One year ago, the coronavirus pandemic started one of the worst public health and economic crisis our state has ever experienced. Like many of you, I continue mourn the thousands of lives lost in the Fifth District and throughout the country. Fifth District residents have been struggling to survive during this pandemic; to the families that are having trouble making ends meet, to the small businesses that have been forced to closed, to the essential workers who are on the frontlines every day. That is why I am pleased the House passed the American Rescue Plan, to extend critical lifelines to Marylanders who have been hit especially hard in our fight to defeat COVID-19.
The American Rescue Plan secures robust investments for Maryland communities by boosting money for vaccines, getting direct checks into the pockets of families, and getting our economy back on track. With this legislation, we can accelerate efforts to get vaccines into the arms of Marylanders, pull millions of our families out of poverty, support workers who are waiting to get back to work, give small businesses the resources they need to sustain, and get our children back into the classroom. With the American Rescue Plan, we can start turning the page on this pandemic and look forward toward a brighter future for the Fifth District and around the country.
Throughout this pandemic, My offices have continued to work hard to assist Marylanders during this pandemic. If you need help with a federal agency, please complete a casework intake form on my website at https://hoyer.house.gov/help/federal or contact my district offices. Call 301-474-0119 if you live in Prince George’s, Anne Arundel, or Calvert Counties. Call 301-843-1577 if you live in Charles or St. Mary’s Counties.
Below you will find important resources on this pandemic and learn more about how the American Rescue Plan can help you:
For more information about the coronavirus in Maryland, visit https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/.
County-Specific Information for Fifth District Residents:
- Click here for information about the coronavirus for Prince George's County residents.
- Click here for information about the coronavirus for Charles County residents.
- Click here for information about the coronavirus for Anne Arundel County residents.
- Click here for information about the coronavirus for Calvert County residents.
- Click here for information about the coronavirus for St. Mary's County residents.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution:
The American Rescue Plan provides significant funding to increase vaccine production and distribution. Maryland’s positivity rate continues to decline, but there is still more work to be done to defeat the virus in our state. I encourage all Marylanders 12 years of age and older to get a COVID-19 vaccine today. Click here to find a vaccination clinic near you.
What to Know About Vaccinations:
The CDC has provided useful information about what to know before getting vaccinated. Please continue to check their guidance regularly. See below for key information from their page about COVID-19 vaccines:
Key Things to Know
- COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
- You may have side effects after vaccination, but these are normal.
- It typically takes two weeks after vaccination for the body to build protection (immunity) against the virus that causes COVID-19. You are not fully vaccinated until 2 weeks after the 2nd dose of a two-dose vaccine or two weeks after a one-dose vaccine.
- COVID-19 vaccines are more widely accessible. Everyone 16 years and older is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccination. Find a COVID-19 vaccine.
- People who have been fully vaccinated can start to do some things that they had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
Resources for Individuals and Families
Child Tax Credit
Beginning on July 15, the first installment of automatic direct payments of the Child Tax Credit will be sent to most Maryland families. Each month, eligible families will receive $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per child from ages 6 to 17. These payments will be dispersed monthly through the end of the year. Per year, the enhanced Child Tax Credit will provide eligible families with a total of $3,600 for each child under 6 and $3,000 total for each child between ages 6 and 17 per year. Single parents making up to $75,000 and filing their taxes as individuals, those filing as heads of household making up to $112,500, and married joint filers making up to $150,000 a year are eligible for these monthly automatic installment payments.
In most cases, no action is required by parents to receive these payments. Families that don’t usually file tax returns can now register for the Child Tax Credit and update important information by clicking HERE. Any money not received through December of this year can be claimed when filing tax returns in 2022.
Emergency Broadband Benefit
The Federal Communications Commission has launched the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program (EBB). This program will work to address the worsening digital divide in our communities that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will help eligible families in the Fifth District pay their monthly broadband bills.
Through this program, eligible Marylanders can receive:
- A discount of up to $50 per month on their internet bill;
- A one-time discount of $100 for a laptop, tablet, or desktop computer.
Click here to see if you qualify for this program. Assistance is available until funds run out.
Strengthening Affordable, Quality Health Care
The American Rescue Plan increases eligibility for premium subsidies available through ACA marketplaces. A special emergency open enrollment period continues through August 15 to ensure more Marylanders have access to quality, affordable care. Click here to learn more about the open enrollment period and shop for the best plan for you and your family.
The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is committed to providing consumers with up-to-date information and resources to protect and manage their finances during this difficult time as the situation evolves.
- CFPB Guide to Coronavirus Mortgage Relief Options
- VIDEO: Here’s how mortgage forbearance works under the CARES Act
For questions about Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages, please contact the National Servicing Center at 877-622-8525. For a list of HUD-approved housing counselors, click here or call 800-569-4287.
Veterans with questions regarding their home loans should call the Department of Veteran Affairs loan program at 877-827-3702 or click here.
Rental and Housing Relief
The American Rescue Plan invests $40 billion in rental and mortgage assistance for those struggling to pay their rent or mortgage. If you need assistance paying your rent or mortgage, 2-1-1 Maryland has compiled information about available resources. Click here to learn more.
Resources for Veterans
Information is available for veterans during the coronavirus pandemic through the Department of Veterans Affairs. For routine appointments, it is strongly encouraged that veterans use telehealth services or reschedule their appointment for a later date. Click here for additional information.
Resources for Small Businesses
If you’re a small business owner, I encourage you to read through sba.gov’s coronavirus guidance material about the assistance that is available for you.
Emergency Economic Injury Grants
- The emergency economic injury grant is an emergency advance of up to $10,000 available to small businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. The grant is available within three days of applying for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and does not need to be repaid. Click here to learn more.
Small Business Debt Relief Program
- The Small Business Administration will pay the principal, interest, and fees on qualifying SBA loans. Click here to learn more.
Shuttered Venue Operators Grant
- The American Rescue Plan Act provided critical funding for venues affected by COVID-19. The application portal is now open, and eligible businesses should apply here.
Maryland Small Business Relief Programs
With the passage of the Relief Act of 2021 in Maryland, Maryland small businesses can receive additional resources from the state. You can learn more about the Relief Act programs by clicking here.
Nutrition Assistance for Maryland Families
Families throughout our state have experienced significant rates of hunger and food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan invests $12 billion in a variety of food assistance programs by extending increased SNAP benefits through September and allowing states to continue the Pandemic EBT program to ensure no child goes hungry during this crisis. If you need assistance applying for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), click here. For information about the Pandemic EBT program, click here.
Resources for Student Loan Borrowers
Students with federal student loans may be eligible to temporarily stop making payments on their student loans. Click here to learn more.
Resources for Veterans
The VA is working to ensure veterans can access the health care services they need. I encourage veterans to visit the VA’s website, where they can find a FAQ page. Veterans in crisis should call 1-800-273-8255.
Resources for Seniors
The Senior Call Check program is an important, free resource in Maryland to verify the well-being of those 65 years old and older in our communities during the coronavirus pandemic. Call 1-866-50-CHECK or register online here.
Every day a telephone call will be placed to a participant at a regularly scheduled time. These calls will take place between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. If the participant does not answer their first call, they will be tried two more times. If those calls go unanswered, additional calls will be made to notify an alternative person who is selected by the participant during program enrollment. Any Maryland resident who is 65 years of age or older who has a landline phone or cell phone is eligible to participate.
Protect Your Mental Health
The coronavirus public health emergency can take its toll on our mental well-being. Resources are available through the Maryland Department of Health on how to keep your body and mind strong. Click here for more information.
Testing Sites in the Fifth District:
Coronavirus testing remains available to all Marylanders with a valid form of identification (such as a driver’s license, passport, or Social Security card), and you do not need to exhibit symptoms to get tested. Most testing locations require an appointment and a referral from your health care provider. If you would like to get tested, I encourage you to contact your primary care provider and they will work with you to schedule a test. Coronavirus testing is available at no cost to patients.