What you need to know regarding how you can access resources from the U.S. government

Below is information on how to access some of the resources that are being made available by the U.S. government during the colonialvirus pandemic. The resources hoarded by the U.S. government are stolen from African people, based on hundreds of years of enslaved and exploited labor and colonization.

The $1,200 Relief Checks

  • Taxpayers making up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income will receive $1,200 checks, and $500 for each child. Married couples making $150,000 and below will receive $2,400.
  • Individuals who file taxes are expected to get a check starting in three weeks. If you already filed taxes with direct deposit, the money will be deposited in your account. Otherwise, checks will come in the mail.
  • If you are on Social Security or otherwise don’t earn in income, you still qualify for the relief payments. That is as long as your total income does not exceed the income thresholds mentioned above. You must have a social security number.

Expanded Unemployment Benefits

Unemployment insurance is given to jobless workers who qualify under their state’s requirements. Typically, unemployment benefits are calculated based on your previous income and pay you a portion of your past earnings for a set period of time. Unemployment insurance benefits are determined by your state based on federal guidelines, but states use different formulas to determine how much you’ll receive.

The CARES Act significantly expands existing unemployment benefits in three ways:

  • Recipients receive an extra $600 per week
    • Those approved for unemployment insurance will receive an extra $600 each week on top of the benefits they get from their state.
    • If you are already approved for unemployment insurance from your state’s labor department, you won’t have to do anything to receive the extra $600 per week. If you are not already enrolled and approved for benefits in your state, you must do so to be eligible under the new provisions. This benefit began on March 27, 2020 and will last until July 31, 2020. Contact your state’s labor department for state-specific information.
  • More U.S. workers are eligible for benefits
    • Through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, the CARES Act expands the list of eligible recipients, adding those who may not typically be eligible for unemployment insurance. The following workers could now be eligible to receive state unemployment benefits, as well as the extra $600 per week:
      • Self-employed
      • Independent contractors
      • Furloughed workers
      • Employees of religious institutions
      • Workers and caregivers affected by the Coronavirus
    • If you’re newly eligible for unemployment benefits under PUA, you can find your state’s unemployment office at the U.S. department of labor’s unemployment benefits finder page. Here you’ll get links to resources on what you need to do to apply for benefits. Once approved, you will begin to receive both state and federal benefits
  • Benefit time extended for some
    • For anyone who exhausts their unemployment benefits (most states offer 26 weeks of unemployment benefits), the CARES Act makes them eligible for an extra 13 weeks of state benefits, as well as the additional $600 provided by the federal stimulus.

SNAP (aka Food Stamps)

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is a federal food program. If you’re eligible, you can purchase food using benefits that are issued to you monthly. SNAP benefits can be used to buy a variety of foods for your household, including fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, breads and cereals. To determine if you are eligible, you must meet certain requirements. States can use your resources, such as money in the bank, and income limits to decide if you qualify for SNAP. Find the online application for your state, local office addresses, and phone numbers. You may also apply in person at a state or local office.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)

TANF is a federally funded, state-run program, also known as welfare. Each state or tribal territory decides who is eligible for financial help, services or other benefits. You must be a resident of the state where you are applying. To sign up for temporary benefits, you can apply at your local or county social services agency, or call your state TANF office for your local contact information.

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