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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates – ACCESS NYC



Understanding benefits for workers affected by COVID-19

You may be eligible for certain benefits. Refer to the chart below to understand which benefits you may be able to get in your situation.

Download a PDF of the COVID-19 benefits images. Spanish PDF.

Updates to Unemployment Insurance

  • The federal CARES act provides enhanced Unemployment Insurance benefits and Pandemic Assistance (PUA) for New Yorkers.
  • This includes payments to workers not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits.
  • Learn more from NY State Department of Labor.

Understanding Workers’ Rights

Paid Safe and Sick Leave Updates

NYC employees have the right to use safe and sick leave for the care and treatment of themselves or a family member and to seek legal and social services assistance or take other safety measures.

File a workplace complaint


Unemployment Insurance

Friday, April 10 update: there is a new online application system from the State Department of Labor (DOL)

If you started, but have not finished filing a claim:

  • DOL claim specialists will call you to complete your claim
  • Expect a call from any number/ blocked number, and be ready to answer calls on your phone

To start a new unemployment claim, use the new, improved system at

  • The system can handle most applications from start to finish, reducing the need to speak to a claims specialist on the phone.
  • When workers’ claims are approved they will receive benefits backdated to their first day of unemployment.

Call 1-888-209-8124 for extended telephone hours:

  • Monday through Friday, 8am to 7:30pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, 7:30am to 8pm

Learn about extended unemployment benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) from the NY State Department of Labor.

Stimulus payments (aka Economic Impact Payments)

  • These will begin being distributed in mid-April 2020, with no action required for most people.
  • Some seniors and others who typically do not file returns will need to submit a simple tax return to receive the stimulus payment.

U.S. citizens or immigrant residents who meet the following are eligible:

  • Have a valid Social Security number
  • Could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and
  • Had adjusted gross income under certain limits.

Learn more about Economic Impact Payments.

Job Seekers

Relief for Federal Student Loan Borrowers

  • Federal student loan borrowers are automatically being placed in administrative forbearance, which allows you to temporarily stop making monthly loan payments.
  • Suspension of payments will last until Sept. 30, 2020

Learn more from the Federal Student Aid Office.

NYC Financial Empowerment Centers

If you are experiencing sudden changes to your household budget or income due to COVID-19, financial counselors can help you:

  • Manage your money and set up a spending plan
  • Contact creditors about existing loans, including student loans
  • Draft letters to creditors to lower payments or temporarily suspend payments due to hardship
  • Develop a strategy to minimize debt
  • Access local, state, and federal emergency resources

Book an appointment for FREE one-on-one financial counseling with an NYC Financial Empowerment Center Counselor.


Food Assistance Resources

Options to get free food from the City include:

  • Grab & Go meals at NYC Schools for children and adults
  • SNAP (food stamps)
  • Emergency meal delivery

Learn how to get food at

Emergency Food Assistance

To find the nearest food pantries and community kitchens, call the Emergency Food Hotline at 866-888-8777.

SNAP (food stamps)

Apply for SNAP, Cash Assistance, and Medicaid renewal all at the same time through the Cash Assistance application on ACCESS HRA.

Learn more about SNAP on ACCESS NYC.

Shop online for fresh produce and groceries. Use your EBT card at these online stores in NYC. You can’t use SNAP benefits to pay delivery fees.

Learn more about online shopping with SNAP.

Check your food stamp (SNAP) balance on your phone.

Fresh EBT is an app from a tech company that makes it easy to check your food stamp (SNAP) balance on your phone.

Food stamps for women, infants, children (WIC) updates

WIC is not suspending any eWIC cards, although there are scams online stating this. You can check your WIC benefit balance by:

Senior residents and food

Food Markets

CityHarvest offers free food every other week across NYC. Find a location near you.


Domestic violence

Eviction Protection

  • Effective March 16, the Governor announced that all residential and commercial evictions are suspended for 90 days.
  • At this time, there is no rent suspension in effect.

Risk of homelessness and emergency rent assistance

Homebase offers:

  • Services to prevent eviction
  • Assistance obtaining public benefits
  • Emergency rental assistance
  • Education and job placement assistance
  • Financial counseling and money management
  • Help relocating
  • Short-term financial assistance

Learn more about Homebase and call 311 to find out how to get help.

Section 8

NYC Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Section 8 voucher holders having trouble paying rent because of income loss should email

Rent Arrears and Cash Assistance

If your work schedule was reduced and you are unable to pay your rent, apply for a Cash Assistance special grant request to get emergency benefits.

NYCHA Rent Hardship

Ready to Rent

Ready to Rent helps New Yorkers prepare to apply for affordable housing by providing free one-on-one financial counseling and assistance with affordable housing applications. Learn more about Ready to Rent.


Unemployment Benefits and Health Insurance

The Unemployment Benefits and Health Insurance FAQ provides guidance for those recently unemployed due to COVID-19. (PDF, March 19)

FAQ in other Languages: 繁體中文 | 简体中文 | Español | 한국어 | 日本語 | Русский | Kreyòl ayisyen | বাংলা | Italiano | Polski | ײִדיש | العربية | Français | اردو | فارسى | ελληνικά | עברית | हिन्दी | नेपाली | ਪੰਜਾਬੀ | Tagalog | Tiếng Việt

Low-cost health insurance from New York State

  • The Health Insurance Special Enrollment Period for uninsured New Yorkers has been extended to May 15th.
  • Certain programs like Medicaid, Essential Plan, and Child Health Plus are open for enrollment year-round and do not have a deadline.
  • Learn more and apply at, or call 855-355-5777.

Help Enrolling In Health Insurance

  • GetCoveredNYC helps New Yorkers enroll in health insurance with dedicated specialists who can assist you in your language.
  • Under the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), there are many low- or no-cost health insurance options.

Get connected to a GetCoveredNYC Specialist and receive free enrollment assistance

Low-cost health care from New York City for all residents

NYC Care provides low-cost or free healthcare for all New York City residents regardless of ability to pay and immigration status. This is not an insurance plan.

  • Primary care, specialty, and emergency services (including hospital stays) are all available for NYC Care members.
  • Call the 24-hour NYC Care service at 646-NYC-CARE (646-692-3373) to enroll and make an appointment.
  • For help in other languages, visit


All public schools in New York State remain closed until April 29. Learn more from the DOE.

Childcare While You Work

  • Submit a request to be matched with a safe, low-cost option for your family with
  • First responders, health care workers, and key transit employees can apply for Regional Enrichment Centers.

Devices for remote schooling

The NYC Department of Education is helping families that need remote learning devices.

After school and enrichment programs

  • All DYCD-funded programs based in NYC DOE schools, including Beacon, are closed.
  • DYCD-funded afterschool programs are conducting virtual check-in and/or remote learning, wherever possible.


Free, safe immigration related legal help

ActionNYC is a network of trusted and safe community organizations and schools.

  • Free legal screenings to find out if you qualify for any immigration benefit
  • Free legal help from an experienced attorney or accredited representative for a range of cases, including:

  • Green card applications and renewals
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS)

Call 1-800-354-0365 to make an appointment to get help:

Additional Resources for Immigrant Communities

Learn more about city services available regardless of immigration status from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

Online English lessons

  • We Speak NYC is offering free weekly online classes.
  • Learn about New York City services available regardless of immigration status
  • View the schedule
  • Sign up


Mental Health Support

Contact NYC Well, a confidential 24/7 helpline, staffed by trained counselors, providing counseling and referrals to care in over 200 languages.

Learn more about free mental health services from Thrive NYC

Services tailored to the needs of:

  • aging New Yorkers
  • Veterans
  • students and young people
  • people harmed by violence, crime or abuse




U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program

Businesses and nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees can receive money on a first-come, first-served basis.


More resources from the City of New York


Small Businesses and Nonprofits

The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses and nonprofits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Disaster Loan Program

Businesses and nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees can receive money on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more.

Paycheck Protection Program

The Paycheck Protection Program is an SBA loan that will be forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Learn More.


In addition to the SBS loans, there are nonprofit-specific resources. Visit the “Grants and Funding Opportunities” tab on the NYC Comptroller’s page for more information.

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