Assistance for Californians Affected by the Coronavirus

Assistance for Californians affected by the coronavirus

Benefits for Individuals

Benefits for businesses

Additional information


Direct coronavirus relief payments

The coronavirus economic relief legislation included a provision to pay most adults $1,200 and most children $500 to help make ends meet during the crisis.

  • The IRS will have more information on these payments. Rather than calling, keep an eye on this website for up-to-date details: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus.

  • Payments will automatically be sent to:

    • Anyone who filed a tax return this year or last year. The IRS is encouraging everyone to file their tax returns electronically to receive their refund and relief payment as quickly as possible.

    • Anyone who received Social Security retirement, disability or survivor benefits, Supplemental Security Income benefits or VA benefits in 2018 or 2019.

  • Anyone who did not file a tax return or receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income or VA benefits must register with the IRS to receive a rebate: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here

    • Social Security, Supplemental Income and VA benefits recipients WITH dependent children must also register using the link above to ensure their children are included.

  • Most adults will receive $1,200 ($2,400 for married couples) and an additional $500 for each child dependent under the age of 17.

  • The payment phases out at a 5% rate above adjusted gross incomes of $75,000 for single filers, $112,500 for heads of household, and $150,000 for joint filers.

  • The IRS will send out the payments out via direct deposit or to the address provided on the last tax return submitted. Individuals who didn’t originally sign up for direct deposit can update their information using the "Get My Payment" app to receive payment faster: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment

Unemployment benefits

New unemployment insurance provisions passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act:

  • Paycheck replacement: $600 per week increase above normal benefits for four months. That allows coverage for average Americans equal to their paychecks during the pandemic.

  • Waiving waiting periods: Encourages states to eliminate all waiting periods before individuals can receive benefits.

  • Extension of benefits: Automatically adds an additional 13 weeks of federally funded unemployment insurance to state coverage.

  • Includes more workers: Allows part-time, self-employed and gig economy workers to access unemployment insurance.

How to apply for unemployment insurance

Californians can apply for unemployment benefits through the California Employment Development Department.

The best way to begin the process is by going online and clicking HERE. Claims can be filed online Sunday 5 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Friday 2 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday 2 am to 8 p.m.

Returned Peace Corps Volunteers

The Department of Labor has announced that it will make Peace Corps volunteers whose service was cut short by the coronavirus eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program that Congress created as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. More information on applying for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program is available here.


Covered California

Covered California has opened a special enrollment period through June 30 to allow Californians to sign up for health care coverage in light of the coronavirus pandemic.  

If you are currently uninsured you are eligible to sign up for health care coverage if you have recently become unemployed or if you weren’t aware of the new state penalty or new financial assistance that can help lower your premiums.

Sign up for coverage here.


Paid sick leave

As part of the Familes First Coronavirus Response Act recently passed by Congress, you may be entitled to new paid sick leave benefits.

Guidance for employees (source: Department of Labor)

The paid sick leave provision in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act entitles you to:

  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at your regular rate of pay if you are unable to work because of a quarantine (ordered by federal, state, or local government or on the advice of a health care provider) or because you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms; or
  • Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds of your regular rate of pay if you are unable to work while caring for someone who has been quarantined, or to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed for reasons related to COVID-19; and
  • If you have worked for your employer for 30 days or more you may be eligible for up to an additional 10 weeks of paid family and medical leave at two-thirds your regular rate of pay if you must take leave to care for a child whose school or child care provider is closed due to COVID-19.

Guidance for employers (source: Department of Labor)

  • The paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions described above apply to businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
  • Covered employers qualify for dollar-for-dollar reimbursement through tax credits for wages paid under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
  • Small businesses with fewer than 50 employees may qualify for exemption from the requirement to provide leave due to school closings or child care unavailability if the leave requirements would jeopardize the viability of the business.

You can find answers to frequently asked questions about the new provisions here.


Coronavirus testing information

If you are experiencing the symptoms associated with coronavirus (cough, fever, shortness of breath) you should contact your health care provider immediately.

If you are experiencing symptoms and are currently uninsured, The California Department of Public Health recommends you:

Bay Area testing locations via San Francisco Chronicle
Los Angeles County testing locations

Assistance with food insecurity

If you or your family are having difficulty keeping food on the table, you may be eligible fo assistance through the Supplemental Nutirtion Assistance Program (SNAP).

Many school districts across the state have set up school lunch pick up programs during school closures. Find more information here:


Help for homeowners and renters

The recently passed CARES Act contians protecitons for homeowners and renters in certain kinds of housing.

Homeowners (source: Democratic staff of the Senate Banking Committee)

Homeowners with a loan insured or guaranteed by FHA, VA, USDA, HECM, the 184 program, the 184A program, or backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac are protected by a 60-day foreclosure moratorium beginning March 18, 2020. This moratorium means that the servicer should not move to evict the homeowner from their home, sell their home, or file for foreclosure during that period. At the end of the 60-day period, all foreclosure actions will recommence, so borrowers should still work with their loan servicer throughout this time.

Renters (source: Democratic staff of the Senate Banking Committee)

Renters who have trouble paying rent have protections under the CARES Act if they live in a property that participates in the federal housing programs below or has a federally backed loan. Owners of these properties cannot file evictions or charge fees for nonpayment of rent to renters for 120 days following enactment of the bill, and cannot issue a 30-day notice to leave the property to a renter until after the 120 day moratorium.

The following programs are covered:

Programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

  • Public Housing (42 U.S.C. § 1437d)
  • Section 8 Tenant Based Rental Assistance/Housing Choice Vouchers (42 U.S.C. § 1437f)
  • Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance (42 U.S.C. § 1437f)
  • Section 202 Housing for the Elderly (12 U.S.C. §1701q)
  • Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities (42 U.S.C. § 8013)
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (42 U.S.C. § 12901, et seq.)
  • HUD McKinney Vento Homelessness Programs (42 U.S.C. § 11360, et seq.)
  • HOME Investments Partnership Program (42 U.S.C. § 12741 et seq.)
  • Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate Loan Program (12 U.S.C. § 1715l(d))
  • Section 236 Program (12 U.S.C. § 1715z-1)

Programs administered by USDA/Rural Housing Service:

  • Section 514 and 516 farm labor housing (42 U.S.C. §§ 1484, 1486)
  • Section 515 direct loans for the development of rental housing (42 U.S.C. § 1485)
  • Section 533 housing preservation grants (42 U.S.C. § 1490m)
  • Section 538 guaranteed loans for the development of multifamily rental housing (42 U.S.C. § 1490p-2)
  • Section 542 Rural Housing Voucher Program (42 U.S.C. § 1490r)

Programs administered by the Department of Treasury:

  • the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (26 U.S.C. § 42)

More information on benefits for homeowners and renters is available here.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has created a website for homeowners and renters to stay up to date with the most accurate housing assistance information. 


Help for student loan borrowers

There are several provisions in the CARES Act to help college students through this difficult time.

  • Pell grants and financial aid recipients: The CARES Act acknowledges the circumstances of students who dropped out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic and does not require them to return unused Pell Grants or federal student loans. In addition, the CARES Act protects these students’ future Pell Grant or other financial aid program eligibility.
  • Federal work-study: Federal work-study payments to students who are unable to work will continue.
  • Student loan borrowers: Monthly student loan payments and interest for most federal student loan borrowers will be suspended through September 30, 2020. 

Help for Californians stuck abroad

If you or a loved one needs assistance returning to the United States from abroad, the State Department recommends taking the following actions:

  • Contact airlines directly to schedule return flights to the United States as soon as possible.

  • Contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or call the State Department assistance call center:
    • From the U.S. & Canada: 1-888-407-4747
    • From overseas: +1 202-501-4444

  • Enroll at STEP.state.gov to receive the latest updates from the embassy.

  • Visit travel.state.gov for the latest travel advisories and other guidance regarding COVID-19 for U.S. citizens abroad.

  • Follow the advice of the CDC and local health authorities.

  • Monitor the State Department's COVID-19 website.

If, after taking these steps, you still require assistance, please fill out our privacy release form online (including full name, date of birth, and passport number of person trying to return to the U.S.) and submit signed forms to casework@feinstein.senate.gov.

If your case is an emergency, please call my San Francisco office at 415-393-0707. 


Additional federal benefits assistance

If you have been unable to resolve your federal benefits problem directly with the agency involved, my office may be able to offer additional assistance. Contact my office by filling out our privacy release form online and submitting signed forms to casework@feinstein.senate.gov.

If your case is an emergency, please call my San Francisco office at 415-393-0707.


Feinstein office contact information

If you have any questions, concerns or difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak, I encourage you to contact my office for assistance.

United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Phone: (202) 224-3841
Fax: (202) 228-3954
TTY/TDD: (202) 224-2501

You may email my office here.

You can submit a casework request to my office here.

Senate International Toll-Free Number: 800-744-17441 (Please note this is an 11-digit number)


Paycheck Protection Program

(Source: Small Business Administration)

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.

SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020. The Paycheck Protection

Program will be available through June 30, 2020.

For affiliation rules applicable for the Paycheck Protection Program, click here.

Who Can Apply

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organizations or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible if their individual locations employ less than 500 workers.

Loan Details and Forgiveness

The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months. No collateral or personal guarantees are required. Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.

Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels.  Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.

This loan has a maturity of 2 years and an interest rate of 1 percent.

If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a copy of the PPP borrower application form to see the information that will be requested from you when you apply with a lender.

Lender Forms and Guidance

The Interim Final Rule announcing the Paycheck Protection Program information is being posted in advance of publication in the Federal Register.  The official version will appear in the Federal Register. Click here to download.

Click here to download the Paycheck Protection Program Lender Application Form. Lenders who need assistance accessing SBA's E-Tran system to process loan guarantee requests may call our Lender Customer Service Line at 1-833-572-0502.

Click here to view the Lender Agreement and enroll as a participating SBA Lender to make Paycheck Protection Program financing available to your customers.

Click here to view FAQs about the Paycheck Protection Program.


Employee Retention Credit

(Source: IRS)

The CARES Act is designed to encourage Eligible Employers to keep employees on their payroll, despite experiencing economic hardship related to COVID-19, with an employee retention tax credit.

The Families First Coronavirus Relief Act (FFCRA) requires certain employers to pay sick or family leave wages to employees who are unable to work or telework due to certain circumstances related to COVID-19. Employers are entitled to a refundable tax credit for the required leave paid, up to specified limits. [See FAQs]. The same wages cannot be counted for both credits.


Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance

(Source: Small Business Administration)

This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties.

Overview

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available following a successful application. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.

Eligibility

The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan provides vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by COVID-19.

Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.

The Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance funds will be made available within days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. 

To apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan and loan advance, click here.


SBA Express Bridge Loan

(Source: Small Business Administration)

Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.

Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.

Terms

  • Up to $25,000
  • Fast turnaround
  • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan


SBA Debt Relief

(Source: Small Business Administration)

The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overview

As part of SBA's debt relief efforts:

  • The SBA will automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of current 7(a), 504, and microloans for a period of six months.
  • The SBA will also automatically pay the principal, interest, and fees of new 7(a), 504, and microloans issued prior to September 27, 2020.

Additional Debt Relief

For current SBA Serviced Disaster (Home and Business) Loans: If your disaster loan was in “regular servicing” status on March 1, 2020, the SBA is providing automatic deferments through December 31, 2020.

What does an “automatic deferral” mean to borrowers?

  • Interest will continue to accrue on the loan.
  • 1201 monthly payment notices will continue to be mailed out which will reflect the loan is deferred and no payment is due.
  • The deferment will NOT cancel any established Preauthorized Debit (PAD) or recurring payments on your loan.  Borrowers that have established a PAD through Pay.Gov or an OnLine Bill Pay Service are responsible for canceling these recurring payments.  Borrowers that had SBA establish a PAD through Pay.gov will have to contact their SBA servicing office to cancel the PAD.
  • Borrowers preferring to continue making regular payments during the deferment period may continue remitting payments during the deferment period. SBA will apply those payments normally as if there was no deferment.
  • After this automatic deferment period, borrowers will be required to resume making regular principal and interest payments.  Borrowers that cancelled recurring payments will need to reestablish the recurring payment.

If you have questions about your current loan and whether or not your loan is automatically deferred, please contact your Loan Servicing Office directly using the following information:


Deferral of Employment Tax Deposits and Payments

Employers can defer the deposit and payment of the employer's share of social security taxes and self-employed individuals can defer payment of certain self-employment taxes through December 31, 2020.

  • Frequently asked questions about deferring tax deposits and payments can be viewed here.

Paid Leave for Government Contractors

(Source: Senate Small Business Committee, Minority)

The stimulus includes a provision that provides paid leave for employees working on small business contracts with the federal government. The measure allows agencies to modify the terms of a contract to reimburse small business contractors for the cost of providing paid leave, including sick leave, to employees or subcontractors unable to perform work on-site due to a facility closure and cannot telework.


Resources for Business Counseling Services

(Source: Senate Small Business Committee, Minority)

Many large companies are struggling to respond to the unprecedented economic disruption our nation is facing, so small businesses that have even fewer resources to dedicate to navigating the economic impacts of COVID-19 must have access to reliable counseling and mentorship services.

The stimulus provides $275 million in grants to the nation’s network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs), as well as the Minority Business Development Agency’s Business Centers (MBDCs), to provide mentorship, guidance and expertise to small businesses. The funding will allow SBDCs, WBCs, and MBDCs to hire staff and provide programming to help small businesses and minority-owned businesses respond to COVID-19.

The bill also provides funds for the associations that represent SBDCs and WBCs to create a joint platform that consolidates information and resources related to COVID-19 in order to provide consistent, timely information to small businesses.

The SCORE mentoring program and Veterans Business Outreach Center program are encouraged to use the platform and participate in the COVID-19 education sessions for their volunteer mentors and small business counselors.

Resources for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) grantees

The CARES Act inlcuded $5 billion for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Community Development Block Grant program for grantees undertaking work related to the coronavirus pandemic. More information on the CDBG program is availbe here. A quickguide on applying for CDBG funds is available here.


Feinstein press releases

Senator Feinstein has been closely following developments in the 2019 coronavirus outbreak and has repeatedly urged federal agencies to ensure we have the resources we need to contain this epidemic and protect Americans.