Latest News and Resources
NCDHHS Announces New Testing and Contact Tracing Tools
Resources for Renters Facing Eviction
How to Apply for Unemployment Extension
“I am about to exhaust my 12 weeks of state unemployment benefits. What do I do?”
PEUC is here to help! Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) is an extension to state unemployment insurance benefits, for benefit weeks ending Saturdays, April 4 through Dec. 26, 2020.
PEUC is made available through the federal CARES Act. Click here for more information.
- Up-to-Date Coronavirus Info from the CDC
- How to Protect Yourself
- What To Do If You Are Sick
- Online COVID-19 Screening Tool from McDowell County Emergency Services, Gateway Foundation, and Dogwood Health
- What You Can Do About Coronavirus Right Now
Where You can Get Tested for COVID-19
North Carolinians can now go online to find a testing site on the DHHS website. The list will be updated regularly as testing sites may shift in the coming weeks. There are more than 200 sample site locations in 54 North Carolina counties, some at no cost to the test taker. Doctors and clinicians may also do in-office testing.
Rapid Response Materials for Recently Laid Off/Furloughed Employees
Unemployment Insurance Info
- If you need to file for Unemployment Insurance please note that you can file 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
- Online Account Help – FAQ about Online Accounts for Unemployment
- Federal Unemployment Benefits FAQ for the Self-Employed and Independent Contractors
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, is a federal program for people:
- Who are unable to work as a direct result of COVID-19 AND
- Are not eligible for regular state unemployment benefits, such as independent contractors or self employed workers.
Apply at des.nc.gov
- If you are an independent contractor or self-employed worker who was laid off or had your hours reduced due to COVID-19, the online benefits system will determine whether you are eligible for state unemployment or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance through a single application.
- If you applied and were denied for state unemployment benefits before April 24, we may need additional information to determine whether you are eligible for PUA. Sign into your online account and click on the Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance link to complete the process.
- If your claim is listed as ‘pending,’ we are still reviewing your eligibility for state unemployment benefits. You may not apply for PUA while your claim is pending.
- If you are currently receiving state unemployment benefits, you are not eligible for PUA.
If there are no issues with your claim, payment should be issued
approximately 14 days after you file for PUA.
To receive payments, you must complete a Weekly Certification for every week you file for benefits. In your Weekly Certification, report any wages you earned during that week.
For benefit weeks ending April 4 through July 25, 2020, an additional $600 in weekly Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation will be paid with your PUA benefits. You do not need to apply separately for these payments.
Any benefits owed for previous weeks will be paid retroactively.
Tips for Applying for PUA
Upload all necessary documents, such as proof of income or proof of medical diagnosis, with your application before you click ‘Submit.’
If you do not have your documents when you start your application, you can save your work and come back to it when you are ready to submit all of your information.
Complete your Weekly Certifications for every week you are filing for benefits.
A Weekly Certification is a series of yes/no questions that helps determine your eligibility for benefits each week. If you do not complete a Weekly Certification, you will not be considered for payment.
Log into your online account to complete your Weekly Certification. If you do not have online access, call 888-372-3453 (Weekly Certifications only).
Click here for a PDF of this information
To Apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, click here
On March 27, the Senate passed a roughly $2 trillion coronavirus response bill intended to speed relief across the American economy.
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.
- 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.
Regional Farmers’ Markets
Governor Roy Cooper has announced 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.
Meals for Kids in North Carolina During COVID-19 School Closures
- Rutherford County School System
- McDowell County School System
- Cleveland County Schools System
- Polk County Schools System
Food Benefits and Resources During COVID-19 (en español)
Coping During COVID-19
- Coping During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
- Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health: Tips for Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Social Isolation During Infectious Disease Outbreaks
- How to Cope With Anxiety About Coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Staying Connected While Keeping Your Distance
- Legal Aid – Variety of resources on topics including court information, evictions, and foreclosures, food bank information, Marketplace coverage, and much more.
- TWSA and Duke Energy Suspend Service Disconnections
- Expensify to Reimburse Families in Need During COVID-19 Crisis
- Lost Work Because Of Coronavirus? How To Get Unemployment, Skip Loan Payments And More
Red Cross Resources
“You can still go out and give blood. We’re worried about potential blood shortages in the future. Social distancing does not have to mean social disengagement.” – U.S. Surgeon General
- The Health of Communities Depends on Blood Donors – Schedule an Appointment to Give in the Weeks to Come
- What You Should Do If Caring for Someone with Coronavirus
- Coronavirus – How to Talk to Your Kids
- How Young Adults Can Stay Safe from COVID-19
- Coronavirus: Safety Tips for You
- Coronavirus – What Social Distancing Means
- Coronavirus: Practice Cooking Safety While Staying at Home
- Steps to Help Protect Against Coronavirus COVID-19
- Coping with Sheltering at Home during COVID-19
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.
Information for Older Adults
All Congregate/Nutrition centers across the region are closed. Take-out options as well as home delivered food 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.
- Cleveland County Senior Center – (704) 482-3488
- McDowell County Senior Center – (828) 659-0821
- Polk County Senior Center – (828) 894-0001
- Rutherford County Senior Center – (828) 287-6409
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
- Checklist for Nursing Homes and other Long-Term Care Settings
- Strategies to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Long-Term Care Facilities
- Things Long-Term Care Facilities Should Do Now
- Interim COVID-19 Guidance for Homeless Shelters and Service Providers
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.
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 email@example.com. To receive daily local COVID alerts, please text your zip code to 888777.
Resources for Individual Workers
- Day One Disaster Relief – Microgrants to individuals for loss of income as a result of businesses closing. Rapid Response to COVID-19 in NC.
- NC Artist Relief Fund
- Livestock and Poultry Farmers
- Migrant Farm Workers
Resources for Service, Restaurant, and Hospitality Industry Workers
- Service Industry Workers Advocates of North Carolina Inc. (SIWANC).
- NC Restaurant Workers Relief Fund.
- Restaurant Employee Relief Fund
- Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.
- Restaurant Opportunity Centers Disaster Relief Fund
- James Beard Foundation: Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund
- Another Round Another Rally