As we continue to adhere to and encourage our community members to follow safe social distancing guidelines, AMPHS has created a virtual community center to provide an accessible, safe, and regular forum for all members of our community to continue accessing important information, alerts, services, and means of communicating with AMPHS while at home. Our virtual community center allows our community members to reach us directly via virtual chat and our weekly Facebook Live session, and also allows easy access to our weekly newsletters. As usual, our phone lines are also available Tuesday-Saturday from 10AM-6PM to respond to any of your questions or concerns. As of today, there were 138,836 cases of COVID-19 in NYS and 72,324 cases in NYC. Here are some of the latest COVID-19 updates:
New York ON PAUSE
How long will New York “ON PAUSE” last?
The governor announced that this executive order will continue and all non-essential business must remain closed until at least April 29th.
How is the city enforcing social distancing?
The NYPD is now actively enforcing social distancing, meaning that people who do not follow the directions of police to disperse may be subject to a $500-$1000 fine.
NEW GUIDANCE ON FACE COVERINGS
What is the recommendation for using face coverings?
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene recommends that ALL New Yorkers wear a face covering when outside of their home to help stop the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A face covering is any well-secured paper or cloth (like a bandana or scarf) that covers your mouth and nose.
What type of face covering is better — paper or cloth?
Either paper or cloth face covering is fine — as long as you are covering your nose and mouth. However, the Department of Healths asks that you do not overstock paper masks, especially medical grade masks, such as N95 masks or surgical masks. These masks are in very short supply and our health care providers need masks to stay healthy and to care for the most critically ill. Health care workers cannot keep distance from others, avoid sick people, or avoid contact with others’ bodily fluid such as saliva, so it is essential that we reserve masks for them.
Why is the Department of Health recommending this now?
There is a lot the DOH is still learning about COVID-19. However, there is increased evidence that people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus, and that droplets produced when breathing, speaking, or singing may spread COVID-19 from person to person. The DOH continues to think staying home and practicing physical distancing and good hand hygiene are the most important ways to stop the spread of COVID-19. By recommending that New Yorkers use a face covering, they are adding one more thing that may help reduce the spread, especially from people who are sick and do not know it yet.
Are there any recommendations for domestic travel?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a travel advisory urging residents of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut to avoid out-of-state travel for 14 days due to the spread of the coronavirus
Has the date for the presidential primary been affected by COVID-19?
Yes, the governor has moved the presidential primary election from April 28 to June 23.
How are seniors receiving their meals?
As of March 30, 2020, all senior centers are now providing meals through direct delivery. Call 311 for more information.
I am in need of a job, are there any jobs I can apply for during this crisis?
- The City of New York is hiring licensed TLC drivers to deliver food to New Yorkers in need during the COVID-19 crisis. This work will be paid $15/hour plus reimbursement for gas and tolls. Drivers will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis. The initial need for drivers will be small, but we expect it to increase as we expand our programs. Drivers who register to participate in the NYC Food Delivery program must: be licensed TLC Drivers, be at least 18 years or older, be eligible to work in the United States, have a valid Social Security number, and be able to perform heavy physical labor. For more information, click here.
- The city’s Workforce1 Career Center launched a Virtual Center (or call 718-960-2458) to help New Yorkers prepare for, and connect to, jobs across New York City’s five boroughs and in every sector of the economy. Through the Virtual Workforce1 Career Center system, candidates can be connected via web or phone to one-on-one help from professionals who can help them with job opportunities, individual career advisement, resume & interview preparation and training. Current employment opportunities include Stop & Shop, Fresh Direct & PBM Guardian Industry Services.
Can I use my EBT card to pay for groceries that I buy online?
Participating online stores now accept SNAP benefits for online orders and will deliver to you. Use your EBT card to shop securely for fresh produce and groceries at these participating stores in the New York City area: Amazon, ShopRite and Walmart. Visit these online retailers to order your groceries online. However, SNAP benefits cannot be used to pay delivery fees. Be sure to confirm an online store delivers to your home address. Click here for more information.
Are businesses allowed to overcharge for any good or service needed to limit the spread of COVID-19? What should I do if a store is overcharging?
- It is ILLEGAL for stores to overcharge you. On March 16, the NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) announced an emergency rule that makes price gouging illegal for any personal or household good or any service that is needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat the new coronavirus (COVID-19). Examples include: cleaning products, diagnostic products and services, disinfectants (wipes, liquids, sprays), face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, medicines, paper towels, rubbing alcohol, soap and tissues.
- Businesses are issued fines up to $500 per item or service if they’re found to be overcharging customers 10% or more for any personal or household goods or services needed to combat the spread or treat coronavirus under the emergency rule issued this month. Businesses can only increase the price if they have proof they needed to pay more to obtain the items and charge customers a comparable amount. This means if a store spent $2 more per item, they cannot charge customers $50 more.
- New Yorkers can file price gouging complaints on the DCWP website or by calling 311 and saying “overcharge.”
How large will the payments be?
- It depends on your income. Single adults with Social Security numbers who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will get the full amount ($1,200). For every qualifying child age 16 or under, the payment will be an additional $500. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400. And taxpayers filing as head of household will get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less.
- Above those income figures, the payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn $198,000. According to the Senate Finance Committee, a family with two children will no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000.
- You can’t get a payment if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult. In any given family and in most instances, everyone must have a valid Social Security number in order to be eligible. There is an exception for members of the military.
- You can find your adjusted gross income on Line 8b of the 2019 1040 federal tax return.
What year’s income will the government be looking at?
2019. If you haven’t prepared a tax return yet, you can use your 2018 return. If you haven’t filed that yet, you can use a 2019 Social Security statement showing your income to see what an employer reported to the I.R.S.
I am not typically required to file a tax return. Can I still receive my payment?
Yes. People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment. Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.
How many payments will there be?
Just one. Future bills could order up additional payments, though.
Will I have to apply to receive a payment?
No. If the Internal Revenue Service already has your bank account information from your 2019 or 2018 returns, it will transfer the money to you via direct deposit based on the recent income-tax figures it already has.
The IRS does not have my direct deposit information. What can I do?
In the coming weeks, Treasury plans to develop a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail.
When will the payment arrive?
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said he expected most people to get their payments by April 17. Presumably those people using the new portal would not get money until a few weeks after they are first able to provide their information. The I.R.S. has not said when those receiving paper checks would get them.
If my payment doesn’t come soon, how can I be sure that it wasn’t misdirected?
According to the bill, you will get a paper notice in the mail no later than a few weeks after your payment has been disbursed. That notice will contain information about where the payment ended up and in what form it was made. If you couldn’t locate the payment at that point, it would be time to contact the IRS using the information on the notice.
Where can I get more information?
The IRS will post all key information on IRS.gov/coronavirus as soon as it becomes available.
The IRS has a reduced staff in many of its offices but remains committed to helping eligible individuals receive their payments expeditiously. Check for updated information on IRS.gov/coronavirus rather than calling IRS representatives who are helping process 2019 returns.
UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS (under the Stimulus Bill)
Who will be covered by the expanded program?
The plan wraps in far more workers than are usually eligible for unemployment benefits, including self-employed people and part-time workers.
The bottom line: Those who are unemployed, are partly unemployed or cannot work for a wide variety of coronavirus-related reasons will be more likely to receive benefits.
How much will I receive?
It depends on your state. Under the plan, eligible workers will get an extra $600 per week on top of their state benefit. But some states are more generous than others. States have the option of providing the entire amount in one payment, or sending the extra portion separately. But it must all be done on the same weekly basis.
Whom does the bill leave out?
Workers who are able to work from home, and those receiving paid sick leave or paid family leave are not covered. New entrants to the workforce who cannot find jobs are also ineligible.
How long will the payments last?
Many states already provide 26 weeks of benefits, though some states have trimmed that back while others provide a sliding scale tied to unemployment levels.
The bill provides all eligible workers with an additional 13 weeks. The extra $600 payment will last for up to four months, covering weeks of unemployment ending July 31.
For additional questions about the Stimulus Bill, please visit this article from the New York Times
BEWARE OF SCAMS
Information from Con-Edison:
- Beware of anyone visiting, emailing, or calling about outstanding bills or disconnecting service. You are not going to lose your power even if you can’t pay your bill now.
- If anyone asks you for money for “new meters because of coronavirus,” that’s bogus. ConEd does not charge for meters. And, have put smart meter installation on hold.
- If someone comes to your door, verify they are who they say they are. ConEd will only enter your home or business for emergencies, safety reasons and upon your request for critical issues, including turning on service. If someone claims to be from Con Edison, call 1‑800‑75‑CONED (1‑800‑752‑6633) and check the employee’s name and ID#.
- If you are making a payment, do it safely. ConEd never accepts payment by cash apps such as Venmo, or bitcoin. They only accept online payments through conEd.com and conEd.com/GuestPayment.
- If you are suspicious about an email from Con Edison, do not click on any links that you’re unsure about.
- Robocalls: Hang up on robocalls. Don’t press any numbers. Scammers are using illegal robocalls to pitch everything from scam Coronavirus treatments to work-at-home schemes. The recording might say that pressing a number will let you speak to a live operator or remove you from their call list, but it might lead to more robocalls, instead.
- Treatment Scams: Ignore online offers for vaccinations and home test kits. Scammers are trying to get you to buy products that aren’t proven to treat or prevent the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores. At this time, there also are no FDA-authorized home test kits for the Coronavirus. Visit the FDA to learn more.
- Treasury Scams: If you receive calls, emails, or other communications claiming to be from the Treasury Department and offering COVID-19 related grants or stimulus payments in exchange for personal financial information, or an advance fee, or charge of any kind, including the purchase of gift cards, please do not respond. These are scams. Please contact the FBI at www.ic3.gov so that the scammers can be tracked and stopped.
- Taxes Scams: Fraud involving payment of Federal taxes should be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
- Supply scams: Scammers are creating fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies currently in high demand, such as surgical masks. When consumers attempt to purchase supplies through these channels, fraudsters pocket the money and never provide the promised supplies.
- Charity scams: Scammers are soliciting donations for individuals, groups, and areas affected by COVID-19.
- Phishing scams: Scammers posing as national and global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are sending phishing emails designed to trick recipients into downloading malware or providing personal identifying and financial information.
- App scams: Scammers are also creating and manipulating mobile apps designed to track the spread of COVID-19 to insert malware that will compromise users’ devices and personal information.
- Investment scams: Scammers are offering online promotions on various platforms, including social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure COVID-19, and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result. These promotions are often styled as “research reports,” make predictions of a specific “target price,” and relate to microcap stocks, or low-priced stocks issued by the smallest of companies with limited publicly available information.
If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it without leaving your home through a number of platforms. Go to:
- Contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Report it to the FBI at tips.fbi.gov
- If it’s a cyber scam, submit your complaint through https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
- NYCHA information for residents struggling with rent hardships
- Resources for Impacted Businesses, provided by the Department of Health
- The Unemployment Benefits and Health Insurance FAQ, provides guidance for those recently unemployed due to COVID-19.
- Mental Health Resources:
- NYS Office of Mental Health Emotional Support Line: 1-844-863-9314
- The Emotional Support Line provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Help Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling.
- NYC WELL: (888) NYC-WELL (692-9355) or text “WELL” to 65173
- Available 24/7/365
- NYC Employee Assistance Program: phone (212) 306-7660 or email at email@example.com
- Monday through Friday 8AM-11PM
- Lunes a Viernes 8AM-11PM
- The City of New York offers its employees and their dependents a helping hand through a network of Employee Assistance Programs. Available for free, confidential phone, video, or text sessions with licensed mental health professionals and have expanded hours. For more info, click here
- NYC Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-621-4673 (HOPE)
- NYC HOPE Website