SLSD Health Services
Topic: Community Resources Available during COVID-19
Many families are facing very difficult times during this pandemic. The fear of lost jobs, homes or even falling behind on debt payments is a real concern for many. However, there are organizations who are willing to help and are available to those in need. Below is a compilation of some of the resources available to help with assistance or just to help you remain informed with the most recent information being released regarding COVID-19.
Mortgage or Rent
- If you are unable to pay your mortgage payment or rent, contact your lender or landlord immediately. Do not wait until you are behind on payments.
- Some lenders may work out an agreement with you to waive late fees, set up a repayment plan or offer loan forbearance.
If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of COVID-19, you may be eligible for Unemployment Compensation (UC) or Workers’ Compensation (WC) benefits.
The following changes to UC have been made to help Pennsylvanians during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- The Waiting Week is suspended. Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during their first week of unemployment (the “waiting week”). This has been suspended; eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed.
- Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants. Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits. Claimants are also not required to register with PA CareerLink.
- If you have seen a reduction in pay due to COVID-19 and are struggling to make your credit card or loan payments, contact your lender right away.
- Regulatory agencies have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers impacted by the coronavirus.
- For guidance visit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or contact a credit counselor.
On March 6, 2020, Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chairman signed an emergency order prohibiting terminations by utilities that are under the PUC’s jurisdiction, including:
- Natural Gas
This memorandum is in place for as long as Governor Tom Wolf’s Proclamation of Disaster is in effect.
If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your service provider for possible emergency assistance programs.
Personal Income Tax Return Filing
- The PA Department of Revenue announced the deadline for taxpayers to file their 2019 Pennsylvania personal income tax returns is extended to July 15, 2020. This means taxpayers will have an additional 90 days to file from the original deadline of April 15.
- The Internal Revenue Service also extended the federal filing deadline to July 15, 2020.
Wolf Administration Directs Families to Emergency Food Assistance During COVID-19 Mitigation (03/17/2020)
Harrisburg, PA - Today, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding issued guidance for accessing emergency food assistance for Pennsylvanians at risk of hunger due to measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“During this time of major precautions to reduce risks of spreading COVID-19, those out of work, those who rely on college meal plans, school meals to feed their children, and those who are isolated may not know where to turn for food,” Secretary Redding said. “No Pennsylvanian should go hungry, even in these extraordinary times.”
Redding offered these specific instructions for those seeking emergency food assistance.
Who is eligible to get food from a food bank or food pantry?
If you are out of work without pay, you are eligible to receive food sourced from the state and federal government from a food bank or food pantry in Pennsylvania. This includes service workers who are unable to get shifts or hourly wage employees of non-essential businesses that have voluntarily closed due to COVID-19 mitigation. You will be asked to verbally complete a Self-Declaration of Need form, as signatures have been temporarily waived due to COVID-19. (Forms are also available in Spanish and Russian.) You will be asked to provide your household size and weekly income level as of the day you apply. Complete income guidelines can be found at agriculture.pa.gov.
Will food banks be open?
Food banks are open and delivering food to many agencies, including pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens. Please call or visit the website of your regional food bank to be directed to agencies in your community. Many food banks are also doing special drive-through distributions. Please call for more information.
Where can I find a food bank or food pantry near me?
Contact the following Feeding Pennsylvania and Hunger-Free Pennsylvania member food banks to find out about food assistance services being offered in your county.
Bucks County Opportunity Council Inc. (serving Bucks County)
Philabundance (serving Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties)
Second Harvest Food Bank of the Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania (serving Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike and Wayne counties)
How do I get food from a food bank if I can’t leave my house because I am under isolation or quarantine?
If you or a family member is under isolation or quarantine, contact your local food bank to see if they have options to deliver food. If you are concerned about potential exposure, there are steps you and food banks can take to limit risk. The PA Department of Agriculture sent guidance to all food banks encouraging them to follow best practices to limit risk of exposure.
What do I do if my local food pantry is closed?
You can go to another food pantry in your area, using the links above. We recommend checking with your local food bank to ensure other local food pantries are open.
To read the entire press release and to find food banks serving other counties please click here.
- 211.org is a comprehensive source of social services located near your location. They can assist with things such as housing, untility assistance, food and nutrition programs, employment and education, health care, vaccination and epidemic information among many other services. You can access their services by simply calling 211 or accessing the website at 211.org.
- PennDot has information concerning driver's licenses, car inspections etc that are scheduled to expire before April 30 along with various other topics.
Information Resources regarding COVID-19:
If you are in need, please reach out to the resources listed above. During times like these remember: helping each other is the only way we can stand together and remain strong. Stay Well!