Here Are Some Resources For Unemployed New Yorkers In Need

 

The Republican-controlled Senate has thus far failed to pass legislation renewing a relief program that has kept nearly 13 million unemployed Americans from ruin during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

While the weekly $600 enhanced unemployment benefits from the federal government have expired, on August 8th President Donald Trump signed an executive order that on paper would create a $400-a-week bonus payment for Americans who are out of work due to the pandemic. But legal analysts question Trump's authority to circumvent Congress in this way, and it's unclear whether the order will actually result in new relief checks any time soon.

Here are some resources available to help New Yorkers in need.

EXTENDED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE

New Yorkers can reapply for unemployment insurance after the 26 weeks of their traditional unemployment insurance runs out. In mid-July, the state Department of Labor announced that eligible New Yorkers will be able to apply for another 20 weeks of coverage.

To apply click here or call (888) 209-8124 (as we've reported previously, there can be frustratingly long wait times).

HOUSING ASSISTANCE

The city's Department of Homeless Services has a program called Homebase that helps people facing eviction by connecting them with resources and services, including how to apply for public benefits and emergency rental assistance.

DEFER STUDENT LOANS

Under the CARES Act, federal student loans can be deferred through September 30th (this does not apply to the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, Perkins, and private student loans). Those who continue to make payments can do so at a 0% interest rate. To double-check if your federal student loan has gone into automatic forbearance, sign up here.

INTERNET ACCESS

Verizon has a government assistance program called Lifeline that offers discounts on internet service to qualified low-income customers. Comcast also has low-cost internet service for qualified customers through its Internet Essentials program.

CASH ASSISTANCE

The Temporary Aid to Needy Families Program offers cash assistance to New York City parents or guardians living and caring for at least one child. Eligibility requirements include homelessness, payments to maintain or restore your utilities, and other impediments that can impact you or your family's health and safety. Eligible applicants for cash assistance can apply here to create an account and begin the process. Click here for more detailed eligibility requirements.

FOOD INSECURITY

The city Department of Education continues to distribute free meals to anyone who needs one.

A total of 435 grabs and go sites across the five boroughs remain open to pick up hot food on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for children and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for children and adults. The DOE is offering multiple meals per visit and has emphasized that no one will be turned away.

A full list of sites is available here. A listing of sites that distribute Kosher and Halal meals can be found here.

Food pantries and soup kitchens are open, though it's recommended to call in advance. A listing of pantries can be found here. In some cases, a valid photo ID is required at some pantries for the first visit.

The city Human Resources Administration has also offered to help anyone who qualifies for help in obtaining benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those benefits are widely accepted in places such as Whole Foods. To apply, click here to create an account and begin the process.

HEALTH INSURANCE

New York City offers free or affordable health insurance plans to New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status.

While New Yorkers can sign up for Medicaid, Child Health Plus, and Essential Plan any time, the state’s Qualified Health Plans, offering affordable plans through the state Department of Health is available only through August 15th.

Insurance enrollment services are available by visiting the city Health Department site or 311. You can also text CoveredNYC to 877-877 to start the process. Free mental health coverage is also available through the city's ThriveNYC program, by clicking here or calling (800) 543-3638.

FINANCIAL HELP FOR RESTAURANT WORKERS

The Southern Smoke Foundation is offering free funding specifically to workers who lost their jobs in the food and beverage industry because of the pandemic. Those who qualify must have worked in that industry a minimum of six months and an average of 30 hours per week minimum. Applicants must also show documentation they've held such employment.

According to its website, some examples of financial need include "medical bills, a car accident, whether catastrophes, family support assistance, and mental health needs." To apply, click here.

Another organization called Children of Restaurant Employees also offers financial assistance to coronavirus-stricken food and beverage workers and their kids. Medical bills and proof of residence will be required. Those who believe they qualify can go here.

FINANCIAL HELP FOR ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT WORKERS

With Broadway dark through at least January 2021, the Actors Fund is offering assistance to those in the performing arts and entertainment industry who have been impacted by the pandemic. Union and non-union workers in the industry are eligible to receive one-time financial assistance that's based on need.

The Fund cautions that it can take two weeks to process an application given the sheer volume of applications it's received in a few months.

Apply here.