I’m working diligently with federal, state, and local representatives to ensure that you and your family stay healthy and financially secure as we continue to work through the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. I will be sure to regularly update each of these COVID-19 information sections below with federal and Massachusetts-specific resources so you can stay informed and easily get the help you may need.
Reaching out to my office:
While my staff is working remotely to help slow the spread of COVID-19, we remain ready to assist you. Our office is available and eager to assist with constituent casework and inquiries during normal business hours. If you have an urgent constituent services request, please leave a voicemail including your name and phone number at (617) 354 - 0292 and a member of our staff will respond to you as soon as possible. For all other inquiries, please contact me by filling out our contact form here.
If you are feeling sick and need immediate medical care, please contact your local health care provider and follow these precautions outlined by the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Preventative Measures You Should Take
Please follow these preventative measures as recommended by the CDC:
- The CDC recommends using cloth face coverings while outside to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Click here for more information about the CDC’s guidance on cloth face coverings.
- Frequently wash your hands with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.
- Stay home.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using household cleaning sprays or a wipe.
- Avoid touching frequently-used public objects with your hands like elevator buttons, doorknobs, and public transportation handles.
- Get a flu shot, not because it will prevent the spread of COVID-19, but so that you stay healthy and out of the hospital.
Please visit the CDC's page for additional information about how to avoid exposure to the virus.
Who To Call if You Need Help
COVID-19 Hotline 2-1-1
Massachusetts Department of Public Health 24-hour Emergency Hotline: (617) 983-6800
If you are having trouble affording food:
FoodSource Hotline: 1 (800) 645-8333
Monday – Friday
8:00 PM – 7:00 PM
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Massachusetts Health and Safety Updates
On March 10, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency to give the Commonwealth more flexibility to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. Since then, Governor Baker has instituted a stay-at-home advisory and several other social distancing rules for the Commonwealth that include closing all non-essential businesses, banning gatherings of more than 10 people, and banning onsite consumption at restaurants and bars. These steps are set to remain in place through May 18, 2020. Please click here to read more about the declaration and all associated orders.
Please visit the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Coronavirus Updates webpage to stay up to date on the latest public health guidance information for Massachusetts residents.
Massachusetts disaster distress helpline: 1-800-985-5990
Massachusetts Vaccine Updates & Where to Get a Free COVID-19 Test
The Massachusetts “Stop the Spread” initiative allows for residents to receive a free COVID-19 test at several locations across the Commonwealth. For more information about locations, facility hours of operation, and to make an appointment, visit their website by clicking here.
Unemployment, Housing, and Utilities Information
Unemployment - If you have become unemployed during the pandemic, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance. Visit www.mass.gov/how-to/apply-for-unemployment-benefits to learn more about eligibility and how to apply.
If you are newly eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you can apply at www.mass.gov/pua. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a program open to the following individuals:
- Self-employed individuals, including gig workers, freelancers, and independent contractors
- Those seeking part-time employment
- Claimants that have an insufficient work history to qualify for benefits
- And claimants that have been laid off from churches and religious institutions and are not eligible for benefits under state law
Housing & Utilities - Some local authorities have updated guidance that support residents in paying their bills during the pandemic:
- The US Department of Housing and Urban Development will suspend certain foreclosures and evictions during the pandemic.
- The Massachusetts Division of Banks has issued new guidance to Massachusetts financial institutions and lenders, outlining the steps the state expects them to take in order to provide relief to borrowers. Those steps include postponing foreclosures for 60 days and refraining from reporting late payments to credit rating agencies for at least 60 days.
- The MA Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has suspended the disconnection of utility services for nonpayment during this state of emergency.
National Rental Assistance Program Resources Guide: https://www.rentassistance.us/
Eviction Prevention Hotline: 857-415-2900
Housing Court Information: Greater Boston Legal Services, provides free civil (non-criminal) legal assistance to low income individuals and families in and around Boston https://www.gbls.org/covid-19-information
The Massachusetts Division of Rental Assistance has issued guidance to administering agencies on rent recertification, a right for any tenant using the following rental vouchers: MRVP, AHVP, and federal vouchers within DHCD’s portfolio. If you have experienced a loss of income, and utilize one of these vouchers, you can apply at any time to have your rent contribution re-calculated by your administering agency.
The COVID-19 Rental Assistance for Families in Transition, or RAFT will assist households of all sizes with financial assistance up to $4,000 per household to help preserve current housing or move to new housing. Explore the following:
- Community Teamwork Inc.: www.commteam.org
- Way Finders: www.wayfindersma.org
- Metro Housing Boston: www.metrohousingboston.org
- RCAP Solutions: www.rcapsolutions.org
- NeighborWorks Housing Solutions: www.nhsmass.org
The United Way has launched a family support fund to aid hourly and low-wage workers who may need financial help with rent, food, or childcare. For more information, visit https://unitedwaymassbay.org/get-involved/covid-19-family-fund/For additional support with Rent and Utilities, see pages 27-28 of District Attorney Rachel Rollins’ resources packet.
Information for Parents, Students, and Children
All Massachusetts public and private school closures have been extended for the remainder of the school year.
- Massachusetts has received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide free school meals to students after their school has been closed due to COVID-19. Please click here for more information.
- If you are in need of food assistance for your children as they remain at home from school, please click here for an updated map of all meal sites currently serving students and families in Massachusetts. Be sure to share this information with your neighbors to ensure that everyone has access to the meals they need.
- You can also click here for an interactive state map provided by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency that lists the locations of several resources available to the public at this time. Be sure to share this information with your neighbors to ensure that everyone has access to the meals they need.
- You can also click here if you would like to learn more about signing up for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and click here for more information about the Women, Infants, & Children Nutrition Program (WIC).
- The Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) has launched a new online application portal to assist residents in applying for Transitional aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled, and Children (EAEDC). Click here to access this application portal.
- Massachusetts is establishing a process to approve child care programs that will serve vulnerable children and the children of families who are essential to the health, safety, and welfare of our communities. Click here for more information and how to apply for assistance.
- For Student Loan Borrowers: Congress recently passed the CARES Act, which cancels payments for all student loan borrowers with federally-held loans through September 30, 2020. These borrowers will not be required to make any payments and they will not suffer financially from accrued interest over this period.
- Please click here for more information and regular updates from the Department of Education about student aid, as well as for answers to frequently asked questions about student loan relief in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution have also made a wide range of educational material available on their websites for students of all ages. You can find descriptions and links to Smithsonian Institution resources here, and Library of Congress resources here.
Help to Pay for Funeral Costs for Deaths Related to COVID-19
In early April, FEMA will begin providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic. The policy was finalized today, and FEMA is now moving rapidly to implement this funeral assistance program nationwide.
To be eligible for COVID-19 funeral assistance, the policy states:
- The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020 for a death attributed to COVID-19.
- If multiple individuals contributed toward funeral expenses, they should apply under a single application as applicant and co-applicant. FEMA will also consider documentation from other individuals not listed as the applicant and co-applicant who may have incurred funeral expenses as part of the registration for the deceased individual.
- An applicant may apply for multiple deceased individuals.
- The COVID-19-related death must have occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia.
- This assistance is limited to a maximum financial amount of $9,000 per funeral and a maximum of $35,500 per application.
- Funeral assistance is intended to assist with expenses for funeral services and interment or cremation.
In the coming weeks, a dedicated 800 number will be established to help individuals who apply. In the meantime, potential applicants are encouraged to start gathering the following documentation:
- An official death certificate that attributes the death to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the U. S. The death certificate must indicate the death “may have been caused by” or “was likely the result of” COVID-19 or COVID-19 like symptoms. Similar phrases that indicate a high likelihood of COVID-19 are considered sufficient attribution.
- Funeral expense documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased individual’s name, the amount of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses were incurred.
- Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. Funeral assistance may not duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, federal/state/local/tribal/territorial government programs or agencies, or other sources.
More information regarding this assistance can be found at COVID-19 Funeral Assistance | FEMA.gov
Mental Health Resources
- If you need to speak with a crisis counselor immediately, you can call the Massachusetts Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990.
- The CDC has issued guidelines for coping with a disaster or traumatic event, as well as guidelines for helping children cope with emergencies.
- For seniors and other at-risk populations who have had to dramatically limit their interactions with others to avoid the spread of COVID-19, the AARP has provided a list of suggestions on how to fight social isolation
- For resources on how to proactively monitor your behavioral health and avoid being overwhelmed by stress or anxiety caused by COVID-19, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has provided a list of useful tips for you to follow.
- To access Massachusetts General Hospital's Mental Health Resources Guide for COVID-19, click here.
- For more information about various mental health services, hotlines, and therapists available in your local area, visit the Network of Care Massachusetts website by clicking here. You can also access their dedicated COVID-19 webpage by clicking here.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline—1-800-273-8255 https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
- National Domestic Violence Hotline—1-800-799-7233 https://www.thehotline.org/
- Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline-1-800-422-4453 https://www.childhelp.org/hotline/
Information about Social Security
It is important for everyone to know that all Social Security benefits will continue to be paid to those who receive them. Scammers and other bad actors may try to misinform you into thinking that the pandemic will stop you from receiving Social Security payments, but that is not true. According to Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul, recipients will also see no change in their regular monthly payment if they receive them by direct deposit and they will continue to receive payments by mail.
- To slow the spread of COVID-19, all local Social Security offices will be closed to the public and will no longer be able to accept walk-in visitors. This is intended to protect the populations they serve – older Americans and people with underlying medical conditions – as well as their employees during the pandemic. Employees will still be able to provide critical services.
- In case you or a loved one is need of assistance during the pandemic, you can access most services on the Social Security Administration (SSA) website or call toll-free at 1-800-772-1213.
- To access the SSA's designated COVID-19 webpage, which includes a list of frequently asked questions regarding the pandemic and its impact on Social Security benefits and services, please click here.
- All Social Security and SSI recipients are eligible for the rebate payments provided in the CARES Act regardless of whether or not they have filed a tax form.
Questions about Individual Coronavirus Economic Impact Payments
Please click here for the latest updates from the IRS about the economic impact payments and eligibility.
When the CARES Act passed Congress and was signed into law on March 27, 2020, it included direct cash payments for the Americans who need it most during this public health crisis. An additional cash payment was included in subsequent COVID-19 relief legislation signed into law on
If you did not receive your full economic impact payments, click here.
For a list of economic impact payment FAQs, please click here.
Paid Sick Leave
If you think your rights to earned sick time are being violated by your employer, please call the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division at 617-727-3465 or file a complaint online. You can also click here to read the Fair Labor Division FAQs for employee rights and employer obligations during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Access to emergency paid sick leave has also been expanded to millions of workers under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Please click here for more information about the new emergency paid sick leave laws and eligibility.
Resources for Affected Small Businesses and Non-Profits
The Small Business Administration (SBA) has released guidance and loan resources for small businesses impacted by the pandemic. For more information about SBA resources and to read the full guidance, visit https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation is providing PPP technical assistance and multilingual translation and has created a COVID-19 Loan Fund to provide financial relief to Massachusetts businesses. To learn more, visit https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/resources/covid-19-small-business-resources
Employers who are impacted by COVID-19 can ask for a 60 day grace period for their quarterly reports and pay contributions. For more information, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-guidance-and-directives#businesses-&-employers-
VA Health Care Information for Veterans
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its medical facilities are working hard to protect and care for veterans during this pandemic.
- Veterans and their families should consult VA's website for the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 and treatment at VA facilities.
- Guidance from local VA medical facilities about their current operating status is available on each facility’s website, which can be found through VA’s facility locator tool.
Fighting the Stigma
From the outset of this public health crisis, many public officials in Congress and the previous administration repeatedly used racist labeling of COVID-19 and perpetuated stigmatizing falsehoods that disparage many in our communities. These ignorant and hateful comments are unacceptable, and I have unequivocally condemned them for promoting discrimination and violence in place of unity and facts.
According to the CDC, stigma and discrimination can occur when people associate an infectious disease like COVID-19 with a specific population or nationality, even though not everyone in that population or from that region has the disease and members of particular groups are at no greater risk of contracting it.
It is vital that we use language supported by scientists and public health officials when referring to COVID-19. Please click here for more information from the World Health Organization about best practices for naming new infectious diseases.