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.
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.
COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution:
The American Rescue Plan provides significant funding to increase vaccine production and distribution in our state. Maryland is currently in Phase 3 of vaccine distribution, and all Marylanders aged 16 and older are now eligible to receive their vaccine. Mass vaccination sites in Maryland are now accepting walk-up appointments. I encourage all Marylanders to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are able to. Click here to find an appointment near you.
Anne Arundel County
Prince George's County
Prince Georgians can now register for their COVID-19 vaccine without pre-registering by visiting https://bit.ly/32Qk1A5. This tool should be used for first appointments only, and second appointments will be scheduled at the time of the visit.
Click here to register in Charles County. If you need assistance, call the Charles County Department of Health at 301-609-6717.
Click here to register in Calvert County. If you need assistance, call the Calvert County Department of Health at 410-535-0218.
St. Mary's County
Click here to register in St. Mary's County. New appointments are added on Fridays. If you need assistance, call the St. Mary's Department of Health at 301-475-4330, ext. 1049.
Resources for Individuals and Families
Economic Impact Payments:
One-time economic impact payments of $1,400 have already started to be distributed to Marylanders with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 for individuals, and up to $150,000 for married couples filing jointly. Payments will begin to be reduced for individuals making above $75,000 and $150,000 for married filing jointly. The reduced payments end at $80,000 for individuals and $160,000 for couples; people above these levels are ineligible for a payment. Unlike the last two rounds of stimulus payments, eligible families will receive a payment based on all of their qualifying dependents claimed on their return, including older children like college students, as well as adults with disabilities, parents, or grandparents being cared for at home. Click here to track your payment.
For individuals who have already filed their 2020 tax returns, the IRS will use their income from this return to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2020, the IRS will use their income from their 2019 tax return to calculate the payment. Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Payments will be distributed the same way they receive their Social Security payment, typically automatically deposited into their bank accounts.
More information is available from the IRS by clicking here.
The American Rescue Plan extends an additional $300 per week in federal unemployment benefits on top of the regular state unemployment program through Labor Day. The law also waives 2020 federal income taxes on up to $10,200 worth of unemployment benefits for individuals and up to $20,400 worth of unemployment benefits for married couples filing jointly. Click here for more information about the extension of unemployment benefits.
Marylanders needing to file an unemployment benefits claim should use the BEACON Unemployment Insurance Application. Click here for additional information or to file a claim. If you need help filing for unemployment insurance, call 1-667-207-6520. Live agents are available Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., and Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Unfortunately, our state has seen an increase in fraudulent claims, and Marylanders should remain vigilant. Click here to report fraudulent activity.
Funding for Vaccines
The American Rescue Plan provides significant funding to increase vaccine production and distribution. I encourage all Marylanders to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them.
Maryland is currently in Phase 1C of vaccine distribution. Adults over the age of 65, health care providers, law enforcement officials, nursing home staff and residents, and those living in assisted living or congregate facilities are now eligible to receive the vaccine. Click here to see if you are eligible to receive the vaccine and register for an appointment.
Even if you are not yet eligible to receive the vaccine, you can pre-register to receive a vaccine at a mass vaccination site. Click here to pre-register. Once you pre-register, you will be notified when it is time to schedule an appointment.
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 May 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.
Apply for a Paycheck Protection Program Loan
- Businesses in Maryland can still apply for PPP loans to keep workers on the job during the COVID-19 crisis. Click here to find a lender near 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.
Restaurant Revitalization Fund
- The American Rescue Plan provides significant assistance to restaurants through the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. To begin the application process, click 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.
General Information About the Coronavirus
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has prepared a list of frequently asked questions and resources on the coronavirus, which you can find here. The Centers for Disease Control has information on the coronavirus that you can find here.
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.