Financial Aid and Emotional Support

The following resources that may help alleviate the economic impact as many employers are experiencing a slowdown in business or services as a result of COVID-19:

Financial Aid, Grants, and Resources

Financial Aid for Freelancers (full article on LA Times)

  • The federal CARES Act creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which provides unemployment insurance coverage to self-employed individuals, independent contractors and those with limited work history or part-time freelance work. (You must be available for work but unable to do your job as a result of the pandemic.) 
  • California’s unemployment insurance program provides about 46% of working wages, up to set limits. Maximum unemployment benefits amount to $450 a week.
  • If you previously earned $1,000 a week ($4,000 a month), you’d get $450 in weekly unemployment coverage, or $1,800 per month from the state of California. The new CARES Act adds a federal payment of $600 a week to that. So, this hypothetical worker could get as much as $4,200 a month.
  • The extra $600 weekly payments end on July 31, 2020.
  • Coverage of freelancers under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance law starts retroactively on Jan. 27 and lasts until the end of the year. If you lost your job as a result of the pandemic at any point after that, you can claim benefits for the lost weeks of work. However, each individual freelancer receives a maximum of 39 weeks of benefits under this federal law. Unless federal benefits are extended beyond that point, state unemployment insurance coverage restrictions would kick in then.
  • You can claim benefits here: link to your state’s website.The program also provides benefits to those who were offered work but now can’t start because the job was delayed or they cannot reach their work as the result of travel restrictions.
  • If you can't work because you are caring for someone who is sick and are quarantined, the law provides unemployment coverage for this, too. Self-employed individuals may also be entitled to a tax credit for sick days under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which was signed into law in mid-March. How the tax credit will be claimed, and whether there will be offsets for time that you claimed unemployment insurance, is currently unclear.
  • If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, and earned less than $99,000 individually or $198,000 as a couple filing jointly, you qualify for an economic impact payment. The amount of your payment will depend on your adjusted gross income.
  • Individuals with an AGI of $75,000 or less, and couples with an AGI of $150,000 or less, will get the full amount of $1,200 per filer ($2,400 per couple). Parents also receive $500 per qualifying child. Those who earn more will get a reduced payment until the payments evaporate completely. The payments will go out automatically in about three weeks. 
  • If you have not filed a tax return for 2018 or 2019, you will need to file now, unless you already receive Social Security or Railroad Retirement benefits. In that case, you will also automatically receive a stimulus check, even if you don’t file a tax return. Many lower-income filers can file for free through the IRS’ free-file program.
  • Go to IRS.gov/coronavirus. Given the volume of requests during tax season, the agency is asking consumers to forgo phone calls and check the website for updates. 
  • Click here to find more resources for freelance artists. This includes, but is not limited to, actors, designers, producers, technicians, stage managers, musicians, composers, choreographers, visual artists, filmmakers, craft artists, teaching artists, dancers, writers & playwrights, photographers, and more.

Emotional Support

Coping With Coronavirus (COVID-19) Anxiety

Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health: COVID-19 Mental Health Resources

Meditation and relaxation

  • Headspace: Two-week free trial for the general public. (Providers with a National Provider Identifier can sign up for free full access.)
  • Calm: Seven-day free trial. A meditation, sleep, and relaxation app that also provides resources specifically for coping with COVID-19 anxiety.
  • Stop, Breathe & Think: Always free, and for kids too.
  • Insight Timer: Always free. This is not a daily app, but rather a great library you can search for various types of meditations and lengths by excellent teachers.
  • 10% Happier: Free and paid options available. Health care providers can use redemption code HEALTHCARE to unlock all content.

Resources to Support Your Mental Health During the COVID-19 Outbreak

211 LA is the central source for providing information and referrals for all health and human services in LA County. Their 2-1-1 phone line is open 24 hours, 7 days a week, with trained Community Resource Advisors prepared to offer help with any situation, any time. Their community services go far beyond phone referrals – explore their website to learn more.If you are calling from outside Los Angeles County or cannot directly dial 2-1-1, call (800) 339-6993

For more information on the importance of social distancing, read this guide from the executive director of a Boston lab, or this round-up of FAQs in The New Yorker.

Please contact us with any other suggested helpful resources.

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