Thursday | March 12, 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources

To help provide additional assistance, the IRS is establishing a special phone line for taxpayers with questions about their Economic Impact Payments (EIP).  That number is 800-919-9835, which is the number reflected on the notice mailed to taxpayers who receive an EIP. We believe this phone line will help address some of the common questions people have about the EIPs.

For questions about recovery checks, click here or visit the IRS Economic Impact Payment Information Center.

Social Security recipients will receive automatic COVID-19 economic impact payments. For more information, click here.

Veterans who receive benefits from the VA (disability compensation, pension, or survivor benefits) will receive their economic impact payments the same way they receive VA benefits. *This will not be counted as income and will not affect your regular payments.*

Information on the CARES Act can be found here: https://home.treasury.gov/cares

Assistance for Small Businesses

The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $670 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses.

Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards.

  • For a top-line overview of the program CLICK HERE
  • If you’re a lender, more information can be found HERE
  • If you’re a borrower, more information can be found HERE
  • The application for borrowers can be found HERE
  • Information about the payroll protection small business loan program can be found HERE


The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans, through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the COVID-19. For more information on these loans, contact the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

For additional resources, visit the U.S. Small Business Administration COVID-19 website.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

On May 20, the Health Resources and Service Administration announced $225 million in funding through the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act to Rural Health Clinics for COVID-19 testing. These investments will support over 4,500 Rural Health Clinics across the country with expanding access to testing in rural communities.

Unemployment Information

Individuals who have lost jobs due to COVID-19 can apply for unemployment.

SCDEW General FAQs and information for 1099s, self-employed, contractors, and gig workers can be accessed here and a video tutorial can be found here.

South Carolina’s Response to COVID-19

For information on South Carolina’s response plan, visit accelerateSC for details.

General COVID-19 Information

Experiencing Symptoms?

  • MUSC Telehealth Info: Residents who are showing symptoms such as fever, cough, or shortness of breath should call their personal doctor or healthcare provider. If an individual doesn’t have a primary care physician, MUSC Health is providing free telehealth screening to all South Carolinians. Anyone experiencing symptoms can visit MUSC.care and use the promo code COVID19 and be screened without having to leave your home.
  • Prisma Telehealth Info: Get easy, affordable access to a Prisma Health care provider from your mobile device or computer. Visit the Prisma Health website and use promo code COVID19.
  • Medicare: Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Public Health Emergency, doctors and other health care providers can use telehealth services to treat COVID-19.
  • Additional telehealth options can be accessed HERE.
  • DHEC launched a new testing site map that easily and clearly identifies COVID-19 testing sites around the state. Clicking on a testing site icon provides the facility name, address, hours of operation, contact phone number and additional details. Testing sites area also listed under the map for easy viewing. View the updated map at scdhec.gov/covid19testing.

Before going through a drive-thru testing site, you must first be seen via telehealth and receive a referral from a physician. For questions, contact SCDHEC’s Care Line at 1-855-472-3432.

Managing Anxiety/Mental Health Resources

  • The American Red Cross is launching a Virtual Family Assistance Center to support families struggling with loss and grief due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Visit redcross.org/VFA or call 833-492-0094.

For free and confidential support for people in distress, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 or the Crisis Text Line: Text Home to 741741.

Food Assistance

  • If you need ongoing food assistance, you may apply for SNAP benefits online, by mail or fax.  For information on how to apply online or download an application to print out, visit the DSS website.  As some county DSS offices are closed to the public due to COVID-19 concerns, we suggest you call the office before visiting in person.
  • Additional food banks can be found here: https://www.foodpantries.org/st/south_carolina

Veterans Information

  • Call your VA Medical Center before going to a clinic, urgent care, or emergency room, especially if you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Ask your VA health care team about the option of care by phone or video instead of an in-person visit.
  • For additional information, visit the VA.gov website.
  • If you are a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, contact the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255.

Travel Advisories

Passport Information:

Please be advised because of public health measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have extremely limited U.S. passport operations.  Currently, we are only able to assist those who have a life-or-death emergency. Passport Services suspended expedited service on March 19, 2020 and is not offering this service to any applicants. For customers who applied before or after March 19, they will experience significant delays of several months. We are advising customers to wait to apply for or renew their passport as they will experience significant delays of several months to receive their U.S. passport and citizenship evidence documents.  If a constituent decides they would still like to apply for a passport, Passport Services continues to accept applications, process payments, and safeguard applicant’s forms and supporting documents.  However, we will not be able to update these status messages until we resume operations and our staff return to our facilities across the country. 

A qualified life/death emergency is defined as:

Life-or-death emergencies are serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths in your immediate family (e.g., parent, child, spouse, sibling, aunt, uncle, etc.) that require you to travel outside the United States within 72 hours (3 days). You must provide:

  • passport application with supporting documents
  • Proof of the life-or-death emergency such as a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional. Documents must be in English or translated in English.
  • Proof of international travel (e.g. reservation, ticket, itinerary) specific to the emergency

For the most up to date information regarding Passport Services please refer to the attached FAQs and the following links:

Level 4 - Do Not Travel Advisory

Passport's COVID-19 Update

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) During COVID-19

Information for American Citizens who are unable to return home due to countries temporarily closing their borders:

  • U.S. Citizens should shelter in place.  
  • Purchase food and other items as possible.
  • Individuals should send an email directly to the American Embassy.  Please include Name, Date of Birth, Passport# and current location. Individuals should also indicate if they have any urgent needs. 
  • This link can be used to look up the email addresses for each of the U.S. Embassies: https://www.usembassy.gov/.  Please go to the tab for American Citizen Services to find the appropriate email address. 
  • American citizens can also call American Citizen Services at 1-888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444.
  • The U.S. Department of State encourages everyone to monitor the COVID-19 page on their website.  Here, you can read the latest guidance from the CDC and DHS, the Presidential Proclamations, as well as updates from each affected country.
  • American Citizens are also being asked to register with the U.S. Department of State Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)
  • The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services

Internal Revenue Service

  • The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses, and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated as new information is available.

Social Security Administration

  • All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service starting March 17, 2020. They are still able to provide critical services and will make certain exceptions for specific dire need situations.
  • If you need to contact your local office for a dire need situation, please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator.

Homeowner Hardship Information

  • There are hardship programs in place to help homeowners who have been directly or indirectly affected by the coronavirus and are struggling to make their mortgage payments.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, encourages homeowners adversely impacted by the coronavirus who are having difficulty paying their mortgages to reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible.  As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau advises, “you can find the number for your mortgage servicer on your monthly mortgage statement or coupon book.”
  • FHFA has established a dedicated webpage with relevant updates and resources available here: www.fhfa.gov/coronavirus 
  • Additionally, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have their own dedicated webpages for homeowners, with online tools for determining if your mortgage is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac:

Fannie Mae: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Help

Freddie Mac: Extending Help to Homeowners Impacted by COVID-19

Rental Assistance

U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • USDA announced that the Rural Business-Cooperative Service is making up to $1 billion available in loan guarantees to rural businesses through the Business and Industry CARES Act Program. These loans will also be available to agricultural producers that are ineligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans. Applications are due no later than September 15, 2021. USDA will hold webinars on May 27 and June 3 to provide an overview of program requirements. 
  • On May 19, President Trump announced efforts to support the nation’s farmers, ranchers and food supply chain.

¨  The USDA announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by COVID-19.

¨  Additionally, the USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with regional and local distributors, whose workforces have been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need.

National Park Service

Long-term Care Facilities/Nursing Homes

  • Gov. McMaster has declared a state of emergency and has directed DHEC to restrict visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the state, with the exception of end of life situations.
  • For more information, visit the CDC website.

Additional State Services

  • Family Connection of SC is temporarily postponing in-person trainings, outreach events, and, and home visits until after April 3, 2020. The Family Information Center will remain open to provide support, information, and referrals for families with children that have a disability or special healthcare need.
  • DSS announced an Emergency Operating Grants Program for licensed and registered child care providers on Thursday with federal CARES Act money that can be used to cover child care provider operations including supplies, employee compensation, utilities, etc.

Homeless Information

  • Transitions Homeless Center in Columbia will remain open to serve their clients. Their 260 beds are full and they serve an additional 90-95 day center guests. They are taking additional measures to protect their clients from this virus.

Related Issues:  COVID-19

 

Related Issues:  COVID-19