Additional COVID-19 Benefits and Resources Available for Arlington Residents
By Office of Communication
Posted on April 03, 2020, April 03, 2020
Additional Benefits

The recently passed CARES Act to help Americans through the coronavirus pandemic includes a menu of items that will help Arlington residents struggling with employment, childcare or paying their bills. In addition to stimulus checks of up to $1,200 per individual or $2,400 per couple, below are some other programs you may want to take advantage of as the coronavirus situation continues to evolve.

Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
The bill provides additional money for unemployment insurance. People claiming unemployment assistance will receive their usual benefits plus an additional $600 per week in compensation.

Who is eligible? The bill extends unemployment insurance eligibility at the state level. Those who are now eligible include part-time employees, freelancers, independent contractors, gig workers and the self-employed who’s income has been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Will the assistance make me ineligible for Medicaid or Chip? This additional funding will not be calculated into a person’s income requirements for Medicaid or CHIP.

Are there any other changes? Other unemployment changes include an additional 13 weeks of state benefits as well as suspending the non-reduction rules and waiting period. The extended benefits will last through December 31, 2020.

Who can I contact for more information? The Texas Workforce Commission launched “Larry the Chatbot,” a virtual assistant on its website that can help answer questions on unemployment benefits. To use open the “Chat with us” window in the bottom righthand side of your computer screen and type a question. For more information on how these unemployment benefit changes might affect you, please contact the Texas Workforce Commission by visiting their webpage at 

Mortgage Grace Period
This bill will also provide for a 180-day grace period for people with mortgages suffering severe financial hardship due to the pandemic. A forbearance request to lenders must be submitted for this grace period.

Student Loans Payment Suspension
This bill also suspends federally backed student loan payments through September 20, 2020. This change stops collections on these loans that are in default and allows people to suspend their payments and waiving interest for at least 60 days. For additional details visit

Paid Sick Leave
The CARES Act also mandated governments and private businesses to provide paid sick leave for families with a known positive case of coronavirus in the household. Private employers, but not local governments, are able to access tax breaks to alleviate the cost associated with the provision of paid sick leave. Please visit for questions about eligibility.

Insurance Coverage
COVID-19 treatments and vaccines are now required to be provided by all private insurance plans and makes all COVID-19 tests free.

Other funded individual assistance programs include:

  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) received an additional $15.5 billion to provide additional access for families in need;
  • $900 million to help lower income households heat and cool their homes through the end of FY2021 through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance program;
  • $750 million to Head Start programs;
  • $450 million for commodities and distribution of emergency food assistance through community partners, including food banks;
  • $3.5 billion to the Child Care and Development Block Grant to assist low-income families with childcare costs;
  • $1.25 billion for rental assistance to low-income individuals;
  • $50 million for housing for the elderly; and
  • $15 million for housing for persons with disabilities.

To find more information on benefits being provided during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit the Texas Department of Health and Human Services website or Your Texas Benefits.

For additional updates on COVID-19 visit

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