COVID-19 INFORMATION

The Oregon Health Authority provides answers for Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19.


SERVICES AND RELIEF LINE

To inquire about resources available in your area for food, housing, health, or any other relief you may need: call 2-1-1.


UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS

If you have had your hours reduced, have been laid off, or have otherwise not been working due to COVID-19-related reasons, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance is partial compensation, available for workers who have suffered a reduction of work through no fault of their own.

The State Employment Department provides a chart outlining where an employee may be eligible for COVID-19-related reasons.

Before filing your claim, the state suggests that you have the following information ready:

  • Your Social Security Number.
  • Your work history for the last 18 months, including dates of employment, your employers’ business names, addresses and phone numbers. (If you worked for a Federal (non-military) employer, you may find this information on an SF-8 or SF-50.)
  • Your salary and total income from each employer.
  • If you are not a citizen of the United States, your Alien Registration Number and documentation.
  • Phone number where you can be reached during normal business hours (8:00 AM – 5:00 PM Pacific Time).
  • If you are seeking direct deposit, have your bank account and routing number available.

Ask if you can be considered “TEMPORARILY UNEMPLOYED.” If you qualify, you likely won’t need to search for work. You may not be temporarily unemployed for more than 4 weeks.

If you have been laid off due to COVID-19, you may not need to search for work.

To apply, we recommend that you call on the phone and speak with a live agent to make sure your application is correct.

File your claim application. By phone, call 1-877-FILE4UI (1-877-345-3484). The claim office accepts calls 24/7. Or, visit the online claims site and click “File Your New Claim.” The state’s video guides are available here

After you file your claim application, you must submit weekly claims for benefits. File weekly at the online claims site or call 1-800-982-8920.

Be sure to check your mail regularly for communication from the state after filing.


BUDGETING/LEGAL ASSISTANCE

Plan realistically for basic needs and prioritize. Pay these bills first: rent or mortgage, utilities, food and transportation.

Before your bills become due, notify your creditors, lenders and/or landlord of your situation and ask for a written payment plan or other options. Use our “Sample Letter to Creditors” as a guide.

Maintain accurate files and keep them in one place.  Keep copies of letters you mail.  Take notes on any phone calls and follow up in writing. Write a summary of your financial plan.

Keep your end of the bargain.  If you are unable to make payments, contact your creditors immediately to renegotiate.

Avoid making unnecessary purchases on credit.

If you need help with a consumer problem contact the Oregon Consumer Protection hotline at 1-877-877-9392.


FEDERAL INCOME TAX

The IRS has extended the deadline for filing federal tax returns and payments until July 15, 2020.  The Oregon Department of Revenue has done the same.

If you are low-income or do not speak English well, you may qualify for the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program to assist you in filling out your forms. Check your eligibility online and visit GetYourRefund.org for virtual assistance.

Through MyFreeTaxes, if you have a simple return, you can get free assistance in English or Spanish filing your taxes.


MORTGAGE

Plan ahead. Discuss your status with your lender and ask for an alternative payment plan.  Reach out as soon as you know you will have difficulty. The sooner, the more options will be available.  No matter what, CALL TODAY.

Beware of scams. Scammers may ask you to pay a fee, sign papers immediately, transfer your deed, or make a mortgage payment to someone other than your mortgage company. Do not pay a fee for a service, such as counseling, that is available for free.

If you have been the victim of a scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call (877) FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) for assistance in English or Spanish.

FEDERAL

For a Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-backed mortgage: Making Home Affordable provides programs to assist unemployed homeowners: call (888) 995-HOPE, or (888) 995-(4673).

If you have a VA-insured mortgage and you are struggling to make your mortgage payments, call (877) 827-3702 to reach your nearest VA Regional Loan Center. The VA website provides more info about your options.

On March 18, the federal government announced 60-day foreclosure and eviction moratoriums for single family homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages and for homeowners with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans.

If your loan is Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac-backed, contact your mortgage company and ask about forbearance due to coronavirus-related hardship.

OREGON STATE

Oregon homeowner assistance resources

Call the state’s foreclosure prevention counseling Program Analyst at 503-986-2109 or visit https://www.oregonhomeownersupport.gov.

OTHER

The Financial Empowerment Network has a guide for homeowners who are having trouble paying their mortgages.


RENTER’S GUIDE

OREGON STATE

On March 22nd Governor Brown signed an executive order placing a moratorium on residential evictions in the state for 90 days.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY

Homeforward is a countywide program to aid families with short-term assistance in paying their rent or mortgage.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Community Action provides rental assistance for Washington County tenants who are past due on rent. Call 503-615-0770 at 9:00am.


UTILITY BILLS AND ENERGY ASSISTANCE

INTERNET

Comcast’s Internet Essentials Program offers $9.95/month service, with two free months, for people who are on SNAP, TANF, Medicaid, WIC or other public assistance. Apply online, or call 1-855-8-INTERNET with questions.

Call your cable company’s customer retention department.  Say you will cancel your account if you can’t negotiate a lower rate.

FEDERAL

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) may be able to assist with your energy bills.  Check if you qualify or call (800) 453-5511.

OREGON STATE

These Oregon utility companies will continue service if you cannot pay due to COVID-19, and many may waive late fees.

  • Cascade Natural Gas: set up a payment plan online or call customer service at 888-522-1130 between 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri.
  • Northwest Natural: Set up a payment plans and find out about payment assistance online or call 800-422-4012 between 7am-6pm, Mon-Fri.
  • Pacific Power: set up a payment plan online or call customer care at 1-888-221-7070.
  • Portland General Electric (PGE) will waive late fees. Call (503) 228-6322 or (800) 542-8818 to setup a payment plan.
  • Portland Water Bureau will waive late fees. View financial assistance options such as payment plans online or call customer service at 503-823-7770.

If you do not see your utility company listed, call their customer service line, explain your situation, and ask whether your service will be disconnected. Ask if you can work out a payment plan.

Contact the Oregon Public Utilities Commission at [email protected] or call 503-378-6600 with other questions.

CLACKAMAS COUNTY

Check if you are eligible for energy assistance from the county. Call 503-650-5640 or email [email protected].

Milwaukie has suspended disconnections of Water, Wastewater, and Stormwater services due to nonpayment.

Milwaukie’s Low Income Utility Assistance Program reduces charges for eligible customers. Check your eligibility and download an application form online or

MULTNOMAH COUNTY

Call Community Action at 503-615-0771 to leave a message if your heat or electricity have been cut off.


FOOD/WELFARE

FEDERAL

Food stamps, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, can be used to purchase food for your household. Check your eligibility and apply online.

Women, Infant and Children (WIC) benefits for groceries are available to eligible expectant mothers or mother with children under 5. Check your eligibility and fill out an interest form online; or call 971-673-0040 between 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) supports eligible low-income families. Check your eligibility and download an application form online.

OREGON STATE

Statewide Food Bank Network

Oregon Food Pantries

Statewide list of school meal sites

CLACKAMAS COUNTY

Milwaukie food pantry list.

School meals are available 9am-10:30am, Mon-Fri at Clackamas High, Milwaukie High, Rex Putnam High, and Alder Creek Middle School.

MULTNOMAH COUNTY

Oregon Food Bank, Portland Headquarters can connect you to food access programs.  Call 503-282-0555 between 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri.

Students Uniting Neighborhoods (SUN) provides a list of school meal and food distribution sites.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Oregon Food Bank, Washington County can connect you to food access programs.

Washington County school meal delivery maps and schedules

GROCERY DELIVERY

Chains offering onsite pickup or delivery: search by address or ZIP code.

Instacart and Shipt are apps that offer grocery delivery services. Check if they serve your address or ZIP code.


CHILDCARE

The Employment-Related Day Care program (ERDC) helps eligible low-income families pay for child care while they are working. See if you qualify and learn how to apply.


HEALTH CARE

UNITE HERE NORTHWEST HEALTH TRUST (LOCAL 8 PLAN)

Generally, your benefit coverage continues for an additional 2 months. For example, if you worked enough hours to qualify in February, your coverage should extend through April 30.

COVID-19 updates

  • The Trust will cover remote “Telehealth/Telemedicine” the same as for any other office visit.
  • The Trust will waive out-of-pocket costs relating to COVID-19 testing, and will suspend any prior authorization requirement.
  • The Trust will allow a one-time early refill on prescription drugs.
  • The Trust will extend time loss benefits to participants who do not otherwise qualify for unemployment insurance who are required to quarantine on a physician’s orders, self-quarantine due to exposure or who are immune-compromised and advised to self-quarantine. Contact the Administration Office to obtain the appropriate application for this benefit.

The Local 8 Plan offers prescription home delivery. See details in English or Spanish.

For questions about eligibility and benefits, call: Local (206) 753-1097 or Toll-Free (844) 411-0786.

UNITE HERE HEALTH (GOOGLE, LEWIS AND CLARK, SEATTLE UNIVERSITY)

Sign up for 60-day or 90-day prescription home delivery service – info in English and Spanish. Find answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the process, copays, and refills.

You will not have to pay for COVID-19 testing or treatment. If you have paid for testing or have any other health coverage questions, call member services at 833-637-3519.

FSP II: You will be covered for two months after you do not work enough to qualify for coverage. For example, if you did not work enough in March, you will keep your coverage through April 30.

FSP Legacy: You will be covered for three months after you do not work enough to qualify for coverage. For example, if you did not work enough in March, you will keep your coverage through May 31.

COMPANY PLAN/UNCOVERED

Continuation of Health Coverage (COBRA) may require your employer to temporarily extend your health coverage. You may be required to pay your employer’s contribution. Call 1-866-444-3272 for details about eligibility.

Medicaid: you may qualify for the low-income Oregon Health Plan. call (800) 699-9075. Apply online.

Medicare may be an option if you are 65 and receive Social Security benefits, or have received Social Security disability benefits. Apply online, or call 800-772-1213 or TTY 800-325-0778.

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides health screenings and referrals for eligible expectant mothers and mothers of children under 5. Check your eligibility and fill out an interest form online; or call 971-673-0040 between 8am-5pm, Mon-Fri.

If you do not qualify for health insurance, you may be able to receive care at a free or low-income community health clinic near you.

Citizen Alien Waived Emergency Medical (CAWEM) provides medical emergency coverage for those who do not qualify for other coverage due to their immigration status. Emergency testing and hospitalization for COVID-19 is covered. Proof of citizenship and alien status are not required.

OREGON STATE

Oregon Prescription Drug Program helps people save on prescription drugs. Anyone can enroll and there are no income limits. Apply online or call (800) 913-4284.


MENTAL HEALTH

Call the 24-hour, toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK, or (800) 273-8255.

Call the 24-hour, toll-free Disaster Distress Hotline at (800)-985-5990, or text “TalkWithUs” to 66746.

The Oregon Health Authority provides links and phone numbers for Community Mental Health Programs by county. For Multnomah County Mental Health and Addiction Services call (503) 988-5464.


ELDERLY WORKERS

Many UNITE HERE members are entitled to a pension upon retirement or permanent disability. For questions about eligibility and benefits, call (206) 753-1097 or Toll-Free (844) 411-0786

FEDERAL

You may be eligible for Social Security benefits if you are 62 or older. If you begin collecting before age 65, your benefits will be reduced. Social Security Income pays monthly benefits to people who are 65 or older, or have a disability and low income, including disabled and blind children. Apply online or call (800) 772-1213.


IMMIGRATION

See the Health Care section for information about emergency COVID-19 coverage for undocumented immigrants.

OREGON STATE

Public Benefits Hotline (Legal Aid/Oregon Law Center): call 1-800-520-5292 for legal advice about public benefits and public charge.

Call the ACLU of Oregon at (971) 412-ACLU to report immigration enforcement activity in your area.

Causa Oregon’s immigration legal assistance list by city.

NATIONAL

The National Immigration Law Center has created a summary of impact of provision of the COVID-19 Relief Bills on Immigrant Communities.

Immigrant Eligibility for Public Programs During COVID-19 (Protecting Immigrant Families): Eligibility and public charge information regarding health care, cash assistance, food assistance, and unemployment insurance.

If you do not qualify for health insurance, refer to the Health Care section of this guide to find a low-income or free community health clinic that serves uninsured individuals.

Some federal relief intentionally excludes undocumented immigrants. See the Mutual Aid and Relief Funds section of this guide for non-government funds prioritizing those excluded from federal relief.

Immigrant Advocates Network’s National Immigration Legal Services Directory – search by ZIP code.

American Immigrant Lawyers’ Association’s Immigration Lawyer Search – search by city or ZIP code.

Members may worry that accessing government help for COVID-19 testing and treatment could affect their immigration status. US Citizens and Immigration Services issued a statement regarding COVID-19 and the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule.


MUTUAL AID AND RELIEF FUNDS

NATIONAL

Bartender Emergency Assistance Program (national) – apply online.

Emergency Funds for Undocumented Families – Betancourt Macias Family Scholarship Foundation. Apply online.

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund – National Restaurant Association. Apply online.

OREGON STATE

PDX Mutual Aid Network Fundraiserrequest logistical or financial support with food or supply deliveries.

Portland Coronavirus Mutual Aid Fund – Symbiosis PDX, for loss of work and health costs. Create an account on Open Collective and submit an expense to request assistance.


GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

NATIONAL

National Domestic Violence HotlineChat online, textLOVEIS” to 22522, or call 1-800-799-7233 for 24/7 support.

National Sexual Assault Hotline: chat online or call 1-800-656-4673 for 24/7 support.

National Human Trafficking Hotline: chat online, call 1-888-373-7888 or call TTY: 711, or text 233733 for 24/7 support.

OREGON STATE

Clackamas, Multnomah, and Washington Counties: Sexual Assault Resource Center. Call their 24/7 Support Line at 1-888-640-5311.

Multnomah and Washington Counties: Call to Safety. Call their 24/7 Crisis line at 1-888-235-5333.

Clackamas County: Clackamas Women’s Services. Call their 24/7 Crisis Line at 888-654-2288.

Washington County: Domestic Violence Resource Center. Call their 24/7 Crisis Line at 503-469-8620 or toll free 1-866-469-8600.


TRANSPORTATION

Transit systems have reduced their services in line with social distancing measures. With rapid emergency changes in service, apps such as Google Maps may be out of date. Use your transit agency’s trip planning tools to make sure you plan your trip accurately.

TRIMET (CLACKAMAS, MULTNOMAH, AND WASHINGTON COUNTIES)


STUDENT LOANS

Federal student loans including Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), and Federal Perkins Loans have been placed in administrative forbearance (monthly payments suspended) effective March 13, through September 30 2020. Interest has been suspended during this period as well. Read the Department of Education’s answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Some private lenders are also offering relief to people impacted by coronavirus.