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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-05)

Saturday, May 2, 2020

 

Dear Constituent—

I want to provide you with regular updates on the coronavirus.

The coronavirus pandemic is developing very quickly, and I know many people have questions and concerns. I will try to answer some of them below.

Last week, I hosted a telephone townhall to share and discuss actions by Congress to support Michigan families, seniors and small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. If you missed it, you can listen here.

These are incredibly stressful times for all Michiganders. I am working, along with my staff, around the clock, seven days a week to answer your questions, provide community resources and provide up-to-date, accurate information. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office anytime by calling (810) 238-8627.

Last week, I voted in favor of a bipartisan agreement to provide additional relief for small businesses, support hospitals and expand coronavirus testing. This is the fourth bill enacted by Congress in the last six weeks to help provide relief during this pandemic. On Friday, April 24, President Trump signed this bill into law. Ths bill includes support:

  • For small businesses: Democrats have strengthened the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with $310 billion in additional funding, including $30 billion reserved for community-based lenders, small banks and credit unions and $30 billion for medium-sized banks and credit unions. We are expanding small business support beyond PPP by securing $50 billion for SBA disaster lending, translating into more than $350 billion in loans, and $10 billion in SBA disaster grants. We have also secured strong protections to ensure that our nation’s farmers have access to this vital assistance.
  • For hospitals and health care workers: Democrats have secured $75 billion to provide resources to the frontlines, including Personal Protective Equipment.
  • For all Americans: We have secured $25 billion for testing, which is the key to reopening the economy and resuming our lives. 

WASHINGTON UPDATE

This week, I introduced new legislation to expand unemployment insurance for American workers. This new legislation would address gaps in coverage for those who are willing and able to work, but who are unable to maintain employment due to the global public health crisis. For more information, visit here.

New Information from IRS on Cash Payments: The IRS has begun distributing payments, beginning with individuals that have direct deposit already on file. These payments are distributed automatically, with no action required for most people. Social Security and Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file to receive a payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts. For more information, visit here.

Individuals that receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will also automatically receive their cash payments. For individuals with no qualifying children, these payments will be automatically deposited by early May. The Social Security Adminisistration has posted a fact sheet with detailed information for Social Security and SSI recipients for more information, visit here,

The IRS launched a new web tool to allow individuals who were not required to file a 2019 tax return to securly provide their bank information in order to receive their cash payments. For taxpayers who did file 2018 or 2019 taxes but do not have direct deposit information on file, the IRS relased a new tool for those individuals to enter that information as well as track the status of their cash payments.

VA and SSI beneficiaries who have qualifying children under age 17 and do not normally file income taxes should provide direct deposit information through the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info tool by May 5 to recieve the $500 payment per child along with the $1,200 individual payment. More information can be found here.

The Secret Service is working with the Treasury Department to highlight what a legitimate cash payment check should look like in order to protect individuals from becoming victims of counterfeiters. Information on the features of a legitimate check can be found here.

Learn About and Report Coronavirus-Related Scams: The U.S. Treasury has set up a website where you can learn about ongoing coronavirus IRS related scams, along with new information about scams that may be still be out there. It also allows you to make a claim for lost money if you have been a victim of coronavirus IRS related scams. For more information, visit here. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also has a series of resources to help avoid scams that prey on individuals who need help during quarantine. For more information, visit here.

On April 19, I led a letter to the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), along with other members of Michigan’s congressional delegation, expressing concern that Michigan, despite having one of the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases and the second-most filed unemployment claims in the nation, ranks in the bottom third of states when it comes to small businesses’ ability to access emergency loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. For more information, visit here.

On March 27, I voted in support of, and the President signed into law the CARES Act. The CARES Act goes a long way in providing immediate economic relief to workers, small businesses and our frontline hospitals and health care workers. More information can be found here. A full summary of the bill can be found here, a summary of the funding provisions can be found here and a more in depth section-by-section can be found here.

Congress has also passed the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act and the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to help families and health care facilities respond to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Coronavirus Testing: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has launched a website and app with a coronavirus screening tool and resources to help people protect their health.  The website can be found here and the app can be accessed here. 

MICHIGAN UPDATE

Governor Whitmer Signs New Executive Orders to Save Lives, Protect Michiganders: Governor Whitmer extended her executive order mandating all Michigan families and non-essential businesses and operations to stay home through May 15, the Governor also extended the state of emergency for the state to May 28. More information can be found here.

Coronavirus Testing: The Rite Aid at 9090 Miller Road in Swartz Creek is now offering coronavirus testing. Testing will be available at no cost to individuals who meet the criteria established by the CDC (Priority 1 & 2 patients), provide a government-issued ID, are 18 years or older, and pre-register online at www.riteaid.com to schedule a time slot for testing. The site will be open for testing 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., seven days a week, with approximately 200 tests conducted each day.

Hurley Medical Center staff are offering appointment-only coronavirus drive-through testing at Kettering University’s Atwood Stadium in Flint. Testing is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and will run as long as state and medical officials deem it necessary. Individuals must call Hurley’s hotline at (810) 262-3685 to get an appointment for the testing and meet Michigan’s statewide testing criteria. More information can be found here. 

Michigan Launches Virtual Food Bank: The Food Bank Council of Michigan is partnering with the Aging & Adult Services Agency of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to deliver food to those in need. Seniors in need of food support can sign up for assistance, including meal delivery, delivery of non-perishable food items, and daily wellness-check calls, through the MDHHS coronavirus website, or by contacting their local Area Agency on Aging. More information on the virtual food bank can be found here. 

Unemployment Insurance Benefits: During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment eligibility has been expanded to include those who are sick or caring for a family member as well as self-employed, contracted, and gig economy workers. Michigan’s self-employed workers, gig workers, 1099-independent contractors and low-wage workers can apply for federal benefits. Those eligible for these benefits should apply online at www.Michigan.gov/UIA or call 866-500-0017. Customers are encouraged to follow a filing schedule based on last name and use off-peak times (8 p.m. – 8 a.m). The UIA announced new resources to help workers resolve online technical issues with their account. More information can be found here.

Governor Whitmer has expanded the state’s workshare program, offering more tools to employers to reduce layoffs, and extended unemployment benefits to workers who left a job after accepting new employment but were unable to start their new position due to the pandemic.

Flint Cares Help Centers: The city of Flint is offering resources and services including bottled water and food assistance. Services will continue to be provided from two semi-trailers staged in church parking lots across the city to distribute items directly to cars as residents drive through. For more information please call 810-410-2020 or visit here. The locations are provided below:

Mondays 10AM- 2:00PM : Bethel United Methodist Church, 1309 N.Ballenger Hwy, Flint, MI 40504

Tuesdays 10AM – 2:00PM : Ashbury United Methodist Church, 1653 Davison Rd. Flint, MI 48506

Thursdays 10AM – 2:00PM : Greater Holy Temple Church of God in Christ, 6702 N. Dort Hwy Flint, MI 48505

Governor Whitmer Signs Executive Order Protecting Workers Who Stay Home, Stay Safe When They or Their Close Contacts Are Sick: On April 3, the Governor signed Executive Order 2020-36, prohibiting all employers from discharging, disciplining, or otherwise retaliating against an employee for staying home from work if they or one of their close contacts tests positive for coronavirus or has symptoms of the disease. More information can be found here.

The Governor Signed Executive Order Banning Entry Into Healthcare Facilities: The Governor has established temporary restictions on entry into healthcare facilies, residential care facilities, congregate care facilities, and juvenile justice facilities, through May 3.

Map of Coronavirus Cases in Michigan: An up-to-date map of coronavirus cases in Michigan, provided by the Michigan State Police, can be viewed here.

Help With Consumers Energy Bill: If you are having trouble paying for your Consumers Energy bill, they have set up a webpage to help you understand your options. You can also call 1-800-477-5050. If you are a small business, you can call 1-800-805-0490 or can reach out to businesscenter@cmsenergy.com.
 

Track Your Credit Score: In order to help individuals track the impact that the current crisis may have on their credit score, Experian, Equifax and TransUnion have combined to offer individuals a free credit report every week for the next year. Reports are available here.

MIL OSI USA News