COVID-19: Protecting our families and communities
This page includes public health resources in multiple languages that can be shared with immigrant and refugee families; relevant information on immigration policy and enforcement; and other valuable resources, including details on key programs that sick or displaced workers may need. We will do our best to keep this up to date.
VACCINE UPDATE: Some Massachusetts residents are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. You can access an FAQ about the vaccine in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, Albanian, Arabic, Cape Verdean, and Russian.
There will be NO immigration consequences for seeking COVID-19 testing, treatment, or vaccination. If you or a loved one are sick or know you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus, don’t hesitate to get tested and treated, regardless of your immigration status or insurance coverage. See the last section for benefits information. State officials have confirmed that testing and treatment for COVID-19 related services will be covered by MassHealth Limited; testing and treatment for COVID-19-related services provided by hospitals and community health centers will be reimbursed by the Health Safety Net. The COVID-19 vaccine will also be available to all at no cost.
STIMULUS PACKAGE: At the end of December 2020, Congress passed a new stimulus package that, among other provisions, includes additional stimulus relief for working Americans. Unlike under the CARES Act, the new stimulus relief includes members of mixed-status families. Read our summary of the package and what it means for you here.
COVID-19 health info, access to care & coverage in Mass.
Important: In Massachusetts, ALL residents who are tested and treated for COVID-19 will be covered, regardless of insurance or immigration status. See MassHealth and COVID-19 (also linked below).
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) – see this page for handouts in English, Spanish and Chinese; Spanish-language resource hub
- Attorney General’s Office multilingual COVID-19 handouts on access to testing and care, in English, Arabic, Cape Verdean Creole, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese
- Mass. Department of Public Health COVID-19 resource hub, including printable handouts in English, Chinese (simplified and traditional), Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole and Vietnamese
- Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccination plan, including information about when you can get the vaccine and guidance for health care professionals and organizations.
- Once you are eligible for the vaccine, you can make an appointment here. You can also reach the Massachusetts COVID-19 vaccination appointment hotline by dialing 2-1-1 Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
- Vaccine FAQ from Mass.gov, including questions about immigration.
- Multilingual resources on the COVID-19 vaccine
- MassHealth and COVID-19 – guidance for patients and applicants, including info for those lacking insurance; note that Connector enrollment has been reopened through May 25
- COVID-19 resource guide for immigrants in Boston, with materials available in Arabic, Cape Verdean, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese
- Community health center information from Mass. League of Community Health Centers, with guidance on how to access care and English/Spanish “find a health center” tool
- Switchboard roundup of multilingual resources (excellent and comprehensive)
Coronavirus-related immigration policy and enforcement updates
- Immigration & Customs Enforcement overall guidance, also in Spanish; the New England office has also announced all business will be conducted by phone until March 1, 2021, except new check-ins and bonds
- U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services COVID-19 updates (office closures, interviews, oath ceremonies postponed, info on extending your stay if your visa is expiring) – also in Spanish
- COVID-19 information for immigrants (Mass. Attorney General, part of a comprehensive guide) – also in Spanish and in Portuguese
- PIF-MA handout on “public charge” – also in Spanish and Portuguese; plus MIRA resources on “public charge” (IMPORTANT: rule doesn’t apply to current green card holders!) and Bulletin on COVID-19 and “public charge” from USCIS
- COVID-19 updates for immigration courts (U.S. Department of Justice); the Boston court is now open again
- American Immigration Lawyers Association COVID-19 resources, updated constantly
Resources for workers in Massachusetts
Note: If you receive unemployment benefits, you are now eligible for an additional $300 a week until mid-March 2021. If you are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program (allowing unemployment payments to contract and gig workers) and/or the Pandemic Unemployment Emergency Compensation (allowing for additional weeks of unemployment), those benefits will also be extended until mid-March 2021.
- Know Your Work-Related Rights During the Coronavirus (FAQ by Justice at Work, GBLS and Lawyers for Civil Rights); also in Spanish, with an ever-evolving more in-depth FAQ (Google Doc), also in Spanish
- Workplace Health and Safety During COVID-19: Information for Employees from the Attorney General’s Office, including instructions for filing a workplace safety complaint.
- About COVID-19: Employee rights and employer obligations (FAQ by Attorney General’s Office, also in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese )
- Emergency child care for COVID-19 essential workers (other facilities now reopened, but availability may still be limited); search for a program in your area
- Earned sick time info and multilingual notices for workers (Attorney General’s Office); basic info only in English, but clear, easy-to-understand 1-page notices in English, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Italian, Khmer, Lao, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese
- Unemployment Insurance online portal, plus UI portal in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Chinese and Vietnamese
- Mass. Dept. of Unemployment Assistance – multilingual resources, incl. Spanish-language guidance and claimant booklet in 12 languages
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance information, also in Spanish, with an eligibility checklist and a UI/PUA flowchart (English only) and pamphlets in Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Khmer, Korean, Lao, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. Note that PUA application portal is separate from UI portal; also, although PUA covers many workers ineligible for UI, a valid SSN is still required.
- Lawyers for Civil Rights unemployment resources in English and (scroll down) Spanish
- Emergency funds for workers (by Mass Jobs with Justice), also in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Bengali, Chinese, Arabic and Vietnamese
- The Massachusetts evictions and foreclosures moratorium expired in October 2020. The federal moratorium remains in place and has been extended until March 31, 2021. More information on the federal moratorium can be found here.
- Attorney General’s Guide to Landlord and Tenant Rights, and advisories in English and Spanish.
- MassLegalHelp tenant rights guide in Spanish
- Crucial information for renters, including Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) and Emergency Rental and Mortgage Assistance Program (ERMA); find your local RAFT administrator by using the drop-down menu at the bottom of this page
- Resource guide for people facing housing insecurity developed by Northeast Legal Aid and adapted by Lowell Alliance.
- For more information on legal assistance, consult Eviction Legal Help. For assistance completing documents, contact Court Service Centers.
Food, cash assistance & other resources
- Project Bread FoodSource hotline – help available in 160 languages to access food resources and apply for SNAP if eligible; see also this map of school-based meal distribution programs. Project Bread also has grants available for food service providers in 11 Massachusetts communities.
- SNAP and cash benefits during COVID-19 – Mass. Legal Services resource hub, including flyers on relaxed SNAP rules in English and Spanish. Note: The new stimulus package includes an additional $13 billion for SNAP, including a 15% increase in benefits through June 30, 2021.
- SNAP outreach partners in Mass. – organizations across the state that can help families with SNAP applications, especially when DTA and FoodSource lines are overwhelmed
- MassUndocuFund – special COVID-19 relief fund created by a group of grassroots organizations, now accepting donations and applications
- Attorney General’s Office multilingual COVID-19 handouts on basic rights and resources, in English, Arabic, Cape Verdean Creole, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese
- COVID-19 relief funds – compiled by Philanthropy MA
- COVID Relief Coalition – relief and legal assistance resources for Mass. nonprofits and small businesses
- Financial Relief: A Handbook for Business Owners – detailed guide to federal, state and local programs from the Boston Mayor’s Office of Economic Development
- Mass. Legal Services resources on COVID-19
- 413 Undocu-Worker Solidarity Fund – Western Mass. fund run by the Pioneer Valley Workers Center
- List of mutual aid organizations helping community members (compiled by Mass Jobs with Justice, with listings by city/town and special categories)
- Community resources by ZIP code (Winn Companies)
- Lawyers for Civil Rights – wide range on information in English and Spanish
- Equity during COVID-19 school closures (guidance from Mass. Education Equity Partnership)
Know a great resource that we should be posting? Email us so we can add it!