PSA – COVID-19 Help.

We take a break from our regular Car Club news and offer some information that we feel might/could help our members and every Florida resident. This information was emailed to us by a Florida Representative. Please, inform yourself as to what our government is doing to help.

Our nation is currently facing one of the gravest health and economic emergencies in over a century. The coronavirus pandemic has deeply impacted every aspect of American life, and critical action is required to address the public health emergency, mitigate the economic damage, and prepare for a strong recovery.

Since the beginning of the epidemic, my colleagues and I have worked hard to ensure our nation’s response puts the needs of workers and families first. We have already passed and signed three historic pieces of legislation:

  • The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act
  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

Below, please find a resource toolkit that will help you understand and access the benefits that are availability to you, your family, and your community.

Direct Payments to Individuals & Their Families

A large piece of the economic relief package is dedicated to providing direct payments to workers and families so they can have the funds they need to stay afloat as we navigate this public health emergency.

Here’s what this may mean for you:

  • $1,200 for each adult individual ($2,400 for joint filers), and $500 per qualifying child under age 17.
  • The advance payment of rebates is reduced by $5 for every $100 of income to the extent a taxpayer’s income exceeds $150,000 for a joint filer, $112,500 for a head of household filer, and $75,000 for anyone else (including single filers).
  • The IRS will work to deliver rebates quickly in the form of advance payments. For people who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, payment processing will be based on payment or address information already on file with the IRS.

Our team will push to make sure the Administration implements the CARES Act fairly and efficiently so Floridians can get relief as quickly as they can.

Find more information on the available direct rebates to workers and families here.

Unemployment Benefits

As COVID-19 continues to spread, many people will face the prospect of losing income or even jobs as a result of quarantines, illness or caring for loved ones. Unemployment claims are skyrocketing, and there are immediate actions we must take to help those losing their jobs during this crisis. I’ve called on Florida state government to increase the abysmal $275/week unemployment benefit, the lowest in the country, and address the serious flaws in Florida’s inadequate employment benefits system.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Check your eligibility, even if you haven’t been technically laid off. You may still be eligible for unemployment if you’ve lost work due to COVID-19.
  • At this time, people can receive their unemployment for up to 16 weeks. Your insurance amount will vary based upon the amount you previously earned, but it will between $122 and $488 per week.
  • However, emergency unemployment insurance will soon be increasing due to the passage of the CARES Act. Here’s what this may soon mean for you:
    • $600 a week in addition to other unemployment insurance (UI) benefits for 4 months.
    • Temporary unemployment insurance program for part-time, self-employed, gig economy, and other workers excluded from regular UI through December 31, 2020
    • 13 additional weeks of unemployment benefits through December 31, 2020
    • Provides federal funding for states to waive waiting weeks through December 31, 2020
    • Full federal funding for existing Short-Term Compensation (STC) programs, 50% federal funding for states beginning STC programs, and $100 million in grants to states through December 31, 2020.
    • Our team will push to make sure the Administration implements the CARES Act fairly and efficiently so Floridians can get relief as quickly as they can.

You can find more information about Florida unemployment benefits here.

If you have any questions about unemployment insurance, please call the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity at 800-204-2418.

Help for Freelancers, Contractors, and Gig-workers

If you are a government contractor, there are a number of ways that Congress has provided relief and protection for your business. Agencies will be able to modify terms and conditions of a contract and to reimburse contractors at a billing rate of up to 40 hours per week of any paid leave, including sick leave. The contractors eligible are those whose employees or subcontractors cannot perform work on site and cannot telework due to federal facilities closing because of COVID-19.

If you need additional assistance, please reach out to your local Small Business Development Center, Women’s Business Center, SCORE chapter, or SBA District Office. You should also work with your agency’s contracting officer, as well as the agency’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).

Food Assistance and Food Banks

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP): Congress has now secured $850 million in emergency funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help food banks face increased utilization and demand in countless communities across the country due to the coronavirus.

To find food assistance near you, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1877-8-HAMBRE.

Food Distribution Events:

Homestead Soup Kitchen

105 S.W. 3rd Ave.,Homestead, FL 33090


Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays

12 PM to 1PM

To go

Florida City Neighborhood Center
1600 NW 6th Ct., Florida City, FL 33034305-247-2068Food Drive, Mondays and Thursdays9AM to 12 PM

Open to all


Naranja Neighborhood Center

13955 SW 264th Street, Miami, FL, 33032


Thursdays 9AM, open to everyone

Tuesdays/Wednesdays 11 to 1PM, students ages 5-18 (student must be present)


Perrine CAA

17801 Homestead Avenue, Miami, FL, 33157


Thursday, April 2

9AM to 12PM

Open to all

71.9 percent of students in Florida public schools receive free or reduced-price lunches. Here are some resources you and your family can access for food support:

  • Miami-Dade County Public Schools will be providing free hot grab-and-go meals for both breakfast and lunch to all students between 9 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Meals will also be given to the families of students, as needed. Students can visit their enrolled school or their neighborhood school to collect the meals.

Parents can take advantage of Florida’s Summer BreakSpot program, activated by Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried. The program has more than 934 sites across the state that serve meals to school age children. Visit, enter your address, and search up to 50 miles to find participating free meal locations near you.

You can find more resources for you and your family here.


Homeowner & Renters Protections

  • Mortgage Forbearance: Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages (for members of federally-recognized tribes) and those with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac have the right to request forbearance on their payments for up to 6 months, with a possible extension for another 6 months without fees, penalties, or extra interest. Homeowners should contact their mortgage servicing company directly.
  • Eviction Protections: Renters residing in public or assisted housing, or in a home or apartment whose owner has a federally-backed mortgage, and who are unable to pay their rent, are protected from eviction for 4 months. Property owners are also prohibited from issuing a 30-day notice to a tenant to vacate a property until after the 4-month moratorium ends. This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and federally-issued or guaranteed mortgages. Renters whose landlord is not abiding by the moratorium should contact the relevant federal agency that administers their housing program or their local Legal Aid office.

Emergency Paid Leave

Paid sick leave is critical to individuals and families in South Florida. I was proud to see expanded paid sick and family leave in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and CARES Act. The single most effective way to contain the spread of the virus is to ensure that people who may have come into contact with the virus do not interact with others. We cannot make Americans choose between staying healthy and receiving a paycheck.

Here’s what you need to know:

Get more information about paid leave here.

Options for Small Businesses

I have been hearing from small business owners and entrepreneurs about the negative impact that this pandemic is having on their bottom line, and I urge them to reach out to SBA disaster assistance customer service center immediately.

The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just signed into law are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. These include:

  • Small Business Administration loans
  • Small business tax provisions
  • The Florida Emergency Bridge Loan Program.

You can find more information about options for small businesses and a listing for upcoming tutorials and webinars related to business recovery here.

Student Loan Relief for Borrowers

If you have student loan debt, Congress secured several options outlined below for borrowers that help provide relief through September 30, 2020 (if you want to refinance your student loans visit here). During this period, a borrower will be able to:

  • Pause payments for federal student loan borrowers who have Direct Loans and FederalFamily Education Loan (FFEL), which means these borrowers will not be required to make any payments toward outstanding interest or principal balance.
  • Suspend interest accrual for such loans so that these balances don’t accrue.
  • Avoid forced collections such as garnishment of wages, tax refunds, & Social Security benefits.
  • Halt negative credit reporting.
  • Ensure a borrower continues to receive credit toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Driven Repayment forgiveness, and loan rehabilitation.

For additional guidance on how to apply and learn about next steps as this critical relief becomes available, please refer to the U.S. Department of Education website.


Congress provided robust emergency funding to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the equipment, tests, and support services – including setting up temporary care sites, mobile treatment centers and increasing telehealth visits to allow more veterans to get care at home – necessary to provide veterans with the additional care they need. For further guidance as this funding and initiatives are implemented, please refer to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Find out more here.


Testing and Treatment

I urge everyone in South Florida to follow CDC guidance to assist in mitigating the spread of COVID-19. I am also encouraging everyone, regardless of immigration status, to call their doctor immediately and seek medical assistance should they be exposed to or exhibit symptoms of COVID-19.

ICE Check-Ins and Appointments

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has recently changed their policies in light of the spread of COVID-19. As a result, some appointments may be rescheduled and/or postponed.

Please call the ICE Field Office – Miramar at (954) 843-5800 for further information.

USCIS Appointments

On March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) temporarily suspended in-person services at its field offices, asylum offices, and Application Support Centers in order to preserve safety and the mitigate the effects of COVID-19. USCIS will continue to provide limited emergency services.

USCIS field offices will send notices to applicants and petitioners with scheduled appointments and naturalization ceremonies impacted by the extended closure. USCIS asylum offices will send interview cancellation notices and automatically reschedule asylum interviews. When the interview is rescheduled, asylum applicants will receive a new interview notice with the new time, date and location of the interview.

Please call the USCIS Contact Center for questions or concerns at 800-375-5283, or visit

Important Travel Updates

This morning, the State Department issued an updated Level 4 Global Health Advisory as of yesterday. You can read the advisory here.

U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all international travel.

Anyone outside of the country should make plans to return “immediately.”  The State Department is arranging limited flights to the United States from countries across the globe. However, these flights will cease in the coming weeks and Americans abroad will be advised to shelter in place.

If you are abroad:

The State Department is encouraging all citizens abroad to register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive information about their destinations, updates about travel restrictions, and flights to the United States. The STEP program can be found here:

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Additionally, the State Department has created a 24-hour hotline to address travel restrictions. Citizens abroad are encouraged to call the hotline to notify the State Department of their current status and to assist in arranging a flight home. The hotline may be reach at the following numbers:

  • Callers located in the U.S. and Canada: 1-888-407-4747
  • Callers located overseas: 1-202-501-4444

Finally, the State Department is advising citizens abroad to contact their closest American consulate for additional information.

CDC guidance for travelers can be found here:


On my website, you can find important resources and information you may need concerning:

For the latest information about keeping you or your family safe go to For resources and information about Florida’s response, visit

Congress’s work does not end here. While the CARES Act provides meaningful funding for millions of Americans, it is not perfect. Please know that I will continue to fight for protections for workers, families, and those in need. There is still much to be done. If you would to stay updated on how COVID-19 is affecting Florida and what my office is doing to combat it, please subscribe to my newsletter here. You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter, where I will be providing frequent updates on the situation.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or need help. You can call my office in Florida at (305) 222-0160 or my office in DC at (202) 225-2778. We will get through this time, together, South Florida strong.

Help is here. And if you are a SSP member remember we are all family. If we can help. We will.

I hope this information is helpful to you and remember, social distancing and stay healthy!