and technical requirements will work. Thank you for your patience during these uncertain times.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions: Employee Rights and Employer Obligations

Guide from the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.


Internal Revenue Service

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