Updates on Covid-19 in Oregon: What’s the curve, OHP, your Federal check, small businesses… and wear that face mask
When they talk about “flattening the curve”… here is Oregon’s
Snippets from the past week:
- Oregon received permission from the federal government to expand Oregon Health Plan (OHP) enrollment during the coronavirus pandemic. This increased flexibility for our state Medicaid program is essential for our most vulnerable neighbors. Everyone who is currently on OHP will not lose coverage during this crisis. Additionally, individuals can sign up for OHP without having to verify their income with their application. Finally, federal stimulus payments and increased unemployment payments will not affect OHP eligibility.
- Getting that Stimulas Check from the Federal Government:
- If you are on Social Security in any form, you will automatically receive the money without filing a tax return.
- If you are NOT on Social Security and you haven’t filed a tax return in 2018 and 2019 because of low income, you should file a return for 2019 as soon as possible. Recommendation currently is to use available Free File packages available on the IRS site. https://apps.irs.gov/app/freeFile/
- Official IRS information is here
- Governor Brown announced a statewide initiative to help small businesses. The new Coronavirus Small Business Resource Navigator includes a hotline and a website featuring comprehensive information on key programs for small businesses. Related: small businesses can now apply for the Paycheck Protection Program that is part of the federal $2 trillion CARES Act. More details from the Small Business Administration are available here
- Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is making over $32 million in grants available to communities in Oregon to support a variety of social services and homelessness assistance programs in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Hopefully, this will be the first installment of absolutely necessary support for housing and homelessness.
The Department of Consumer and Business Services has updated their coronavirus website (here) with FAQs relating to health insurance, telehealth insurance coverage, prescription drugs, business insurance, travel insurance, grace periods for all lines of insurance, mortgages and loans, and avoiding coronavirus scams.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is now recommending that people wear cloth or fabric face coverings when they go outside in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus (giving it to someone else). This is not mandatory, although new research on how the virus can spread has caused the CDC to change its recommendations. Remember, it is still important to continue to practice social distancing even if you’re wearing a mask!