COVID-19 INFORMATION

Call Washington State Department of Health with questions: (800) 525-0127 6am-10pm any day, or visit the Department’s COVID-19 website.


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 in Washington for workers who have suffered a reduction of work through no fault of their own.

If you are healthy and have been quarantined due to potential exposure, or caring for a sick family member, you may be eligible for unemployment. The state has a checklist designating when you can use Paid Sick and Safe Time, unemployment insurance, Paid Family and Medical Leave, and Industrial (L&I) Insurance. As the situation develops, check Employment Security’s latest COVID-19 updates.

  • You must have worked at least 680 hours in the past year.
  • Until further notice, all Washington claimants are not required to search for work.
  • If a worker is seriously ill worker and forced to quit, they may be eligible once they recover and are able and available for work.
  • Claimants in isolation or quarantine may have more leniency with to UI deadlines and mandatory appointments, such as applying for training programs.

Have ready all of the information in this list. The question about whether you normally get work through a union applies in situations such as trade unions giving work assignments to their members. Even though Unite Here Local 8 represents you at work, you do not get work through this union.

To file, call (800)-318-6022 between 8:00am-4:00pm Mon-Fri, or apply online.


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 legal representation to assist with a landlord, merchant, neighbor or family member, contact the Northwest Justice Project: (206) 464-1519.

If you need help with a consumer problem contact the WA Consumer Protection Division at (800) 551-4636.


FEDERAL INCOME TAX

The IRS has extended the deadline for filing federal tax returns and payments until July 15, 2020.  There is no individual income tax in Washington.

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.

WASHINGTON STATE

Washington homeowner assistance resources

For a homeownership and foreclosure counselor, call the Washington Homeownership Information hotline: (877) 894-HOME, or (877) 894-4663 or visit https://dfi.wa.gov/homeownership/home.

OTHER

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


RENTER’S GUIDE

WASHINGTON STATE

The state has placed a moratorium on residential evictions until June 4th. You will still accrue rent and must pay after the moratorium ends.

Discuss your circumstances with your landlord immediately and negotiate a written payment plan or discuss other options.

Before pursuing action for nonpayment of rent, your landlord must give you fourteen days to comply. YOU MUST RESPOND IMMEDIATELY IF YOU WANT TO STAY IN YOUR HOME.

Washington Law Help has additional information and resources if your landlord is trying to evict you.

CLARK COUNTY

Vancouver Housing Authority rental assistance resources

KING COUNTY

On March 16, a Seattle moratorium took effect prohibiting residential evictions and late fees on rent for 60 days. You will still accrue rent and must pay after the moratorium ends.

Seattle City Council has passed a bill where tenant can use non-payment of rent for any reason as a defense to eviction if a landlord takes a tenant to eviction court, as long as the tenant submits a declaration of financial hardship, for six months after the eviction moratorium ends. The current Seattle eviction moratorium is in effect until June 4th.

The Rental Housing Association of WA lists rental assistance programs for Seattle/King County.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

See this list of program and agencies offering rent assistance in Everett and Snohomish County.

PIERCE COUNTY

The County provides a list of groups offering rent assistance.

SPOKANE COUNTY

Spokane Cares list of housing and rental assistance resources


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.

  • Seattle: call the CHAP line at 800-756-5437
  • King County (North and East): call Hopelink at 425-658-2592
  • King County (South): call Multi-Service Center at 253-517-2263
  • Pierce County: call Human Services at 253-798-4328
  • Snohomish County: call Human Services at 425-388-3880
  • Other (WA): select your location on the map for contact info.

WASHINGTON STATE

Puget Sound Energy will not disconnect service for nonpayment, and may waive late fees. See if you’re eligible to receive bill assistance, make smaller payments, or even out your payments throughout the year.

CLARK COUNTY

Contact Vancouver Public Works Customer Service at [email protected] or call 360-487-7999 to ask about payment arrangements and low-income assistance.

Clark Public Utilities will keep water and power services on. Call Customer Service 24/7 at 360-992-3000 to arrange a payment plan.

KING COUNTY

Seattle Public Utilities and Seattle City Light will keep utility services on during the COVID-19 emergency. To set up payment plans, call (206) 684-3000 or send an email.

As soon as you know that you may have difficulty, call to arrange a payment plan. Do NOT wait until you receive a shut-off notice.

Seattle offers a Fast Track Application for its Utility Discount Program (UDP), which offers a 50-60% discount.

The City Of Auburn offers utility discounts for low-income seniors and disabled individuals.

Highline Water District (Burien) will keep services running if you cannot pay. Call 206-824-0375 between 7:30am-4pm to set up a payment plan.

Lakehaven Water and Sewer District (South King County) will keep services running if you cannot pay. Contact Customer Service at 253-941-1516 between 9am-3pm, Mon-Fri, or email [email protected] to inquire about a one-time $50 credit towards your bill and set up a payment plan.

The City of Renton will waive late fees for 90 days beginning March 23, and will keep water services running if you cannot pay. Call 425-430-6852 to set up a payment plan.

PIERCE COUNTY

Snohomish County Public Utility District (PUD) will keep services running if you cannot pay, and will waive late fees. Call 425-783-1000 between 8am-5:30pm, Mon-Fri, to arrange a payment plan and inquire about a $200 bill credit from PUD’s COVID Community Support Plan. Also inquire about income-based assistance if you qualify.

Call Everett Public Works at 425-257-8800 to ask whether you can have your late fees suspended and set up a payment plan.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

Snohomish County Public Utility District will keep services running if you cannot pay, and will waive late fees. Call 425-783-1000 to arrange a payment plan. Check online to see if you are eligible for income-based assistance.

SPOKANE COUNTY

Avista will keep electric and gas services running if you cannot pay. Call (800) 227-9187 to ask about payment arrangements and energy assistance.

The City of Spokane will keep water services running if you cannot pay, and will waive late fees. Call 311 to set up a payment plan. For one-time emergency assistance, call the Salvation Army at 509-325-6821.

Environmental Services has suspended late fees through May for sewer and solid waste services. Contact Sewer Billing at 509-477-3604 between 8:30am-5pm, Mon-Fri to ask about setting up a payment


FOOD/WELFARE

FEDERAL

Food stamps, also known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, can be used to purchase food for your household. Apply online or call (877) 501-2233.

Women, Infant and Children (WIC) benefits for groceries are available to eligible expectant mothers or mother with children under 5. Send an email online or call the Help Me Grow WA Hotline at 1-800-322-2588.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) supports eligible low-income families. Apply online or call Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) at 1-877-501-2233, Mon-Fri between 8:00am-5:00pm.

WASHINGTON STATE

Northwest Harvest’s statewide list of meal programs and food banks allows you to search by county, city, or ZIP code.

United Way’s list of school meal sites provides addresses and schedules for meals in King County, Pierce County, and Snohomish County.

Meals on Wheels delivers meals to seniors.

  • King County: apply online.
  • Pierce County: see application instructions online
  • Snohomish County: call the Senior Services of Snohomish County Nutrition Program at 425-347-1229 or toll-free at 800-824-2183.
  • Spokane: Call the office at 509-456-6597
  • Vancouver: No delivery. Find your nearest meal site location on the website to pick up a meal.

CLARK COUNTY

Search on the map for a school meal distribution site near you. Most sites are serving between 9am-12pm Mon-Fri.

Food pantry list: call a location ahead to make sure they are open.

KING COUNTY

Seattle plans to provide $800 in grocery vouchers to 6,250 eligible families. The City has provided answers to Frequently Asked Questions about this program.

PIERCE COUNTY

The county’s food bank list includes several food banks that offer home delivery.

SPOKANE

List of school meal sites serving 11am-1pm Mon-Fri, available for students even if they don’t attend Spokane Public Schools.

Second Harvest list of emergency food outlets. Find an outlet that serves their area and call to confirm that they are still open under the emergency.

Rosauer’s online shopping: find locations offering pickup or delivery.

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

View Washington’s database of licensed childcare providers online or call 1-800-446-1114.


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

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 Apple Health plan: call (855) 923-4633 from 7:30am-5:30pm Mon-Fri. Enrollment is year-round.

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. Send an email online  or call the Help Me Grow WA Hotline at 1-800-322-2588

WASHINGTON STATE

Washington Prescription Drug Program helps people save on prescription drugs. Apply online or call (800) 913-4146.

Washington health insurers are required to waive deductibles, coinsurance, and copays for COVID-19 testing. Insurers must also allow a one-time early refill of prescription drugs and suspend any prior authorization requirement for treatment or testing of COVID-19.

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.

Alien Emergency Medical provides medical emergency coverage for those who do not qualify for other coverage due to their immigration status, including undocumented individuals. Apply online. Emergency testing and treatment for COVID-19 are covered.


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.

WASHINGTON STATE

Call the Washington Recovery Helpline at 1-800-789-1511 or TTY 206-461-3219 if you are experiencing substance use disorder, problem gambling, and/or a mental health challenge.

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.

WASHINGTON STATE

WA Immigrant Solidary Network: call the hotline at 1-844-724-3737 to notify community rapid responders about immigration enforcement activity in your area.

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) provides videos in English and Spanish about Public Charge.

Call NWIRP if you need help with an immigration issue. Leave a message your name, phone number, and a brief description of your issue. Find the office for your county:

  • Clallam, Clark, Cowlitz, Grays Harbor, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Skamania, Snohomish, Thurston, Wahkiakum & Whatcom counties: 206-587-4009 or Toll Free 800-445-5771
  • Asotin, Benton, Columbia, Franklin, Garfield, Kittitas, Klickitat, Walla Walla Whitman & Yakima counties: 509-854-2100 or Toll-Free 888-756-3641
  • Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Ferry, Grant, Lincoln, Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Spokane & Stevens counties: 509-570-0054 or Toll-Free 866-271-2084

The City of Seattle has provided answers to Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 and Public Charge.

NATIONAL

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

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.

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.


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.

WASHINGTON STATE

COVID-19 Survival Fund for the People (Puget Sound region) – request logistical or financial support with food or supply deliveries.

COVID-19 Relief Fund for WA Undocumented Folks – Apply for funds online.

KING COUNTY

South King County and Eastside mutual aid request form – grocery and supply delivery

The Plate Fund – apply online if you live in King County and worked in a restaurant or food service up until March. Government ID and Social Security number not required.

Trans and Gender Diverse Emergency Community Aid Fund – Ingersoll Gender Center and UTOPIA (Seattle area). Receiving requests starting April 8.

PIERCE COUNTY

Tacoma Mutual Aid Collective – coronavirus food and supply delivery signup for sick, quarantined, elderly, or immunocompromised individuals.

SNOHOMISH COUNTY

COVID-19 Mutual Aid – Snohomish County – contact [email protected]

Southwest Washington COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group – join the Facebook group to request or offer goods or services.


GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

NATIONAL

National Domestic Violence Hotline – Chat 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.

WASHINGTON STATE

Everett: Providence Intervention Center for Assault and Abuse. Call their 24/7 Crisis Line at 425-252-4800.

King County: Sexual Assault Resource Center. Call their 24/7 Resource Line at 888-998-6423.

Spokane: Sexual Assault and Family Trauma Response Center. Check their website for resources or call 509-624-7273 for 24/7 support.

Tacoma: Sexual Assault Center. Call their 24/7 hotline at 1-800-756-7273.

Vancouver: YWCA Clark County Crisis Line. Call their 24/7 Crisis Line at (800) 695-0167.


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.

WASHINGTON STATE

COMMUNITY TRANSIT (SNOHOMISH COUNTY)

C-TRAN (CLARK COUNTY)

KING COUNTY METRO

PIERCE TRANSIT

SOUND TRANSIT

SPOKANE TRANSIT AUTHORITY


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.