COVID-19 Individual Resources

Protect Yourself

Rapid Response Materials for Recently Laid Off/Furloughed Employees

Unemployment Insurance Info

If you need to file for Unemployment Insurance due to being let go or having your hours reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, please note that you can file for Unemployment Insurance via phone at (888-737-0259), or online.

Information Sheet on Filing for Unemployment Insurance

More information on Unemployment Resources.

Frequently asked Questions and Information related to COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance for Individuals

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance 

Independent contractors and self-employed workers are not typically eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. However, these individuals may qualify for federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance available as a result of COVID-19. The Division of Employment Security is awaiting guidance from the federal government to implement the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

CARES Act and What It Means for You

On March 27, the Senate passed a roughly $2 trillion coronavirus response bill intended to speed relief across the American economy. This is the third aid package from Congress and is meant to keep businesses and individuals afloat during an unprecedented freeze on the majority of American life.

The bill includes several elements aimed at helping keep people engaged in the economy. That means direct cash for many, plus expanded unemployment benefits and new rules for things like filing your taxes and making retirement contributions.

  • Cash payments: Most individuals earning less than $75,000 can expect a one-time cash payment of $1,200. Married couples would each receive a check and families would get $500 per child. That means a family of four earning less than $150,000 can expect $3,400. The checks start to phase down after that and disappear completely for people making more than $99,000 and couples making more than $198,000. The cash payments are based on either your 2018 or 2019 tax filings. People who receive Social Security benefits but don’t file tax return are still eligible, too. They don’t need to file taxes; their checks will be based on information provided by the Social Security Administration.
  • Extra unemployment payments: This bill adds $600 per week from the federal government on top of whatever base amount a worker receives from the state. That boosted payment will last for four months. For example, if an out-of-work person is receiving the national average of about $340 per week, under the new federal program their take-home pay will be $940. The legislation also adds 13 weeks of unemployment insurance. People nearing the maximum number of weeks allowed by their state would get an extension. New filers would also be allowed to collect the benefits for the longer period. The bill makes major changes to unemployment assistance, increasing the benefits and broadening who is eligible. States will still continue to pay unemployment to people who qualify. That amount varies state by state, as does the amount of time people are allowed to claim it.
  • Gig workers and freelancers: Typically, self-employed people, freelancers and contractors can’t apply for unemployment. This bill creates a new, temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through the end of this year to help people who lose work as a direct result of the public health emergency.
  • Tax returns: Some people have not filed their 2019 tax returns, but that’s OK. The filing deadline has been extended to July 15. The IRS also says that people who have filed or plan to can still expect to receive a refund if they are owed one.
  • Student loans: Employers can provide up to $5,250 in tax-free student loan repayment benefits. That means an employer could contribute to loan payments and workers wouldn’t have to include that money as income.
  • Student loans: Employers can provide up to $5,250 in tax-free student loan repayment benefits. That means an employer could contribute to loan payments and workers wouldn’t have to include that money as income.
    
  • Insurance coverage: The bill requires all private insurance plans to cover COVID-19 treatments and vaccine and makes all coronavirus tests free.
  • Temporary student loan relief: All loan and interest payments would be deferred through Sept. 30 without penalty to the borrower for all federally owned student loans.
  • Work-study funds: It allows schools to turn unused work-study funds into supplemental grants and continue paying work-study wages while schools are suspended.

Call North Carolina 2-1-1

NC 2-1-1 is an information and referral service that families and individuals can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services resources within their community. NC 2-1-1 operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year and resources are available in most languages. Call 2-1-1.

NC Texting Tool to Access Food for Children

Governor Roy Cooper announced today that parents who need food assistance for their children can text FOODNC to 877-877 to locate nearby free meal sites. The texting service is also available in Spanish by texting COMIDA to 877-877.

After entering their address, parents will receive a text with the location and serving times for nearby pick-up and drive-thru free meal sites while schools are closed. Sites have been set up across the state for families with children ages 18 and younger, including preschool children, who rely on free and reduced-price meals at school.

Additionally, No Kid Hungry has created a map of local school sites, community organizations and food assistance programs across North Carolina where families can access food. The interactive map can be viewed at nokidhungrync.org/covid19/ and is updated daily.

Coping During COVID-19

Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Homeless Shelters and Service Providers

Click here to learn more.

NCDHHS Calls for Healthcare Volunteers

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) is calling for health care volunteers to assist with the COVID-19 response. They are seeking volunteers in the following areas:

  • Clinical (physicians, advanced care providers, nurses, EMS)
  • Clinical Support (pharmacy, imaging and respiratory care)
  • Non-clinical support (facility maintenance, safety, and administrative)

In her letter, Secretary Mandy Cohen says, “With the virus now spreading in North Carolina, we need to bolster our health care system to ensure we can care for those impacted by the virus. A crucial part of that effort is recruiting volunteers to supplement our health care workforce.”

The full letter is available HERE.

You can register to volunteer through the NC Training, Exercise, and Response Management System (NC TERMS) HERE. Step-by-step instructions how to register in NC TERMS are available HERE.

Information for Older Adults

All Congregate/Nutrition centers across the region are closed for at least the next 2 weeks. The situation will be reassessed at that time. Take-out options as well as home delivered options vary per county. 

If you are in need of assistance, please call your local senior center for information or the Area Agency on Aging at (828)-287-2281.

Mountain Projects – (828) 452-1447 or (828) 356 2800. The national Disaster Distress Helpline 24/7/365 crisis counseling & emotional support continues to be available for anyone experiencing distress or other mental health concerns during the ongoing COVID-19 infectious disease outbreak. Call 1-800-985-5990 (press “2” for Spanish) or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to access this service.

Resources for Long-Term Care Facilities

Rutherford County Strike Team for COVID-19 Patients

The Rutherford County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has developed unique medical strike teams to check in on patients suffering from COVID-19. It is the best medical practice for patients to isolate at home and treat with fluids, an anti-fever medication such as Tylenol, and rest.

However, with several high risk populations, Rutherford County wants to provide special focus on their needs. Each Strike Team consists of one or two paramedics or EMT’s who will provide a follow up well check via phone or in person of COVID-19 patients that are under self-isolation protocols. They will also perform vital sign checks on these patients and work closely with Rutherford Regional Health System’s providers to utilize telemedicine services if needed. The EOC in conjunction with Rutherford Regional Medical Center, will stay in contact with these patients to monitor how they are progressing. If a patient become critical, EMS will transport them to Rutherford Regional for additional resources. Frequency of contact will depend on availability of medical resources and the total number of patients.

EMS Director, Kerry Giles stated, “We are excited to launch this resource that is mirrored after our Community Paramedic program. Not only will the teams be monitoring the health of the patients, but we will also be working with community partners to access any food or medical needs for these patients which allows the individuals in the home to remain in quarantine. Keeping COVID-19 patients and other family members in quarantine limits additional exposure to citizens and further protects our community.”

The Health Department is continuing to test qualified individuals for COVID-19 per CDC guidelines and are also operating a COVID-19 Medical Screening Hotline at (828) 289-1185 which operates 8AM – 5PM, 7 days per week.

If you have any further questions you may contact the Public Information Officer at covid19@rutherfordcountync.gov. To receive daily local COVID alerts, please text your zip code to 888777.

Resources for Individual Workers

Resources for Service, Restaurant, and Hospitality Industry Workers