covid-19-state-federal-updates-2

Updated June 4, 2021

For up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website by clicking the button below.

For up-to-the-minute information on COVID-19 in Massachusetts, please visit the MA Department of Public Health (DPH) website by clicking the button below.

If you have any questions about the below information,

please contact our office using this online contact form or by calling (413) 367-4656 or (617) 722-1532.

Unemployment

If you need help with an unemployment application, have questions, or are experiencing issues, please contact the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) via these numbers:

DUA Call Center (call for assistance with UI or PUA, but listen to prompts so you are directed to the correct place) – (877) 626-6800
Open 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Monday–Friday, 8 a.m–12 p.m. Saturday. Multilingual call agents are available.

TeleCert Line (Automated system is operational, please do not transfer to an agent within the system) – (617) 626-6338
To request weekly benefits, daily 6 a.m.–10 p.m.

Hearing Impaired Voice Relay – 711

Payment Status Line (Automated system is operational, please do not transfer to an agent within the system) – (617) 626-6563

Helpful link:

Unemployment Insurance (UI)

UPDATE: Work search requirements will be reinstated for all regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants effective the week of June 15, 2021. This requirement applies to UI claimants receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and those on Extended Benefits (EB). More information is here.

If you’ve lost your job, you may qualify for temporary income to support you. You should apply for unemployment benefits during your first week of total or partial unemployment. Most claims are processed within 21-28 days after filing. It may take longer if there is an issue with your claim.

Unemployment eligibility and determinations are done on a very case-by-case basis. This informational page can help you understand if you’re eligible for UI and this informational page is also helpful in understanding how benefits are determined.

If you are experiencing issues with your account or claim, please contact our office. For expedited service, please be sure to complete the information requested in the Unemployment section.

Important info: All claimants are required to file a new claim after their prior claim expires (benefit year end date). If not monetarily eligible, the prior claim will be active to receive any available extensions.

If the new claim is monetarily eligible, but the weekly benefit allowance (WBA) is more than $25 less than the WBA on the prior claim, that claim will be active to receive Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) (only PEUC, does not apply to a claimant receiving Extended Benefits prior to claim expiring).

Helpful links:

Unemployment Insurance (UI) Identity Verification

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has implemented new security measures to speed up identity verification and to protect claimant accounts. DUA has contracted with the security vendor ID.me, a federally-certified identity verification provider that specializes in digital identity protection. ID.me identity verification is for UI claims only and does not apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims.

For all claimants clearing the ID.me process, a Notice of Approval will be issued from UI Online, and if otherwise eligible, payments to the claimant will commence within several days.

Please see the below links for instructions, tips, and troubleshooting on how to verify your identity with ID.me.

Helpful links:

CARES Act extension and changes to unemployment benefit programs

The American Recovery Plan Act of 2021, which extends benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), was signed into law on March 11, 2021. Updated information on regarding the new law and Massachusetts unemployment is available on the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance’s (DUA) website, which is updated frequently.

Helpful link:

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)

FPUC  provides an additional $300 weekly benefit to eligible claimants. A claimant must be eligible through a separate unemployment program (e.g., UI, PUA, PEUC, EB) to receive FPUC. FPUC will be available to cover weeks of unemployment between the week ending January 2, 2021, and the week ending September 4, 2021.

Helpful link:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

PUA provides up to 79 weeks of unemployment benefits if you are unable to work because of a COVID-19-related reason but are not eligible for regular or extended unemployment benefits. Weekly certification is required. PUA will be available until the week ending September 4, 2021.

If you are experiencing issues with your account or claim, please contact our office. For expedited service, please be sure to complete the information requested in the Unemployment section.

Employment Substantiation

Any individual receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits after December 27, 2020 is required to provide documentation proving employment (not covered by Unemployment Insurance (UI)) or self-employment, or the planned beginning of employment or self-employment to demonstrate a recent attachment to the labor force. This is known as substantiation of employment.

PUA claimants filing a new claim after January 31, 2021 will be required to provide documentation of employment, self-employment, or a qualifying job offer within 21 days of filing. Claimants with established claims receiving payments in 2021 will have 90 days to provide such documentation. Documentation of employment must be provided for the claimant’s base period, which is the tax year prior to initial application for unemployment benefits.

Helpful links:

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) 1.1

UPDATE: Work search requirements will be reinstated for all regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants effective the week of June 15, 2021. This requirement applies to UI claimants receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and those on Extended Benefits (EB). More information is here.

The extended PEUC program (PEUC 1.1) provides up to 53 weeks of benefits. The PEUC program will conclude the week ending September 4, 2021.

Important info: All claimants are required to file a new claim after their prior claim expires (benefit year end date). If not monetarily eligible, the prior claim will be active to receive any available extensions.

If the new claim is monetarily eligible, but the weekly benefit allowance (WBA) is more than $25 less than the WBA on the prior claim, that claim will be active to receive Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) (only PEUC, does not apply to a claimant receiving Extended Benefits prior to claim expiring).

Helpful links:

Unemployment Extended Benefits (EB)

UPDATE: Work search requirements will be reinstated for all regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) claimants effective the week of June 15, 2021. This requirement applies to UI claimants receiving Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and those on Extended Benefits (EB). More information is here.

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ unemployment rate has triggered federal Extended Benefits (EB). EB is available for certain eligible regular unemployment insurance (UI) claimants for up to 13 weeks.

Eligible UI claimants will be presented with an application for EB through their UI Online account.

To be eligible for EB, UI claimants must have:

  • Exhausted all rights to regular UI (Unemployment Insurance) under Massachusetts law
  • No rights to regular UI with respect to any UI law of another state or Canada
  • Exhausted Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
  • Wages in the base period (with respect to the regular UI claim that was exhausted) that includes 1 of the following:
    • 20 weeks of full-time covered employment,
    • Wages higher than 40 times your most recent weekly benefit amount, or
    • Total wages in the base period equal to or greater than 1.5 times the highest quarter
  • No disqualifications that would prevent you from being eligible for EB and
  • Regular UI benefit year ended on or after May 9, 2020

If a claimant exhausts their weeks of EB, they may be eligible for additional weeks of PEUC 1.1 or for a new benefit year depending on which program has a benefit rate that is higher. Claimants who exhaust EB and are still unemployed should continue certifying for benefits and will automatically transition on to PEUC 1.1.

More information here.

Helpful links:

Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC)

The Mixed Earners Unemployment Compensation (MEUC) program was created as part of the Continued Assistance Act to assist workers who qualified for traditional unemployment, but also had income from self-employment or gig work that is not included in the calculation of their regular unemployment benefits. MEUC applies only to traditional unemployment claimants. Claimants who receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) are ineligible for MEUC.

MEUC provides an additional $100 weekly benefit to eligible claimants. Payments will not begin until DUA reviews the applicant’s supporting documentation, and will be retroactive. Applicants who are determined eligible for the MEUC program and are paid at least $1 of their underlying unemployment benefit amount for any week of unemployment, will also receive a $100 supplemental MEUC payment. This is provided in addition to the $300 FPUC payment.

To see eligibility requirements, documentation needed to prove eligibility, and information on how to apply, please click here.

Helpful links:

Unemployment Benefits as Taxable Income & 1099-G

Unemployment benefits are counted as taxable income. You can withhold taxes from your weekly benefit payments. The most streamlined way to do this is to complete the tax withholding section when you first apply for benefits. If you don’t elect to have taxes withheld from your weekly benefits, you will be responsible for paying federal and state taxes directly.

Unemployment tax relief

On April 1, 2021, Governor Baker signed legislation which allows taxpayers with household income up to 200% of the federal poverty level to deduct up to $10,200 of unemployment compensation from taxable income on their Massachusetts tax return. The deduction may be claimed by each eligible individual for tax years 2020 and 2021.  Federal law allows a deduction of up to $10,200 if your federal adjusted gross income is less than $150,000.  Since the Massachusetts income threshold is different from the federal income threshold, you may be eligible for a deduction on your federal tax return, but not on your Massachusetts tax return.

If you have already filed your 2020 Massachusetts income tax return and you believe you are eligible for this deduction, there is no need to file an amended return. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue (DOR) will recalculate all tax returns that included unemployment income and will adjust your return if you are eligible. If your return is adjusted, your reported tax for 2020 will be reduced and you may be entitled to a refund.  If you have no outstanding liabilities, DOR will mail the refund directly to you. DOR expects to begin issuing these refunds in mid-May and will provide updates about when you can expect to receive them in the FAQs on their website.

If you have not filed your 2020 Massachusetts income tax return yet, you should report the full amount of your unemployment income on your Massachusetts return using line 8a on resident tax returns (Form 1) or line 10a on nonresident/part-year resident tax returns (Form NR/PY).   If you are eligible for a deduction, you should report the amount of the allowable deduction on Schedule Y, line 9.

You can find more information about the new deduction in the FAQs on DOR’s website.  If you have any other questions or concerns, please contact DOR at (617) 887-6367 or online through your MassTaxConnect account.

1099-G

The 1099-G is an IRS form that shows the total unemployment benefits you received and any taxes withheld during the previous calendar year. You will need this information when you file your tax return.

1099-G for UI Claimants

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) should mail you a copy of your 1099-G by January 31 of the year after you collected benefits. You can also view & print your 1099-G online by doing the following:

  1. Log in to your UI Online account
  2. Click on View and request 1099-G on the left navigation bar
  3. Click on the down arrow to select the right year. You can view 1099-G forms for the past 6 years.
  4. Click on View 1099-G and print the page

If you have not received your 1099-G and cannot view it online by following the above steps, please contact our office by completing & submitting this form.

1099-G for PUA Claimants

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) should mail you a copy of your 1099-G by January 31 of the year after you collected benefits.

If you didn’t receive your 1099-G or need a reprint, claimants who received only PUA benefits in 2020 can call (617) 626-5647 to request another copy by mail. You can also contact our office by completing & submitting this form.

1099-G for Fraudulent Claim

If you have received a Form 1099-G related to a fraudulent claim, please use DUA’s secure fraud reporting form to alert DUA of the fraud. It may take up to four weeks for DUA to review the report and send a corrected Form 1099-G via US mail. In addition, the claim will not impact your ability to collect unemployment should you need to in the future and no charges will be assessed to your employer (if applicable).

Helpful links:

Working Part-Time While Receiving Unemployment Benefits

If you work part-time while collecting unemployment benefits, either through traditional state unemployment insurance (UI) or federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), you may still qualify for unemployment benefits. The weekly benefit amount you receive may be adjusted based on how much you earn from your part-time job.

If you work part-time hours during weeks in which you request unemployment benefits, you may still be paid benefits if your gross wages (total wages before taxes are deducted) are less than your weekly benefit amount. Any earnings greater than 1/3 of your weekly benefit amount (known as your earnings disregard) will be deducted dollar-for-dollar from your weekly benefit payment.

You must report any changes in your unemployment status while you are receiving benefits. It is your responsibility to report all your earnings when requesting weekly benefits if you get a part-time job.

If you work full-time hours in any given week, you will be considered employed “full-time” regardless of wages, and you will not be eligible for benefits for that week. Full-time is generally between 35 and 40 hours per week. You are considered employed full-time if you are working the customary full-time schedule in your job or occupation.

Helpful links:

Report Unemployment Benefits Fraud

Criminal enterprises using stolen personal information from earlier national data breaches have been attempting to file fraudulent unemployment claims through the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) system. This is part of a national unemployment fraud scheme.

If you believe someone has applied for unemployment benefits using your personal information, please use DUA’s secure fraud reporting form to alert DUA of the fraud.

If you have received a Form 1099-G related to a fraudulent claim, please use DUA’s secure fraud reporting form to alert DUA of the fraud. It may take up to four weeks for DUA to review the report and send a corrected Form 1099-G via US mail. In addition, the claim will not impact your ability to collect unemployment should you need to in the future and no charges will be assessed to your employer (if applicable).

If you believe your identity has been stolen and you are a victim of fraud, you can protect yourself by reporting identity theft to law enforcement, creditors, credit agencies, and government agencies.

If you are an employer who wishes to report fraud, please email UIFraud@detma.org.

Helpful links:

Unemployment for Employers

The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) recently issued 2021 Unemployment Insurance (UI) rate notices, which included a tax schedule freeze on schedule “E” for 2021. The tax schedule freeze slowed the annual employer contribution growth, on average, per employee.

DUA has further extended the Q1 contributions deadline to Monday, August 2, 2021. Q1 contributions will now be due on the same date as Q2 Quarterly Employment and Wage Detail filings and contributions.

The Administration will communicate further information on the 2021 employer rates and solvency assessment as soon as it is available.

Helpful links:

WorkShare

WorkShare is a program that offers a smart alternative to layoffs. Employees work reduced hours while collecting unemployment benefits to supplement their lower wages.

Because many businesses are reducing hours for employees without laying them off, they can find it useful to use the WorkShare program.

  • Employers must enter agreement with the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) about employees that will be covered
  • Eligibility is based upon unemployment eligibility
  • Benefit to employee is based upon hours that are being reduced as a share of full-time work – that reduction in hours % is multiplied by the UI benefit the worker would receive if they were fully unemployed
  • Current benefit rate of UI is maximum of ½ of income or up to $823/week
  • WorkShare participants must plan for at least 10% reduction in hours and no more than 60% reduction in hours

Helpful links:

Rapid Response – Layoff Aversion

Rapid Response tries to identify the exact needs of a company in crisis. Once the needs are assessed then the team tries to help the company establish partnerships with other organizations and build networks to help them try and acquire those needs meant to reduce the possibility of layoffs or a plant closure.

Some of the resources available to companies to maintain their workforce include:

  • Matching businesses that are in transition with businesses that are hiring for similar
  • Communicating directly with employers on their needs and what is necessary to avoid layoffs
  • Educate employers on various state and local programs and agencies including:
    • WorkShare Program
    • Workforce Training Funds
    • Career Centers
    • Tax Incentives
    • Business Loans
    • Growth based systems for manufacturing
    • Employee Ownership and succession plans
    • Export opportunity identification
    • SBA information

For more information, contact Rapid Response.

Helpful link:

Vaccine

All people age 12 and older who live, work, or study in Massachusetts are eligible to get vaccinated. More information about COVID-19 vaccinations for people under age 18 is here.

Individuals can book an appointment online, by calling 2-1-1, or by calling individual vaccination sites where phone options are available.

While there is one website Massachusetts residents can use to find public-facing vaccine locations in the state (vaxfinder.mass.gov), you may still need to click through multiple web pages to find more information about each site and to book an appointment.

Many locations are also offering walk-in appointments.

The Commonwealth now has the COVID-19 Employer Vaccination Program which offers Massachusetts employers two options to vaccinate their employees:

  1. Group appointments at mass vaccinations locations, or
  2. Mobile on-site employer vaccination clinic

More information on these two options, including how employers can sign up, is here.

How to Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Find a vaccination location and schedule your appointment, or find a location accepting walk-ins:

Click here to find public-facing vaccination locations and availability information
Click here to view a map of public-facing vaccination locations in the state
Click here to view information about vaccination locations in the Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester district and surrounding region that our office has compiled (last updated on Friday, April 30, 2021)
•Vaccines may also be available from non-public-facing locations, like a primary care provider

Individuals without internet access or who have difficulty navigating the internet have phone options available; click here for more information.

Prepare for your appointment – Information on how to prepare for your vaccine appointment is here.

More information on scheduling a second dose appointment (necessary for Moderna & Pfizer vaccines) is here.

Important Vaccine Information

•The vaccine is free. You will never be asked for a credit card number to make an appointment.
Mass vaccination site are accessible
•The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses. You should make sure you have a second appointment scheduled from the same site, or know how to schedule it, before leaving your first appointment. Johnson & Johnson/Janssen only requires one dose.
•You can get a vaccine even if you do not have insurance, a driver’s license, or a Social Security number.

Helpful links:

Telephone Options for COVID-19 Vaccine Appointment Scheduling

Many vaccination locations have telephone numbers specific to their location which you can find on the Vaccination Location Finder and Map of COVID-19 Public Vaccination Locations.

Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line

Massachusetts has launched a Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line to assist individuals without access to the internet or who are unable to schedule their appointment online. 

Call 2-1-1  or (877) 211-6277
and follow prompts to reach the Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line

The Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line is available in English and Spanish and will have translators available to support residents in approximately 100 additional languages. Individuals will be able to speak to a representative live on the phone to assist them with an appointment through the state’s online system. These representatives have the same access to appointments as on the public website; it will not give individuals access to additional appointments. 

The Massachusetts Vaccine Scheduling Resource Line is only able to support individuals with scheduling an appointment and representatives are not able to answer general questions about COVID-19 or provide individual health care advice.

LifePath

LifePath, who serves Franklin County and the North Quabbin, is assisting vaccine-eligible older people and people with disabilities who do not have access to the internet, need assistance with scheduling an appointment, need transportation to a vaccination location, or are unable to leave their home.

LifePath’s Vaccine Access Hotline: (413) 829-9285, ext. 2375

After listening to the complete message, eligible individuals may leave a message that should include all of the following:

  • Name
  • Town of residence
  • Phone number
  • Age
  • An explanation of need

WestMass ElderCare

WestMass ElderCare’s main service area includes South Hadley, Holyoke, Chicopee, Granby, Ludlow, Belchertown, and Ware. Staff in WestMass ElderCare’s Information and Referral Department are available to assist vaccine-eligible community members navigate the vaccine sign-up process.

WestMass ElderCare: (413) 538-9020

Transportation to COVID-19 Vaccine Appointments

LifePath

LifePath, who serves Franklin County and the North Quabbin, is assisting vaccine-eligible older people and people with disabilities who do not have access to the internet, need assistance with scheduling an appointment, need transportation to a vaccination location, or are unable to leave their home.

LifePath’s Vaccine Access Hotline: (413) 829-9285, ext. 2375

After listening to the complete message, eligible individuals may leave a message that should include all of the following:

  • Name
  • Town of residence
  • Phone number
  • Age
  • An explanation of need

Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA)

Franklin County residents ages 60 and older and those who cannot get to a vaccination site on their own can use the FRTA Access program, the transit authority’s micro-transit, curb-to-curb service, by calling (413) 773-8090. Trips to and from vaccine clinics are free.

Pioneer Valley Transit Authority (PVTA)

PVTA has compiled a list of COVID-19 vaccination sites in their service area and which bus routes service them, which can be found here.

MassHealth

MassHealth has made changes to its non-emergency transportation policy to expand eligibility and simplify processes for transportation to and from COVID-19 vaccine appointments.

MassHealth is providing free transportation to vaccine appointments to any individual that has any type of MassHealth coverage or the Health Safety Net. This includes people with MassHealth Limited, Children’s Medical Security Program (CMSP) and MassHealth Family Assistance (FA). In addition, members can request transportation services directly through MassHealth’s Customer Service, rather than needing to request services through a health care provider.

If an individual has MassHealth or the Health Safety Net, they (or a caregiver) can call their health plan or MassHealth directly to schedule free transportation.

MassHealth & Health Safety Net COVID-19 vaccine transportation scheduling phone number:
800-841-2900 (TTY: 800-497-4648)

However, MassHealth members who are enrolled in a Senior Care Options or One Care plan or in a Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) should continue to contact their health plan or PACE provider to request help with transportation.

More information is here and here.

Helpful links:

Homebound Vaccination Programs

There are regional and statewide programs to offer in-home vaccinations for homebound individuals who cannot leave their home to get to a vaccination site. In-home vaccinations are for homebound individuals who are not able to leave their home to get to a vaccination site, even with assistance.

Franklin County

Residents of the 15 Franklin Regional Council of Governments Cooperative Public Health Service (FRCOG CPHS) Member Towns may call Lisa White at (413) 665-1400 ext. 114. The 15 Member Towns include Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Conway, Colrain, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Heath, Hawley, Leyden, Monroe, Northfield, Rowe, and Shelburne.

Montague residents may call the Montague Board of Health at (413) 863-3200, ext. 205.

Orange, New Salem, and Wendell residents call the Orange Board of Health at (978) 544-1107.

Hampshire County

Hampshire County residents who live in Amherst/Pelham, Belchertown, Chesterfield, Cummington, Easthampton, Goshen, Granby, Hadley, Hatfield, Huntington, Middlefield, Northampton, Plainfield, South Hadley, Southampton, Sunderland, Ware, Westhampton, Williamsburg, Worthington) can get more information by clicking here.

Amherst & Pelham residents may also call (413) 259-3060.

Statewide

Folks who reside in cities/towns not listed above may utilize the statewide program. More information is here.

Any individual who has trouble getting to a vaccine site is eligible for the homebound program.

Homebound Vaccination Program Central Intake Line: (833) 983-0485

The registration phone line is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and has representatives who speak English and Spanish, as well as translation services available in 100+ languages. After registering, individuals will be called within five business days by the state’s Homebound Vaccine Provider, Commonwealth Care Alliance, to schedule an appointment.

Helpful links:

Personal Health & Safety

Testing

Helpful links:

Domestic Safety

If you or someone you know does not feel safe at home, please call 1-800-799-7233 for live support. If you are unable to speak safely, you can chat online at thehotline.org, or text LOVEIS to 22522.

Helpful links:

Emotional Health & Well-Being

Taking care of your emotional health and well-being during this time is important. Decreasing stress can help bolster your immune system and can help keep you and others around you healthy. Click here for a list of resources and tips for staying emotionally healthy and well.

Contact your behavioral health provider to see if they can schedule a telehealth visit. Telehealth is a virtual therapy session. Many providers are now offering this option.

Below are additional resources.

Helpful links:

Addiction & Recovery Resources

This is an unsettling time for those working to address opioid and substance misuse and for those in treatment or recovery from substance and opioid use disorders. The Opioid Task Force put together an array of resources to help.

Helpful links:

Health Insurance

For help with health insurance enrollment, call Health Care For All’s free and multilingual Health Coverage HelpLine at 1-800-272-4232 or visit the Health Coverage HelpLine website. The HelpLine provides assistance in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

MassHealth

MassHealth is the state’s Medicaid program and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and provides comprehensive health coverage for low-income people and eligible seniors and people with disabilities. Most people have no premiums and no copays. Due to COVID-19, you can now apply for insurance at any time. Enrollment information is available online or by calling MassHealth’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-841-2900 (TTY: 1-800-497-4648).

Helpful links:

Health Connector

The Health Connector is the state’s marketplace for reduced-cost coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). It is also the easiest place to shop for and enroll in regular individual and family insurance plans.

If you need health insurance or have experienced a job change and no longer have health insurance through work, apply through the Massachusetts Health Connector.

If you already have health insurance coverage through the Health Connector, make sure to return to your application to update all changes in circumstances to ensure that you are receiving the most appropriate benefits. Even if you have not received financial assistance in the past, you may be newly eligible for subsidies that could lower your monthly health insurance premium.

If you’re an employer, Health Connector for Business is a one-stop shopping solution for small businesses looking for affordable, high-quality health and dental insurance. Through the Health Connector, employers can compare plans from leading insurance carriers side by side. More information is here.

Helpful links:

Group Insurance Commission (GIC)

The GIC provides and administers health insurance and other benefits to the Commonwealth’s employees and retirees, their dependents and survivors. The GIC also covers housing and redevelopment authority personnel, participating municipalities, as well as retired municipal employees and teachers in certain governmental units.

Helpful links:

Food Security

As the COVID-19 crisis continues, more people in Massachusetts are experiencing food insecurity. If you are experiencing food insecurity, there are resources available. Please visit the links below and/or contact our office for help with accessing these resources.

Helpful links:

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) administers SNAP benefits. SNAP provides a monthly benefit to buy nutritious foods. To get SNAP, you must be low-income and be a U.S. citizen or legal noncitizen (restrictions apply). Eligibility for SNAP benefits depends on financial and non-financial criteria.

If you qualify for and/or receive SNAP benefits, you may also qualify for P-EBT. See information on P-EBT below.

Helpful links:

Women, Infants, & Children (WIC) Nutrition Program

WIC is a nutrition program that provides healthy foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and referrals to healthcare and other services, free of charge, to Massachusetts families who qualify. WIC’s goal is to maintain the health of and help children under 5 and those who are pregnant, just had a baby, or are breastfeeding.

WIC is available to all families regardless of immigration or citizenship status. Individuals receiving SNAP and many types of MassHealth are automatically income-eligible for WIC. Parents, grandparents and foster parents may apply for children under the age of five years who are in their care.

Helpful links:

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

P-EBT, a federal program operated in Massachusetts by the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), provides food support to help families with children buy healthy food during the pandemic. The P-EBT program has changed throughout the pandemic and Project Bread has continued to provide updates and clarification throughout the changes. More information is here and here.

Helpful links:

Nutrition Program for Seniors

Nutrition services available for Massachusetts seniors include nourishing meals, screening, education, and counseling, to help older people have healthy nutrition status. Meals are at congregate meal sites and through home-delivered meals to people 60+.

Meals on Wheels is run by senior nutrition agencies located throughout Massachusetts. To find the closest agency to you, call 1-800-243-4636.

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Housing

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RAFT & ERMA

The Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance (ERMA) programs may provide income-eligible households with up to $10,000 to pay overdue or future rent or mortgage costs. Both RAFT and ERMA are administered at the local level by Regional Administering Agencies (RAA), and you can apply to both programs through your RAA.

Contacting your RAA is the first step to accessing both RAFT and ERMA. 

Helpful links:

Multilingual COVID-19 Resources

Mass.gov web pages can be translated into the following languages by clicking the “Select Language” dropdown menu at the top of any Mass.gov page:

  • Arabic
  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Italian
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Polish
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Vietnamese

Contra COVID

Contra COVID provides information, news, health and social resources in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Haitian Creole to help Latino and immigrant families with important resources that they might need during these difficult times. Visit Contra COVID’s website at contracovid.com.

Helpful link:

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition

MIRA has created a continuously-updated page on their website on COVID-19 resources that are available to immigrant constituents, as well as an accessible Spanish-language guide (other languages in process) that may help constituents whose first language is Spanish.

Helpful links:

Department of Public Health (DPH) COVID-19 Prevention Multilingual Printable Factsheets

The Massachusetts DPH has created printable fact sheets on COVID-19 prevention in English, Spanish, Chinese, Portugese, Hatian Creole, Vietnamese, which can be downloaded here.

Helpful link:

413 Cares

413 Cares connects people with resources in western Massachusetts. Fine more here.

Helpful links:

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