Congress has passed – and the President has signed – comprehensive legislation to ease the economic burden the American people and small businesses are experiencing as we follow public health advice to combat the coronavirus. Legislation passed to date includes expanded unemployment benefits, direct cash payments to lower-and middle-income Americans, and hundreds of billions of dollars in support for small businesses, hospitals, health systems, and health research.
If you are looking for information regarding relief for small businesses, click here.
For detailed information about how to apply and certify for unemployment benefits, visit the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s website.
The most recent COVID-19 relief bill, which the President signed into law in late 2020, extends important unemployment protections for out of work Americans. Specifically, it:
- Provides enhanced unemployment insurance benefits ($300 per week, on top of state-provided benefits) through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program. The $300 federal benefit is for weeks of unemployment beginning after December 26, 2020, and ending on or before March 14, 2021.
- Extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides unemployment assistance to the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, part-time workers, and other individuals in non-traditional employment. It also increases the number of weeks of PUA benefits an individual may claim, from 39 to 50.
- Extends the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, providing additional weeks of federally-funded benefits to workers who have exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits. It also increases the number of weeks of PEUC benefits an individual may claim, from 13 to 24; and
- Provides full federal financing of state work share programs, allowing employers to avoid layoffs during the downturn by connecting their employees who are working reduced hours with partial unemployment compensation, through March 14, 2021.
- The latest relief bill provides an additional round of Economic Impact Payments: $600 for individuals making up to $75,000 and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000 (with a gradual phaseout for those earning more), as well as an extra $600 per eligible child dependent.
- It also includes a provision, which is retroactive to the CARES Act, to expand these direct payments to mixed-status households, ensuring that millions of immigrant families across the U.S. get access to this relief.
- The IRS has set up an online portal to track the status of your payment. The “Get My Payment” tool can be found here.
- The IRS has also published a comprehensive FAQ about the second round of payments, which can be found here.
- To learn about paid sick and family leave benefits available to you, use the NJDOL Benefits Eligibility tool.
- To apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, contact New Jersey's SNAP office.
- To apply for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) benefits, visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) website.
- Click here to find a local food bank near you, or call the USDA National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1-877-8-HAMBRE
- To learn about homeowner and rental assistance available to you, visit the State of New Jersey website.
- Contact information for free housing counseling in New Jersey can be found here.
- Federal student loan payments are currently suspended, and interest is waived until January 31, 2021. To learn more, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
- Congress provided emergency funding to ensure students can still receive their free or reduced-price school meals during this time. Click here to learn how schools in your area are distributing meals.
- Congress provided emergency funding to ensure the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the equipment, tests, and support services – including temporary care sites, mobile treatment centers, and telehealth visits – necessary to provide veterans with the care they need. For further guidance, visit VA’s website.
- New Jersey has a 24-Hour Hotline where trained healthcare professionals will be available to answer your questions on coronavirus. Call 1-800-962-1253 or text NJCOVID to 898-211.
- COVID-19 testing is available to everyone in New Jersey. To find a testing site near you and learn about site requirements, click here.
- COVID Alert NJ is New Jersey's free and secure mobile app that anonymously alerts users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. The app also provides users with up-to-date information on New Jersey reopening news, key COVID-19 metrics, and a user-friendly symptom tracking tool. COVID Alert NJ uses Bluetooth proximity technology. The app will never record any identifying data. All users will remain anonymous. Click here to download and learn more about the COVID Alert NJ app.
New information is coming out every day, please visit the sites below to stay up to date.
The Centers for Disease Control provides updates and safety information for the public and healthcare professionals.
The New Jersey State Government has launched an information hub that provides the latest updates and resources.
The State Department provides a list of the latest travel advisories.
The Social Security Administration has a website with information related to their services during the coronavirus pandemic.
- All SSA field offices are currently closed and as a result you should expect service delays. You can still reach the SSA by phone and can identify your local field office here.