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Washington, D.C. – This Easter Sunday, we’ll be praying from our living rooms rather than from the church pews, but that’s alright, because the Lord is always with us. Remember Matthew 18:20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
It’s a somber time, but glimmers of hope still shine through. According to researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, social distancing efforts are helping to slow Coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rates. New testing machines that can detect the coronavirus in as little as five minutes arrived in Tennessee this week.
Have you lost or do you expect to lose your health insurance? You may be eligible to apply for insurance through a Special Enrollment Period. Depending on your income, you may also qualify for a subsidy to reduce the cost of your premium. Click here to see if you qualify.
Tennessee Employers and Small Businesses
The Paycheck Protection Program will fund up to 8 weeks of payroll costs. The loan will be fully forgiven if all employees are kept on the payroll. The Program includes special provisions for sole proprietors and self-employed individuals. For more information, click here. You can find answers to frequently asked questions here. For an application, click here.
Faith-based groups are now eligible for the program, in addition to nonprofits, veterans organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships, and independent contractors. For frequently asked questions specific to religious groups, click here.
The IRS is extending payroll tax credits to eligible small and midsize businesses.
Employers, there are new federal paid leave requirements related to Coronavirus (COVID-19). You can learn more here.
You can find additional SBA resources here.
Our Tennessee Workforce
Have you recently been laid off, or has your paycheck taken a hit? You can file for unemployment insurance and other forms of assistance here.
For information on the new federal paid leave requirements related to the coronavirus, click here.
Our Tennessee Farmers
For help navigating the coronavirus pandemic, including food safety resources, click here.
Our Health Care Workers
Are you a volunteer health care worker? The CARES Act includes my Good Samaritan clause to protect volunteers from frivolous lawsuits during this public health emergency.
Federal Taxes and Rebate Checks
The IRS has delayed Tax Day until July 15th, 2020 and is also extending payroll tax credits to eligible small and midsize businesses.
In the coming weeks, the IRS will send recovery rebate checks to eligible Americans. Please beware of scammers. The IRS will not contact you to request any personal information to receive the economic impact payments or any other benefits associated with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This includes retirees, who don’t normally have to file a tax return. No action is required to receive your $1,200 economic impact payment.
Seniors will now have automatic access to the Economic Impact Payments under the CARES Act. Social Security recipients who do not normally file tax returns will not need to file any additional information to receive the payments. Read my letter to the IRS requesting this change here.
Competitive Federal Grants
If you have questions regarding how the pandemic will affect federal grant applications and awards, please visit the awarding agency’s website for announcements. You may also reach out to the agency for an extension or with other inquiries.
As always, you can visit my grants webpage to request support for your competitive federal grant application.
Parents, students and graduates can access educational resources and assistance here.
Living or Traveling Abroad
If you are abroad and need assistance from the U.S. State Department, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. You may also call 1.888.407.4747 (U.S. & Canada) or 1. 202.501.4444 (from overseas). Click here for additional travel information.
The Volunteer Spirit
Looking to help your fellow Tennesseans during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) is seeking personal protective equipment (PPE) donations from the private sector.
Click here if you would like to donate, sell, or produce medical supplies and other goods for the federal government.
Tennesseans looking for volunteer opportunities can click here.
COVID-19 testing sites can be found here.
General information about the coronavirus can be found here.
Information regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Tennessee can be found here.
You can call the Tennessee Coronavirus Public Information Line from 10:00am to 10:00pm CT at 877.857.2945.
Information for cleaning and disinfecting your home when someone is sick can be found here.
Tornado Recovery Updates and Resources
The deadline to apply for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance is May 4th, 2020. To register click here or call 800.621.3362.
If you are located in a disaster declared area (Davidson County, Putnam County, and Wilson County), you may be eligible for financial assistance from the Small Business Administration (SBA). To apply, click here.
Benton County, Carroll County, and Smith County are now eligible for public assistance funding for debris cleanup and public works projects.
Stay In Touch
As a reminder, you can reach any of my six offices in Tennessee to share a concern or request assistance with a federal agency.
Be sure to follow my work on behalf of Tennesseans on social media:
TopicsBenton County, CARES Act, Carroll County, Coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID-19 Testing, Davidson County, Easter Sunday, Federal disaster loans, Grants, Health Insurance, Insurance, Internal Revenue Service, IRS, Marsha Blackburn, pandemic, Paycheck Protection Program, Putnam County, SBA, Smith County, Social Distancing, Tennessee, Tornado, U.S. Senator, U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. State Department, unemployment, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Washington D.C., Wilson County
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