Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks

Representing the 5th District of Indiana
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COVID-19 Coronavirus

What You Need to Know: COVID-19 Coronavirus

In response to the threat of the Coronavirus, my office will not be taking visitors in my Washington, DC Office, Carmel District Office, and the Anderson District Office. My staff is teleworking and remains dedicated to serving the residents of Indiana’s 5th District.  Our phone lines are still available and if you need assistance, please call my Washington, DC office at 202-225-2276, Carmel District Office at 317-848-0201 and my Anderson District Office at 765-640-5115.
My office will be updating our website daily with new developments.  I also encourage you to sign up for my e-newsletter at https://susanwbrooks.house.gov/contact/newsletter.  For my most recent newsletter on the coronavirus, click here.
For more detailed information on coronavirus responses from various federal agencies as well as the state of Indiana, click on one of the following links:  FEMA, IRS, SSA, SBA, VA, State of Indiana. You can also visit my COVID-19 Coronavirus FAQs page for common questions asked by constituents by clicking here


 

What the Administration and Congress is Doing: 

  • The CARES Act

    • Payments to Americans
      • Many payments will be sent out automatically to individuals based on filed tax returns from 2019.
      • The payments would start phasing out for earners above those income thresholds and would not go to single filers earning more than $99,000; head-of-household filers with one child, more than $146,500; and more than $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
      • All adults with a valid Social Security number with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) will get a $1,200 ($2,400 for joint filers) "rebate" payment. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per child.
      • Social Security dependent individuals do not need to file their taxes. 
    • For more information, visit my IRS COVID-19 Info Page
  • Small Businesses
    • Mandated that Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Grants be made available to businesses during the response to the Coronavirus Outbreak.
      • These loans must be applied to cover leave, maintain payroll, and pay debt obligations.
      • Business will be able to receive both EIDL funds and a Paycheck Protection loan in limited certain instances.
    • Establishes a Paycheck Protection Program which will provide $350 billion for full federally guaranteed loans covering 8 weeks of assistance to small businesses, independent contactors, 501(c)3 nonprofits, and others.
      • For businesses in need of a loan ranging in amount from $350,000 to $1 million, SBA Express Loans will be available. The application process for the SBA Express Loans will require less paperwork and documentation, allowing SBA to get the much-needed financial support to businesses quicker.
      • Program enrollees will also be eligible to have an automatic deferral of payments for a six-month period, during with the SBA will pay principal, interest, and fees on all SBA loan products.
      • Loans used to cover payroll costs, interest on mortgage obligations, rent and utilities can be forgiven.
    • For more information, visit my SBA COVID-19 Info Page.
  • Unemployment
    •  It expands unemployment benefits to the self-employed, independent contractors, gig workers, and others.
    • The bill provides additional benefits to each recipient of unemployment insurance for up to four months and an additional 13 weeks of unemployment benefits after state benefits are no longer available. For people who were employed on March 1 and have lost their job due to coronavirus, the bill provides paid leave for them as well.
    • For more information, visit my State of Indiana COVID-19 Info Page
  • Exchange Stabilization Fund
    • Allocates $500 billion to what is called an Exchange Stabilization Fund (ESF), a fund designed to serve as an emergency reserve fund that allows the Treasury Secretary the authority to distribute the funds to businesses of all sizes and places numerous requirements on how they can be used.
      • $46 billion has been set aside to assist airlines and other businesses critical to the economic strength and defense capabilities of the nation.
      • These funds are designed to ensure the liquidity of our financial institutions and keep to credit flowing within the business sector.
  • K-12 Schools
    • Provides the Secretary of Education the additional waiver authority needed to allow school districts around the country can continue to address the needs of all students during this challenging time.
    • Allows the Administration to waive requirements that states must conduct mandatory testing in math, reading, and science.
    • Schools will also be given increased flexibility in how they use block grant funding, allowing them the funds to be used to technology and other costs related to Coronavirus recovery.
  • Higher Education
    • College students will be eligible to receive direct financial relief by pausing their monthly student loan payments for up to 6 months.
    • Additionally, the bill will pause collections on most federal student loans through September 20, 2020.
    • The bill mandates that students will not be penalized for the mid-semester interruption, and that they will be given the ability to continue class in the future without penalty.
    • Students will also not be liable financially for aid distributed to them when the Coronavirus response measures forced them to drop-out mid-term.
  • Food Assistance
    • Provides $16 billion in additional funding to support SNAP beneficiaries.
    • Provides $9 billion for child nutrition programs.
  • Housing
    • Prioritizes assistance for low-income households with $12.4 billion in new funding for Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) programs.
    • Additionally, the CARES Act provides much needed protection to both homeowners and renters from foreclosure and evictions during this outbreak.
  • Financial Services
    • The CARES Act has been carefully created to extend regulatory relief to banks and credit unions, in order to keep them lending and serving American consumers and businesses. These measures will provide additional support for consumers with mortgages, student, and auto loans, and to small businesses who need loans to pay their employees.
    • Suspends the Troubled Debt Restructuring classifications on loans, allowing credit unions, and community banks to further work to help their borrowers on loan modifications for outstanding loans.
  • Healthcare
    • Requires the FDA to expedite the approval process for relevant drugs during the ongoing national emergency.
    • Requires insurers to cover COVID-19 vaccines.
    • $100 billion for hospitals and health care providers to help them provide needed care during the pandemic.
    • Provides $27 billion for the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response to develop services, vaccines, technologies, and health infrastructure to continue to combat the Pandemic and future infectious diseases.
    • Community health center will receive $1.32 billion in supplemental funding.
    • Includes $200 million for FCC telehealth services and greatly expands coverage for telehealth services.
  • Medicare
    • Temporarily lifts Medicare sequester cuts to hospitals, physicians, nursing homes, home health, and other care.
    • Increases Medicare payments to hospitals for treating a patient admitted for COVID-19.
  • Pandemic Response
    • I was able to get a provision included in the bill that will help ensure the Strategic National Stockpile will be better able to track the U.S. medical supply chain and determine how to avoid future shortages or vulnerabilities in critical medical equipment.
  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act: 

    • On March 18, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act adopted by the House last week which President Trump signed the bill into law. This bipartisan legislation provides additional emergency funding to respond to the Coronavirus:

      • ​​Free testing for diagnosing Coronavirus
      • Food Assistance
        • This legislation includes more than $1 billion to ensure food assistance programs will be able to provide aid to families in the midst of the pandemic.
        • Ensure federal programs that provide meals to low income students will still be able to provide students food even if schools are close.
      • Sick Leave
        • Requires that businesses with fewer than 500 employees provide 14 days of paid sick leave to individuals with the virus.
        • Entitles employees up to 3 months of paid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for virus related issues.
  • Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act: 

    • I joined my colleagues in passing an emergency coronavirus funding package.  President Trump signed the $8.3 billion measure into law on March 6, 2020, that will allocate:
      • $4 billion to make diagnostics tests more available 
      • $2.2 billion for the CDC; including $1 billion for state and local response
      • $20 million for disaster assistance loans for small businesses 
      • $1.25 billion for State Department and USAID
    • To learn more about this bill, visit https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/6074

 

Information for Seniors:

  • AARP has put together a number of resources for their members on the coronavirus concerns.  You can access this information at https://www.aarp.org/coronavirus
  • The same resources are available in Spanish here: https://aarp.org/elcoronavirus 
  • Congress has passed three separate packages to provide funding and resources necessary to better combat the ongoing Pandemic.
  • The most recent bill, the CARES Act, provided $2 trillion, the largest amount ever spent by a Congress in a single bill, to help stabilize our economy and provide relief to individuals and business. 
    • All adults with a valid Social Security number with an adjusted gross income of up to $75,000 ($150,000 for married couples) will get a $1,200 ($2,400 for joint filers) "rebate" payment. They are also eligible for an additional $500 per child. 
      • The payments would start phasing out for earners above those income thresholds and would not go to single filers earning more than $99,000; head-of-household filers with one child, more than $146,500; and more than $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
      • Many payments will be sent out automatically to individuals based on filed tax returns from 2019.
      • Social Security recipients will not have to do anything to receive the money
      • Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax on it.
    • The CARES Act loosens rules on retirement accounts.  Older Americans will not incur a penalty if they do not make mandatory minimum distributions from retirement accounts in 2020.  It also waives the 10% penalty on coronavirus-related early distributions from 401(k)s and IRAs in 2020.
    • The CARES Act requires insurance companies to cover the cost of Coronavirus vaccines and diagnostic testing.
    •  It also expands telehealth services Medicare and Medicaid patients to further increase their access to general health treatments during this time.
  • The National Council for Safety, Protection and Wellness provided the following information to help seniors with communication, grocery delivery, home care and, health monitoring. This guide, Social Distancing: Apps for Seniors, provides practical apps for seniors (tech-savvy or not), along with setup assistance.
  • For information related to the Social Security Adminstration, visit my SSA COVID-19 Info page on my website by clicking here

 

Information for Travelers and Travel Related Industries:

  • If you are planning to travel or have family members outside of the U.S., be aware of changing COVID19 travel advisories and restrictions. At this time, it is at Level 4: Do Not Travel. The U.S. State Department advises American citizens not to travel abroad due to the coronavirus pandemic, issuing its highest-level travel alert. 
  • Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.
  • The Department of State continues to monitor developments closely in each country affected by the coronavirus outbreak and will share additional information as it becomes available.  They are experiencing a high volume of inquiries and will respond via email to those U.S. citizens overseas who have enrolled in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) or have otherwise provided contact information.  They urge all U.S. citizens traveling or residing abroad to register for our messages through STEP at http://step.state.gov.  They may also reach out to the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate with their name, date of birth, passport number, location, who they are traveling with, and specific circumstances. 
  • You are encouraged to visit https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html to view individual Travel Advisories for the latest information. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.
  • The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) is a free service to allow U.S. citizens and nationals traveling and living abroad to enroll their trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Click here to learn more. 

 

 

White House Coronavirus Task Force:

  • The White House created a taskforce to help combat the Coronavirus pandemic.  To learn more about the White House Taskforce as well as recent developments for the Coronavirus, visit https://www.coronavirus.gov/
  • Testing:
    • More than 1 million individuals have been tested in the United States and over 100,000 tests are performed each day. The FDA has worked with more than 230 test developers who have said they will be submitting emergency use authorizations (EUA) requests to FDA for tests that detect the virus. 
    • Emergency use authorizations have been issued for diagnostic tests, including Abbott’s test that can produce results in as little as five minutes. 
    • BARDA announced plans to initiate human clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate by September and anticipates that the vaccine could be available for emergency use by early next year. This vaccine development is a partnership between BARDA and Johnson & Johnson; the two have collectively committed more than $1 billion of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development, and clinical testing

 

https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/03.16.20_coronavirus-guidance_8.5x11_315PM.pdf?utm_source=2019+House+GOP+Staff+List&utm_campaign=e4f2cb6620-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_01_31_08_56_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_a8407dc016-e4f2cb6620-147

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

For the latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on cases nationwide, testing and other valuable information, visit their website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

 

Information on Federal Agency Responses to the Coronavirus:

  • For the latest information on federal agencies and their response to the coronavirus, consult this website for each individual federal agency: https://www.usa.gov/government-coronavirus-response
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced that they are accepting applications for fiscal year 2020 Emergency Grants to Address Mental and Substance Use Disorders during COVID-19.  SAMHSA anticipates that there will be unfortunate increases in mental and/or substance use disorders as a result of the pandemic.  States, territories, and tribes are eligible for funding. (Here)
  • The FDA and FTC are continuing to issue warning letters to companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products.  FDA and FTC recently issued a warning letter to a company selling cannabidiol (CBD) products in the United States with the misleading claim that these products can mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.  (Here)

 

Information on Local Resources:

  • For individuals and families who are in need of assistance with local resources such as food and clothing, healthcare, education and employment, or more visit Indiana’s 211 website at https://in211.communityos.org/ or dial 2-1-1.
  • The Local Initiatives Support Corporation, known as LISC, is one of the country's largest social enterprises supporting projects and programs to revitalize communities and bring greater economic opportunity to residents. They invest in affordable housing, high-quality schools, safer streets, growing businesses and programs that connect people with financial opportunity. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation is taking swift action in response to the coronavirus pandemic, to mitigate economic impact on residents in the hundreds of communities where they work. They are launching the LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund to assemble and deploy resources to their local partners, small businesses and residents who are being hit hardest.  To learn more, click here

 

Information for the Rural and Agricultural Community: 

  • USDA Rural Development has launched a COVID-19 resource page to keep our customers, partners, and stakeholders continuously updated on actions taken by the Agency to help rural residents, businesses, and communities impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Visit www.rd.usda.gov/coronavirus for information on Rural Development loan payment assistance, application deadline extensions, and more. 

 

Information for Visitors traveling to Washington DC: 

A notification from the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms was released giving guidance and providing limitations to the Capitol Complex in Washington DC. Please read the following if you are planning to visit Washington, DC during this time.

  • In consultation with the Office of Attending Physician and Leadership, effective at 5:00 p.m. on March 12, 2020, the House and Senate Sergeant at Arms have ordered limited access. This limited access is anticipated to remain in effect until 8:00 a.m. Friday, May 1, 2020, and is to protect the health and safety of Members, staff and visitors.
    • Capitol Visitor Center: The Capitol Visitor Center will be closed to all tours, including Member and staff led tours.
    • Capitol: The Capitol will only be open to Members, staff and official business visitors.  Offices expecting official business visitors will be required to greet those visitors at the South Door Appointment Desk and escort them to and from the meeting. The Capitol will be closed to all tours, including Member and staff led tours.
    • House Office Buildings: The House Office Buildings will only be open to Members, staff and official business visitors.  Offices expecting official business visitors will be required to greet those visitors at the various building entrances. It is requested that at the conclusion of the meeting that staff escort the visitors from the buildings.

Our office is in the process of notifying all affected visitors.  If you have any questions, please call our Washington, DC office at 202-225-2276.


 

Prevention

  • The American Diabetes Association is providing support and guidance to constituents impacted by diabetes, who are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19. You can access helpful resources, understand your risk, know your legal rights, and connect with community at diabetes.org/coronavirus. Make sure you know how to reduce your risk of contracting COVID-19 and what to do if you or a loved one develops symptoms. In addition, many people are now facing unexpected financial hardships. If you are struggling to pay for insulin, the ADA has resources to help - visit InsulinHelp.org. Questions? The American Diabetes Association is here to help during this challenging time: click here or call their Center for Information at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383).
More Helpful Tips
  • Listen to and follow directors of your state and local authorities.
  • If you feel sick, stay home. Do not go to work. Contact your medical provider.
  • If your children are sick, keep them at home. Contact your medical provider.
  • If someone in your household has tested positive for the coronavirus, keep the entire household at home.  Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider.
  • If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.
  • If you are a person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lungs or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
  • Even if you are young, or otherwise healthy, you are at risk and your activities can increase the risk for others. It is critical that you do your part to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
    • Work or engage in schooling from home whenever possible.
    • If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule. You and your employers should follow CDC guidance to protect your health at work.
    • Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
    • Use drive-thru, pickup or delivery options from restauraunts and bars.
    • Avoid discretionary travel, shopping trips and social visits.
    • Do not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities unless to provide critical assistance.
    • Practice good hygiene:
  • Wash your hands, especially after touching any frequently used item or surface.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Disinfect frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.

·         For additional information: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html