When the coronavirus first emerged in the United States, it quicky started one of the worst public health emergencies our nation, and our state, has ever experienced. Like many of you, I continue to mourn the thousands of lives lost in the Fifth District and throughout the country. In addition to the serious health impacts of this pandemic, Fifth District residents also struggled economically, with families having trouble making ends meet and small businesses being forced to close. That is why I have worked hard in Congress with my colleagues in the House to pass critical emergency COVID-19 legislation, including President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, to extend essential lifelines to Marylanders who have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Rescue Plan secured robust investments for Maryland communities that contributed to greater vaccine accessibility, direct payments to families – including the enhancement of the Child Tax Credit - and helped to get our economy back on track. Now, Congress is working swiftly to build on this progress by advancing President Biden’s Build Back Better Act. This key part of President Biden’s economic agenda will make child care more affordable, improve access to health care, and create more jobs for Maryland families.
With the continuing relief provided under the American Rescue Plan, and the promise of greater economic security under the Build Back Better Act, we can continue our look forward toward a brighter future for the Fifth District and around the country.
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 has provided significant funding to increase vaccine production and distribution. Maryland’s vaccination efforts have allowed us to be one of the most-vaccinated states in the county, but it still remains critical that we stay ahead of this virus by getting vaccinated. I encourage all Marylanders two 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 two 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.
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. To find a testing site near you, click here.
Due to the high demand of testing, Maryland has expanded testing sites across the state. To get your free test, find a site closest to you by visiting this site. For county-specific information about testing in your area, see below:
- If you live in Prince George’s County, more testing information can be found by clicking here.
- If you live in Charles County, find your testing information by clicking here.
- For Calvert County residents, click here for testing information.
- If you live in St. Mary’s County you can find testing information by clicking here
- Lastly, if you live in Anne Arundel County you can find testing information by clicking here.
If you feel sick and are experiencing common COVID-19 symptoms, get tested right away and follow regularly updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Resources for Individuals and Families
Child Tax Credit
Last year, thousands of Marylanders across the state saw automatic, direct payments from the Child Tax Credit. Eligible families received monthly installments of $300 per child under age 6 and $250 per child from ages 6 to 17, adding up to $3,600 for each child under 6 and $3,000 total for each child between ages 6 and 17 per year, annually. 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 were eligible for these monthly automatic installment payments.
This tax season, you can head over to the IRS website to file your returns for free. If you need assistance before filing, the IRS has opened face-to-face help on Saturdays at Taxpayer Assistance Centers across the country. This walk-in service is free and available locally. This is especially helpful for families with questions about their Child Tax Credit payments and other questions for filing. Hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and you can find a center near you by clicking here.
The American Rescue Plan invests $53 billion in rental, mortgage, and utility assistance for those struggling to pay their housing and utility bills. I continue to urge state and local housing authorities to distribute money to families in need. Renters are encouraged to apply to the Emergency Rental Assistance program established under emergency COVID-19 legislation. For rental assistance and additional resources by county, see the links below:
- Anne Arundel County: For general information on housing assistance, click here.
- Calvert County: For general information on housing assistance, click here.
- Charles County: For general information on housing assistance, click here.
- Prince George’s County: For general information on housing, click here.
- St. Mary’s County: For general information on housing, click here.
For more information about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, see below:
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.
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.
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 the COVID-19 relief options that are available to you.
Maryland Small Business Relief Programs
- For Maryland general resources for small business owners, visit the Maryland Small Business Development Center here.
- For resources from the Maryland Women’s Business Center, go here.
- For information on the University of Maryland Veterans Business Outreach Center, email email@example.com
- For SCORE Business Mentoring in Southern Maryland, go here; For Prince George’s County, go here.
Small Business Administration Resources
- The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) ended on May 31, 2021. Existing borrowers may be eligible for PPP loan forgiveness. To learn about Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness, click here.
- To learn about debt relief offered through the Small Business Administration, go here.
- To find small business resources in your area, go 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 will restart making payments after May 1, 2022. 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.