Emergency Services Guide for Job Seekers & Alumni | Upwardly Global

Emergency Services Guide for Job Seekers & Alumni | Upwardly Global

Emergency Services Guide for Job Seekers & Alumni

This guide draws from public, private, and nonprofit resources to help secure your finances and more. For a shorter guide focusing on government assistance programs, read Where can I find help during the pandemic? Government assistance FAQs.

If you are experiencing urgent needs, dial 211 on your phone or visit 211.org to be connected to resources in your area. For information on staying safe during the pandemic, visit the Center for Disease Control’s COVID-19 webpage. For information on COVID-19 in other languages, click here.

If you have any questions or additions to this guide, please email outreach@upwardlyglobal.org


There are reasons to be hopeful about the job market: Companies are still hiring, and professional jobs are more secure than others. Take control of your job search by reading Upwardly Global’s Job Searching During a Pandemic: How-to Guide.

If you need in-depth assistance with your job search, visit Upwardly Global to learn more about our free job coaching program.

Securing Your Finances

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has helpful pointers on securing your finances during coronavirus. AFL-CIO’s “When the Paycheck Stops” may be helpful for those who have recently lost work.

Your Rights as a Worker

Coronavirus raises numerous questions about workplace safety and discrimination, to learn more:

Paid Sick and Family Leave

The government is providing payroll tax credits to companies that provide paid sick and family leave. Check with your employer to see if they are offering paid sick leave if you or a family member falls ill. There are no restrictions on immigrants’ ability to collect paid sick leave.

Government Benefits

Government benefits are available to certain immigrants who meet eligibility criteria. These programs help with income, nutrition, healthcare, and more. The best way to know whether you are eligible is to apply. Many states provide state-funded benefits to immigrants who are ineligible for federal benefits.

To read more about how recent benefits expansions impact you as an immigrant, click here.

The 2019 public charge rule, which affected a very limited number of immigrants on public benefits who were seeking a change of status, is no longer in effect.

Use Benefits.gov to find benefits programs you may qualify for. The questionnaire also screens for immigrant eligibility.

Economic Impact Payments

The most recent relief bill includes a $1400 stimulus payment. Learn more about timeline and eligibility here.

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Unemployment Insurance (UI) replaces lost income if you have lost your job through no fault of your own. The most recent relief bill authorizes enhanced UI benefits of $300 per week through September 4th, 2021 and more. For more information, read here.

UI is available to immigrants with valid work authorization at the time of applying, during the period of employment that the government considers when calculating the amount of your weekly payment (the “base period”), and during the benefits period itself.

Find your state unemployment program

Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ Compensation provides medical and/or wage payments to people who fall ill or are injured on the job. States are trying to determine if workers’ compensation applies COVID-19 (some states say it does under certain circumstances). Many states allow workers to receive workers’ compensation regardless of immigration status but check with your state workers’ compensation division to be sure.

Find your state workers’ compensation division

Cash Assistance (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, TANF)

TANF provides cash assistance for food, shelter, utilities, and expenses other than medical to low-income families with children. TANF also includes vocational training and job placement for unemployed parents. This is available to certain non-citizens, including refugees, asylees, and some Green Card holders.

Find your state TANF program

Food Assistance (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP)

SNAP helps low-income families purchase food.

SNAP is available to certain non-citizens, including refugees, asylees, and some Green Card holders. Immigrants who are not eligible may apply through eligible household members including children.

Find your state SNAP program

Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP)

EFSP provides emergency food and shelter to hungry and homeless individuals. This program is run by FEMA and the United Way and is available to anyone, regardless of immigration status.

Find emergency food and shelter near you

Food and Healthcare for Mothers (Women, Infants, and Children, WIC)

WIC provides food and healthcare assistance to low-income mothers who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or have children up to age 5. This is available to anyone regardless of immigration status.

Find your state WIC program

Healthcare (Medicaid, Emergency Medicaid, and CHIP)

Medicaid is free or low-cost medical coverage for low-income families. Emergency Medicaid covers certain health emergencies for the uninsured. The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides free or low-cost medical coverage to children in low-income families that exceed Medicaid income requirements.

Medicaid and CHIP are available to certain non-citizens, including refugees, asylees, and some Green Card holders, but states can extend these benefits to other types of immigrants. Emergency Medicaid is available to anyone regardless of immigration status.

Find your state Medicaid office

Child Care

Some parents, especially essential workers, need child care services at this time. Every state has a different, rapidly changing approach to providing child care during the pandemic. Familiarize yourself with state actions on child care and check back frequently.

State-level information on child care

Child Care search engine

Free Health Clinics (Community Health Centers, CHCs)

CHCs are free and low-cost clinics throughout the United States. You can access them regardless of your immigration status or ability to pay.

Find a local Community Health Center

Home Utilities Assistance (The Low Income High Energy Assistance Program, LIHEAP)

LIHEAP helps low-income families with home energy costs. Immigrants are eligible for LIHEAP if one household member is receiving TANF, Social Security, or SNAP payments.

Be aware that utilities companies across the country are assisting customers who cannot pay. Contact your energy provider immediately if you will be unable to pay.

Find your local LIHEAP program

Telephone and Internet Assistance

The FCC Lifeline Program helps low-income households pay for internet and telephone costs. Households at or below the federal poverty line or receiving SNAP, SSI, Medicaid, or Federal Public Housing are eligible for one Lifeline Program discount.

Learn more about the Lifeline Program.

The FCC has also encouraged a range of telecom companies (see the list here) to assist their customers during the pandemic. Reach out to your provider to learn what they are offering, which may include delayed payments, suspended late-fees, and more. Also be aware of these low/no-cost private services:

  • Comcast is offering 2 months of free internet to new “Internet Essentials” customers who are low income through June 30th, 2021.
  • Spectrum is providing free/low-cost internet to qualifying individuals and families.
  • Xfinity is providing free WiFi hotspots for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Other Government Actions

Federal, state, and local governments are working nonstop to confront the coronavirus pandemic. You can track federal government actions here and state actions here.

Rent and Mortgage Relief

The Biden Administration extended the national eviction moratorium through June 2021, but its legality is unclear. Still, numerous cities and states have their own emergency protections for renters and homeowners.

Recent coronavirus relief efforts from the federal government include $50 billion in rent relief for low-income households. These funds should be available through your state’s housing department.

If you cannot pay rent, tell your landlord immediately. You may use this letter template.

Student Loan Relief

The Department of Education has suspended federal student loan payments and collection activities through September 2021. Contact your loan provider to ensure that you are covered.

If you have private student loans, you may be eligible to pause payments depending on your state. Read more here.

Immigration & Travel

If you have immigration proceedings, ensure that the court is currently open. If you are planning on traveling internationally, the State Department has information on international travel restrictions to and from certain countries.

Community Aid

Many grassroots initiatives and nonprofits are assisting those affected by the pandemic. The following national programs may be able to provide you with financial aid and healthcare assistance.

Cash Assistance

You can find direct cash assistance from individuals in your community using Mutual Aid Hub. There many special interest emergency funds for Domestic WorkersCreatives and FreelancersTipped and Service WorkersUndocumented/DACA immigrants, and LGBTQI people of color.

United Way and Muslims for Humanity are national nonprofits that provide financial assistance with food, rent, and more.

Nutrition Assistance

Food pantries provide direct donations of grocery items to individuals who are food insecure.

Find your local food pantry

Healthcare Assistance

Family & Mental Health

Distance Learning

For a comprehensive list of distance learning resources, see this list of helpful articles from Education Reimagined, or this one from Newsweek.

Private Sector Aid

Many private companies are offering assistance to consumers and employees during the pandemic. To find a full list of companies that are pledging various forms of assistance, visit this U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation webpage.

Gig Company and Amazon Employee Assistance

UberLyftPostmatesDoordash, and Instacart are working to ensure contractor safety in a variety of ways. Check with your gig company to see what they are offering. Amazon employees and contractors may qualify for company benefits during the outbreak.

Private Health Insurance Assistance

Many states are mandating private health insurers make coronavirus testing and treatment easier. Check with your private health care provider for more information about this and what else they are offering.

Banking & Personal Finance Assistance

The government has encouraged banks to provide relief to credit, mortgage, and other customers. Some states are suggesting similar protections. Check with your own bank to learn more.

Resources by State

State and local coronavirus relief efforts are too numerous to list — stay tuned to what is happening in your community to learn about available resources. You can also contact your UpGlo job coach for possible suggestions. Below are state resources that can help you cover your basic needs.

Resource Directories









New Jersey

New York






Washington, D.C.

Washington State



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