Frequently Asked Questions on Coronavirus in Hartford
- Foodshare– Visit: Foodshare.org, Call Foodshare at: 860-286-9999
- Grace Church Food Pantry 870 Prospect Ave., Wednesdays, 11:00 am – 2:00 pm
- Hartford Public Schools has boxed lunches for children ages 18 and under. Visit their website at: http://www.hartforschools.org or call their Food & Nutrition Line at: 860-695-8490.
- Meals On Wheels (Hartford) CRT Program– Contact: 860-560-5848
- Mutual Aid Hartford is a cooperative effort of Hartford neighbors, helping one another. Making sure that individuals who are immunocompromised, have no transportation, or can’t go directly to a food bank, get the food they need. Email: email@example.com -or- visit the website: https://www.mutualaidhartford.com
Where do I go if I want to get tested for COVID-19?
- YOU DON’T NEED A DOCTOR’S NOTE TO GET TESTED for CORNAVIRUS
- YOU DON’T NEED TO SHOW SYMPTOMS TO GET TESTED
- There are several testing locations in Hartford where this applies: *Charter Oak Health Care at 21 Grand St., Call: 860-550-7500; *Hartford Hospital at 51 Hudson St. Call: 860-972-8100 *CVS at 479 Blue Hills Ave & at CVS 150 Washington St.
- Click Here for more testing location sites
- There are also pop-up sites that spring-up weekly. Follow us on social media to see when/where this will occur. Facebook: @CouncilwomanBermudez; @JoshMichtomCityCouncil; Instagram:@RSGAT; @wildalizbermudez
- You can also call your primary care doctor but if they’re being difficult about getting you tested- schedule an appointment with a Community Health Center such as, Charter Oak Health Center: 860-550-7500.
Need FREE transportation to the drive-through testing site?
- Call: 860-757-9311. The City of Hartford is now providing FREE transportation to Hartford residents who need transportation to get to drive-trough testing sites.
Will I have to pay for a coronavirus test?
- No, you don’t have to pay. The Families First Coronavirus Act (passed by the federal government), waived cost-sharing (such as deductibles, coinsurance, or co-pays) for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and related health care services for individuals enrolled in private insurance plans, Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Husky/Medicaid, CHIP, TRICARE, VA.
I’m a front-line essential worker can I get assistance to pay my childcare?
- Yes, the CT Office of Early Childhood (OEC) has funds available to help parents like you who are front-line workers. You can receive up to $500 per family each week to pay for your childcare. Click Here for more details.
CITY OF HARTFORD TAXES
What can I do, I can’t pay my City of Hartford taxes during this pandemic?
- You now have a 90 day deferment period to pay Hartford City taxes for residents, businesses, nonprofits and who have suffered a significant economic impact by COVID-19, for the payment of real property, personal property and motor vehicle taxes. Hartford City Council approved this in April.
- For elderly residents- there’s the Elderly Tax Relief Program which allows for a $500 tax credit for Hartford senior homeowners. Interested in this program call: 860-757-9311 or email Janice.Castle@hartford.gov
Am I eligible for unemployment?
- If you’ve been laid off from your full- or part-time job for reasons related to COVID-19, you’re eligible for unemployment income (UI) . Also, if you cannot work for reasons related to COVID-19 and you are self-employed, an independent contractor, or working in the “gig economy,” you are also eligible. The CT Department of Labor will specify what documentation you need to provide to prove eligibility. Click here for more information.
How much money will I get in Unemployment?
- It depends on your previous earnings, but between now and July 31, an additional $600 will be added to every unemployment compensation check, so no one will receive less than $600 per week. You can apply for unemployment insurance here.
- If you exhaust the weeks of unemployment compensation available to you through CT Department of Labor (DOL), you’ll be eligible for an additional 13 weeks of benefits. These benefits will be federally-funded, but you will still receive them through the State of Connecticut.
What about if I am self-employed or an independent contractor, can I apply for unemployment due to loss wages?
- Yes, you may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Program. It’s a new unemployment benefit approved through the Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020. PUA provides unemployment benefits to self-employed/independent contractors for the first time, if certain eligibility requirements are met. Learn more here: https://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/fedunemploymentinsprograms.pdf
RETURNING BACK TO WORK
I’m concerned about returning back to work, what can I do?
- Check out CT Law Help click here – they provide vital information to employees, especially to those who are retuning back to work at this time.
I’m a small business owner in Hartford how do I get to re-open?
- Restaurants and retail spaces are among some of the first commercial spaces to be allowed open effective May 20, 2020. Click here to connect directly with the City of Hartford to obtain permitting process that’s needed while prioritizing and protecting public health.
What steps do I need to take as business owner in general to re-open?
- The State of Connecticut has developed the “Business Reopening and Recovery Center” to help businesses re-open in planned phases. You can connect with them here!
Who do I call, if I find myself homeless?
- Call 211- they’ll provide you with updated information of daily beds available for individuals and families who need to stay in a shelter, here in Connecticut.
HOUSING & UTILITY ASSISTANCE RENTERS
What if I can’t pay my rent?
- On April 10th, Governor Lamont issued an Executive Order to protect renters from being evicted.
- No evictions before July 1st, 2020
- For the month of April, you get an automatic 60-day extension on rent due
- For the month of May, you can request an additional 60-day extension if you can’t pay rent because the economic impacts of the pandemic.
- If your security deposit is for more than one month’s rent, you can use any amount in excess of a month’s rent to pay for rent you owe. For example, if your rent is $1000 and your security deposit is $1500, you can ask your landlord to put that extra $500 toward rent. The landlord can’t ask you to repay that amount until the public health emergency is over or you sign a new lease.
- If you live in public housing, Section 8 rental assistance vouchers or have housing subsidies – you have additional protections under the CARES Act passed by the Federal government.
My landlord is kicking me out of my apartment right now! What can I do?
- If you’re experiencing a forced removal from your apartment, contact us immediately. We will draft a letter to your landlord explaining your rights as a tenant during this pandemic. Email us at: Wildaliz.Bermudez@hartford.gov; Joshua.Michtom@hartford.gov; or Text us at: 860-310-7875 (cell)
If I can’t pay rent for April or May, can I get a repayment plan?
- Right now, there is no executive order or special law covering this issue. Along with housing advocates and other elected officials, we are pressing the Connecticut State Legislature and the Governor to make new rules that will establish a system so that renters won’t get stuck with a huge bill when this emergency ends.
What about property owners mortgage payments?
- Owners of multifamily rental properties with federally-backed loans will be eligible to receive forbearance on those loans for 90 days, during which period they may not evict or charge late fees or other penalties to tenants for nonpayment of rent.
- Owners of federally-subsidized properties or properties with a federally-backed mortgage loan may not evict or charge penalties or fees to a tenant who cannot pay rent for 120 days following the CARES ACT Bill.
- The Governor negotiated with over 50 financial institutions to provide 90-day grace periods on mortgage payments. The list of institutions is here.
- The CARES Act provides American homeowners with protections to help keep them in their homes. Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA or other federally-backed mortgages including those guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may request forbearance on payments for up to 12 months with no fees, penalties, or extra interest.
- The law also includes a 60-day moratorium on foreclosures for homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or 184/184A loans or whose mortgages are backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
Is there utility assistance and am I eligible?
- There are NO shut-offs of utilities in Connecticut right now. CT utilities can’t terminate service to customers during this crisis at least until June. We are hoping such an extension will be forthcoming.
If you’re a low income household, you may be eligible to receive the CT Energy Assistance Program (CEAP). Click here to see if you’re eligible.
Who qualifies to receive a check from the Federal government?
- You must have a Social Security number
- Individuals with income under $75,000
- $112,500 for head of household; $150,000 for joint tax filers
- Payments are available to anyone with a Social Security Number (but not an ITIN number), including those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable, means-tested benefit programs, such as Social Security or Social Security Disability Insurance.
- If you’re a Permanent Resident, YES, you qualify to receive a check.
How much will I receive?
- Adult in a household will receive $1,200, with an additional $500 for each dependent child in the household under 17.
- If you make above $75,000; or if you’re a head of household filers and made above $122,500, or a joint filer couple who made above $150,000, you will receive a partial payment.
How do I claim my check?
- The rebates will be paid out automatically as advance refunds (in the form of checks or direct deposit) if you filed your 2019 tax returns (The IRS may use your 2018 return, if a 2019 return has not yet been filed, or your form SSA-1099).
- If you do not normally file a tax return because your gross income did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019 or were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and didn’t plan to, click here
Will I be eligible if I have a lien against me, but I am in non-collect status?
- Yes, rebates will not be subject to garnishment unless back child support is owed and has been reported to the federal government. Yes, we agree this sucks!
Are seniors eligible?
- Seniors who have a SSN and who are not dependents of another taxpayer qualify for the rebate check, even if their only income is from Social Security.
- Seniors will receive $1,200 if their adjusted gross income is under $75,000. These rebate checks are considered refundable tax credits and therefore are not taxable.
STUDENTS (HIGHER EDUCATION)
Do I get relief from my student loans?
- If you’re a college student- you can now defer your student loan payments, principal, and interest, for 6 months, beginning retroactively on March 13th and ending September 30, 2020 without penalty for all federally held loans. Only Federal Direct Loans and Family Education Loans are eligible.
- Borrowers in loan forgiveness programs, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness, will receive credit for each month of deferment as if they made a payment.
- The law also suspends any involuntary collection for defaulted loans, such as wage garnishment, reduction of tax refunds, or Social Security benefits.
- The law also includes a tax break for up to $5,250 for borrowers who are receiving assistance on student loan payments from their employers.
- Additionally, relief exists if you’re a student who must drop out of school due to COVID-19. You will have the portion of your student loan taken out for the semester canceled.
Which employers must provide paid sick leave and family leave?
- Right now there’s been an expansion on paid sick leave and paid family leave requirements. The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (passed by the federal government) established a new temporary emergency expansion of paid sick leave and emergency family and medical leave protections for reasons related to COVID-19. These new leave provisions are effective April 1, 2020 through December 31, 2020.
- A private employer with fewer than 500 employees is a “covered employer” for both the paid sick leave and paid family leave requirements.
- The Federal Secretary of Labor has additional authority to exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from the requirement to provide emergency paid leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.
How much paid sick leave are employees eligible to take?
- For paid sick leave, employees are eligible to take up to 80 hours (two weeks) of paid time, depending on the employee’s regular schedule, at 100% of the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $511 per day), if the leave is due to quarantine/isolation order, health-care provider guidance to self-quarantine, or seeking diagnosis for symptoms of COVID-19.
- Sick leave pay is limited to 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate of pay (up to $200 per day) for caring for someone who is isolated/quarantined.
I live in a high density neighborhood in Hartford, where can I park my car now that there’s not enough on-street parking?
Hartford City Council members Wildaliz Bermudez & Josh Michtom introduced (and City Council unanimously passed) legislation to have the “Blue Light Lots” go into effect. If you live in a high density neighborhood and are looking for on-street parking near your residence, you now have an opportunity to park your vehicle in designated areas throughout the city so as to ease the burden of not having parking availability since thousands are staying home. Here’s the list of locations: 130 Sisson Ave; 2434 Main St; 135 Main St; 20 Francis St; 60 Chadwick Ave; 45 Evergreen Ave; 77 Laurel St; Sigourney St & Homestead Avenue; Learning Corridor Parking Garage – Brownell St Entrance. All Hartford Public Schools Parking Lots are available here: http://bit.ly/2y8NpzP
I want to help people in need-
- Mutual Aid Hartford – Venmo @mutualaidhartford. Funds collected go directly to purchase groceries for Hartford’s most vulnerable population who lack transportation. Organized by Hartford activists and neighbors. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
- FOODSHARE – needs donations or volunteers. Connect with: email@example.com to help. Visit: Foodshare.org, Call Foodshare at: 860-286-9999
- Kamora’s Cultural Corner– Support the Hartford Artist Fund, for Hartford artists during this time of need. Become a member here: https://kamorasculturalcorner.com
Not receiving our weekly updates? Email: Madyson.Frame@hartford.gov to start getting important news we compile for you on what’s happening in Hartford during this pandemic. Facebook: @CouncilwomanBermudez; @JoshmichtomCityCouncil