Survivors' Rights and COVID-19

Please note: this page will be kept updated with information for survivors and service providers as the situation develops.
Please check back regularly for resources that may be relevant to you.

Campus Survivors          K-12 Survivors          Survivor Safety          Public Benefits          Unemployment Benefits          Survivors with Disabilities        Service Providers          Other Resources

For Campus Survivors

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted institutions of higher education and the mode by which they investigate reports of sexual assault. As campuses make arrangements to conduct processes remotely, sexual assault survivors may be wondering what will happen to their case or how to report to their Title IX Office during a campus closure.

If you are interested in reporting a sexual assault to your institution…

It is important to know that campus closures do not affect your rights. Title IX and Student Conduct Offices should continue to operate and receive reports. You have the right and option to report sexual assault and other sexual misconduct to your institution. The institution’s obligation to respond to sexual assault does not change. Students in MA and OR: For questions about pursuing a Title IX process at your institution, contact the VRLC.

For any campus sexual assault survivor who has reported or plans to report to their Title IX Office, consider any safety and privacy repercussions of a campus closure. For instance, if you are moving back home with your family and have not disclosed the sexual assault, you may want to devise a plan for maintaining your privacy. You may consider discussing this with your Title IX Coordinator and talking through options for communication. If you have any other privacy or safety concerns in light of a transition off campus, reach out to us. We can work together on a safety plan and discuss privacy concerns.

If you are involved in an ongoing investigation…

Contact your Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible about how processes will be conducted during a campus closure. Consider the following questions:

  • How will the campus closure affect any upcoming deadlines in the process and/or the general timeline of the process?
  • Which virtual platforms will the institution use?
  • How will evidence and information, such as the investigative report, be shared?
  • Will a hearing take place remotely? If so, how will that be conducted?  
  • How will the institution remain in contact with you throughout the process?

Strategies to consider during a remote investigation…

  • Take care to find an appropriate space for meetings and interviews. Even though you may be in your home and finding personal space can be hard, consider having meetings in a place where you don’t typically relax or rest.  Avoid bedrooms and living rooms if possible.
  • Identify a local support system.  If you’ve moved away from counselors, advocates, or friends on campus, it is important to stay connected or find local supports. Reviewing information, processing long interviews, and navigating these systems is hard.

While the VRLC has shifted to remote work, we continue to serve campus sexual assault survivors during this time. If you have any questions or concerns about your rights, please do not hesitate to contact us.

 

For K-12 Survivors

Massachusetts          Oregon

Massachusetts

Please note: the following only applies to survivors in Massachusetts.

As elementary and secondary schools attempt to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and transition to remote learning, we are continuing to advocate for student sexual assault survivors. The Department of Education and Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have made it clear that schools must continue to educate students during COVID-19 school closures. This includes special education services for children with disabilities.

For sexual assault survivors who are currently in elementary, middle and high school and are on an IEP or 504 Plan…

  • The school should provide as many services as possible in the IEP or 504 Plan. But the school must also balance its obligation to provide services with the need to keep teachers, administrators, and providers safe.
  • The 504 or IEP Team should have designated a staff member to be in regular, ongoing contact with parents.
  • Schools have been encouraged to give parents a Student Remote Learning Plan that describes the instruction and services you/your child will receive. If the school is not offering a Student Remote Learning Plan – ask for one!
  • Keep the Student Remote Learning Plan as a record of when a class is cancelled or a service is not provided. This may help you advocate for “make-up” or compensatory services when schools reopen.  
  • Now more than ever, students with trauma likely need access to supportive services, like their School Adjustment Counselors. If you/your child has a 504 Plan or IEP that includes counseling services, EMAIL the contact person listed on the front of their 504 Plan or IEP and ask that arrangements be made. You/your child can still “meet” with their counselor via phone or video conferencing.
  • Try to find an appropriate space for meetings with the counselor. Even though finding personal space at home can be hard, try to find a place where the student doesn’t typically relax or rest.  Avoid bedrooms and living rooms if possible.

For sexual assault survivors in elementary, middle or high school and in need of services under a 504 or IEP plan…

For sexual assault survivors interested in reporting a sexual assault to their school…

  • It is important to know that school closures do not affect the survivor’s rights. The district should continue to operate and receive reports. The survivor has the right and option to report sexual assault and other sexual misconduct. The institution’s obligation to respond to sexual assault does not change. If you have questions about this, contact the VRLC.

Helpful Resources:

Oregon

Please note: the following only applies to survivors in Oregon.

As elementary and secondary schools attempt to respond to the coronavirus pandemic and transition to remote learning, we are continuing to advocate for student sexual assault survivors. The U.S. Department of Education and Oregon Department of Education have made it clear that schools must continue to educate students during COVID-19 school closures. This includes special education services for children with disabilities. Under the Governor’s Executive Order 20-08, all students must have a distance learning plan developed by their school or district and educators should consider all students when setting out their general education plan. Educators and counselors are tasked with reaching out, through phone or internet, to each student to maintain connection at this time.

For sexual assault survivors who are seniors on an IEP and “on track” to graduate…

  • The school will communicate with the family regarding whether the student will get an Oregon Diploma now or be offered Transition Services during closure.
  • If the student or parent/guardian wants special education services through the length of the original school year, the school will need to consult with the student to discuss providing Distance Learning for All. This will result in graduation being pushed back to August 31, 2020 for that student.
  • If a student still needs credits to graduate, the district must ensure they provide appropriate services before declaring the student “not on-track.” This includes the school reviewing records to make sure they provided Free Appropriate Public Education and consulting with teachers to ensure the IEP was meaningfully delivered (ie. accommodations were put in place, progress was monitored, and parents/guardians were invited to be included in the IEP process along the way).

For sexual assault survivors in grades K-11 who are on an IEP…

  • Before giving an Incomplete for a course, schools must prove they followed through on the goals and intentions of the IEP as it was set out. This includes consulting with teachers to ensure the IEP was meaningfully delivered (ie. accommodations were put in place, progress was monitored, and parents/guardians were invited to be included in the IEP process along the way). If the school cannot document that the IEP was carried out as planned and the student was deemed “not on-track,” the school will consider the student “harmless” during the closure.

For sexual assault survivors who are currently in elementary, middle and high school and are on a 504 Plan…

  • The school must review the current 504 Plan to see if adjustments must be made to carry out instruction remotely.
  • If necessary, the school must meet with parents/guardians to amend the plan.

For sexual assault survivors in elementary, middle or high school who are in need of services under a 504 or IEP plan…

For sexual assault survivors interested in reporting a sexual assault to their school…

  • It is important to know that school closures do not affect the survivor’s rights. The district should continue to operate and receive reports. The survivor has the right and option to report sexual assault and other sexual misconduct. The institution’s obligation to respond to sexual assault does not change. If you have questions about this, contact the VRLC.

Helpful Resources:

 

Survivor Safety and COVID-19

Massachusetts         Oregon

Massachusetts

Please note: the following only applies to survivors in Massachusetts.

A pandemic does not mean that survivors of sexual assault must remain in unsafe situations or suffer in silence. While traditional methods for obtaining civil protection orders (more commonly called restraining orders) have changed, these orders remain available, and the VRLC can help survivors get them. It is critical that survivors carefully consider the below information and reach out to us with any questions.

Though courthouses are closed to the public through June 1, 2020, they are still conducting emergency proceedings. This includes Abuse Prevention (G.L. c. 209A) and Harassment Prevention (G.L. c. 258E) Orders. Proceedings will be held telephonically or by videoconference.

For additional information on eligibility criteria for these orders, please click here.

For survivors in need of one of these orders, the application forms can be found at:

In order to file for an order, you will need to call your local court and be prepared to provide the information indicated on the fillable forms. Please do not email these forms to the court. A VRLC attorney can help direct survivors in preparing to file.

Please consult this resource page for further instructions on seeking 209A and 258E orders during this pandemic.

Please note that temporary court closures may occur, but that does not mean that a civil protection order is unavailable. Courts that close temporarily will divert to another courthouse. VRLC attorneys are actively monitoring court closures and can provide further information.  

Clerk Magistrates and Judges will be conducting the initial application hearings (where a survivor goes in front of a judge immediately after filing for their order) and the 10-day extension hearings (where a survivor and the person against whom the order is filed both appear in front of a judge, and that judge decides whether to extend the order for a longer period of time) telephonically or by video conference. Please be in touch with a VRLC attorney if you have any concerns about accessibility, safely participating in these proceedings, or privacy concerns. Even though these proceedings take place virtually, you can still have an attorney represent you.

For survivors who have questions about criminal jury trials that were scheduled between now and July 1, 2020, please note that they have been postponed.​

For survivors who have questions about criminal bench trials (where the Judge acts as the jury) that were scheduled between now and June 1, 2020, please note that they have been postponed.

For survivors with questions about the status of incarcerated perpetrators, please contact the VRLC. If you know of someone who will be released early because of COVID-19, we are able to discuss safety planning with you, including whether a civil protection order is right for you.

For any survivor who has safety concerns, you do not have to remain silent. Reach out to us. We can safety plan with you.

Helpful Links:

Oregon

Please note: the following only applies to survivors in Oregon.

A pandemic does not mean that survivors of sexual assault must remain in unsafe situations or suffer in silence. While traditional methods for obtaining civil protection orders (more commonly called restraining orders) have changed, these orders remain available, and the VRLC can help survivors get them. It is critical that survivors carefully consider the below information and reach out to us with any questions.

Though courthouses generally are closed to the public through June 1, 2020, certain proceedings are still being conducted. This includes protective order proceeedings.

For additional information on eligibility criteria for these orders, please click here.

For survivors in need of one of these orders, the application forms can be found at:

To file for a protective order, please click here to find the contact information for your county’s court, and then contact court personnel to get instructions on filing. A VRLC attorney can help survivors with filling out and filing these forms; contact us.

Please note that in-person court restrictions and temporary court closures may occur, but that does not mean that a civil protection order is unavailable VRLC attorneys are actively monitoring the required procedures for filing for a protective order and can provide further information.

Courts most likely will be using telephonic or video conferencing to conduct ex parte hearings (where a judge reviews the petition in front of the survivor to make sure the requirements for the protective order are met) and contested hearings (which only occur if the respondent (the person against whom the order is sought) objects to the protective order, and during which both the survivor and the respondent have a chance to tell their story and present other evidence to the judge). In some instances, hearings will be conducted in person with as little in-person contact as possible. In-person court proceedings are required to allow for six feet of distance between all persons. Please be in touch with a VRLC attorney if you have any concerns about accessibility, safely participating in these proceedings, or privacy concerns. Even if these proceedings take place virtually, you can still have an attorney represent you.

For survivors who have questions about criminal trials that were scheduled between now and June 1, 2020, please note that they have been postponed unless an earlier trial is required by statute, the constitution, or a case-specific court order finding that an earlier trial is necessary.

For survivors with questions about the status of incarcerated perpetrators, please contact the VRLC. There is currently no plan to mass release prisoners but case-by-case action may apply to certain inmates.

For any survivor who has safety concerns, you do not have to remain silent. Reach out to us. We can safety plan with you.

Helpful Links:

 

Public Benefits and COVID-19

Massachusetts          Oregon

Massachusetts

Please note: the following only applies to survivors in Massachusetts

The coronavirus pandemic has caused economic instability and has serious implications for survivors and their families. While Department of Transitional Assistance and Social Security offices have closed to the public across Massachusetts, individuals and families will still receive benefits for which they were previously approved and still have the option of applying for these programs. The VRLC is actively monitoring the legislation and rules about benefits, as they are rapidly shifting to respond to the needs of communities impacted by the virus. Please check back here or contact the VRLC with questions about eligibility, ensuring continuation of benefits, or how to apply for different programs.

Programs covered on this page:  

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) & Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

This page was last reviewed on April 16, 2020. Please visit ssa.gov/coronavirus/ for the latest from the Social Security Administration during this public health emergency.

There has currently been no change in payments.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress approved tax relief that includes economic impact payments of up to $1200 for individuals in certain income brackets and $500 for qualifying children under 17. For eligible individuals who filed taxes in 2018 or 2019, payments will be automatically disbursed based on one of these returns. Those receiving SSI and SSDI who have not filed taxes are also eligible for economic impact payments. Both SSI and SSDI recipients who do not have qualifying children will receive their payments automatically. This payment should be in the same form in which the recipient generally receives their SSI or SSDI payment.

For those who receive SSI or SSDI who do have qualifying children, the Social Security Administration suggests: “Go to the IRS's webpage to enter your information instead of waiting for your automatic $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. By taking proactive steps to enter information on the IRS website about you and your qualifying children, you will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to your $1,200 individual payment. If Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients in this group do not provide information to the IRS soon, you will have to wait to receive $500 per qualifying child.” 

In addition to this, please note that Social Security Administration will not consider these payments as income for SSI recipients. Payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.

The Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) oversees and administers the following programs: SNAP, TAFDC, EAEDC.

This page was last reviewed on April 16, 2020. For the latest from DTA, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/dta-covid-19-resources-and-support and mass.gov/COVID19 or call 2-1-1.

While all DTA offices are closed to the public, individuals can submit applications for each of these programs and get information via DTAConnect.com. This website is currently available in five languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Vietnamese.

You can call a local office and submit an application over the phone, as well as fax or mail a paper application. Find contact information for local offices here. Please note that wait times may be longer than usual.

If you have questions about eligibility or case information, you can call the DTA Assistance Line at 877-382-2363 from 8:15am – 4:45pm. Please note that wait times may be longer than usual. If you are interested in discussing your eligibility for any of these programs or have a question about your case, you can also contact the VRLC.

Note: If you had a DTA appeal hearing scheduled for March, April, or May, they will still be held at the same date/time and conducted over the phone. Rescheduling or other questions about DTA appeals can be directed to the Hearings Division at 617-348-5321.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

This page was last reviewed on April 16, 2020. For the latest from DTA, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/dta-covid-19-resources-and-support and mass.gov/COVID19 or call 2-1-1.

SNAP gives individuals and families money for food at grocery stores, convenience stores, and certain farmers markets. If you have recently lost your job or have reduced work hours and need assistance buying food, please apply for SNAP as soon as possible

Visit this site for fliers about SNAP and COVID in Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, and Simplified Chinese.

For those already approved for and/or receiving SNAP benefits:

  • Benefits will continue.
  • If your household does not already get the maximum monthly amount for your household and you were approved prior to April 1, 2020, you will get additional emergency SNAP benefits to make up the difference. Payments will be made at the end of April in addition to the normal SNAP payments received twice a month. The following chart indicates the maximum amount per household:

Household size

Max. SNAP benefit

1

$194

2

$355

3

$509

4

$646

5

$768

6

$921

7

$1,018

8

$1,164

Each add’l member

+$146

  • There will be no reductions or terminations during this public health emergency.
  • Certification dates (recertifications and interim reports) will be automatically extended for six months.
  • As of April 1, 2020, there is a halt on the 3-month SNAP time limit and work requirements. No one has to meet work requirements in order to get or keep SNAP. Even if this time limit has applied to an individual in the past, they should reapply as soon as possible.

For those interested in applying for SNAP benefits:

Applications can be filled out and submitted in the following ways:

A DTA worker may contact you by phone after you submit your application to interview you about your current situation. If you have questions about the process or would like to check in about any updates, please contact the VRLC.

Pandemic EBT (P-EBT)

This page was last reviewed on April 16, 2020. For more information about P-EBT, please see this FAQ from Massachusetts Law Reform Institute.

This is a special federal food program for families with children who receive or are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. The details and timeline for implementation of this benefit are in the works. The VRLC will be actively monitoring for updates. In the meantime, it is important to note the following:

  • A family must be approved for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to be eligible for P-EBT.
  • Families with children who are on SNAP will have an easier time getting P-EBT, so we encourage you to apply for SNAP as soon as possible.
  • Families not eligible for SNAP may still be eligible for P-EBT. Individuals with children who have recently lost a job or have reduced hours can apply for the NSLP at any time. To apply for NSLP, contact your local school district.

P-EBT will have no impact on immigrant families concerned with the public charge rule.

TAFDC & EAEDC

This page was last reviewed on April 16, 2020. For the latest from DTA, visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/dta-covid-19-resources-and-support and mass.gov/COVID19 or call 2-1-1.

For these programs, please note:

  • Like SNAP, applications can be filed online. A case manager will need to speak over the phone with the applicant after the application is filed.
  • There will be no reductions/terminations at this time.
  • If your reevaluation was due in March, April, or May, it will automatically extended. For instance, if your reevaluation was due in March, it will be extended for at least six months without interruption, until September.
  • For questions about Unemployment Assistance, please see Unemployment Benefits & COVID.

Oregon

Please note: the following only applies to survivors in Oregon.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused economic instability and has serious implications for survivors and their families. Some Department of Human Service offices in Oregon remain open, others ask you to apply online and call before going in-person. Regardless, individuals and families will still receive benefits for which they were previously approved, and still have the option of applying for these programs. The VRLC is actively monitoring the legislation and rules about benefits, as they are rapidly shifting to respond to the needs of communities impacted by the virus. Please check back here or contact the VRLC with questions about eligibility, ensuring continuation of benefits, or how to apply for different programs.

Programs covered on this page:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) & Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

This page was last reviewed on April 16, 2020. Please visit ssa.gov/coronavirus/ for the latest from the Social Security Administration during this public health emergency.

There has currently been no change in payments.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress approved tax relief that includes economic impact payments of up to $1200 for individuals in certain income brackets and $500 for qualifying children under 17. For eligible individuals who filed taxes in 2018 or 2019, payments will be automatically disbursed based on one of these returns. Those receiving SSI and SSDI who have not filed taxes are also eligible for economic impact payments. Both SSI and SSDI recipients who do not have qualifying children will receive their payments automatically. This payment should be in the same form in which the recipient generally receives their SSI or SSDI payment.

For those who receive SSI or SSDI who do have qualifying children, the Social Security Administration suggests: “Go to the IRS's webpage to enter your information instead of waiting for your automatic $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. By taking proactive steps to enter information on the IRS website about you and your qualifying children, you will also receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to your $1,200 individual payment. If Social Security beneficiaries and SSI recipients in this group do not provide information to the IRS soon, you will have to wait to receive $500 per qualifying child.”

In addition to this, please note that the Social Security Administration will not consider these payments as income for SSI recipients. Payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Cash for Families (TANF), Temporary Assistance for Domestic Violence Survivors (TA-DVS), Employment Related Day Care (ERDC), and Employment Services

This page was last reviewed on April 27, 2020. For the latest from DHS, visit https://govstatus.egov.com/or-dhs-covid-19 and COVID-19: Frequently Asked Questions or call 2-1-1.

The Department of Human Services (“DHS”) overseas SNAP, TANF, TA-DVS, ERDC and Employment Services. DHS Self-Sufficiency Offices (which offer help with food benefits (SNAP), cash for families (TANF), child care assistance and refugee services) are open, but people are encouraged to call before going in-person. Contact information for the Self-Sufficiency Offices can be found here. Food Stamp EBT cards will be mailed to you or if you prefer, you may pick them up at a Self-Sufficiency Office that is offering curbside pickup.

For those interested in applying for SNAP benefits:

Applications can be filled out and submitted in the following ways:

A DHS worker may contact you by phone after you submit your application to interview you about your current situation. If you have questions about the process or would like to check in about any updates, please contact the VRLC.

For those already approved for and/or receiving SNAP benefits:

  • Benefits will continue.
  • If your household does not already get the maximum monthly amount for your household you will get additional emergency SNAP benefits to make up the difference. There will be an extra SNAP payment on May 8 and additional extra payments may occur in the following months. The following chart indicates the maximum amount per household:

Household size

Max. SNAP benefit

1

$194

2

$355

3

$509

4

$646

5

$768

6

$921

7

$1,018

Each add’l member

+$146

 
  • You can apply for SNAP even if your last month of income is not representative of what you will make going forward. DHS can take job loss into consideration when approving SNAP benefits.
  • There will be no recertification process for current SNAP beneficiaries through at least the month of May. Those reports are delayed for six months.
  • If you are an “Able Bodied Adult without Dependents” (ABAWD) you do not need to meet work requirements to continue to receive SNAP at this time. Work requirements are suspended. If you have been denied SNAP in the past because of the time limit on finding work, please reapply.
  • More information on Food Access and Covid-19

If you need TANF (cash for families), TA-DVS (temporary assistance to domestic violence survivors), or ERDC (employment related day care) benefits:

  • Talk to your caseworker during your SNAP interview.
  • If you already receive SNAP, contact your Self Sufficiency case worker. To find the contact information for your closest office, click here.

For Employment Services, the following applies:

If you have questions about eligibility or case information, you can call DHS at 503-945-5600 from 8 am–5pm. TTY: 503-945-6214.

Note: If you have a DHS appeal hearing scheduled, call the Public Benefits Hotline at 1-800-520-5292 for more information. If you are interested in discussing your eligibility for any of these programs, have a question about your case, or want assistance with a DHS appeal hearing, please contact the VRLC.

 

Unemployment Benefits and COVID-19

Massachusetts          Oregon

Massachusetts

Please note: the following only applies to survivors in Massachusetts

During this pandemic, the VRLC is still serving sexual assault survivors with employment needs and monitoring changes to employment policies that affect survivors’ options. This page will provide an overview of those recent changes. Please note that employment protections and remedies that were available before the pandemic remain in effect. Contact us with any questions about policy changes, eligibility, or our employment practice in general. We are here to help you!

Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

This was last updated on April 20, 2020. Please check in with www.mass.gov/dua for the latest updates and changes to anything related to CARES Act implementation.

The federal CARES Act provides enhanced state Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and new federal benefits called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Under the CARES Act, anyone receiving UI or PUA will receive an additional $600 per week on top of their qualifying benefit until July 25, 2020.

  • Unemployment Insurance

If you already receive Unemployment Insurance, you will automatically receive an additional $600 per week until July 25, 2020. Just continue to certify weekly.

The CARES Act has expanded eligibility for UI. For sexual assault survivors who are experiencing any of the following, please consider applying for UI as soon as possible or contacting the VRLC for additional information:

  • Your employer shut down or reduced your work hours
  • You are temporarily laid off
  • You left work because you were ordered to self-quarantine
  • You have a family member who is quarantined
  • You are taking care of a child whose daycare/school is closed due to COVID-19

If you are in any of these situations, please apply immediately online. Note that you can no longer file an application for UI in person. However, you can complete an application over the phone in English, Spanish, or Portuguese by calling 617-626-6800 or 877-626-6800. Wait times may be extremely long, so we encourage you to complete the application online if possible.

The maximum number of weeks is 39, including 26 weeks of state UI benefits plus 13 weeks of federal benefits. This is shifting and subject to change.

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The CARES Act created a new federal benefits program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that will provide UI benefits to workers who are not working due specifically to COVID-19 and applies to workers typically ineligible for state UI benefits.

If you are a sexual assault survivor who falls in any of the following categories, you may be eligible for PUA:

  • Self-employed workers
  • Gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors
  • Employees of religious organizations
  • Those with insufficient work history for UI or who have exhausted their benefits
  • Workers seeking only part-time work

If you think you are eligible, apply here.

These benefits are available for up to 39 weeks. This may be subject to change depending on the length of the crisis.

Visit this Eligibility Checklist for further information and this CARES Act Unemployment Flowchart for further assistance.

Please contact us if you have any questions about eligibility or application processes for UI/PUA benefits.

 

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA)

The FFRCA is a federal law enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic that provides emergency paid sick leave and expands family and medical leave.

 You may be eligible for emergency paid sick leave if you:

  • Are subject to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • Were advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine;
  • Experienced/are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19;
  • Are taking care of an individual who has been advised to quarantine; OR
  • Are taking care of a child due to school/daycare closure

If you think you may qualify, please contact the VRLC for additional details and information. Depending on what you are experiencing, the amount of pay you receive will vary.

If you are a survivor who is caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed and other childcare is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, you may also be eligible for expanded family leave. This allows up to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave at 2/3 your regular pay.

Importantly, an employer is prohibited from requiring you to use accrued vacation instead of emergency paid sick leave or family and medical leave.

Note: If you are getting paid sick leave per the FFRCA, you cannot collect unemployment benefits.

Helpful Links:

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Guidebook (English)

Click here for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Guidebook versions in Spanish, French, Vietnamese, Khmer, Arabic, Chinese, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, Lao, Russian, Italian

Oregon

Please note: the following only applies to survivors in Oregon.

During this pandemic, the VRLC is still serving sexual assault survivors with employment needs and monitoring changes to employment policies that affect survivors’ options. This page provides an overview of those recent changes. Please note that employment protections and remedies that were available before the pandemic remain in effect. Contact us with any questions about policy changes, eligibility, or our employment practice in general. We are here to help you!

Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act

This was last updated on April 28, 2020. Please https://govstatus.egov.com/ui-benefits/CARES for the latest updates and changes to anything related to CARES Act implementation.

The federal CARES Act provides enhanced state Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits and new federal benefits called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Under the CARES Act, anyone receiving UI or PUA will receive an additional $600 per week on top of their qualifying benefit until July 25, 2020.

  • Unemployment Insurance

If you already receive Unemployment Insurance, you will automatically receive an additional $600 per week until July 25, 2020. Just continue to certify weekly.

The CARES Act has expanded eligibility for UI. For sexual assault survivors who are experiencing any of the following, please consider applying for UI as soon as possible or contacting the VRLC for additional information:

  • Your employer shut down or reduced your work hours
  • You are temporarily laid off
  • You left work because you were ordered to self-quarantine
  • You have a family member who is quarantined
  • You are taking care of a child whose daycare/school is closed due to COVID-19

If you are in any of these situations, please apply immediately online. Note that you can no longer file an application for UI in person. However, you can complete an application over the phone by calling 1-877-FILE-4-UI (1-877-345-3484). Average call wait times are two hours, so we encourage you to complete the application online if possible.

The maximum number of weeks is 39, including 26 weeks of state UI benefits plus 13 weeks of federal benefits. This is shifting and subject to change.

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

The CARES Act created a new federal benefits program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) that will provide UI benefits to workers who are not working due specifically to COVID-19 and applies to workers typically ineligible for state UI benefits.

If you are a sexual assault survivor who falls in any of the following categories, you may be eligible for PUA:

  • Self-employed/1099 contract workers
  • Gig workers, freelancers and independent contractors
  • Employees of religious organizations
  • Those with insufficient work history for UI or who have exhausted their benefits
  • Workers seeking only part-time work

To Apply:

  • If you are applying for the first time, go here to read instructions and fill out an application. There are instructions in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, and Russian.
  • If you have already filed initial and weekly claims and have a PIN, complete the PUA process at PUA Application- English or PUA Application- Spanish

These benefits are available for up to 39 weeks. This may change depending on the length of the crisis.

Visit COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance Benefits and this Relief for Workers Affected by Coronavirus Act for further information.

Please contact us if you have any questions about eligibility or application processes for UI/PUA benefits.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFRCA)

The FFRCA is a federal law enacted in response to the coronavirus pandemic that provides emergency paid sick leave and expands family and medical leave.

You may be eligible for emergency paid sick leave if you:

  • Are subject to federal, state, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19.
  • Were advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine.
  • Experienced/are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Are taking care of an individual who has been advised to quarantine, OR Are taking care of a child due to school/daycare closure.

If you think you may qualify, please contact the VRLC for additional details and information. Depending on what you are experiencing, the amount of pay you receive will vary. If you are a survivor who is caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed and other childcare is unavailable for reasons related to COVID-19, you may also be eligible for expanded family leave. This allows up to an additional 10 weeks of paid leave at 2/3 your regular pay. Importantly, an employer is prohibited from requiring you to use accrued vacation instead of emergency paid sick leave or family and medical leave.

Note: If you are getting paid sick leave per the FFRCA, you cannot collect unemployment benefits.

Helpful Links:

 

For Sexual Assault Survivors with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

People with disabilities are more likely to be sexually assaulted. A crisis, like the Covid-19 or Coronavirus outbreak, can make things worse. It can also be harder to get services.

We at the VRLC are here for you.

We are working to make sure that we’re here for survivors with disabilities. With stay-at-home-orders in effect, we are committed to providing resources and information as changes occur. We will keep this page updated as things change.

We’ve put together some things that might be helpful to look at during the COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak. The first list is general information about COVID-19. Second, there is a list of resources for people who live in Boston. Then, we’ve put some information about financial things people might be worrying about.

If you have any questions about anything on this page, who you should call, or what you should do if something bad happens, you can always contact us.

Information on Living During the COVID-19 or Coronavirus Outbreak

Plain language information on COVID-19 (available in 11 languages!)

An 8-page booklet about the Coronavirus written by and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It focuses on “need to know” information (not “nice to know” information). 

Plain language glossary of COVID-19 terms

These are words you may be hearing or seeing due to the Coronavirus outbreak. These definitions were written by a team of self-advocates and their aspiring allies.

 

What is COVID-19? Zoom Meeting with Slides

Zoom Recording here.

Slides for Zoom Meeting on COVID-19 here.  

 

What is Social Distancing? Zoom Meeting with Slides

Zoom recording here.

Slides for Zoom Meeting here.

 

Tips for working with support staff during this emergency

People with intellectual and developmental disabilities wrote this. The Coronavirus or COVID-19 is changing our lives in many ways for a while. These tips can help you deal with the changes.

 

Information for People Living in Massachusetts During the COVID-19 or Coronavirus Outbreak

List of Resources for People in Boston with Disabilities during COVID-19

This has a list of places you can call to deal with different problems you might be having if you live in Boston.

Project Bread 

If you or someone you know doesn’t have enough to eat, Project Bread may be able to help you find a place to get food. You can visit their website at http://www.projectbread.org/get-help/ or call them at 1-800-645-8333, TTY: 1-800-377-1292.

 

 

 

Information on Money and Benefits During the COVID-19 or Coronavirus Outbreak:

Stimulus Payments

The government is giving $1,200 to most adults. This money is to help you during the Coronavirus outbreak. It is called an Economic Impact Payment. Some people call it a Stimulus check.

Information on Unemployment Benefits - Massachusetts

Unemployment Assistance can help people who have lost a job. You can apply for Unemployment Assistance online at https://uionline.detma.org/Claimant/Core/Login.ASPX.

If you need help applying for Unemployment Assistance, you can fill out this form to ask someone from the Department of Unemployment Assistance to help you.

Information on Other Benefits – Massachusetts

If you’ve recently lost a job or your income, you may qualify for programs from the Department of Transitional Assistance. These programs could help you pay for food or other things you need. During the Covid-19 outbreak, there are even more resources available than there were before. You can apply for these programs at https://dtaconnect.eohhs.mass.gov/.

 

 

 

If you have been sexually assaulted or raped and need legal help, please contact the VRLC. Also, please contact the VRLC with any questions, concerns, or information you may have to make our services better and more accessible. Here is our contact information:

For VRLC services in Massachusetts, you can call 617-399-6720 or 877-758-8132. The legal assistance intake line is extension 19. Línea de admisión en español es 35.

For services in Oregon, you can call 503-274-5477 or 855-411-5477. The legal assistance intake line is extension 6.

You can also email us at legalhelp@victimrights.org.

We share a lot of information about our services, updates about resources and options during COVID-19, and much more on our social media accounts. You can find us on Twitter (@VictimRightsLaw) and Facebook!

We are here to assist you and want to hear from you.

 

For Service Providers

The VRLC is holding weekly drop-in office hours (no pre-registration required!) every Wednesday from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm Pacific / 2:30-3:30 pm Eastern.  Contact us at TA@victimrights.org for more information or to schedule your free, individual TA consultation. We’re here to Train, share our Expertise, Assist and Mentor you. We’re your TEAM!

VRLC’s privacy, civil legal services, and campus technical assistance teams remain open for business during the pandemic! You may reach the privacy and civil legal services teams at: TA@victimrights.org.

Resources

Protecting Survivor Privacy When Working From Home: A Guide for OVW-Funded Victim Service Providers

 

Other Resources

Massachusetts          Oregon

Massachusetts

Oregon