Protecting Yourself From the Coronavirus

The global community is currently experiencing an outbreak of a new coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19. Like you, I am concerned about this disease and I am closely following the rapidly evolving developments around it. My offices are still working 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.

Safeguarding Marylanders is of the utmost importance to me. I am in constant contact with local and state public health officials regarding Maryland’s response. I will continue to monitor this public health emergency and work with my colleagues to ensure that Maryland has the resources needed to keep constituents safe. I supported legislation passed by Congress that provided emergency funding to help ensure communities and states have the resources they need to combat the spread of this disease, as well as legislation to address the economic impacts Americans are experiencing as a result of the coronavirus. Additionally, I supported legislation to provide critical resources to hospitals and health care workers in our state, and put money directly in the pockets of hardworking families. On April 23, I voted in favor of legislation to provide additional resources to small businesses in the Fifth District that are struggling to survive during this pandemic, to employees who are having trouble making ends meet, and also provided additional funding to expand testing and to help hospitals and health care providers fight the coronavirus.

Maryland has set up a help line through the Maryland Health Department that you can call for more guidance, at 410-767-6500.

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 is now 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. 

Click here to find a coronavirus testing location near you.

Special Open Enrollment Period

Through December 15, uninsured Marylanders can sign up for health insurance through MarylandHealthConnection.gov. Signing up is easy, and many Marylanders qualify for financial assistance. Learn more by visiting MarylandHealthConnection.gov now. 

Resources for Individuals and Families

Economic Impact Payments:

One-time economic impact payments are being distributed to individuals in Maryland. Marylanders with adjusted gross income up to $75,000 for individuals and up to $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment of $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples, and up to $500 for each qualifying child. The payments phase out and stop altogether for single workers making more than $99,000 ($198,000 for married workers and $218,000 for a family of four).

For people who have already filed their 2019 tax returns, the IRS will use this information to calculate the payment amount. For those who have not yet filed their return for 2019, the IRS will use information from their 2018 tax filing 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 automatically deposited into their bank accounts. 

The IRS has launched a new web tool allowing quick registration for economic impact payments for those who don’t normally file a tax return. Click here to learn more. 

The IRS launched its free “Get My Payment” app, and you can now provide your banking info if you did not have it on file with the IRS to be eligible for direct deposit. Click here to do so.

More information is available from the IRS by clicking here.   

Unemployment Insurance:
The Maryland Division of Unemployment Insurance is experiencing an extremely high volume of users due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which may result in long wait times. Maryland does not have a waiting week like many other states. No matter when you file, Marylanders become eligible for benefits beginning the day after they are separated from employment.

To file a claim:
-If your last name starts with A - F, file your claim on Monday.
-If your last name starts with G - N, file your claim on Tuesday.
-If your last name starts with O - Z, file your claim on Wednesday.
-Claim filing is open to all last names by phone on Thursday and Friday and online Thursday through Sunday.     

The Claim Center telephone lines are open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday and 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Saturdays. Please call 410-949-0022. The online claim portal is available 24/7. Click here for more information.  

Mortgage Relief:

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.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have resources available for consumers in need of assistance. Click here for information about Fannie Mae. Click here for information about Freddie Mac.

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.

Student Aid:
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

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 this Small Business Owners Guide as well as the following resources to learn about the assistance that is available for you: 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans

The CARES Act, which was recently signed into law, creates a new Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses. The federally guaranteed loans provide assistance to employers who maintain their payroll during this crisis. PPP loans would be forgiven if employers maintain their payroll, and are available through August 8, 2020. Click here to learn more and see if your business qualifies for a PPP loan. 

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. 

Maryland Small Business Relief Programs

Governor Hogan recently announced additional small business relief through the state of Maryland:

  • Maryland Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Fund
    • Grants up to $10,000 are available for businesses with less than 50 employees. 
    • Eligible uses include: working capital to support payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses, or other similar expenses that occur in the ordinary course of operations.
    • Click here for more information. 

Faith-based organizations are eligible to receive certain loans administered through the Small Business Administration. Click here to learn more. 

The Small Business Administration has extensive resources available to small businesses struggling during this time. Click here for additional information. In addition, there are a number of resource partners providing support for small businesses in Maryland, including the Maryland Small Business Development Center, which has developed a Maryland Small Business Survival Guide.

Student Meal Distribution Information

Maryland public schools are providing meals to students while schools are shut down. Click here to find a meal distribution site in your community. 

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. 

Telephone Town Halls

On April 16, I hosted a telephone town hall with a public health expert, representatives from the Small Business Administration, and representatives from the Maryland Department of Labor to answer questions from Fifth District residents. Click here to listen. I also hosted a town hall on April 2 and March 12. Click here to listen to my April 2 telephone town hall and click here to listen to my March 12 telephone town hall

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. The CDC has issued the following guidance on preventing the spread of the coronavirus:

“There is currently no vaccine to prevent the coronavirus. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. CDC recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
    • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
      • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
    • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
    • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing. 
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.”

If you are experiencing fever, cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your health care professional to consult with them before going to an ER or a physician’s office, which could put you or others at risk.