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:
My staff are 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.
If you are feeling sick and need immediate medical care, please contact your local health care provider and follow the 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 N95 face mask coverings while inside to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Click here for more information about the CDC’s guidance on face coverings.
- Public health experts and the CDC recommend that Americans use at-home tests if they begin to have symptoms, at least five days after coming in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, or are gathering indoors with a group of people who are at risk of severe disease or unvaccinated.
- As part of the Biden Administration's strategy to make tests more accessible, Americans are now able to order free at-home COVID-19 tests for every household.
- The rapid at-home tests can be ordered on the website COVIDtests.gov, where you just need to enter your name and address. For those who can't access the website or need assistance, please call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-720-7489) to get help in English, Spanish or more than 150 other languages, from 8 a.m. to midnight ET 7 days a week.
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 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:
- Certain protections in non-payment eviction cases remain in effect in Massachusetts. See St. 2020, c. 257, as amended by St. 2021, c. 20. Resources about eviction are available online.
- 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.
- Information for Massachusetts utility ratepayers impacted by COVID-19 can be found here
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:
Help to Pay for Funeral Costs for Deaths Related to COVID-19
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA is providing financial assistance for COVID-19 related funeral expenses incurred on or after January 20, 2020.
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.
- Official death certificate that shows the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories and District of Columbia.
- If the death certificate was issued between Jan. 20 and May 16, 2020, it must either 1) attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 or 2) be accompanied by a signed statement from the original certifier of the death certificate or the local medical examiner or coroner from the jurisdiction in which the death occurred listing COVID-19 as a cause or contributing cause of death. This signed statement must provide an additional explanation, or causal pathway, linking the cause of death listed on the death certificate to COVID-19.
- If the death certificate occurred on or after May 17, 2020, the death certificate must attribute the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
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.
For a list of eligibility requirements or other EIP concerns, please visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center
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.
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.