SPRINGFIELD, Mo- Federal and state governments are working to provide financial aid to Americans as they deal with the impact of COVID-19.
We rounded up some of the latest information and resources about financial aid- state, and federal – and listed it below.
Federal Financial Help
According to a CBS News article, the senate is inching closer to a deal on a massive stimulus bill to respond to the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Several senate and house bills have been introduced since the spread of COVID-19. Below are some of those bills.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who introduced her own $2.5 trillion stimulus package Monday, March 23, said she was hopeful that both chambers could agree.
The GOP proposal would send checks of up to $1,200 to most taxpayers, and more for those with children, as well as extend hundreds of billions of dollars in loans and grants to companies hurt by the downturn.
State financial help
On the state level, low-interest disaster loans for small businesses and non-profits affected by coronavirus have been approved.
In a press release, the Missouri Department of Economic Development says the move makes low-interest disaster loans available to small businesses and private non-profits severely impacted by the coronavirus.
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance for each affected small business or non-profit. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
Here’s the process for accessing SBA’s Coronavirus Disaster Relief Lending:
- Applicants will be able to apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information, and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
- Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on SBA disaster assistance.
The Department of Social Services Family Support Division has been approved for a waiver from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), to extend Food Stamp/SNAP certification periods by six months for those re-certifications coming due in March, April and May.
This means that food stamps benefits will continue through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For the health and well-being of low-income Missourians who rely on Food Stamp benefits, Missouri sought changes to the administration of the Food Stamp program in this state to meet the needs of our most vulnerable citizens,” said Governor Parson. “No Missourian will have their Food Stamp benefits end for the present time, and they do not need to take any actions to ensure their benefits will continue.”
The state will also issue Pandemic Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (P-SNAP) benefits. This means all households currently eligible for SNAP will receive the maximum amount for the household size.
According to a press release, this increase will affect 310,000 Missouri households (660,000 people). For example, for a family of three under P-SNAP, the maximum allotment is $509, and for a home of four, the amount is $646.
In addition to P-SNAP, families with children eligible for free or reduced-price lunch in all Missouri school districts that close at least five consecutive days will get a Pandemic EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) (P-EBT) card benefit for March, April, and May. The amount is determined by the federal government and will be the value of the number of missed meals.
“Every Missourian must have access to food, and the Department of Social Services has taken these actions so that low-income individuals and families have what they need to make it through this critical time,” said Jennifer Tidball, acting director, Department of Social Services. “Our most vulnerable citizens in Missouri must have essential needs met to ensure they can cope with the impact of COVID-19.”
To apply for any services, click here.
The Missouri Department of Social Services has also made some policy changes to help those who use their services.
Those changes are listed below:
Missouri Medicaid-MO HealthNet
- Consistent with the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, effective immediately, the Department of Social Services will not terminate eligibility for any Medicaid participant unless the individual requests a voluntary termination of eligibility or the individual ceases to be a resident of the state through the end the federal emergency COVID-19 declaration.
- The Department of Social Services is extending 90 days of MO HealthNet coverage to Missourians ages 19-64 who test positive for COVID-19 and meet the income and resource eligibility guidelines.
- MO HealthNet is relaxing requirements related to prescription refills and prior authorizations to ensure participants have access to essential medications.
- The Medicaid Audit and Compliance Unit is expediting new provider enrollment applications and waiving certain enrollment requirements such as application fees and on-site visits to enable providers to serve Medicaid participants.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, MO HealthNet providers can use telehealth services or other alternative methods, such as Skype or Face-Time, to provide services to a MHD participant at home.
- MO HealthNet is waiving the requirement that physicians must have an established relationship with the patient before providing services via telehealth, and waiving the co-payment for any services provided by means of telehealth, during this event.
Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
- The Family Support Division is waiving all work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents for 90 days
Child Care Subsidy Program
- Child Care Subsidy benefits are extended for 90 days
- The Child Care Subsidy program will work on a case-by-case basis to approve additional hours of care for families affected by COVID-19.
- Child Care Subsidy provider application renewals are extended for 90 days.
UPDATE (3/26/2020): Senator Roy Blunt announced that legislation for phase 3 of the Commission on America’s Medical Security Act, which is a part of the Corona Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, was introduced to the senate.
Phase 3 coronavirus response helps those struggling economically during the Coronavirus pandemic. The Senate passed the CARES Act bill.
In a press release, Blunt says the bill is aimed at safeguarding America’s medical supply chain and addressing shortages due to the United States’ dependence on foreign-made medical equipment.
The CARES Act must now be passed by the House before reaching the president’s desk.
Blunt states the bipartisan Commission on America’s Medical Security Act would direct the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to:
- Assess the dependence of and vulnerabilities to the United States, including the private commercial sector, states, and federal agencies, on critical medications, medical devices, and medical equipment that are sourced from or manufactured in foreign countries;
- Provide recommendations and an action plan to improve the resiliency of the supply chain for critical drugs, devices, and equipment, including to increase domestic manufacturing capabilities, supplies, and stockpiles, and improve information collection and contingency planning; and
- Consult, in the development of its report, with federal agencies including the Departments of Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Defense, Commerce, State, Justice, and Veterans Affairs as well as public health, medical, and commercial industry stakeholders.