Thursday | February 25, 2021

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Resources

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

Vaccine Distribution

All South Carolinians are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • SCDHEC provides an interactive map of vaccine provider locations. You can also call 1-866-365-8110 for more help.
  • As of May 24, 2021, 3.2 million doses had been administered in South Carolina, and 43.7% of the population had received at least one dose.

You can track national vaccine data using the CDC's online tracker.

For more information, visit DHEC's South Carolina COVID-19 Dashboard.

Vaccines for Veterans

  • Veterans must be receiving their health care through the Veterans Administration to acquire a vaccine through VHA.
  • To find additional information regarding vaccine distribution, please check the VA.gov website.

South Carolina Schools’ Response to COVID-19

For more information, visit: https://ed.sc.gov/newsroom/covid-19-coronavirus-and-south-carolina-schools/school-district-reopening-plans/

Assistance for Small Businesses

The Payment Protection Program has run out of funds for most borrowers. However, there are other options for small businesses to receive assistance if they meet the requirements.

After an overwhelming response to the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, the application portal is now closed for new applications. 

Internal Revenue Service

  • The federal income tax filing due date for individuals has been extended to May 17, 2021.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Advance Child Tax Credit Payments in 2021

Preliminary information on enhancements to the Child Tax Credit, including advance payments, is now available on IRS.gov. The information will be updated as more details become available. 

Key Points:

  • The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 expands the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for tax year 2021 only
  • Advance payments of the 2021 CTC will be made regularly from July through December to eligible taxpayers
  • The IRS urges people with children to file their 2020 tax returns as soon as possible to make sure they're eligible for the appropriate amount of the CTC
  • Eligible taxpayers do not need to take any action now other than to file their 2020 tax return if they have not done so
  • Eligible taxpayers who do not want to receive advance payment of the 2021 CTC will have the opportunity to decline receiving advance payments
  • Taxpayers will also have the opportunity to update information about changes in their income, filing status or number of qualifying children

Temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the Temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. Through this program, qualified families will receive internet access assistance, including limited funding for laptops or tablets.

  • Learn more about requirements and participating internet service providers HERE.
  • You can apply online HERE, call to receive a mail-in application at 833-511-0311 or contact your participating broadband provider to learn about their application process.

Health Insurance  

Please review the information on https://www.healthcare.gov/ if you need to sign up for health insurance through the ACA program.

Rental Assistance 

South Carolina’s “SC Stay Plus” program is now accepting applications for rent and utility assistance. You can apply through their online portal or by calling 803-336-3420.

Tenants who have been impacted economically throughout the pandemic may receive up to 12 months of assistance dating back to March 2020.

Funeral Assistance:

Applicants may apply by calling 844-684-6333 (TTY: 800-462-7585) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday. Multilingual services are available.

To be eligible for funeral assistance, applicants must meet these conditions:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien who incurred funeral expenses after Jan. 20, 2020.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified alien.

For fastest service after you have called to apply, submit documentation online throughDisasterassistance.gov, or by fax 855-261-3452. Documents may also be mailed to: COVID-19 Funeral Assistance P.O. Box 10001 Hyattsville, MD 20782.

Applicants can also visit FEMA.gov/funeral-assistance/faq Information is provided in several languages both by telephone and the website.

Funding for Local Governments

The American Rescue Act provides for funding to assist local governments. The U.S. Department of Treasury will be promulgating guidance and regulations to determine funding allocation and eligible uses of funding within 60 days of enactment. For more information on Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, please visit: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares/state-and-local-governments.

The Municipal Association of South Carolina is also providing information for local officials at https://www.masc.sc/Pages/legislative/American-Rescue-Plan.aspx. MASC plans to update the information as additional guidance is provided by the federal government.

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

On May 20th, 2020 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. In December 2020, the funding was replenished with another $9.3 million.

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.

Per Governor McMaster’s directive, the federal unemployment insurance programs will come to an end effective June 30th. State unemployment insurance (UI) will remain for claimants found eligible under South Carolina law.

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

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 to 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.

General COVID-19 Information

  • To donate food, water, or medical supplies to support our state in the COVID-19 response, email esf18@emd.sc.gov
  • Medical facilities/nursing homes needing PPE should contact their county emergency manager to get their request into an online system called Palmetto, operation by SCEMD. If the request is not made in Palmetto, the logistics team is unaware and cannot fulfill the request.

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 to 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 are 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 South Carolina Department of Mental Health (SCDMH) and the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) have teamed up to offer a safe and easy service that allows you to anonymously take a Self-Check Questionnaire and connect with a professional counselor who can offer guidance, support, and resources to help connect you with mental health and addiction services. 

Using this service is completely voluntary and confidential.

This is not an emergency response system or crisis intervention service. If you are in crisis or contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or SCDMH's mobile crisis line at 1-833-364-2274.

  • 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.

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.

Veterans must be receiving their health care through the Veterans Administration to acquire a vaccine through VHA.

To find additional information regarding vaccine distribution, please check at the VA.gov website.

If you are a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, please contact the Veterans Crisis Line by calling 800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255.

U.S. Customs and Immigration Services

Department of State

Passports

  • Passport applications are now being accepted and processed once again after a pause due to COVID-19. You can check the status of operations and view frequently asked questions here.
  • On August 6th, 2020 in close coordination with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Department of State lifted the Global Level 4 Health Advisory.  The Global Advisory, initially put in place on March 19th, 2020, advised U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.
  • With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice (with Levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions), in order to give travelers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions.  This will also provide U.S. citizens more detailed information about the current status in each country.  We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.

Information for Travelers Returning to the United States:

All travelers are now required to present a negative COVID-19 test upon arrival to the U.S.

U.S. Citizens Returning from Brazil

  • U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents are allowed to return from Brazil. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requires U.S. passengers who have been in Brazil to travel through select airports with enhanced screening procedures. See FAQs on the Presidential Proclamations on travel here for further details.

U.S. Citizens Returning from Europe

  • U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents returning to the United States from the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the European Schengen area are required to travel through select U.S. airports with enhanced screening procedures. See FAQs on the Presidential Proclamations on travel here for further details.

U.S. Citizens Returning from China

  • Any U.S. citizen returning to the United States who has been in China in the previous 14 days may be subject to up to 14 days of quarantine.

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.
  • Here, you can read the latest guidance from the CDC and DHS, the Presidential Proclamations, as well as updates from each affected country.
  • 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.

Social Security Administration

  • All local Social Security offices are closed to the public for in-person service. 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.

U.S. Department of Agriculture

  • 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 fresh produce, dairy, and meat and deliver boxes to Americans in need. To date, they have delivered 138,616,714 boxes to disadvantaged Americans across the country.

National Park Service

Long-term Care Facilities/Nursing Homes

  • For more information visit the CDC website.

Additional State Services

  • Family Connection of SC is temporarily postponing in-person trainings, outreach events, and home visits. 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.