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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

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


Check the status of your Economic Impact Payment

If you’re eligible for a one-time coronavirus pandemic payment and haven’t received your check yet, you can track your payment with the new IRS Get My Payment tool. Payments are automatically deposited into your bank account if you filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return and received a refund via direct deposit.

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.

Find Food Options In Your Community

The Coronavirus NYC Neighborhood Food Resource Guides is collected by Hunger College NYC Food Policy Center and Beta NYC.

Comprehensive food information by neighborhood and zip code:

  • meals for students and seniors during this time
  • delivery services for people with disabilities
  • resources for immigrants

Search for food in your neighborhood 

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.

Mortgage Relief

  • Effective March 24, the Governor announced state-regulated financial institutions to waive mortgage payments for 90 days.

Learn more from NY State Department of Finance.

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

Free Affordable Housing Application Assistance

Ready to Rent, offered by the NYC Housing Preservation & Development, helps New Yorkers prepare to apply for affordable housing.

  • Free financial counseling
  • Free assistance with affordable housing applications
  • Get your credit checked
  • Calculate your income
  • Save for moving expenses

Create an account and book an appointment.

Rent Freeze Updates

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak Rent Freeze Programs application processing times may be impacted. You can expect a determination within a few weeks of applying.

  • Mailing addresses have been changed for SCRIE and DRIE applications from Maiden Lane to a post office box. See the application forms for the address change.
  • There were no mailing address updates to Homeowner Exemption applications. Homeowners can also apply online.
  • Review DOF’s frequently asked questions to learn more. 
  • Visit DOF’s website for service changes and self-service options: 


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 or Free Healthcare from the City

NYC Care is available to all New York City residents regardless of 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

Affordable Health Care from Community Health Centers

Community health centers provide medical care on a sliding-fee basis, regardless of immigration status. This is not an insurance plan.

  • Call your nearest health center or health department to discover their availability for COVID-19 screening, testing, and other health needs.
  • Health Centers can provide assistance by phone or using telehealth (video chat or online communication)
  • Get primary health care services at a reduced cost or free of charge depending on economic status
  • Anyone, regardless of immigration status, can access.

Find a location with or see a list of NYC locations.


All public school buildings will remain closed for the rest of the 2019-2020 school year. Remote learning and free meal pickup will continue. For more information, visit the DOE website.

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, key transit employees, grocery, restaurant, food, takeout and delivery workers, and residential and commercial building staff, 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.


Report Hate and Bias to NYC Government

New York City does not tolerate hate or discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, or other characteristics. If you have faced harassment or discrimination in housing, at work, or in any public place:

If you are a victim of, or witness a hate crime, call 911

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





Visit the “Grants and Funding Opportunities” tab on the NYC Comptroller’s page for more information.


Get Help From Your Neighbors

This page lists Mutual Aid Groups, voluntary community groups, in NYC and surrounding areas currently providing support. Groups listed here have not received any type of vetting and are not affiliated with government.

Phone hours:

  • Monday 1:30-8pm (English)
  • Tuesday 5:30-8pm (English, Mandarin)
  • Wednesday 1:30-8pm (English, Español)
  • Friday 1:30-5pm (English, Español)


More resources from the City of New York

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