We know that the COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on gig workers - the lack of a financial safety net coupled with our lack of employment protections such as sick pay, workers’ compensation insurance, and unemployment insurance are uniquely problematic. We know that workers will have trouble supporting themselves through the indefinite future. This is not your failing, our work is precarious by structural design. COVID-19 has highlighted our need for proper classification as employees, and now more than ever we need employment protections.
We have created a list of resources to help workers both nationally and at the state level. Medical professionals all agree that the situation will get worse, before it gets better. It is imperative that you seek out resources immediately, even if you do not yet need to utilize them. Gig workers are often granted a standard self-employment deduction of 40% from gross earnings, which means you may qualify even if your current gross income is higher than quoted eligibility criteria. Many programs require a short application process, and it is key to do this now before the process is backlogged. You have some options if you're in need of food, help paying rent, your bills etc.
Dial 211: (http://211.org/): 211 is a free and confidential service that helps people find local resources
LIHEAP: (https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ocs/programs/liheap): Low Income High Energy Assistance Program helps with energy costs.
Comcast is offering 2 months of free internet to low income applicants: (https://www.internetessentials.com/covid19)
Medicaid: Medicaid provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities. Medicaid is administered by states, according to federal requirements. The program is funded jointly by states and the federal government. (https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/index.html)
TANF: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.(https://www.acf.hhs.gov/ofa/programs/tanf)
SNAP: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps). (https://www.benefits.gov/benefit/361)
EFSP: Emergency Food and Shelter Program (https://www.efsp.unitedway.org/efsp/website/index.cfm)
Unemployment Insurance: Due to our obvious misclassification, some states are starting to understand that we're actually employees. Some gig workers have successfully qualified for unemployment insurance. (https://www.usa.gov/unemployment)
Modest Needs is offering donations to hourly workers who won't get paid during the COVID-19 outbreak. (https://www.modestneeds.org)
Lifeline: Lifeline is the FCC's program to help make communications services more affordable for low-income consumers. Lifeline provides subscribers a discount on monthly telephone service, broadband Internet access service, or voice-broadband bundled service purchased from participating providers. You may also qualify for a free phone and wireless service. (https://www.lifelinesupport.org/how-to-get-lifeline)
HealthWell: Assistance for underinsured patients living with chronic or life altering diseases. (https://www.healthwellfoundation.org/patients/)
National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics. (https://www.nafcclinics.org/find-clinic)
HRSA: Health Resources and Services Administration. (https://www.hrsa.gov/get-health-care/affordable/hill-burton/facilities.html)
NeedyMeds: Helps patients find assistance with the costs of medication: (https://www.needymeds.org/questions-faqs)
List of some emergency tenant protections enacted during the COVID-19 outbreak (https://blog.augrented.com/renting-during-the-novel-coronavirus-outbreak/)
For workers without a permanent address, including those residing in their vehicles, we suggest using USPS General Delivery. This service allows workers to pick up their mail at a local USPS. Additionally, workers without a permanent address can enter "general delivery" in the street address line, and include the city, state and zip code.
We have also created a list with links to State-by-State resources such as food banks, medical assistance, rent, utility assistance and more.
Please note: these lists are not comprehensive. We suggest calling local secular and faith-based organizations and charities in your community. Some cities offer emergency fund assistance, and some cities have enacted a moratorium on evictions during this pandemic. There are also over 1,000 community support options. You can find some listed here: https://www.needhelppayingbills.com/html/community_action_agency.html
District of Columbia
Medical assistance (michigan.gov)