The spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the United States – and the world – has brought with it much illness and uncertainty. But if that’s not bad enough, it has also continued to cause an avalanche of economic repercussions.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warning people to socially distance themselves and many industries temporarily shutting down, many workers, such as employees at sports stadiums and concert venues, are finding themselves in a very stressful situation.
Without the function of their job, they have no income. However, although difficult, the U.S. Department of Labor has stepped in with ways to help.
Thanks to the U.S. Department of Labor, states are now able to revise their laws in order to help those displaced from work (due to the virus) to obtain unemployment benefits during this time. In addition to those who cannot go to work because of health precautions, there are other situations, which may create eligibility:
- If you are temporarily quarantined
- If you need to care for a family member
- If you are completely removed from your job due to exposure risk
You can learn more about Arkansas’ specific requirements and fill out an application on the state’s website.
You can also learn more about Oklahoma’s specific requirements here.
Access to Food
If you are having difficulty being able to afford food and require immediate access there are options to help you. You can call the USDA National Hunger Hotline from 7 a.m. to 10.pm. Eastern time at 1-866-3-HUNGRY (1-866-348-6479) or 1-877-8-HAMBRE (1-877-842-6273). Information is available in English and Spanish.
You can apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by contacting the state’s SNAP office. You can locate more information on the SNAP program through the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
And, for Oklahoma residents, you can locate more information on the SNAP program here.
Free Coverage for Testing
In an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19, Congress is currently trying to pass a bill, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, to cover the cost of testing for the virus – whether or not the individual even has health insurance.
Those with insurance wouldn’t have to meet their deductible to receive such care, while those without insurance could be tested without paying a cent.
If you fall ill prior to Congress passing the Act, it is still essential that you seek medical attention. You can do so by contacting your local urgent care or walk-in clinic or by dialing 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency.
If You Can’t Make Your Bill Payments on Time
If you think that you will have difficulty paying your bills (e.g. credit card, car loan, mortgage, etc.) on time, it is important that you contact your bank as soon as possible to see which other options are available to you. Some banks are waiving fees, deferring loan payments, or even offering minimum payment assistance.
Wishing you and your loved ones safety and health during this difficult time.