PROVIDENCE, RI — Today, U.S. Senator Jack Reed shared a new COVID-19 Resource Guide to help keep Rhode Islanders informed and updated about federal assistance and efforts to combat novel coronavirus (COVID-19).  The guide covers a broad range of topics, helps answer frequently asked questions, and links people directly to COVID-19 relief resources.

“These are difficult times and I want Rhode Islanders to access the help they need, when they need it.  Congress has now passed four COVID-19 relief bills providing a range of assistance, from $1,200 direct payments to enhanced unemployment insurance, to free testing, and grants and loans for small businesses.  I’m working to help people stay informed, updated, and access the benefits they are eligible for as quickly as possible,” said Senator Reed. 

Reed’s COVID-19 Resource Guide helps families, workers, seniors, and small businesses better understand who is eligible and how to apply for new benefits under the CARES Act and other COVID-19 relief laws.  Reed’s guide offers basic information and answers key questions about eligibility, coverage, and directions on how to access dozens of federal programs, including: unemployment assistance, direct cash payments, emergency paid sick leave, payroll assistance, rent and mortgage forbearance, utility assistance, and food services.

Rhode Islanders can find the most current information about what is in the latest COVID-19 relief laws, including the new ‘COVID 3.5’ bill that was signed into law today.  COVID 3.5 provides an additional $484 billion for small businesses, hospitals, and testing efforts.  Notably, it includes $310 billion in additional assistance to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Plan, with $60 billion channeled through community-based financial institutions that serve minority-owned, women-owned, and veteran-owned small businesses.  It also replenishes $50 billion for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and grants and $10 billion for grants of up to $10,000 each that disaster loan recipients can obtain.

“There is a lot going on right now and I want to keep Rhode Islanders updated and informed.  I will do my best to answer questions and ensure we have programs and policies in place to effectively combat COVID-19 and get our economy working again,” said Senator Reed. “Navigating so many different state and federal agencies and programs can be daunting.  My goal is to help people get the right answers and ensure the federal government is responsive to their needs.  As things evolve, I will continue updating the guides.  People can always reach me through my website, on social media, or over the phone.  My staff and I are working overtime to provide Rhode Islanders with the service and support they deserve.”

Senator Reed and his staff are in regular contact with the U.S. Treasury Department, Small Business Administration (SBA), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), U.S. Department of State, and other federal, state, and local agencies to provide additional guidance as it becomes available.

Rhode Islanders who need help with a federal agency or accessing benefits can connect to an experienced caseworker in Senator Reed’s office here.