Government Benefits


If you’re a renter having trouble paying your rent, utilities, or other housing costs – or if you’re a landlord trying to stay afloat with tenants in this situation – help may be available. State and local programs are distributing billions of dollars in rental assistance to help renters stay housed during the pandemic.

Visit the CFPB’s Rental Assistance Finder to find out what this means for you and what you can do.  The CFPB’s site also includes resources to help renters and landlords understand other resources to help navigate various financial hardships related to the pandemic. 


The Child Tax Credit, part of the American Rescue Plan, is here to help families raising children make ends meet. Experts estimate the new Child Tax Credit has the potential to cut child poverty in half. To learn more, visit or check out this helpful one-pager.

$3,000 to $3,600 per child for nearly all working families

Major expansion: the Child Tax Credit in the American Rescue Plan provides the largest child tax credit ever and historic relief to the most working families ever.

  • $3,000 per child 6-17 years old
  • $3,600 per child under 6 years old
  • All working families will get the full credit if they make up to $150,000 for a couple or $112,500 for a family with a single parent (also called head of household)

Automatic monthly payments for nearly all working families

If you’ve filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020, or if you signed up to receive a stimulus check from the Internal Revenue Service, you will get this tax relief automatically. You do not need to sign up or take any action.

Advancing your tax relief: Normally, tax relief for the year only comes the following year when you file your taxes, no matter how much you need it now. This year, you’ll start getting the money in July.

Monthly payments starting in July: For the first time, people will receive the Child Tax Credit in monthly payments. For every child 6-17 years old, families will get $250 each month, and for every child under 6 years old, families will get $300 each month.

  • The 80% who get their refunds from the IRS through direct deposit will get these payments in their bank account on the 15th of every month until the end of 2021.
  • People who don’t use direct deposit will receive their payment by mail around the same time.

Easy sign up for low-income families to cut child poverty in half

Low-income families with children are eligible for this crucial tax relief – including those who have not made enough money to be required to file taxes.

If a couple makes under $24,800, a head of household makes under $18,650, or a single filer makes under $12,400, and they have not filed their taxes, there is a simple, easy tool to sign up for the Child Tax Credit:

  • Go to and click on the sign-up link.
  • All you’ll need to apply are a reliable mailing address, an e-mail address, Social Security numbers for your children, and Social Security Numbers (or ITIN) for you and your spouse.
  • If you provide bank account information, you can receive your payment safely and securely by direct deposit.


A new federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide unemployment insurance benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where:

  • An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work;
  • An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and
  • An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member.
  • In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.

State by State: Apply for Unemployment Insurance through your State’s Department of Labor. Find your state benefits page here.



Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides emergency unemployment assistance to workers who are left out of regular state UI or who have exhausted their state UI benefits (including any Extended Benefits that might become available in the future).

It pays up to 39 weeks of PUA to eligible workers. The program will expire on December 31, 2020, unless otherwise extended.

Note: Workers who are eligible for state UI are not eligible for the PUA program.

Those eligible for PUA include self-employed workers, including independent contractors, freelancers, workers seeking part-time work, and workers who do not have a long-enough work history to qualify for state UI benefits.


Do you qualify for UI or PUA? Click here and check out this flow chart to figure it out.


New Recovery Payments for Individuals

The CARES Act, passed in response to the coronavirus crisis, directs the federal government to make a one-time payment to most individuals. This fact sheet provides an overview of these recovery payments.

Am I eligible? How do I get my payment?

Read the Fact Sheet for answers to frequently asked questions.


Immigrant Workers*:

  • In most states, to be eligible for unemployment insurance you have to have been a citizen, a lawful permanent resident, have work authorization, or in some states be permanently residing under color of law, when you earned wages; and
  • You have to have work authorization now (because you have to be ready, willing, and able to work), although there may be exceptions due to COVID-19 depending on your immigration status and your state.

*We advise you to reach out to your union rep for guidance and support through the application process or to consult with a lawyer. Your union can connect you to one.



Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other nutrition assistance programs are available through your state. Visit your state government benefits page or, a national non-profit whose offices can help you apply.



Know Your Rights on the Federal Paid Sick and FMLA


How will you benefit from the federal FMLA and Sick Leave Benefits? Review the chart to see which may apply to you. 


version en español


If you live in New York State, the state also recently passed a series of COVID-19 emergency paid family leave and paid sick benefits. Review the chart to see how each benefit will apply to you. 


version en español

And check out this New York State FAQ on benefits available to workers whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19.