April 2020 Updates and Resources

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Dear Friend:
 
As the global health pandemic stretches into April, it is even more important for us to stay connected and healthy while we comply with the Governor’s stay at home and social distancing orders. Like the rest of the country, many Maryland residents have been juggling health, job, housing, school, and many other issues. The following resources have been compiled to help you navigate the myriad of information that is available. Additionally, please contact my office by email if you have any questions or need assistance.
 
Voting: June 2 Presidential Primary
 
As a result of the presidential primary election date change from April 28 to June 2, Governor Hogan tasked the Maryland State Board of Elections with devising a plan to hold our primary election with the least amount of disruption while upholding Maryland’s stay at home order. Last Friday, Governor Hogan ratified the State Board of Elections' plan to hold the June 2 primary by mail. Read the complete plan.
 
Every registered voter in Maryland will receive a ballot – no need to request one. You should be receiving your ballot later this month. It will include a return envelope with pre-paid postage. Be sure that your voter registration information is correct and up to date. You can go to Voter Lookup or send a text to 77788 and type in CHECK
 
Additionally, one voting center in each county will be open to accommodate any voters who are unable to vote by mail. Please take the time to exercise your right to vote.
 
Maryland Tax Returns
 
Comptroller Peter Franchot has announced that the agency will temporarily stop processing paper tax returns on April 15 in an effort to keep essential employees safe amid the spread of COVID-19 and urges Maryland taxpayers seeking refunds to file electronically as soon as possible. Read the press release here.
COVID-19 Guides from our Congressional Delegation
 
The following guides from several members of our Congressional Delegation provide comprehensive information on many COVID-19 resources:
 
 
Employment Opportunities
 
As a public service, the Maryland Department of Labor has compiled a list of job opportunities at businesses and organizations throughout Maryland.
 
Small Business Resources
 
This program is designed to provide financial assistance to Montgomery County for-profit businesses (including sole proprietorships and independent contractors) and nonprofit organizations that have experienced significant financial loss caused directly or indirectly by a public health emergency. Local businesses may be eligible for grants of up to $75,000.
 
The U.S. Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. You can apply through an existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. Consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.
 
Small business owners in all U.S. states, Washington D.C., and territories are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. This loan advance will not have to be repaid. For questions about the Small Business Association programs, Call 1-800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov
 
This $5 million incentive program helps Maryland manufacturers to produce personal protective equipment and other items identified as Critical Needs Items by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) and the Department of General Services (DGS), that are urgently needed by the State of Maryland, Maryland-based hospitals and healthcare facilities, and emergency and first responders.
 
The center, a partnership between the U.S. Small Business Administration, the State of Maryland and the University of Maryland, College Park, has compiled a COVID-19 survival guide that updates frequently and focuses on many areas, from the SBA loan process to CDC guidelines to grants from private organizations.
 
Unemployment Insurance
 
 
The Maryland Department of Labor has received an unprecedented number of unemployment insurance claims in the past few weeks. While over 94 percent of claims are currently processed online, aggressive steps are being taken to improve service for those who attempt to file by phone. The Maryland Department of Labor is in the process of more than doubling staffing at claims centers across the state. The Claims Center telephone lines are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and additional Saturday hours are set to open this week. To contact a Claim Center, call 410-949-0022. If you are having difficulty placing a call or accessing the website, e-mail ui.inquiry@maryland.gov. In addition, many individuals who have not previously been eligible for unemployment insurance will now be eligible for benefits through the CARES Act’s Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. Claimants will receive benefits retroactive to their first date of eligibility. Submit your email on the website to be alerted when this application is available.
 
Volunteer or Donate
 
There are many opportunities to volunteer and donate throughout Maryland; I have highlighted a few resources here.
 
Governor Hogan announced that Maryland has activated the Maryland Responds Medical Reserve Corps, a force of dedicated and trained medical volunteers who are ready to assist in a public health emergency. Qualified Marylanders are urged to sign up.
 
Extensive list of projects that is updated on a continual basis as new needs are submitted and other needs are fulfilled.
 
Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MD MEP) is a Maryland independent nonprofit funded by industry and the State of Maryland to grow and strengthen Maryland Manufacturing.
 
 
 
The Upcounty Consolidation Hub for Community Needs at BlackRock is a temporary consolidation center for donated essential goods for communities in upper Montgomery County. The hub will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.
 

 
Feldman Senatorial Scholarships
 
I have designated the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) to award my District 15 Senatorial scholarships because I believe it is appropriate to have these monies managed by a State agency that is independent of the political process. To learn about the application process, please visit the Maryland Higher Education Commission. You may also contact MHEC by telephone at 410-767-3300 or toll free at 800-974-0203.
 
Please note that there is no application form to fill out in order to apply for the District 15 Senatorial Scholarship. You just need to (1) have filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the March 1 deadline and (2) create a Maryland College Aid Processing System (MDCAPS) account at MHEC. The purpose of creating a MDCAPS account is for MHEC to communicate with you and for you to be able to accept the award. Set up an account at MDCAPS.
 
The awards are made by MHEC and are based on financial need. MHEC will notify the awardees by September 1. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any further questions.
 
District 15 Virtual Legislative Town Hall
Please join me and my District 15 colleagues for a Virtual Legislative Town Hall on Sunday, April 26, at 11:00amSign up here.
 
As always, I value your feedback and encourage you to contact me with any questions or comments at Brian.Feldman@senate.state.md.us 

 

 

 

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