COVID-19

COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions

Food & Nutrition Help

  • Are my SNAP (food assistance) benefits increasing because of the COVID-19 Pandemic? The USDA Food and Nutrition Service, which runs SNAP (food assistance), has given states options to make it easier to get SNAP during the coronavirus pandemic, including not requiring a face-to-face interview, and temporarily raising the SNAP benefit to the maximum amount. Call your state hotline to see if there are changes in your state. You can also find more information about SNAP in your state on the BenefitsCheckUp® website.
  • Can I use my SNAP benefits to buy food online and have it delivered to me? Some states are offering the SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot, which allows you to use SNAP benefits to buy food online from certain online retailers.

    The SNAP Online Purchasing Pilot is currently available in the following states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, and Washington State.

    The following states have announced that SNAP online purchasing will be available soon: Colorado, District of Columbia, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

    SNAP benefits can only be used for food. They cannot be used to pay for delivery fees. Contact the store to see if delivery is available in your area. Go to the USDA for more information.

  • I’m having trouble getting food. Where can I find help? NCOA has information about where to get help with food. You can also find more information about programs in your state on the BenefitsCheckUp® website.

Economic Impact Payments

  • Do I need to do anything to get the Economic Impact Payment? According to the IRS, most people do not need to do anything to get the Economic Impact Payment. The IRS has more information about the payments and who is eligible. The IRS also has a site to to check on the status of your payment. The Social Security Administration has published guidance for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Beneficiaries.
  • I was contacted by someone claiming they needed my personal information/bank account number in order to get my Economic Impact Payment. What should I do? Scammers have been reaching out to people asking for personal information claiming to help them get the Economic Impact Payments. The Federal Trade Commission says the government will not call and ask for information or ask for any money, in order to get this payment.
  • Will the Economic Impact Payment impact my eligibility for SNAP or Medicaid? For SNAP eligibility, an Economic Impact Payment will not be counted as income in the month a household gets it and it will not be counted as an asset for the next 12 months, according to the US Food & Nutrition Services. It will also not be counted as income for Medicaid eligibility and, for programs that have a resource limit, it will not be counted for the next 12 months, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. NCOA has a published a factsheet with more detailed information about this topic, including how the Economic Impact Payments will be treated for eligibility for SSI and public housing.

Social Security

  • Will my Social Security payments be suspended? The Social Security Office reports that some people are getting fraudulent letters claiming their benefits will be suspended because of COVID-19 related office closures. This is a scam. Social Security is not suspending or reducing benefits because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Social Security offices are closed, employees are still working. NCOA has more information about scams related to the Coronavirus and other important information for older adults.

Medications

Phone & Internet

  • Can I get help with phone service or internet? The Lifeline Program can help low-income consumers get discounted monthly phone service or broadband Internet access from participating providers. Also, if you already have service and are concerned about your ability to pay, many companies have committed to not cutting off service if a customer cannot pay because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There is more information about participating companies on the FCC website.