Over the past several days, my staff and I have received over 100 questions, messages and inquiries from local residents, businesses and families regarding COVID-19.
To help answer the most frequently asked questions, we’ve put together this resource to help you find answers and information on assistance for residents, families, small business owners and employees that you may qualify for.
Over the next several weeks we’ll be keep updating this page with new information on local, state and federal government action and programs to deal with this crisis as it becomes available.
Until then, my staff and I will still be available should you need any assistance. Please feel free to call us at 607-773-8771 or email us at Akshar@NYSenate.Gov.
General Information Read More
Novel Coronavirus Hotline: Call 1-888-364-3065 for Information about Coronavirus
Information and live updates regarding coronavirus, please visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/communicable/coronavirus/
15 Days to Slow the Spread
High resolution versions here.
General Assistance and Community Resources Read More
For help or guidance on a variety of assistance from access to food, shelter, or health care contact the United Way First Call for Help by dialing 2-1-1.
2020 CARES Act Rebates Frequently Asked Questions Read More
Why is Congress proposing to pay rebates to individuals?
The public health and economic consequences of COVID-19 are significant. These rebates help Americans afford what they need during this public health crisis, as many are experiencing a significant cash crunch.
When will the rebates be distributed?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will work to deliver rebates quickly in the form of advance payments. For people who filed a federal income tax return in 2018 or 2019, payment processing will be based on payment or address information already on file with the IRS. Electronic distributions will be automatic to an account the payee authorized January 1, 2018 or later.
How large are the rebates?
The amount of the rebate depends on family size. The payment is $1,200 for each adult individual ($2,400 for joint filers), and $500 per qualifying child under age 17. The advance payment of rebates is reduced by $5 for every $100 of income to the extent a taxpayer’s income exceeds $150,000 for a joint filer, $112,500 for a head of household filer, and $75,000 for anyone else (including single filers).
Do rebates need to be repaid?
No, rebates do not need to be repaid. If an individual experienced an income loss in 2020 or if they have an increase in family size, they may be able to claim an additional credit of the difference when the individual files their 2020 tax federal income tax return in 2021.
How will rebates be delivered?
It depends. Rebates will be delivered automatically—by the IRS—to most Americans who file individual federal income tax returns. When available, electronic direct deposit will be used in place of mailing a physical check.
Many individuals don't need to file a tax return. Are non-filers eligible for rebates?
Yes. There is no earned income requirement to be eligible for a rebate, but non-filers may need to take additional steps to receive their rebates. The Social Security Administration will share information for Social Security (Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance) beneficiaries with IRS to help ensure these beneficiaries receive an automatic advance payment. The IRS will conduct a public awareness campaign to reach other non-filers and provide them with information on how they can access rebates.
How will a person who has recently moved access rebates?
The IRS will determine payment delivery systems for everyone entitled to rebates.
Will the rebates affect my eligibility for federal income-targeted programs?
No, the rebate is considered a tax refund and is not counted towards eligibility for federal programs.
What identification requirements apply to receive rebates?
Taxpayers must have Social Security Numbers for themselves and their qualifying children in order to receive rebates.
For more information, please visit https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus
Health Care Read More
What To Do if You Are Sick
Call your doctor: If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.
Special NY State of Health enrollment period open through April 15 for uninsured individuals to ease coronavirus fears:
Broome County Health Department
225 Front St, Binghamton, NY 13905
Tioga County Health Department
1062 State Route 38 Owego, NY 13827
Chenango County Health Department
5 Court Street Norwich, NY 13815
Delaware County Health Department
99 Main St, Delhi, NY 13753
Ascension Lourdes Hospital
169 Riverside Dr Binghamton, NY 13905
UHS Wilson Medical Center
33-57 Harrison Street Johnson City, NY 13790
UHS Binghamton General Hospital
10-42 Mitchell Avenue Binghamton, NY 13903
UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital
179 N. Broad Street Norwich, NY 13815
Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital
1 Guthrie Square, Sayre, PA 18840
UHS Delaware Valley Hospital
1 Titus Pl, Walton, NY 13856
Tax Filings Read More
The filing deadline has been moved to July 15 for all taxpayers. All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.
Taxpayers will get a three-month reprieve to pay any outstanding balance on federal income taxes they owe the IRS for 2019. If an individual files their taxes and discovers that they owe money, they can opt to not pay that balance until July 15.
However, if an individual submits their taxes and includes their bank account direct debit information, the IRS will collect the taxes as soon as they receive the tax return. The IRS will not automatically wait until July 15 to debit the taxpayer’s account.
New York businesses that collect sales tax will not be subject to penalties or interest for late payments.
Please visit https://www.tax.ny.gov/press/alerts/nys-tax-response-to-covid-19.htm for updates.
Mortgage Relief Read More
The Governor announced the NYS Department of Financial Services (DFS) has issued a new directive to New York State mortgage servicers to provide 90-day mortgage relief to mortgage borrowers impacted by the novel coronavirus. The directive includes:
Waiving mortgage payments based on financial hardship;
No negative reporting to credit bureaus;
Grace period for loan modification;
No late payment fees or online payment fees; and
Postponing or suspending foreclosures.
Additionally, the Governor has asked DFS to instruct state chartered banks to waive ATM fees, late fees, overdraft fees and fees for credits cards to help lessen the financial hardship of the COVID-19 pandemic on New Yorkers.
Small Businesses and Employees Read More
Governor Cuomo has ordered all employers limit their staff capacity, requiring 100% of non-essential employees to work from home.
Businesses within essential service industries are exempt from these reductions, including: shipping, media, warehousing, grocery and food production, pharmacies, healthcare providers, utilities, banks and related financial institutions, and other industries critical to the supply chain.
For more clarification on the Governor's directive on essential vs. non-essential businesses, please click here.
Businesses unsure if they are included within in exempt categories but still believe they are providing essential services or functions can request a waiver from these reductions by completing this form.
Further business related questions can be forwarded to Empire State Development by clicking here.
ESD's Frequently Asked Questions link will also be updated as new information comes in: https://esd.ny.gov/esd-covid-19-related-resources
Federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for Small Business
The CARES Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.
For more information on eligibility and how to apply, please click here: https://www.uschamber.com/sites/default/files/023595_comm_corona_virus_smallbiz_loan_final.pdf
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Assistance
The SBA Administrator has just approved a statewide disaster declaration for NY. Eligible small businesses may now apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.
Businesses can take advantage of free assistance offered by SBA’s network of Resource Partners for help with preparing their loan applications. Please visit www.sba.gov/local-assistance to find local help.
The NYS Small Business Development Center network recommends submitting a request for assistance online at http://nyssbdc.org/appointment.html.
The SBA disaster relief application link is here: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela
Emergency Paid Sick and Family Leave
New federal and state emergency sick and family leave laws offer specific protections for people diagnosed with, have symptoms of, or quarantined for COVID-19, people caring for those with COVID-19, or people caring for children whose schools have closed due to COVID-19.
The federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act takes effect on April 2, 2020, and the state law is currently in effect.
Am I entitled to any paid medical leave if I have COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19? Employees who are diagnosed with or displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave at full pay, with a maximum of $5,110 total, if they are working for employers of 499 employees or less, with limited exceptions, under federal law.
Am I entitled to any paid medical leave if I am under a mandatory or precautionary quarantine order? Both federal and state law provide protections for those under quarantine or isolation. The state paid leave provisions only apply if they are more protective than the federal leave provisions. The state law protections do not apply to those who are not sick and able to work remotely but under quarantine or self-isolation at home. Whether state or federal protections govern depends on employer size.
This means that in general:
For employers with 100 or more employees: Employees are entitled to 14 days of paid sick leave at full pay under state law.
For employers with between 50 and 99 employees: Employees are entitled to 80 hours of paid sick leave at full pay, with a maximum of $5,110 total, under federal law.
For employers with between 11 and 49 employees or with 10 or fewer employees with net income over $1 million: Under federal law, employers with fewer than 50 employees are obligated to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at full pay, with a maximum of $ 5,110 total, with limited exceptions.
If the employer is not able to provide leave under federal law, employees are still entitled to take sick leave for the duration of their quarantine, with at least five days of sick leave at full pay, under state law. Employees may apply for state paid family leave and temporary disability benefits to cover the rest of the quarantine period. For state family leave benefits, the maximum weekly allowance is $840.70. For emergency temporary disability benefits, the maximum weekly allowance is $2,043.92.
For employers with 10 or fewer employees with net income under $1 million: Under federal law, employers with fewer than 50 employees are obligated to provide up to 80 hours of paid sick leave at full pay, with a maximum of $ 5,110 total, with limited exceptions. If the employer is not able to provide leave under federal law, employees are still entitled to take unpaid sick leave for the duration of their quarantine under state law. Employees may apply for state paid family leave and temporary disability benefits to cover the quarantine period. For state family leave benefits, the maximum weekly allowance is $840.70. For emergency temporary disability benefits, the maximum weekly allowance is $2,043.92. For more information on state paid family leave, please call the PFL Helpline at (844) 337-6303 or visit: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/paid-family-leave-family-care.
Am I entitled to any paid leave if someone in my family has COVID-19 or has been quarantined? Employees are entitled to up to 80 hours of emergency paid family leave, with a maximum of $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate, with limited exceptions, under federal law. Employees are also entitled to use state paid family leave to care for sick family members or for children under mandatory quarantine. For state family leave benefits, employees will be compensated at 60% of their average weekly earnings for 10 weeks with a maximum weekly allowance of $840.70 per week. For more information on state paid family leave, please call the PFL Helpline at (844) 337-6303 or visit: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/.
Am I entitled to any paid leave if my children’s school is closed due to COVID-19? Employees are entitled to use federal emergency sick leave and emergency family medical leave to care for children whose schools have closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks if they work for employers with between 50 and 499 employees. Employers with fewer than 50 employees may be exempt from providing family leave if it jeopardizes their business viability. For federal paid sick leave benefits, the maximum is $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate. For federal family leave benefits, employees will be compensated at a maximum of $2,000 total for the first two weeks and at 67% of their regular rate for the following ten weeks, with a maximum of $10,000 total.
Am I entitled to any emergency paid leave for COVID-19 if I am an independent contractor? Under federal law, individuals who are self-employed are entitled to receive tax credits for the equivalent of 10 days of paid sick leave at the lesser of 100% of their average daily rate or $511 per day. Individuals are also entitled to receive tax credits for the equivalent of 10 days of paid sick leave at the lesser of 67% of their average daily rate or $200 to care for family members or to care for children whose schools have been closed due to COVID-19. Individuals may receive an additional 50 days of paid family leave at the lesser of 67% of their average daily rate or $200 per day to care for children whose schools have closed due to COVID-19.
For more information on state paid family leave, please call the PFL Helpline at (844) 337-6303 or visit: https://paidfamilyleave.ny.gov/.
Relief to Workers under New York State Law
Relief to Workers under Federal Law
Binghamton University Small Business Development Center (SBDC)
SBDC has assisted 100+ small businesses regarding COVID 19, providing assistance on the CARES Act, NYS/Federal Unemployment, Cash Flow and more.
SBDC has transitioned to offer their 1:1 business advisory services virtually through Zoom sessions, or by phone. Use the following link to schedule an appointment with one of their advisors: https://www.binghamton.edu/centers/small-business-development/about/index.html.
To help existing small businesses handle economic loss associated with reduced sales resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19), financial assistance programs are expected to be released soon from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program offers loans of up to $2 million to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
Binghamton Local Development Corporation (BLDC) No-Interest Loans for Businesses
The City of Binghamton has established a $350,000 fund to provide up to $15,000 in zero-interest, 12-month deferred repayment loans to local businesses with fewer than 50 employees. To qualify, businesses must demonstrate a reduction in workforce, customer access, production or other operations due to coronavirus.
Small businesses can find the BLDC loan applications on the City’s website at www.binghamton-ny.gov/binghamton-local-development-corporation-bldc
Completed applications can also be submitted via email to email@example.com or by mail at the Binghamton Local Development Corporation c/o Department of Economic Development, 38 Hawley St., Binghamton, NY 13901.
Applicants can also call (607) 772-7161 and leave a message to schedule an appointment to submit an application
Unemployment Information Read More
Important Information for Unemployment Insurance Claimants from the New York State Department of Labor:
The federal government enacted the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which includes extended unemployment benefits. New York has not qualified for these extended benefits at this time, but we will continue to monitor the situation and leverage all federal resources to help New Yorkers survive the economic hardships associated with the novel coronavirus. If New York State DOES qualify for the extended benefits, New Yorkers do NOT need to do anything new. DOL will post additional information here as it becomes available.
NYS is waiving the 7-Day waiting period for Unemployment Insurance benefits for people who are out of work due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) closures or quarantines.
If you are filing a new unemployment insurance claim, the day you should file is based on the first letter of your last name. If your last name starts with A - F, file your claim on Monday. For last names starting with G - N, file your claim Tuesday. For last names starting with O - Z, file your claim on Wednesday. If you missed your filing day, file your claim on Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Filing later in the week will not delay your payments or affect the date of your claim, since all claims are effective on the Monday of the week in which they are filed.
DOL is extending telephone filing hours as follows:
Monday through Thursday, 8 am to 7:30 pm.
Friday, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Saturday, 7:30 am to 8:00 pm.
Beginning Sunday, 3/29 - all day
Monday through Friday 7:30 am to midnight
Saturday - all day
Frequently Asked Questions on Unemployment Claims
Q: I filed a claim, what next?
A: For each week you wish to receive benefits, you must request payment by claiming benefits for that week. Go to How do I claim? for details. Before we can pay any benefits, you must serve an unpaid waiting period. This equals one full week of unemployment benefits. You must claim credit for your unpaid waiting week during the period that:
- Begins on the first Sunday after you file your claim and
- Ends the next Saturday
The waiting period is waived now for COVID-19
Each week that you are unemployed, you must request payment if you want to receive unemployment benefits. You certify that weekly claim on Sunday, for the week ending that day.
Q: How do I claim my weekly benefits?
A: See the Guide for Claiming Weekly Unemployment Insurance Benefits Fact Sheet
You may claim your weekly unemployment benefits:
Both systems are available in English and Spanish.If you use TTY/TDD equipment, call a relay operator first at 800-662-1220, and ask the operator to call the Telephone Claims Center at 888-783-1370.If you are claiming weekly benefits on-line, you may do so:
Beginning Sunday, 3/29 - all day
Monday through Friday 7:30 am to midnight
Saturday - all day
An unemployment week runs Monday through Sunday. If you wish to claim benefits for a week of unemployment, you have from the Sunday date at the end of that week through the next Saturday to do so.
The first week of your claim is a waiting period and is not paid. However, you must claim benefits for that week and get credit, so that you may claim benefits for future weeks of unemployment.
When you claim weekly benefits, you must answer questions to certify how many days you were ready, willing and able to work during the past week. The certification system only handles certification for one week at a time.
You cannot claim for a given week more than a week later either online or using Tel-Service. The system will not accept certifications for any back weeks or other periods of time. If you miss claiming benefits for a week during which you were unemployed, you can request credit for this week by secure message, fax or regular mail. Do not call the Telephone Claims Center to request back credit for a week.
To submit a request by secure message, sign in to your account at www.labor.ny.gov/signin and click on the envelope icon at the upper-right corner of the My online Services page.
To fax your request, send to (518) 457-9378. By mail send to:
New York State Department of Labor
PO Box 15130
Albany, NY 12212-5130
Be sure to include the beginning and ending dates of the time period for which you did not claim benefits and the reason you did not claim benefits promptly in your request. Also, include the last four digits of your Social Security number on the upper right corner.
NYS Department of Labor will review your request and decide if you are eligible to receive benefits for that time period. This review can take two to three weeks, unless we need more information. In that case, it may take longer. During this time, be sure to continue claiming benefits for all weeks you are unemployed and eligible for benefits. If we write or call you to request more information, please respond promptly so the review is not delayed.
When you use the phone or online systems to claim your weekly benefits, you must certify for yourself. Having someone else claim your weekly benefits for you is a serious offense. It can lead to severe penalties, including criminal prosecution and jail time.
Parents and Children Read More
Free Meal Pick-Up for Children
The Food Bank of the Southern Tier and Broome-Tioga BOCES are providing free meals to children in need at over 40 locations throughout our community.
Any child 18-years-old or younger can pick up two meals per day, breakfast and lunch. These meals can be picked up in person, or through a drive-by system, however there is no option for sitting down to eat.
If your family can't pick-up food or has a child with special dietary needs, please call the Rock on Café Food Services Program at (607)-763-3403.
Click below to view the latest meal pickup times and locations,:
Free Childcare for Broome County Employees and Healthcare Workers
Broome County employees and healthcare workers now have access to free childcare for children grades K-5 at Broome Western Senior Center from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For more information please contact the Broome County Office for Aging at (607) 778-2411.
Volunteer Information Read More
New York State is calling on health care professionals, schools of public health or medicine and PPE products providers and manufacturers to come forward to support the state’s response.
For more information on how you can help, click here.
New York is seeking the following:
- Health, Mental Health, and Related Professionals - Qualified health, mental health, and related professionals who are interested in supporting the state’s response please click here.
- School of Public Health, School of Medicine, or School of Nursing Administrators - Qualified individuals who are interested in supporting the state’s response please click here.
- Gloves, Masks and Gowns - There is shortage of personal protective equipment — or PPE — products in the state, including gloves, masks and gowns, New York is asking all PPE product providers to sell to the state any products that are not essential or not currently being used. Businesses interested in selling products to the state should contact Simonida Subotic at 646-522-8477 or email COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov
- Help New York State by Manufacturing Products – New York is encouraging any company with the proper equipment or personnel to begin to manufacturing personal protective equipment products. The state is willing to provide funding to any company to obtain the proper equipment and personnel. Businesses interested in receiving funding to manufacture products should contact Eric Gertler at 212-803-3100 or email COVID19supplies@esd.ny.gov.
- Donations of Goods, Services, and Space - In times of need, New Yorkers are there to help. We are accepting donations of essential goods, services, and spaces to support New York’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. For more information click here.
United Way of Broome County is helping organize volunteers and coordinate volunteer opportunities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in the most timely and safe manner possible.
If you are interested in learning about volunteer opportunities that may arise in the near future, please call 211 or fill out the form below and United Way will connect you to those most in need.
Many businesses and organizations have expressed a desire to support New York State as it responds to the virus outbreak. Individuals or groups looking to volunteer or contribute to the State’s effort should contact the Governor’s Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agriculture/Farmers Read More
USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. For a summary of provisions, please click here.
Farms Exempt from Non-Essential Construction Ban
The Governor’s Executive Order 202.6 continues to exempt food processing (including but not limited those supplying goods and services to this industry such as agricultural operations, agribusinesses, etc.) from all restrictions imposed by emergency executive orders issued as a result of this emergency. This includes construction of new farm buildings as long as they are used for any type of food production.
COVID-19 and Your Produce Farm Webinar
Cornell CALS Ag. Workforce Development Specialist, Dr. Richard Stup, and Elizabeth Bihn, PhD, Director of Produce Safety Alliance at Cornell, will host an April 3 webinar and provide steps that produce farm managers and individuals working with fruit and vegetable farms should consider to protect their workforce, their business, and their markets.
Link to join COVID-19 and Your Produce Farm webinar: https://cornell.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_i_YI5CX8QXmEMHO2GLKKiA
For additional prevention and control tips for produce farms from Cornell, click here.
Nonprofit Organizations Read More
For a summary of provisions impacting nonprofit organizations in the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) please click here.