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Resources - Massachusetts COVID-19 Response Alliance Skip to content

Resources

Unemployment

  • Apply for unemployment online
  • Apply IMMEDIATELY after you have been laid off/furloughed:
  • Have Questions?
  • Need Assistance?
    • The UI TeleClaim number (617-626-6800) is now operational. Previously, all claimants were being asked to file online, and now you can call as well. 
  • For members who need assistance with a claim, they can schedule a call-back from DUA by filling out this online form.
  • The DUA website is now accessible in Spanish and workers can be directed to a Spanish-language UI-online application.
  • Current UI claimants have started receiving their additional Pandemic Unemployment Compensation payments of $600 per week through the federal CARES Act. The CARES Act also provides for an additional 13 weeks of UI eligibility through December 26, 2020, which will be automatically added on to the 26 weeks of eligibility for current claimants.
  • With questions on unemployment, please contact Bob Bower at 508-450-3238.

Community Assistance

Food Assistance/Childcare

Heat Assistance

Apply for home heating and energy assistance

The Home Energy Assistance Programs (HEAP) helps pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households.

  • Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) – Known commonly as Fuel Assistance, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provides eligible households with help in paying a portion of winter heating bills.
  • Heating System Repair & Replacement Program (HEARTWAP) – The Heating System Repair and Replacement Program provides emergency heating system repair and replacement services to low-income households.
  • Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) – Funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Low Income Weatherization Assistance Program provides eligible households with full-scale home energy conservation services.

Paying Other Utilities

Keeping your utilities on 

Electric

  • Financial Assistance: The Home Energy Assistance Programs (HEAP) helps pay for home heating costs and furnace repairs for income-qualified households.
  • Pay something. Pay what you can. Depending on your bill and your account, even making a partial payment may cause them to just roll over the rest of the bill to the next month.
  • Set up a payment plan

Cable/Phone Companies

  • Lower your bill. If you qualify for any type of assistance from the state or federal government, you can apply for and receive a 12-month low income discount on your cable bill. 
  • Call to negotiate a lower rate. Tell them you will cut off the cable if you can’t negotiate a lower rate. They will move you to a different number where you will get new, lower options for your service.

Paying Rent or Mortgage

Know Your Rights During The COVID-19 Crisis!

If you are still working, your employer is legally required to provide you with a safe workplace, including protections from COVID-19. Click here to learn more about the right to a safe workplace.

COVID-19 FAQs

Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) is a pneumonia of unknown cause first detected in Wuhan, China.

Fever, cough, shortness of breath

Spread person-to-person between close contacts (within 6 feet) through droplets that spread in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Per the CDC, limited possibility of disease spread by coming in contact with people before they show symptoms and/or possibly by touching a surface/object that has the virus on it and then touching one’s mouth, nose, or eyes.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover mouth & nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw tissue in the trash.
  • WASH YOUR HANDS OFTEN with soap & water for at least 20 seconds. Use a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

General Budget Advice

Living on a reduced income requires your utmost caution and skill in managing your money. There are many resources to help you, but first you must plan ahead. Set up a realistic budget plan allowing for basic needs such as: food, shelter, utilities and medical care.

  • Prioritize your bills. When you do not have enough money to pay all the bills, pay these first: rent or mortgage, utilities, food and transportation. Before your bills become due, notify your creditors, lenders and/or landlord that you are unemployed and cannot meet your payments. Explain your situation truthfully and ask for a written payment plan or discuss other ways to pay off your obligations.
  • Maintain accurate files. Before mailing your letters, make copies to keep for your files. If you must negotiate over the phone, keep detailed notes including the representative’s name, title, and phone number. Follow up any phone conversations in writing.
  • Stay organized. Keep everything in one place. Write a summary list of your financial plan for quick reference.
  • Keep your end of the bargain. If you are unable to make agreed upon payments, contact your creditors immediately to renegotiate.
  • Avoid making unnecessary purchases on credit.
  • If you need help with a consumer problem contact: MA Attorney General’s Consumer Hotline: (617) 727-8400 

Your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

While debt collectors do have the right to demand payment, and eventually take legal action if necessary, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) prohibits any kind of harassment. The FDCPA applies to any personal, family, or household debt and covers debt collectors who regularly collect debt for others, but not the creditors themselves or their lawyers. If you find yourself on the receiving end of a collection call, you might wish to know: 

  • When can a collector contact me?
    Unless you give them permission to do otherwise, debt collectors can only contact you between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. They may not communicate with you by postcard. 
  • Can collectors contact me at work?
    A collector may not contact you at work if they know your employer disapproves. 
  • What constitutes harassment under the FDCPA? Collectors may not use profane language or threaten you with violence. In many instances, it prohibits the publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts. Collectors may not threaten to take your property unless they are actually able to do it. 
  • Can collectors contact my family or friends?
    Debt collectors can contact other people but only to ask for information on how to locate you. In most cases, the collector may not divulge the reason for the call to anyone other than you or your attorney. 
  • Can I get a collector to stop contacting me?
    Debt collection agencies are required to honor written requests to stop contacting consumers. Please be aware that sending a “cease and desist” letter does not relieve you of your responsibility. You will still owe the money, and the company may pursue collection efforts.
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