Covid-19: What to Do

1. Understand the Symptoms

Florida Dept. of Health Says: Reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed COVID-19 cases. These symptoms may appear 2–14 days after exposure:

  • Fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

If you develop these emergency warning signs for COVID-19, get medical attention immediately.

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion or inability to arouse
  • Bluish lips or face

2. How to Protect Yourself

Follow these steps to protect yourself and your community

 

  • Practice social distancing
  • Clean your hands often
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Clean and disinfect “high-touch” surfaces

 

How does the virus spread

  • Person-to-person spread
  • Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects
  • Community spread

 

More information available at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html 

 

 

3. What to Do if You're Exposed

Visit Coronavirus Self-Checker: a guide to help you make decisions and seek appropriate medical care (Source: CDC

  • Call a doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call a healthcare provider for medical advice.
  • Call 911 if you have a medical emergency: If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the operator that you have or think you might have,
    COVID-19. If possible, put on a facemask before medical help arrives.
  • Stay home except to get medical care
  • Separate yourself from other people in your home, this is known as home isolation
  • Call ahead before visiting your doctor
  • Wear a facemask if you are sick
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes
  • Wash your hands with soap and water often
  • Avoid sharing personal household items
  • Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday
  • Monitor your symptoms

 

Additional Information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html

 

Hotlines to Call if you have symptoms of CoronaVirus (COVID-19)

 

    • Call 1-866-779-6121 
    • CDC hotline 800-232-4636
    • Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET (In English or Spanish) 
    • FL Dept Of Health: 24/7 hotline: 1 (866) 779-6121 (English) or email [email protected]
 

 

 

UNEMPLOYMENT

1. You Can Apply for Unemployment:

Who can apply for unemployment in Florida?

The United States Department of Labor says anyone who meets the following criteria is eligible to apply for unemployment:

  • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work.

  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and

  • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.

How do I apply for unemployment insurance in Florida?

Apply for benefits online here:

or call 800-204-2418

Unemployment benefits in Florida last up to three months. Those eligible for benefits can collect a maximum of $275 per week. Because of COVID-19, the state of Florida is currently waiving the rule requiring people to prove they’re looking for work in order to receive state benefits.

 

Once you complete your application, you will be required to complete the following:

  • Register for work through Employ Florida
  • Review your monetary determination letter for accuracy. This letter is received after filing a claim and determines if you have enough employment to establish a claim.
  • Keep a record of your weekly job contacts and request benefits biweekly
  • Review your Home page in CONNECT to for any important messages on your account

     

What do I need to apply for unemployment insurance?

According to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, you must have the following information before you can file:

  • Social Security number (see below for paperwork required of non U.S. citizens)
  • Driver’s license or state ID number
  • Your employment for the last 18 months, including for each employer:
  • Name, address and phone number
  • First and last day of work
  • Gross earnings (before taxes are taken out) during the listed dates
  • The reason for separation
  • FEIN (this is found on any W2 or 1099 tax forms you have received)
  • If you don’t have the FEIN, you can use employer details off of a recent pay stub
  • Claims filed without correctly reporting employers may experience delays. It is important to list the correct employment information when filing your claim. If you fail to do so, your benefits may be delayed while the missing employment information is obtained.
 

Additionally, if you are one of the following, make sure you have this information available:

  • Not a U.S. citizen: Alien registration number or other work authorization form
  • Military employee: DD-214 member 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 may be used
  • Federal employee: SF 8 or SF 50
  • Union member: union name, hall number, and phone number
 

What do I need to apply for Reemployment Assistance (RA)?

 
  • RA work-search and work registration requirements waived
    • Persons filing an application for RA benefits from March 15, 2020 until May 2, 2020, will not be required to complete the work registration in Employ Florida.  
    • The work search requirement for individuals requesting benefits for the weeks of March 15, 2020 to May 2, 2020 is also waived. 
  • What about Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance? 
    • Help is on the way from Congress to add on an additional $600 per week in unemployment compensation for RA and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claimants as well as to provide additional weeks of assistance. 
    • Here is a link to the National Employment Law Project’s analysis of UI provisions in the CARES Act.
 

FOOD & OTHER ASSISTANCE

Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. 

SNAP, TANF, AND MEDICAID 

  • DCF closes offices
    • All brick-and-mortar storefronts closed as of March 18, 2020.
    • Floridians who normally apply in person should use drop-boxes at the Department’s storefront locations to turn in their applications. 
    • Applications are not accepted by phone.  
    • No plans provided yet for seniors and persons who may wish to apply for assistance during the pandemic. 
  • DCF expands call center hours. 
    • DCF has expanded call center hours from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. (EST), Monday through Friday. Call center numbers are 866-762-2237 or 850-300-4DCF. 
  • Certification periods extended by 6 months. 
    • Certification periods for cash, food and medical assistance have been extended by 6 months for individuals and families scheduled to recertify in April or May 202. 
    • Persons who were due to recertify in March must still recertify over the internet or fill out a hard copy recertification application. 
    • Individuals and families eligible for Medicaid in March do not have to recertify and their coverage should be reinstated if it was terminated during March. 
  • DCF switches to phone interviews. 
    • Phone interviews are now being used for cash and food assistance. 
  • Mandatory work requirements suspended effective immediately. 
    • Effective immediately, work requirements are waived for individuals participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program.   
  • DCF makes adjustments to reflect 2020 Federal Poverty Level (FPL). DCF has issued the transmittal governing the 2020 Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and Consolidated Need Standards (CNS) to increase the income limits for the Medicaid and Temporary Cash Assistance (TCA) Programs. DCF says that the new adjustments will be used in the determination of eligibility for pending applications and open cases effective April 1, 2020. (Access file here)


SNAP 

  • Emergency allotments to be issued. 
    • DCF has been directed by Governor DeSantis to automatically supplement SNAP allotments of current recipients up to the maximum for families of the household’s size for 2 months. 
    • DCF says that March supplements will be added on April 4, 2020, and that April supplements will be issued either on April 8th or on a family’s regular staggered issuance date. 
  • Pandemic EBT  directed by Governor.  
    • Governor DeSantis has directed DCF to provide SNAP to families whose children are eligible for free and reduced-price school lunch. 
    • Florida expects to cover more than 2.1 million children in Florida. 
  • Time limit suspended
    • The three-month time limit  on SNAP eligibility for ABAWDS  is suspended  effective April 1, 2020, until the public health emergency is lifted. 
    • DCF has not yet issued details about implementation of this suspension. 

  

SCHOOL MEALS 

  • Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner takes early steps to feed school children during school closures.  
    • Many of Florida’s low-income children will still be able to get  free and reduced-cost meals even though their schools are closed because of the pandemic. 
    • Families can locate free meals for children under 18 through the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (FDACS) Summer BreakSpot website. For most sites, no application is required.
  • Visit Free Meals for Kids or review locations on the map above.

 

MEDICAID 

  • New Policy: No Medicaid terminations from March through the end of the public health emergency. On March 31st, AHCA alerted providers that:
    • No Medicaid recipient will lose Medicaid eligibility during the COVID-19 public health emergency;
    • AHCA is working to notify recipients who may have received a termination notice in the month of March that their benefits will be reinstated; and
    • Effective with applications filed in February 2020, the time for submitting documentation required to process an application is extended for 120 days from the date of the application and eligibility will still be effective the first day of the month the application was received. 

 

Under the newly enacted Families First Coronavirus Response Act, a state is prohibited from ending coverage for recipients enrolled as of March 18th for the duration of the public health emergency if the state opts to obtain an enhanced federal Medicaid match. Florida has opted to take the enhanced match.

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