Coronavirus Guidance and Resources
Vaccine Distribution Information
All California residents age 16 or older are now eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. More information on vaccine distribution cam her found here.
Information for Families
According to public health experts, the best thing we can do to contain the spread of this virus is to continue staying home as much as possible, wearing masks in public settings, and avoid gathering in groups or with people not part of our immediate households. The Centers for Disease Control recently issued guidance urging Americans to wear cloth masks or face coverings when in public spaces. Information on this guidance can be found here.
If you have non-medical questions about COVID-19, its effects in our community or resources available, I encourage you to call the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health's coronavirus hotline at (909) 387-3911 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further guidance on how to best care for yourself and your loved ones, including what to do if you feel sick, can be found here:
- San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Coronavirus Information
- Updates from the California Department of Public Health
- Latest Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control
The American Rescue Plan
On March 10, 2021, the House passed the final version of the American Rescue Plan.
The bill includes $350 billion for state and local governments, and will distribute funding in the following amounts to local governments in CA-31:
Estimated Relief Amount
County of San Bernardino
City of Colton
City of Grand Terrace
City of Fontana
City of Loma Linda
City of Rancho Cucamonga
City of Redlands
City of Rialto
City of San Bernardino
City of Upland
The American Rescue Plan also takes key steps to help Inland Empire families by:
- Providing most working families with additional direct relief payments of up to $1,400 per person, bringing the total benefit to $2,000 since December.
- Increasing the Child Tax Credit to $3,000 per child for 2021 and making it fully refundable this year.
- Making advance payments of the Child Tax Credit starting in July, so parents can receive the tax credit assistance throughout the year, rather than just at tax time.
The bill centers on four key steps forward to help Inland Empire residents overcome this crisis and to help our economy safely reopen:
- Put Vaccines in Arms: The plan will mount a national vaccination program that includes setting up community vaccination sites nationwide and addressing disparities facing communities of color. It will also take complementary measures to combat the virus, including scaling up testing and tracing, addressing shortages of personal protective equipment and other critical supplies, investing in high-quality treatments and addressing health care disparities.
- Put Children Safely Back in School: The plan will make a nearly $130 billion investment in school re-opening and making up for lost learning.
- Put Money in People’s Pockets: The plan finishes the job on the President’s promise to provide $2,000 in direct assistance to households across America with checks of $1,400 per person, following the $600 down payment enacted in December. The plan will also provide direct housing assistance, nutrition assistance for 40 million Americans, expand access to safe and reliable child care and affordable health care, extend unemployment insurance so that 18 million American workers can pay their bills and supporting 27 million children with an expanded Child Tax Credit and more than 17 million low-wage workers through an improved Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Put People Back In Jobs: The plan will provide crucial support for the hardest-hit small businesses, especially those owned by entrepreneurs from racial and ethnic backgrounds that have experienced systemic discrimination, with EIDL grants, expanded PPP eligibility and more. The plan also provides crucial resources to protect the jobs of first responders, frontline public health workers, teachers, transit workers and other essential workers that all Americans depend on.
Economic Impact Payments
Congress recently approved an additional round of direct payments to most Americans. Adults and dependents who meet the requirements for these payments will receive $1400 via direct deposit or a mailed check, depending on their tax filing status.
To track the status of your payment, use the IRS’s Find My Payment tool.
If you do not receive a payment but were eligible for one, you will be able to claim your payment when you file your taxes for 2020.
For more information, visit: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment-frequently-asked-questions
Be wary of scams during the implementation of new federal programs and throughout quarantine. The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau urges seniors to take precautions when paying strangers to run errands or provide other services. More information on this can be found here.
In addition, be wary of phone calls requesting personal information such as Social Security number or date of birth. The IRS is not making calls or sending text messages regarding federal stimulus checks or federal tax refunds. If you receive one of these calls, you are advised to hang up. The AARP’s guidance to help seniors avoid phone scams can be found here. If you are having trouble contacting the IRS, please reach out to my office at (909) 890-4445 for assistance.
Information for Workers
There are options to help working people who have lost their jobs or seen reduced wages or hours as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. These options include Disability Benefits, Paid Family Leave Benefits, and Unemployment Insurance Benefits. Information on California’s options for filing for any coronavirus-related unemployment, leave, or disability benefits can be found here. The Governor of California recently established https://onwardca.org/, a one-stop website with resources for those unemployed due to the coronavirus crisis.
The CARES Act included vital support for workers affected by the economic downturn, including:
- Expanded unemployment insurance that covers 100% of lost wages for the average American worker who lost their job, through a temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation of $600 a week in addition to regular UI benefits.
- Allowing more workers who have lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic to access unemployment benefits, including those who do not normally qualify, like:
- self-employed individuals
- independent contractors
- “gig economy” employees, and
- individuals who were unable to start a new job or contract due to the pandemic.
- Immediately extends the existing unemployment insurance program by an additional 13 weeks.
- Encourages states to eliminate waiting periods for people applying for UI benefits.
- Provides support to California’s Work Sharing Program, which gives partial unemployment benefits to workers with reduced hours when their employer agree to prevent layoffs.
- Allows employers like non-profits, tribes, and government entities to provide unemployment insurance to their laid off or furloughed workers at a reduced rate, ensuring these employees have access to UI benefits.
- Visit https://www.edd.ca.gov/unemployment/ to learn more about applying for UI in California.
Unemployment Insurance Information
Recently, Congress passed legislation to enhance states' unemployment insurance programs and to alter requirements to help workers affected by closures or lay-offs as a result of the coronavirus crisis. If you are temporarily out of work and plan to return to the same employer, you do not need to meet the usual requirement of looking for work while you are collecting UI benefits.
If you are self-employed or an independent contractor and are unable to work as a result of the spread of coronavirus, you may be eligible for unemployment insurance.
You may also be eligible to file a claim if your employer has reduced your hours or suspended operations due to coronavirus. To estimate your weekly benefit amount, use California's Unemployment Insurance Benefit Calculator. To learn more about Unemployment Insurance or file a claim, click here.
Disability Insurance Information
If you are sick with COVID-19 or are in a medically-advised quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19, and you have the necessary supporting medical documentation, you are eligible to file a claim for Disability Insurance. This benefit will help provide temporary income assistance to those who are eligible. Learn more here.
Paid Family Leave Information
If you have to care for a family member who is sick or quarantined as a result of COVID-19 and are unable to work, you may be eligible for paid family leave benefits. You may also qualify if your normal means of childcare have been disrupted due to COVID-19. Benefits amounts are approximately 60-70% of wages depending on income. Learn more about paid family leave benefits here.
Information for Employers and Business Owners
Congress recently passed legislation to invest more than $300 billion into small business assistance programs. This includes funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), including dedicated funding for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).
- Eligibility: Businesses with 500 employees or fewer can access PPP loans.
- The new bill allows businesses with 300 employees or less and who have seen business revenues fall at least 25% to get a second round of PPP.
- The new relief bill expands eligibility to nonprofits, local newspapers and TV and radio broadcasters.
- Forgiveness: Originally, loans would be forgiven if the business spends at least 75% of the loan on payroll costs. The other 25% can be used to pay for rent, mortgages or utilizes.
- In June, the Paycheck Protection Act reduced the amount that needed to be spent on payroll to 60% for forgiveness.
- The new relief bill also allows funding spent on PPE and health equipment to protect employees, human resources or accounting equipment, or “supplier costs” to be eligible for forgiveness. For restaurants, supplier costs can include lost perishable food items.
EIDL (Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program)
- Eligibility: Small businesses, nonprofits, and some agricultural businesses with 500 employees or fewer.
- Funding cap: In May 2020, the SBA capped loans at $150,000. Before this cap, loans could be provided up to $2 million. This is because EIDL established to provide immediate relief to small business following localized disasters and was not intended to be a country-wide disaster loan program.
- EIDL Advance: The CARES also created a new Emergency EIDL Grant program, also called EIDL Advance.
- SBA can provide EIDL advance loans up to $10,000. These funds have to be used to retain employees, provide paid sick leave or pay for rent or mortgages
- EIDL Advance loans are forgivable.
Meal Services for Students
While schools in our region remain closed, many school districts are still offering meal services for the students. Information on each district's meal services is available at the following links:
- San Bernardino Unified School District
- Colton Joint Unified School District
- Fontana Unified School District
- Redlands Unified School District
- Rialto Unified School District
- Cucamonga School District
- Alta Loma School District
- Chaffey Joint Union High School District
- Central School District
- Upland Unified School District
Social Security Information
All Social Security Administration offices are currently closed, but beneficiaries can continue to expect their regular benefits via mail or direct deposit. To learn more about Social Security benefits during the coronavirus crisis, click here.
Resources for Veterans
To help limit the spread of COVID-19 throughout our veterans' health system, veterans feeling symptoms such as shortness of breath, cough, or fever should call the Loma Linda VA at (909) 825-7084 ext. 5085 prior to visiting a medical center. More information for veterans can be found here.
Food Assistance Information
Through federal funding and grants, local nonprofits are working to make sure there are food assistance programs available in our community. If you live in the Inland Empire and need information on food assistance, visit www.capsbc.org/food-pantries to learn more.
As this situation continues to evolve, I urge you to take the necessary precautions to keep you and your family healthy. Remember, we're all in this together, and will come out the other side stronger than ever. If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact our team at (909) 890-4445 or by email at RepPeteAguilar@mail.house.gov. Our staff is still available to help Inland Empire residents during this difficult time. Please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.
Resources for the Undocumented Community
There are resources available to the undocumented community, including food banks and economic aid for laid-off employees. More information can be found here.
More information regarding resources for your well-being can be found here.
If you have any additional questions, you can contact our team here at 909-890-4445 or contact me here.
Member of Congress