Important Resources and Services for Massachusetts Members

April 3, 2020

As caregivers, we are used to caring for others. But during this public health crisis, many of us need care and support as we navigate through this time. Below is a list of resources and services that will be updated regularly to ensure Massachusetts families have the support they deserve. If you have a resource or service you'd like to share, please contact Nancy Luc at Nancy.Luc@1199.org.

Medical Support
All health insurance carriers are required to provide medically necessary telehealth, testing, counseling, treatment, and vaccination (once it’s developed and available) services related to COVID-19 to all Massachusetts residents without charging copays and coinsurance or applying a deductible.

You will not be turned away from the emergency room because of your immigration status. If you are undocumented and need healthcare, you may be eligible for MassHealth Limited, which provides care for medical emergencies, including visits to an emergency room.  Public charge does not apply to MassHealth Limited. Visit the MA Connector website or call 1-800-841-2900 for English and Spanish service. Information about resources in your community for children and adults with mental health and substance use needs, please visit here.

Food Security
Many cities and towns will continue to provide free breakfast and lunch to students in their respective districts including: Boston, Brockton, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lawrence, Lowell, Medford, Revere, and Somerville. Please visit your city’s website or your city’s public school website for more details.

Housing: Moratorium on Evictions Utility Shutoffs
The Housing Court has granted a moratorium on evictions.  This will allow families to quarantine and shelter in place without disruptions. Additionally, there is a moratorium on utility shutoffs through the Department of Utilities until the state of emergency in Massachusetts is lifted.

Cash Assistance
The United Way has launched a COVID-19 Family Support Fund to provide a flexible source of cash assistance to help families weather the crisis. One-time grants of up to $2000 will be made to help families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis meet their basic food, childcare or housing needs. Individuals in Massachusetts can dial 2-1-1 for comprehensive information and referrals related to the virus, including information on where they can access flexible funds through the COVID-19 Family Support Fund.

Student Loan Assistance
If you need help navigating student loan repayment during this time, please check here.

Driver’s Licenses (RMV)
The RMV will implement a 60-day extension to the current expiration date for Class D, Class DMs, ID cards, and Learner’s Permits within the RMV system. All individuals with expired/expiring credentials dated between March 1, 2020 and April 30, 2020, will continue to have an active status until sixty (60) days after the expiration date printed on their credential. Note: this extension does not apply to immigrants whose license expiration date is their end of stay in the United States.

Public Charge and Immigration Issues
The federal government has stated that seeking testing, treatment or preventative care for coronavirus will not be used against anyone in any public charge analysis. Also, remember that public charge rules do not apply to green card holders, U.S. citizens, refugees, asylum seekers, VAWA recipients, TPS holders, or holders of a U or T visa. Also, even for people for whom public charge rules apply, many benefits, including CHIP, WIC, LiHEAP, SSDI, free school lunch, and disaster relief, are not included in public charge. You can always call Lawyers for Civil Rights’ English-Spanish public charge hotline at 617-988-0609 with any questions.

Legal Assistance
For legal assistance, call Lawyers for Civil Rights at 617-981-4308 or email office@lawyersforcivilrights.org.

Educational Resources

  1. Free Audio books from Amazon in many languages. No sign up or log in required

  2. Scholastic Home Learning. Organized by Grade. No log in or sign up required

  3. Free Google Education Apps

  4. Virtual Field Trips

  5. Khan Academy - Free. Sign-up required

  6. PBS/WGBH PK-12 Home Learning. No sign up or log in required

Union Plus Benefits
Visit the union plus website for more information on hardship help for union members. Benefits include: Financial assistance (i.e. furlough grants, layoff assistance, job loss), Homeowner Assistance (Mortgage Assistance and Save My Home Hotline), and Healthcare Assistance (Medical Bills, Disability Benefits).

Perks Connect
Get exclusive savings from popular national retailers on items you need for you and your family. You’ll also get exclusive access to local merchants right in your community and surrounding area. Browse offers by zip code and radius. Visit here for savings.