You are eligible to file a COVID-19 claim for unemployment benefits if you are/have been:
- Quarantined by a medical professional or a government agency
- Laid off or sent home without pay for an extended period by your employer due to COVID-19 concerns
- Diagnosed with COVID-19
- Caring for an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19
If you qualify, you may file a claim on the MDES website at www.mdes.ms.gov or call the MDES Contact Center at 1-888-844-3577. Due to the high volume of claims, MDES has also recently created additional ways to file.
Additional Unemployment Assistance:
- Mississippians can now apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which is intended to provide assistance to persons unemployed or working reduced hours due to COVID-19 and are not eligible for regular unemployment benefits.
- Apply online 24 hours a day at www.mdes.ms.gov or by calling toll-free 1-833-919-0334 from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Sunday.
Economic Impact Payment (Stimulus Check):
You’re eligible to receive a stimulus check if you have an:
- Adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 (for an individual)
- Adjusted gross income of up to $150,000 (for married couples filing joint returns)
Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples. Parents also receive $500 for each qualifying child.
Distribution of economic impact payments will begin in the next three weeks (as of Monday, March 30, 2020) and will be distributed automatically, with no action required for most people.
A complete list of FAQs on this topic can be found here.
Small Business Disaster Loans:
Click here to apply on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s website for a low-interest disaster loan. You can also contact SBA disaster assistance customer service if you need additional help by calling 1-800-659-2955 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Due to the CARES Act, small businesses & non-profits can get up to a $10,000 advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan even if previous applications were declined or are still pending.
Health Insurance and Medical Expenses:
If you have health insurance, contact your provider’s website or customer support line for information about coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment. It’s also encouraged to take advantage of telemedicine programs provided by many insurers and healthcare providers.
If you do not have health insurance, you may be eligible for state benefits. Click here to read more about the Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Programs in Mississippi.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs (SNAP)/Food Stamps:
SNAP provides monthly benefits that help low income households buy the food they need. The Mississippi Department of Human Services has more information about the SNAP program and eligibility requirements on their website. If you qualify for SNAP benefits, click here to begin your application.
Home Internet Access:
Many internet providers are offering low-cost packages for those that do not have internet at home or cannot afford the service at this time due to COVID-19 and need it for work and school.
- Comcast is offering a low-cost home internet package for qualifying individuals and households for as little as $9.95 a month with the first two months free for those that apply by April 30, 2020. To see if you qualify for the ‘Internet Essentials’ deal from Comcast and for more information, visit their website.
- AT&T also offers a low-cost home internet package option for as little a $5.00 a month. Click here for more information.
- C-Spire is providing complimentary ‘pop-up’ WiFi locations where individuals can access the internet for free from the safety of their vehicle. For a list of these locations, click here.
- Additionally, if you’re a C-Spire customer and need payment assistance during this difficult time then you can submit a request for help here.
Mental Health & Crisis:
The coronavirus outbreak has been a very stressful situation for many communities and individuals. If you are feeling anxious or depressed and need to talk to someone then please utilize these free, confidential resources that are available 24/7:
- Call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline
- Text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a Crisis Counselor with the Crisis Text Line
- Call 1-800-985-5990 for the Disaster Distress Hotline
- Call 1-800-799-7233 or text LOVEIS to 22-522 to connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline
For additional local resources and information from the Mississippi Department of Mental Health visit: www.mentalhealthms.com.
Disaster Response for those with Disabilities:
MEMA strives to ensure ALL Mississippians get the resources they need during a disaster. For those with disabilities here’s more: