Here is a list of resources regarding finances and COVID-19 topics such as unemployment, paying rent and mortgages, student loans, utilities and food assistance.
Unemployment and Workers’ Comp
Anyone who has lost their job due to coronavirus or has had to take time off to self-quarantine or care for a sick relative (and does not get paid sick time from work) may apply for UNEMPLOYMENT insurance. Info on that here.
Anyone whose job has brought them into direct contact with someone with coronavirus (for instance, a first responder or a health care worker) and has become ill or are required to quarantine can file for WORKERS’ COMP. File for that here.
Employment Security Department starts their Expanded Unemployment Assistance Program
Here is a Checklist for eligibility. An independent or self-employed person will be denied on this system, but please don’t assume this means you don’t qualify. It will then prompt you to apply for the extension. Please understand that their website is so busy it may be very difficult to get on. The best times to try are late at night or early morning. Don’t give up!
What’s new to this program:
• Independent contractors, self-employed workers, and those with fewer than 680 hours worked in the previous year can now apply for unemployment.
• It will increase the weekly benefit by $600/week for anybody on unemployment insurance. Please NOTE******
The $600 will be automatically added to your weekly claim payment this week. It won’t yet show in your account until they process the batch of payments!
• The expansion and extension of benefits from 26 to 39 weeks if people need it.
Hotline number for ESD unemployment questions- 833-572-8400
Number for Claim questions- 800-318-6022
More info https://esd.wa.gov/
If you or a friend or family member are out of work, Washington State’s Employment Security Department provides support services as well.
For those whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19, these sites, Greater Seattle Partners and Worksource Washington, enables unemployed or underemployed individuals to find job opportunities in sectors providing essential services under the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.
The Washington State Department of Financial Institutions has developed a list of financial resources for Washington consumers impacted by the Coronavirus. We will add to this list as more resources become available.
Trouble Paying Rent or Mortgage
If you don’t have enough money to pay, contact your lender or landlord immediately. Help includes:
• Washington Homeownership Hotline (877-894-HOME)
• Consumer Financial Protection Bureau suggestions
• Rental assistance & counseling (800-569-4287)
• List of Housing Counseling Agencies
• For Seattle renters, the Mayor has issued a 30-day moratorium on evictions – through mid-April
Student Loans Deferment
If you need help with your student loans, you may be able to temporarily suspend your payments by applying for a deferment or forbearance from the US Department of Education.
If you need help paying your utility bills, contact your service provider immediately.
• City of North Bend will not disconnect customers during the Stay Home, Stay Healthy initiative and is waiving late fees and penalties on past due utility accounts. The City is also temporarily paying the transaction fees charged to pay online via the City’s website. You can access your account by clicking on the Pay Utilities icon or click here.
• Puget Sound Energy will not disconnect customers, will waive late fees, and offers payments plans.
• For Seattle residents, Seattle City Light and Seattle Public Utilities will not shut off service during the emergency. They also offer deferred payment plans and discount programs.
• The Utilities and Transportation Commission offers energy assistance programs.
• The federal government also has assistance programs to help with telephone and heating bills.
• Comcast is offering free WiFi hot spots, unlimited data, and no disconnects or late fees.
If you’re looking for help feeding yourself or your family, visit the Food Lifeline website to find a partner food bank, food pantry, or hot meal program in your neighborhood. This food is free and available to you, even if you don’t qualify for SNAP or EBT.
The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner has resources and information available for consumers who have insurance related questions.
• Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner - COVID-19 Resources Information from the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner.
COVID-19 UPDATES AND RESOURCES
STEPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
1. Clean your hands often
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
2. Avoid close contact
Avoid close contact with people who are sick
Maintain a minimum of 6 feet of distance between yourself and other people. This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
Follow Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way
Washing your hands is easy, and it’s one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community—from your home and workplace to childcare facilities and hospitals.
Follow these five steps every time.
STEPS TO PROTECT OTHERS
1. Stay home if you’re sick
Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care. Learn what to do if you are sick.
2. Cover coughs and sneezes
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
Throw used tissues in the trash.
Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
3. Wear a facemask if you are sick
If you are sick: You should wear a facemask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office. If you are not able to wear a facemask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then you should do your best to cover your coughs and sneezes, and people who are caring for you should wear a facemask if they enter your room. Learn what to do if you are sick.
If you are NOT sick: You do not need to wear a facemask unless you are caring for someone who is sick (and they are not able to wear a facemask). Facemasks may be in short supply and they should be saved for caregivers.
4. Clean and disinfect
Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, and sinks.
If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.