07/10/2020: COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

COVID-19 Coronavirus Response Update

 
July 10, 2020
 
Aloha,
 
Last night, I was on KITV to talk about why we need to delay lifting the 14-day travel quarantine until we have adequate contact testing and tracing capability, and confidence in our medical and testing supplies. You can read about it and watch the video on my website.
 
With the COVID-19 pandemic still taking a heavy toll on us, leaders in Congress are negotiating another emergency assistance package that is likely to pass by the end of July. I’m pushing for many federal assistance efforts, like the Paycheck Protection Program and moratoriums on evictions, to continue.
 
Visit my COVID-19 resource page gabbard.house.gov/COVID-19 for more information about federal programs and links to state and local resources — some of which have been made possible by emergency assistance passed by Congress in the past months.
 
If you are in need of assistance, please call me at (808) 541-1986 or email me at TulsiOffice@mail.house.gov.
 
Mahalo and be well,
Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress (HI-02)
 

Questions About the July 15 Filing Deadline for Federal Taxes?

 
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) created a new webpage to help address frequently asked questions about the upcoming July 15 deadline to file federal taxes. You can visit their webpage here. The IRS also has several online tools to assist filers with the process. And you can check on the status of your refund, once you file, using the “Where’s My Refund” tool.
 

VA Extends Debt Relief for Veterans Impacted by COVID-19

 
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced its commitment to extend debt relief to Veterans adversely impacted by COVID-19 to the end of 2020 by suspending certain debt collection actions. The department recognizes Veterans and beneficiaries are still being greatly impacted by the coronavirus prompting the extension of financial relief. VA is suspending all actions on Veteran debts under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Treasury Department. This includes the suspension of collection action or extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts, whichever the Veteran prefers. Read the full announcement for more information.
 

REMINDER: PPP Lending Deadline Extended to Aug. 8

 
Last week, Congress passed legislation extending the Paycheck Protection Program lending deadline to August 8. If you have not yet applied and are eligible for this assistance, you still have time to act. Learn more about PPP on the SBA’s website and find eligible Paycheck Protection Program lenders near you.
 

COVID-19 Hawai‘i News & Resources

 
For a listing of federal and state resources on my website, which includes several of the ones listed below, please visit gabbard.house.gov/COVID-19.
 
Testing in Hawai‘i — Since yesterday, there were a total of 28 new cases and 0 additional COVID-19 related deaths. There are currently 292 active cases in the state.
 
 
19 have died
125 required hospitalization
847 have been released from isolation
 
There have been 109,096 diagnostic tests conducted as of today.
 
Updated UI Statistics from DLIR — Yesterday, the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced updated unemployment insurance claims information, including paying $2,002,048,122 and 1,880,563 weeks claimed since the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic on March 1, 2020.
 
Read the full announcement for more information. In addition to reminding individuals to be aware of attempts to defraud the system and the impact it is having on processing claims, the DLIR notes that:
 
“One major issue preventing claimants from receiving benefits is the use of devices with out-of-state IPs (Internet Protocol address) or Virtual Private Network (VPN) software,” said Deputy Perreira-Eustaquio. “Benefits are stopped when it appears claimants are filing outside of Hawaii so claimants should allow the system to detect their location when filing certifications.”
 
Kaua‘i Gets Federal Disaster Relief for March 2020 Flooding — President Trump granted a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Hawaii, triggering the release of Federal funds to help communities recover from Severe Storms and Flooding that occurred March 27-28, 2020. The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program allows states and local governments to take critical mitigation measures to reduce the risk of loss of life and property from future disasters is not lost during the reconstruction process following a disaster. HMGP is available, when authorized under a Presidential major disaster declaration, in the areas of the State or territory requested by the Governor.
 
Delays With PUA and UI, What Can You Do? — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our state as infections surge here and across the country. The continued economic uncertainty has prolonged the strain on the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Unemployment Insurance (UI) systems. The volume of claims and reports of fraud have put additional pressure on the PUA and UI systems to respond to claims.
 
In the meantime, continue to engage the PUA and UI systems directly.
 
For more information about UI, visit the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) website to start the process and follow up on your claim. This website includes a link to contact information related to the status of your claim.
 
Visit https://pua.hawaii.gov/ to start your claim. The DLIR notes that fraud continues to be a big problem and provides a webpage dedicated to frequently asked PUA questions.
 
If you need assistance with the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, please go to https://lbr.force.com/PUASupport/s/contactsupport and submit a help desk ticket. This will enable you to receive assistance more quickly. The DLIR asks that you use the above link and refrain from contacting other UI offices for PUA assistance as they are not a part of the PUA support team and are unable to guarantee that you will receive assistance.
 
Mental Health Resources — The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has placed a lot of stress on our society, both individually and as a community. The best thing to do is to be aware of what the warning signs are and what resources are available to help.
 
 
Hawai‘i Food Pantries and Assistance Programs — Visit these sites for more information about local and statewide food pantries as well as food assistance programs:
 
 
COVID-Related Resource Websites — In addition to listing the State and County COVID-19 news and resource websites, here are some new or updated websites that focus on recovery efforts.
 
State of Hawai‘i
COVID-19 Updates (https://hawaiicovid19.com/)
Unemployment Insurance (https://huiclaims.hawaii.gov/)
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (http://pua.hawaii.gov/)
NEW: Economic & Community Recovery Navigator (https://recoverynavigator.hawaii.gov/)
 
County of Kaua‘i
NEW: Kūpa‘a Kaua‘i Website (https://kauaiforward.com/)
 
City and County of Honolulu
One O‘ahu Website (https://www.oneoahu.org/) *news & recovery info
 
County of Maui
COVID-19 Updates (https://www.covid19mauinui.com/) * news & recovery info
 
County of Hawai‘i
COVID-19 Updates (website) * news & recovery info
Testing Dates/Sites (located on its FAQ webpage)

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