Aid & Resources

TALK TO YOUR FAMILY

Unemployment is tough on the whole family. Your spouse and children may feel helpless. Talk out your problems together and plan together. Explain your situation and include them in planning to deal with it together.

It helps to give each member of the family some positive steps they can do. By sharing the burden and pulling together, members of a family grow closer and draw strength from one another. A professional family counselor may be helpful.

 

TURN TO YOUR UNION FOR HELP

RWDSU reps have been meeting with employers to discuss actions to protect our members’ pay and benefits, as well as the specific actions they are taking to minimize our members’ exposure to the Coronavirus.  Your union representative can let you know what member-only benefits you may be eligible for or help identify public benefits that may be available to you and advise you on how to keep your health insurance in the event of a layoff.

 

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR PERSONAL FINANCES

When money is tight, it’s important to review your expenses and see what options you have available to relieve your burdens.  Click here to check out the useful tips here to get you started.

You may also want to check out Union Plus Credit Counseling Program. The credit counseling provider, Money Management International (MMI), has suspended in-person counseling. However, services will continue to be made available online and over the phone, which is how 90% of members currently access MMI’s services. MMI is implementing continuity plans designed to ensure that members will continue to receive vital services throughout this crisis.

MMI has some financial tips on its blog that some members may find helpful:

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GET THE HELP YOU NEED

While you were working, you helped pay for public programs through your taxes, and these public dollars often also support the work of community agency services like those through the United Way. Make your money work for you when you need it. We all need a little help at some time in our lives—don’t be embarrassed to ask for the help you need.

United Way, a national partner of the AFL-CIO, supports 2-1-1, a national helpline that helps individuals identify assistance and support they may be eligible to receive in their community. Call 2-1-1 from any phone or visit 211.org.

As an RWDSU member, you are also part of the AFL-CIO labor family. A number of AFL-CIO’s central labor councils around the country work closely with AFL-CIO/United Way Labor Liaisons and community services agencies who can help connect you to resources in your community.  AFL-CIO/United Way Labor Liaisons and community services agencies are knowledgeable about the resources available to families facing financial hardship. Visit AFLCIO.org/UnitedWay to connect with the liaison for your state.

Feeding America is a nationwide network of food banks secures and distributes 4.3 billion meals each year through food pantries and meal programs throughout the United States. If you or someone you know needs access to food or other assistance, the Feeding America network can help. Search by zip code or state using the food bank locator, and contact the food bank that serves your area. They will be able to give you information on the free pantries and programs nearest you. Feeding America can also help you determine if you qualify for federal programs like SNAP, which currently helps 1 in 7 Americans and offers families the extra help they need to purchase nutritious food during difficult times. Visit FeedingAmerica.org for more information.

Disaster Distress Helpline is a free, mental health resource that offers crisis counseling and support for anyone in the U.S. experiencing distress or other behavioral health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including public health emergencies. These are trying times, and we shouldn’t suffer alone. If you or someone you know needs help, they can be reached by calling 1-800-985-5990 or texting "TalkWithUs" to 66746.

AFL-CIO has compiled state resources and benefits available for workers impacted by COVID-19 in your state.

UnionPlus, a partner of the RWDSU, is a consumer benefits program for union members and offers specific programs to assist members in times of financial hardship. Visit these websites for additional information:

Union Plus is working with its program providers to facilitate additional assistance to members. Please note that some programs, including the hardship programs, do require members to be participants and product holders of those programs and meet certain eligibility requirements to receive benefits.  

Union Plus Hardship Assistance
Participants in the Union Plus Mortgage, Credit Card, Personal Loan, or Supplemental Insurance programs may be eligible for additional hardship assistance through the Mortgage Assistance Program and Union Plus Hardship Help. The Union Plus Mortgage Assistance Program provides interest-free loans and grants to help eligible members make mortgage payments when disabled, unemployed, furloughed, locked out or on strike.

Union Plus Credit Counseling Program
The credit counseling provider, Money Management International (MMI), has suspended in-person counseling. However, services will continue to be made available online and over the phone, which is how 90% of members currently access MMI’s services. MMI is implementing continuity plans designed to ensure that members will continue to receive vital services throughout this crisis.

MMI has some financial tips on its blog that some members may find helpful:

Union Plus Personal Loan Program
First National Bank of Omaha will waive late fees for anyone who is having trouble making a timely loan payment due to the COVID-19 response. Members should call customer service to arrange directly with the lender.

Union Plus Credit Card Program
Capital One is providing COVID-19 resources here, and is asking customers facing a financial hardship to contact them directly to discuss possible options.

Union Plus Auto & Home Insurance
MetLife will provide reasonable billing accommodations to impacted customers and allow for premium deferrals up to 30 calendar days from the original premium due date. Customers must request the bill hold by calling customer service at 855-666-5797.

Union Plus Mortgage Program
Union members with a Union Plus Mortgage with financing from Wells Fargo can call customer service to get individual assistance if needed, particularly in the 30-day period before becoming eligible for the Mortgage Assistance Program.

Union Plus Free College and Bachelor’s Degree Completion
All Free College and Bachelor’s Degree online classes will continue as scheduled. The college is prioritizing the health and safety of students and staff and will continue to monitor the situation and follow the guidance of the local, state and national health officials.

Union Plus Healthcare Assistance
The Union Plus Medical Bill Negotiating Service by Health Advocate provides union members with large out-of-pocket medical bills FREE assistance negotiating bill reductions with physicians, hospitals and other medical providers. The Service negotiates with medical providers on the union member's behalf to lower costs and establish payment plans. Participants of some other Union Plus programs may also be eligible for grants to help pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses.

 

ADDITIONAL LOCAL AID:

We are identifying sources of direct aid – cash assistance, rent/mortgage payment assistance, utility bill payment assistance, food delivery, food pantry databases, mental health hotlines, in areas around the country. This document is being updated daily: https://bit.ly/COVID19Aid 

 

MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES:

COVID-19 Emotional Support Line 
Call 1-844-863-9314
The Emotional Support Line provides free and confidential support, helping callers experiencing increased anxiety due to the coronavirus emergency. The Help Line is staffed by volunteers, including mental health professionals, who have received training in crisis counseling. Staffed 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., 7 days a week. In both English and Spanish with other translation services available.

COVID Care Direct for Essential Workers
Online Request Form
A volunteer network of 1500+ mental health professionals, life coaches, spiritual care providers, organizers, and crisis line operators ready to offer free support to essential workers in this time of incredible need. If you are currently in crisis, please go to the emergency room or call 911. If you are currently experiencing thoughts of suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255.

Disaster Distress Helpline
Call 1-800-985-5990 and text "TalkWithUs" to 66746
Crisis counseling and support for anyone in the U.S. experiencing distress or other behavioral health concerns related to any natural or human-caused disaster, including public health emergencies.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255
The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

Aging Connect Hotline 
Call 212-AGING-NYC (212-244-6469)
If you feel lonely or isolated or have questions about mental health services you currently receive through the NYC Department for the Aging. The Aging Connect hotline also provides information for caregivers.

Veterans Crisis Line
Call 800-273-8255.
If you are a veteran living in New York, or New Jersey, you can get trauma counseling and crisis intervention support. If this is an emergency, call 911. If you need connecting to services, call 311 in NYC.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 
Call 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Trained expert advocates are available 24/7 to provide confidential support to anyone experiencing domestic violence or seeking resources and information. Help is available in Spanish and other languages.

National Sexual Assault Hotline 
Call 800-656-HOPE (4673)
Connect with a trained staff member from a sexual assault service provider in your area that offers access to a range of free services. Crisis chat support is available at Online Hotline. Free help, 24/7.

NYC Well
Call 1-888-NYC-WELL or Text “WELL” to 65173
A confidential helpline for mental health and substance misuse services. Trained counselors can provide you with support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 200 languages. Services include: Crisis counseling, Peer support, Short-term counseling, Mobile crisis teams, and Connection to ongoing mental health and substance misuse services.

 

HELP LINE FOR RETAIL WORKERS:

We have partnered with the Center for Frontline Retail to open up a help line for current and former retail workers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Click the graphic below for more info.

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CAREER EXPLORATION:

Click here to check out tips on things you can do to help you find a new job.

You may also find these websites helpful: