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​Services for Pennsylvanians Affected by COVID-19

Last Updated: March 17, 2020

Below is a list of resources for PA residents and employees who have been affected by COVID-19.

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Resources for Affected Employees 


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  • Discuss the following benefits your employer may provide

    • Paid Sick Time

    • Paid Time Off

    • Paid Vacation Time

    • Short-term disability insurance

    • Ask your employer about other resources they may offer

     

    Unemployment Compensation (UC) Benefits

    If you are employed in Pennsylvania and are unable to work because of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), you may be eligible for Unemployment or Workers' Compensation benefits. The Department of Labor & Industry will continue to provide important employment benefit updates as the situation evolves.

     

    You may be eligible if:

    • Your employer temporarily closes or goes out of business because of COVID-19

    • Your employer reduces your hours because of COVID-19

    • You have been told not to work because your employer feels you might get or spread COVID-19

    • You have been told to quarantine or self-isolate, or live/work in a county under government-recommended mitigation efforts

     Apply:

    • Online – it's the fastest and easiest way to get started

     Important info:

    • If you are eligible for UC, you will receive two letters and a four-digit PIN

    • Your PIN will arrive in the U.S. mail – keep it in a safe, easy to remember place

    • If approved, your first benefit payment should arrive within four weeks of filing for UC

    • Continue filing your bi-weekly claim (every two weeks) – even while waiting for approval

    • We are experiencing very large call volumes.  Please email us at uchelp@pa.gov, or via UC LiveChat.

    • (NEW) The Waiting Week is suspended.  Previously, claimants were not eligible for benefits during their first week of unemployment (the "waiting week.") This has been suspended; eligible claimants may receive benefits for the first week that they are unemployed

    • (NEW) Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants.  Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits.  Claimants are also not required to register with www.PACareerLink.gov.

    • At this time, benefits are not being extended beyond 26 weeks.


    Important information for CLAIMANTS in BANKRUPCTY – DUE TO COVID-19

    Due to COVID-19, regular mail collection to the Department of Labor & Industry may be delayed or interrupted for the next few weeks due to many commonwealth employees working from home. As a result, if you have sent the department a bankruptcy notice, it may not be reviewed in time to avoid sending you billing notices or automatically offsetting your benefits.  To provide us with you bankruptcy notice in a timely fashion, please send information about your bankruptcy to the following resource account at RA-OUCB-BPC@pa.gov. If you are able, please attach a copy of any bankruptcy paperwork to the email to expedite processing. If you are unable to attach the bankruptcy notice, please include your name, bankruptcy number, and the last four digits of your Social Security number on the email.     

    We will make every effort to stop inappropriate collection efforts once we receive your email.  If an amount is mistakenly taken by offset, a refund will be made as soon as possible.

     

    Workers' Compensation (WC) Benefits

    Two filing options:

    ·       If you believe you may have been exposed to COVID-19 in your workplace, you may be eligible for Workers' Compensation (WC) by either:

    o   Notifying your employer to file a typical "disease-as-injury" WC claim, which requires you to provide medical evidence that you were exposed to COVID-19 in the workplace

    o   Notifying your employer to file an "occupational disease" WC claim, which requires you to show that COVID-19 is occurring more in your occupation/industry than in the general population

     

    Claims:

    ·       All WC claims (including COVID-19) are thoroughly reviewed, and decisions are made based on the facts and merits of each claim and the law

    ·       If your COVID-19 claim is denied, you may file a petition with the WC Office of Adjudication

     

     

    For the most accurate and timely COVID-19 information in Pennsylvania, visit the

    PA Department of Health website, health.pa.gov, Facebook page and Twitter account.

     

    Unpaid Wage Claims

    If you have been laid off and have not received your last paycheck or compensation you are owed, payment is be required by state law.  If your regular payday has passed without payment, contact the Pennsylvania Bureau of Labor Law Compliance.

     

    Family Medical Leave Act

    If you or your employees are out with the flu or are caring for ill family members, check with the Department of Labor (DOL) for information on whether such leave is covered under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Under the FMLA, covered employers must provide employees job-protected, unpaid leave for specified family and medical reasons, which may include the flu where complications arise.  Employees on FMLA leave are entitled to the continuation of group health insurance coverage under the same terms as existed before they took FMLA leave.

    Employees are eligible to take FMLA leave if they work for a covered employer and:

    ·       have worked for their employer for at least 12 months;

    ·       have at least 1,250 hours of service over the previous 12 months; and

    ·       work at a location where at least 50 employees are employed by the employer within 75 miles.

     

    See the Federal FMLA website for guidance.

     

    U.S. Small Business Association Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.

    For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov(link sends e-mail)

     

    Search for Employment

    Looking for work? Register on PA CareerLink and use the job search function to explore new occupations. There are several other resources on the site like links to trainings, job counselors, and more!

    Note to UC Claimants: Work Search and Work Registration requirements are temporarily waived for all UC claimants.  Claimants are not required to prove they have applied or searched for a new job to maintain their UC benefits.  Claimants are also not required to register with www.PACareerLink.pa.gov.

     


Resources from the Pennsylvania County Assistance Offices

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​Pennsylvania offers assistance and other services to people and families in need. You can submit applications and renewals at your local county assistance office or online using COMPASS. Caseworkers are available at the county assistance office to help you and answer your questions. 

Available benefits and services include:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Cash Assistance
  • Health Care Coverage (Medical Assistance) 
  • Home Heating Assistance (LIHEAP)
  • Family Planning Services
  • Help with Child Care
  • School Meals
  • Long-Term Living Services

Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' website for more information.


Resources for Food Assistance 

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SNAP Benefits/Food Stamps

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) helps Pennsylvanians buy food. People in eligible low-income households can obtain more nutritious diets with SNAP increasing their food purchasing power at grocery stores and supermarkets. Those who are eligible receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) ACCESS Card to make food purchases. Experiencing a food emergency and need food right away? Help is available.  Visit the Department of Human Services website, call the Helpline, toll-free, at 1-800-692-7462 (1-800-451-5886 for individuals with hearing impairments) or your county assistance office.


PA Food Pantries

There are several food pantries across the commonwealth. Please contact the closest pantry to your area.

Westmoreland County Food Bank

  • 100 Devonshire Drive, Delmont, PA 15626
  • 724.468.8660

Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

  • 1 North Linden Street, Duquesne, PA 15110
  • 412.460.3663

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania

  • 1507 Grimm Drive, Erie, PA 16501
  • 814.459.3663

Central Pennsylvania Food Bank

  • 3908 Corey Road, Harrisburg, PA 17109
  • 717.564.1700

Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and NE Pennsylvania

  • 6969 Silver Crest Road, Nazareth, PA 18064
  • 610.434.0875

Philabundance

  • 3616 S. Galloway Street, Philadelphia, PA 19148
  • 215.339.0900

H & J Weinberg NE PA Regional Food Bank

  • 185 Research Drive, Pittston, PA 18640
  • 570.908.2222

Helping Harvest

  • 117 Morgan Drive, Reading, PA 19608
  • 610.926.5802

Community Food Warehouse of Mercer County

  • 109 S Sharpsville Avenue, Suite A, Sharon, PA 16146
  • 724.981.0353

 

Meals for Senior Citizens

ElderShare & Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), please contact the Department of Aging's meals website for more information contact your local Meals on Wheels provider.

 

Meals on Wheels

Several nonprofits and community organizations across Pennsylvania are affiliated with Meals on Wheels, which offers meals to home-bound older persons. For more information contact your local Meals on Wheels provider.


Utility Assistance

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If you are struggling to pay your utility bills, contact your service provider right away. Many utility service providers offer emergency assistance programs.

2-1-1 United Way utility assistance resources in PA:


Health Care/Medical Assistance

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The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has resources and information available for consumers who have insurance related questions.

Medical Assistance (MA), also known as Medicaid, pays for health care services for eligible individuals. If you need help with medical assistance, please visit the Department of Human Services' website.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services

Mental Health in PA offers resources from the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) for mental health and substance use disorder. Get more information on OMHSAS, find Children/Adolescent Resources and Adult/Older Adults Resources. 

• National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

• Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio: 1-888-628-9454

• Veteran Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

• Disaster Distress Helpline: 1-800-985-5990

SAMHSA's Disaster Distress Hotline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

How to get tested for COVID-19

Stay home if:

·       You are feeling mostly fine

  • You are worried

 

Stay home and call your doctor for advice if:

  • You are feeling sick, but would not have sought care under normal circumstances

 

Call your doctor or seek medical care if:

·       You feel sick and believe you have an emergency

  • If you do not have a provider call your local health department or 1-877-PA-HEALTH.

 

For more information, visit https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx

Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting PA to 741-741


Housing Resources

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If you are unable to make your rent payment, contact your landlord immediately and try to work out an agreement.

Pennsylvania has a variety of housing programs and services that can help older adults and people with disabilities, individuals and families with low incomes, or those who are at-risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. DHS's website helps to connect individuals, families, and providers with someone at the local level that can directly assist with housing needs.  Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services' housing resource website for more Information.

HUD Resources

If you are in need of rental assistance, you can also contact a housing counseling agency toll-free (800) 569-4287. They can help point you in the right direction.

US Department of Housing and Urban Development
Information about rental assistance and counseling available.

2-1-1 United Way Housing Resources:


Assistance Paying a Debt

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If you have seen a reduction in pay due to COVID-19 and are struggling to make your credit card or loan payments, contact your lender right away. Explain your situation and ask about hardship programs that may be available. Regulatory agencies have encouraged financial institutions to work with customers impacted by the coronavirus.

Trouble Paying Credit Cards

Credit card companies and lenders may be able to offer you a number of options to help you. This could include waiving certain fees like ATM, overpayments, and late fees, as well as allowing you to delay, adjust, or skip some payments.

What Should I Do If I Can't Pay My Credit Card Bills?
Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Debt Assistance: Find A Credit Counselor
A credit counselor may able to assist you with your debt problems. Contact one near you.

 

Trouble Paying Mortgage

If I Can't Pay My Mortgage Loan, What Are My Options?
Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

List of Housing Counseling Agencies in Pennsylvania
Housing counselors may be able to assist you with your needs. Contact a housing counselor near you.

Student Loans Deferment

If you're in a short-term financial bind, you may qualify for a deferment or a forbearance. With either of these options, you can temporarily suspend your payments.

Student Loan Deferment or Forbearance
Information from the Department of Education.

 

Short Term and Emergency Loans

Consider your options before taking out a high cost short term loan. Talk with your creditors to negotiate more time to pay bills, borrow from friends or family, or explore low interest loans offered by local banks and credit unions.

If you do take out a short-term loan, make sure the lender is licensed with the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities and borrow only what you can afford to pay back.