Dear Neighborhood Association Leaders:
During this challenging time, we wanted to make sure to share the many resources that are available to assist our neighbors who will be facing challenges as we work to contain the spread of COVID-19. We would appreciate you sharing this information with your boards and in other communications venues that feel appropriate.
This document is a helpful overview of the state resources available to cope with COVID-19, including the state emergency hotlines and information on child care, food access, housing, and more: COVID-19 State Resource Document (with thanks to Rep. Jamie Long for compiling this).
MNSure Special Enrollment
On Friday, Governor Walz announced there will be a 30-day special enrollment period (SEP) for qualified individuals who are currently without insurance. This SEP, which begins Monday, March 23 and runs through April 21, will allow uninsured individuals 30 days to enroll in health insurance coverage through MNsure.org.
Individuals seeking coverage can visit MNsure.org to complete an application and enroll in coverage.Plans selected by April 21 will have a retroactive coverage start date beginning April 1.
Resources for Businesses
A helpful site is the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development’s COVID-19 information and resources for businesses COVID-19 update page.
Also, Minnesota small businesses can now apply to the Small Business Administration for loans if they are facing losses from COVID-19.
Online applications for these loans are open to Minnesota businesses at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/
A few more details:
- This program can provide low-interest loans of up to $2 million to small businesses and private non-profits.
- These loans can go toward working capital to meet needs including payroll, accounts payable, and fixed debt payments that can’t be paid due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The current interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The non-profit rate is 2.75%.
- These loans have long-term repayment options, up to a maximum of 30 years.
For more information visit the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan web page.
Sales tax grace period
Businesses forced to shut down by executive order that have a monthly sales tax payment due March 20, 2020 will have until April 20 to make that payment. Returns themselves (without payment) should still be filed, however, to avoid penalties or interest. Find out more at the Minnesota Department of Revenue website.
Reducing workers hours instead of layoffs
As an alternative to layoffs, employers can reduce employee hours and apply for the Unemployment Insurance Shared Work Program to partially offset their pay with unemployment insurance. Those workers can then receive a percentage of their weekly UI benefit amount based on the percentage of hours and wages reduced. See the Shared Work Program to learn more about its benefits for employers and employees, and how to apply.
Minneapolis water shut offs, as well as electricity shut off by Xcel Energy and natural gas shut offs by CenterPoint Energy have been suspended.
Information for renters (also, fyi, the Governor has just signed an executive order barring evictions)
Hennepin County emergency help for those in financial crisis (or call 844-803-8466)
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to both of us with any questions or needs you are seeing in your communities.
D. Scott Dibble
Senator, District 61
2213 Minnesota Senate Bldg.