Resources for Individuals and Students Impacted by COVID-19
In recent weeks, multiple pieces of legislation have been passed by both the federal and state governments to expand eligibility to unemployment insurance, increase the dollar amount provided and reduce waiting times. A comprehensive list of questions and answers on unemployment insurance in relation to COVID-19 is available online. You can also learn about and apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits through the Arizona Department of Economic Security’s website.
*The Department of Economic Security’s unemployment insurance application system for those newly eligible for unemployment insurance (including those who are self-employed, are independent contractors, have had their hours reduced, or have worked for a short period of time) is now live! Submit your application to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program online.
Economic Impact Payments for Individuals
As part of the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, all U.S. residents with an adjusted gross income up to $75,000 ($150,000 married), who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible social security number, are eligible for a $1,200 ($2,400 married) rebate. In addition, they are eligible for an additional $500 per child. This is also true for those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from non-taxable means-tested benefit programs, such as SSI benefits.
For the vast majority of Americans, no action on their part will be required in order to receive a rebate check as IRS will use a taxpayer’s 2019 tax return if filed, or in the alternative their 2018 return. This includes many low-income individuals who file a tax return in order to take advantage of the refundable Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit.
If you did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return, please visit the IRS website to find out how you can receive your payment.
Forbearance Programs and Suspension of Foreclosures
The federal government and private lenders alike have announced relief programs for some homeowners in response to the impacts of COVID-19. The federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act prohibits foreclosures on all federally backed mortgage loans for a 60-day period beginning on March 18, 2020. It also provides up to 180 days of forbearance for borrowers of a federally backed mortgage loan who have experienced a financial hardship related to the COVID-19 emergency. Applicable mortgages include those purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Max, insured by HUD, VA or USDA, or directly made by the USDA. In addition to federal efforts, some banks and private lenders are also offering relief to mortgage-holders. If you are a homeowner and the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted your ability to make your mortgage payments, please call your lender to see what assistance programs might be available to you.
Suspension of Evictions
On March 24, 2020, Governor Ducey issued an executive order delaying the enforcement of eviction action orders for renters impacted by COVID-19. The order applies to renters who are quarantining due to COVID-19 or are facing economic hardship as a result of the outbreak. It will remain in effect for 120 days.
Additionally, the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act prohibits landlords from evicting residents for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020, if the landlord’s property is insured, guaranteed, supplemented, protected, or assisted in any way by HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the rural housing voucher program, or the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.
Utility and Internet Assistance
A cooperative agreement has been announced between Arizona’s largest electric utilities (including the Arizona Public Service), to ensure that no customer will have their power turned off due to inability to pay for the remainder of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A large number of internet service providers have committed to not terminating service for any residence or small business because of inability to pay due to COVID-19, as well as waiving late fees for those with COVID-19 economic circumstances.
Paid Sick Leave and Expanded Family and Medical Leave
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. More information is available from the US Department of Labor.
For unemployment benefits, rental assistance, utility assistance, move-in assistance, financial coaching, mortgage assistance and meals for seniors, please call the Coconino County Health and Human Services Community Service Program at 928-679-7453 or access the County’s employee resources page.
Job-seeker services are also offered by the Coconino County ARIZONA@WORK program.
- Individuals can find more information on applying for AHCCS health insurance, childcare assistance, resources for seniors, Women, Infants & Children (WIC) and finding a food back on the Arizona Together website.
- The Arizona Commerce Authority is offering a Return Stronger Upskilling website to provide workers who are no longer employed due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a central place to learn about and leverage the many no-cost training opportunities available.
Northern Arizona University offers the Lumberjack Emergency Assistance Fund Application (LEAF), to which students experiencing financial hardships can apply for a one-time grant of up to $250.
NAU Student Affairs also offers a variety of resources for students to stay engaged and access health, academic success and career development tools remotely.