BENEFITS FOR INDIVIDUALS AND BUSINESSES
This information includes benefits related to recent legislation in response to the COVID-19 crisis as well as local resources. It will be updated as needed.
More laid-off and furloughed workers (including those new to the job market) will be eligible for Unemployment Insurance and will see an additional $600 per week to match the average paycheck for up to 4 months of benefits. These benefits will be available immediately.
The State of Ohio has loosened unemployment rules to allow more people to apply for benefits and get help faster, waiving requirements such as actively seeking work and waiting one week to start receiving benefits.
Check Ohio’s Coronavirus and Unemployment Insurance Benefits or call or (877) 644-6562 for more information and to apply.
Cleveland.com is regularly updating this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) about unemployment.
EMERGENCY PAID LEAVE
Below is information on eligibility for emergency paid sick leave and paid family leave for workers who have no paid leave and lose their jobs during this crisis.
Committee on Education and Labor Fact Sheet: Who is Eligible for Leave
DIRECT PAYMENTS TO INDIVIDUALS & THEIR FAMILIES
Individuals making up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married workers) will receive payments of $1,200 with an additional $500 payment per minor child. The payments decrease ratably and stop altogether for single workers making more than $99,000 ($198,000 for married workers and $218,000 for a family of four.)
These payments will be issued by the IRS via direct deposit and will be based on 2019 or 2018 tax return or 2019 Social Security statement.
If someone has not filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and does not receive Social Security benefits, the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) recommends filing a 2018 return to receive payment. If the IRS does not have the taxpayer’s bank account information, the taxpayer should look for a letter from the IRS detailing how to receive their payment.
If you receive Social Security, retirement, or other social safety net benefits, you may still qualify for direct payments. These payments will not be taxable nor represent “resources” for program eligibility purposes. Click here for more information from the IRS.
FOOD ASSISTANCE AND FOOD BANKS
Cuyahoga County has suspended work activity requirements for people who receive food stamps and federal cash assistance.
Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) recipients can now shop online in Ohio. Using the “click and collect” option, those receiving benefits can shop online, pick up groceries and pay for food with their EBT card from their cars. SNAP recipients can also order online and pay in store. Contact the Ohio Office of Family Assistance to apply.
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) provides access to low-income pregnant women or mothers. To see if you are eligible for WIC benefits click here.
Rocky River Schools will continue to provide school lunches, though you must order ahead.
Congress has now secured $850 million in emergency funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help food banks face greater need due to the coronavirus. Contact the Greater Cleveland Food Bank or the Rocky River Assistance Program for aid.
To find food aid near you, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1- 877-8-HAMBRE.
To find a map of area Hunger Centers, go to the Hunger Network and enter your location.
All Ohio childcare and preschool settings have been closed, except for special Pandemic Childcare sites who are only able to serve the children of healthcare, safety, and essential service workers.
HOMEOWNER & RENTERS PROTECTIONS
Mortgage Forbearance: Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages (for members of federally-recognized tribes) and those with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac have the right to request forbearance on their payments for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months without fees, penalties, or extra interest. Homeowners should contact their mortgage servicing company directly.
Eviction Protections: Renters living in public or assisted housing, or in a home or apartment whose owner has a federally backed mortgage, and who are unable to pay their rent, are protected from eviction for 4 months. Property owners are also prohibited from issuing a 30-day notice to a tenant to vacate a property until after the 4-month moratorium ends. This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and federally issued or guaranteed mortgages. Renters whose landlord is not abiding by the moratorium should contact the relevant federal agency that administers their housing program or the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland at 818-888-3777.
In Cuyahoga County, all local courts have put a moratorium on evictions, but each court’s order is unique. Rocky River Municipal Court will reschedule all hearings.
Legislation includes $900 million to in energy assistance. Apply here for the Ohio Home Energy Assistance Program.
Cleveland Public Power (CPP), Cleveland Water, First Energy and Dominion Energy have temporarily stopped disconnection of residential services for non-payment. If you have recently been disconnected for non-payment, call Cleveland Water at 216-664-3130, CPP at 216-664-4600, First Energy at 1-888-544-4877 and Dominion at 1-800-362-7557.
STUDENTS & EDUCATORS
If you have student loan debt, Congress secured several options outlined below for borrowers that help provide relief through September 30, 2020. During this period, a borrower will be able to:
Pause payments for federal student loan borrowers who have Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), which means these borrowers will not be required to make any payments toward outstanding interest or principal balance.
Suspend interest accrual for such loans so that these balances do not accrue. • Avoid forced collections such as garnishment of wages, tax refunds, & Social Security benefits.
Halt negative credit reporting.
Ensure a borrower continues to receive credit toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Driven Repayment forgiveness, and loan rehabilitation.
For more guidance on how to apply and learn about next steps as this critical relief becomes available, please refer to the U.S. Department of Education website.
Congress secured $350 billion in forgivable loans and $10 billion in grants to small businesses, tribal business concerns, and certain nonprofits.
Businesses (including, sole-proprietors, independent contractors, and other self-employed individuals) with under 500 employees can apply for relief with the Paycheck Protection Program Loan through a Small Business Administration lender.
Small businesses can apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA (Small Business Administration).
Small businesses can apply for the Employee Retention Credit through the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) to retain workers.
This Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act is also useful.
EMERGENCY LOANS AND OTHER LOCAL AND NATIONAL BUSINESS RELIEF
Emergency, interest-free loans up to $1,500 may be available from HFLA of Northeast Ohio for anyone affected by COVID-19. Apply at interestfree.org call (216) 378-9042.
If you are a bartender or work in the beverage industry, see this specific grant program.
Ohio Liquor Buy-Back. For questions or more information about the one-time high proof liquor buy back, please feel free to contact the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) at 877-812-0013 or email .
Honeycomb Credit is offering loans up to $50,000 for business in operation for at least 3 years, up to $25,000 for business in operation for at least one year
Rally for Restaurants is a third-party platform where restaurants can list gift cards for sale online.
Verizon is working with the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) to provide grants to small businesses. Applications are not yet available, but you can sign up for their e-mail updates and learn more about the fund.