Coronavirus Information Center
Continuing to serve Minnesotans:
Rep. Phillips is working together with Minnesota and federal officials to get us through this pandemic as healthy, economically sound, and prepared for the future as possible. He is on a mission to ensure transparency, and remains committed to tackling this threat in a unified, nonpartisan manner at home and overseas.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Capitol and Minnetonka office of Rep. Dean Phillips are closed to the public at this time. In the coming days, weeks, and months, many of our friends and neighbors will struggle to navigate the federal government to obtain benefits and federal assistance. Bureaucracy should not be a barrier to care, and the Office of Rep. Dean Phillips is here to help. As a constituent, you can still:
- Reach out for assistance: If you need help with a federal agency, we may be able to help. Click here to start a case online.
- Send emails and letters: The best way to contact the Office of Rep. Phillips is by sending an email.
- Call our offices in Washington (202-225-2871) and Minnetonka (952-656-5176). If you reach our voicemail during business hours and leave a message, staff will return your call within 24 hours.
- Schedule video and phone meetings: You can still meet with Phillips staff by contacting the appropriate office.
- Stay informed: Click here to sign up for occasional updates from Dean.
RESOURCES FOR MINNESOTANS:
In Minnesota, businesses are the economic engines of our communitites - and even if you don't own one yourself, chances are you or someone you love depends on the goods, services, or employment that a Minnesota business provides. From advocating to flexibility and accountability in federal relief programs to helping you get answers from the Small Business Administration, Rep. Phillips and his staff will do their best to keep you informed and are focused on the mission to get us through this as healthy, economically sound, and prepared for the future as possible.
- Click here to learn more about federal resources from the Small Business Administration during the COVID-19 pandemic
- Click here to learn about the implications federal coronavirus response legislation will have on your business
The state of Minnesota has launched a resource center for Minnesota businesses owners. Click here for more information on state grants, loans, assistance, and regulations.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has warned Minnesotans about a reported spike in price gouging, scams, and phishing attacks related to COVID-19. Use the links below to learn how to spot, avoid, and report these attacks:
Direct Payments to American Families
To date, Congress has approved three rounds of Economic Impact Payments to American families.
- Click here to learn if you are eligible and read the answers to frequently asked questions about these direct payments
Viruses don't descriminate, and neither should we. Amid rising reports of discrimination from the Asian American community, Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan launched a Discrimination Helpline to reinforce the state’s efforts to protect the civil rights of Minnesotans during the COVID-19 pandemic. The toll-free helpline, which is at 1-833-454-0148, will allow those who experience or witness bias and discrimination to report incidents to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. The helpline is staffed Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 4:30 PM.
Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors of domestic violence, it may actually cause danger. If you need immediate suport, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is here for you 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). If you’re unable to speak safely, you can visit thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 22522.
- Click here read the National Domestic Violence Hotline's guidance for staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
Education, Schools, and Childcare
Places or worship play a critical role in times of crisis. Community- and faith-based organizations, working together with schools, businesses, healthcare systems, and state, local, tribal, and territorial health departments, can help slow the spread of diseases, especially among high risk populations.
- Click here to read guidance from the CDC for faith-based community organizations during the COVID-19 crisis
Food and Nutrition
You may leave your home to run essential errands like going to the grocery store, food bank and meal pick-up locations. Some Minnesota grocery stores are offering special shopping hours for at-risk populations, contact your neighborhood stores for more information about COVID-19 precautions.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps, ensures that Americans receive the food they need, especially if they are newly unemployed. Congress has invested in SNAP in the last three coronavirus relief bills to help Americans put food on the table during this crisis. Click here to access the Minnesota SNAP website to see if you are eligible and apply for assistance
- Congress has also secured $850 million in emergency funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) to help food banks face increased utilization and demand in countless communities across the country due to the coronavirus. To find food assistance near you, call the USDA National Hunger Hotline 1-866-3-HUNGRY/1877-8-HAMBRE
- Click here to download the Minnesota Free Meals For Kids app
- As more schools close due to coronavirus, Congress has provided emergency funding for Child Nutrition Programs to ensure students can still receive their free or reduced-price school meals during this time. Contact your school district for more information about the meal services that are available to your family
Health Care and Insurance
Developments in your life due to COVID-19 may make you eligible to recieve coverage through MNSure.
- Call 651-539-2099, 855-366-7873, or visit MNSure.org to learn more
Thanks to the CARES Act, all four medical insurance companies that sell private health insurance plans on MNsure are waiving co-pays, co-insurance and deductibles related to COVID-19 diagnostic testing, and cost sharing for in-network COVID-19 hospitalization.
- Click here to read more about COVID-19 testing and treatment available from these insurers
- Visit MNSure.org to find out if you qualify and enroll online
- Click here to visit the Minnesota Department of Housing's COVID-19 information page
- Click here to file a complaint about a wrongful eviction with the Minnesota Attorney General
- Call the Minnesota COVID-19 Housing Hotline at 651-296-8215 (single family residences) or 651-297-4455 (multi-family residences) for additional support
Congress has also passed important protections and assistance for homeowners and renters during the pandemic, including:
- Mortgage Forbearance: Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages (for members of federally-recognized tribes) and those with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac have the right to request forbearance on their payments for up to six months, with a possible extension for another six months without fees, penalties, or extra interest. Homeowners should contact their mortgage servicing company directly.
- Eviction Protections: Renters residing in public or assisted housing, or in a home or apartment whose owner has a federally-backed mortgage, and who are unable to pay their rent, are protected from eviction for four months. Property owners are also prohibited from issuing a 30-day notice to a tenant to vacate a property until after the four-month moratorium ends. This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and federally-issued or guaranteed mortgages. Renters whose landlord is not abiding by the moratorium should contact the relevant federal agency that administers their housing program or their local Legal Aid office.
- Energy Asistance: The CARES Act indluded $900 million to help low income Americans and their families heat and cool their homes thruogh the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Click here to learn if you qualify and apply online for energy assistance
COVID-19, and the accompanying physical and financial worries, can cause considerable amounts of stress. Take care of yourself, spend time outdoors, use technology to connect with loved ones, and ask for help when you need it.
- Click here for guidance from the CDC on managing stress and anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak
- Click here to read the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)'s COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide
- The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Disaster Distress Helpline, 1-800-985-5990, is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year, national hotline dedicated to providing immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions during and after a disaster. Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.
If you have student loan debt, Congress secured several options outlined below for borrowers that help provide relief through September 30, 2020. During this period, borrowers will be able to:
- Pause payments for federal student loan borrowers who have Direct Loans and Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL). Borrowers will not be required to make any payments toward outstanding interest or principal balance
- Suspend interest accrual for such loans so that these balances don’t accrue
- Avoid forced collections such as garnishment of wages, tax refunds, and Social Security benefits
- Halt negative credit reporting
- Ensure a borrower continues to receive credit toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, Income-Driven Repayment forgiveness, and loan rehabilitation
- For additional guidance on how to apply and learn about next steps as this critical relief becomes available, refer to the U.S. Department of Education website
The IRS has established a web page to help taxpayers, businesses, and others affected by the coronavirus.
Travelers and Minnesotans Abroad
The State Department has issued a Global Level 4 Health Advisory advising U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 (from other countries or jurisdictions).
If your employment has been affected by COVID-19 you may be eligible to receive supplemental unemployment benefits. Thousands of people are in the process of applying for unemployment benefits and Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (MNDEED) call wait times may exceed one hour.
- Use MNDEED's online system to apply for benefits and request payments
- Click here to learn more about free online learning available to all Minnesotans who have applied for unemployment in 2020 through a partnership between MNDEED and Coursera
COVID-19 vaccines are safe, effective, and your decision to get vaccinated will help save lives and small businesses.
- Click here to learn about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in Minnesota
- Click here to sign up for the Minnesota Vaccine Connector
Congress provided robust emergency funding to ensure the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has the equipment, tests, vaccines and support services – including setting up temporary care sites, mobile treatment centers and increasing telehealth visits to allow more veterans to get care at home – necessary to provide veterans with the additional care they need.
- For further guidance as this funding and initiatives are implemented, please refer to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs COVID-19 information center.
Minnesota veterans impacted by COVID-19 may be eligible for financial assistance grants from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA).
- Contact your local County Veterans Service Officer (CVSO) or MDVA Field Operations Representative at FO.MDVA@state.mn.us OR apply online at MinnesotaVeteran.org/COVIDRelief
Every day, and especially during a pandemic, you should feel safe and supported in your workplace.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law on March 18, 2020 and requires certain employers to provide paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19.
- Click here to read a U.S. Department of Labor fact sheet about the employee rights established by the new law.
WAYS TO HELP:
Challenging days lie ahead, but we will persevere and overcome together. The best thing you can do for our community during the COVID-19 crisis is to heed public health advice - stay home, wash your hands, sanitize surfaces, and be kind and patient with one another. Doing so will save lives and ensure our medical professionals have the time and supplies they need to keep us all healthy.
Minnesotans are hearty, and when our friends and neighbors need help, it's our instinct to pitch in. If you are healthy, able, and willing to practice responsible physical distancing and hygiene, here are a few ways to help:
- Check in on elderly and at-risk neighbors: Use technology to stay connected or offer pick up essential items so those at the highest risk can avoid exposure.
- Only buy what you need: We're in this together. Don't stockpile essential supplies, food, or medication.
- Donate PPE: Personal protective equipment, commonly referred to as "PPE", is equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards that cause serious workplace injuries and illnesses. PPE includes items such as face masks and shields, isolation or disposable gowns, gloves, N95 respirators, and goggles or eye protection (and the materials that make them). PPE is critical to protecting patients and medical staff and preventing the spread of COVID-19, click here to donate.
- Become a Medical Reserve Corps volunteer: Minnesota Responds is a partnership that integrates and engages local, regional, and statewide volunteer programs to strengthen public health and health care, reduce vulnerability, build resilience, and improve preparedness, response and recovery capabilities. Click here for more information.
- Give blood: The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for blood. The American Red Cross has established special COVID-19 safety procedures to keep donors safe.
- Support local small businesses and restaurants: Use online ordering or delivery to support the small businesses, restaurants, and cafes in your neighborhood if you are able.
- Check in with your neighborhood food shelf and non-profit: Difficult days are ahead, so contact your favorite cause and see what they need.
- Lift up the heroes: We can do this and WILL do this together, so let's spread a little joy. Engage in small acts of kindness, share stories of people doing good, and send a thank you note to those on the front line. Optimism is just as contagious as fear.
Businesses and Organizations
- If you are a business, school, university, medical facility or organization with essential products, materials, medical equipment or venue space contact firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form.
ADDITIONAL COVID-19 INFORMATION:
The presence of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Minnesota is cause for concern but not cause for panic. While closings, social distancing, and changes to our daily routines can are disruptive, please know it's the pragmatic and responsible approach to protecting our families, workers, and small businesses in the long term. We will succeed together. We all have a role to play in keeping our community healthy - cover your cough, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, only share information from trustworthy sources, wear a mask, get vaccinated as soon as you are able, and please stay home if you are sick.