If your child received reduced or free lunch you qualify for Pandemic EBT benefits



 Pandemic EBT benefits will be provided to families of school-age children who no longer have access to free or reduced-price school meals due to public school closures.
Virginia is one of 20 states approved by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Services to implement the Pandemic EBT program, which provides temporary food assistance to cover the cost of meals missed while schools are closed.
It include students who receive free or reduced-price school meals, as well as students enrolled in schools that provide free meals to all students through the Community Eligibility Provision.
The Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) announced eligible families Households will receive $5.70 per eligible student, per day, up to a maximum of 66 days of school closure.
That equals a total of $376 per eligible student.
Eligible households that are currently receiving SNAP benefits can expect to have P-EBT benefits added to their EBT card within the next two weeks.
Families are not required to be current SNAP participants or complete an application to qualify for P-EBT benefits. P-EBT cards will be mailed to households that do not receive SNAP benefits within the next four to six weeks.
Families are encouraged to click here for more information about the P-EBT program and answers to frequently asked questions.

Free Weekly Credit Reports - Equifax Data Breach Update


During these times of COVID-19, accessing your credit is important. That's why Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are now offering free weekly online reports through April 2021.   Click on the link below  to get your free reports for the week. 



Equifax Data Breach Settlement here is an update on some new benefits that consumers can possibly take advantage of whether or not they filed a claim with Equifax.  (for additional information log onto Equifax’s website)
In September of 2017, Equifax announced a data breach that exposed the personal information of 147 million people. The company has agreed to a global settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 U.S. states and territories. The settlement includes up to $425 million to help people affected by the data breach. 
The initial deadline to file a claim in the Equifax settlement was January 22, 2020.
After January 22, 2020, you can still file a claim for expenses you incur between January 23, 2020, and January 22, 2024, as a result of identity theft or fraud related to the breach, such as:
·         Losses from unauthorized charges to your accounts
·         Fees you paid to professionals, like accountants or attorneys, to help you recover from identity theft
·         Other expenses you incurred while recovering from identity theft, like notary fees, document shipping fees, postage, mileage, and phone charges.
You also can file a claim for the time you spent recovering from identity theft or fraud between January 23, 2020, and January 22, 2024. You can be compensated up to $25 per hour up to 20 hours. There are limited funds available so your claim may be reduced.
Even if you do not file a claim, you can get:
Free Help Recovering from Identity Theft
Once the court allows the start of this benefit, for a period of at least seven years, you will be able to get free identity restoration services if you discover misuse of your personal information. We will update this website when this benefit becomes available.

Free Credit Reports for All U.S. Consumers
All U.S. consumers can now get 6 free credit reports per year through 2026 by visiting the Equifax website or by calling 1-866-349-5191. That’s in addition to the one free Equifax report (plus your Experian and TransUnion reports) you can get at AnnualCreditReport.com.


DRIVE THRU FOOD BANK DISTRIBUTION LOCATIONS IN HAMPTON ROADS





Drive-Thru Foodbank Distributions in Hampton Roads
Updated May 4, 2020

*All Foodbank distribution sites are open to residents from any city.
For more information or to confirm dates, please call 757-627-6599 or 877-486-4379 or visit https://foodbankonline.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/FoodbankSEVA/.

Partner Agency Directory: https://foodbankonline.org/directory/



VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES LAUNCHES A NEW COVID-19 WEBSITE AND MOBILE APP.




Virginia Department of Social Services has launched a new COVID-19 website and mobile app:

 COVID-19 Virginia Resources website and COVID VA mobile app (available today for iOS users in the App Store - Android/Google Play forthcoming).

Designed as a “one-stop” resource for individuals, families and businesses to access benefits, services and critical information, the website and app aim to connect an essential need - whether food, child care, healthcare, housing, unemployment insurance, or more - with an immediate and actionable resource. 

Please visit the website today and share the information with others that may be in need of this resource.



VA 2-1-1 GET CONNECTED. GET ANSWERS


  • Child Care Resources: Child Care Aware of Virginia is a community-based network of child care and early education specialists. We deliver services to families, child care professionals and communities, working to increase the accessibility, availability and quality of child care in Virginia. To reach Child Care Aware of Virginia, families may complete searches online at vachildcare.com, email care@vachildcare.com or call 866-543-7852 (866-KIDS-TLC) www.vachildcare.com

  • SNAP Benefits (Food Assistance): Households in need may apply for SNAP immediately. When applying, applicants must report their current anticipated income as of the application date. There is a question on the application to address recent job loss. Households must file an application for SNAP benefits with the Local Department of Social Services in the locality where the household resides. Households may file applications in person or online at www.commonhelp.virginia.gov

  • Unemployment Resources: Beginning with claims effective March 15, 2020, Governor Northam has directed that the one week waiting period and the requirement to conduct a weekly job search both be suspended for those receiving unemployment insurance benefits. If you are a worker who has been totally or partially separated from your job due to Coronavirus, please note that no claim for unemployment insurance may be filed or processed until an actual lay off from employment has occurred, or until there has been an actual reduction in hours. When filing your claim for unemployment benefits, please be sure to check the reason for separation as Lack of Work/Lay off. If you will be filing because of a reduction in hours, you will not receive benefits unless your gross earnings are less than your weekly benefit amount. www.vec.virginia.gov/unemployed

  • TANF Benefits (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families): Families dealing with job loss or other impacts from COVID-19 have access to two types of TANF cash assistance that may help - Diversionary Assistance and TANF-Emergency AssistanceDiversionary Assistance (for families not currently receiving ongoing TANF assistance) Provides one-time assistance to families to pay for emergency needs, including food, basic needs, housing and utility expenses, medical expenses, transportation, etc. There must be a loss of income, reduction of income, or delay in receiving income. The family must include a dependent child and meet income and other requirements. TANF-Emergency Assistance (for families currently receiving ongoing TANF assistance) provides one-time assistance of up to $500 for families that have experienced a fire or natural disaster. Note: COVID-19 is considered a disaster. The family must include a dependent child and meet income and other requirements. Households may file applications at www.commonhelp.virginia.gov

  • TAX SEASON: The IRS has announced that federal income tax filing due date has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Virginia income tax payments due between April 1, 2020, to June 1, 2020, will now be due on June 1, 2020. This includes individual and corporate income taxes paid to Virginia Tax. All income tax filing deadlines remain the same, including the May 1, 2020 individual income tax filing due date. Tax preparations services are available for low-to-middle income working individuals and families as well as for individuals and couples over age 60. SEARCH: Tax Prep Assistance to find a program or visit: www.irs.gov/individuals/free-tax-return-preparation-for-you-by-volunteers


  • No Kid Hungry: Parents and families can find sites approved for meal service on the School Meal Finder website (this information is continually updated and additional details with their school division). Families can also text “food” or “comida” to 877-877 to learn more about food options near them. schoolmealfinder.hoonuit.com/?filter_state=va

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:
  • CommonHelp: Virginia's convenient way to apply for healthcare coverage, food assistance, child care, heating/cooling assistance, and cash assistance. VISIT: commonhelp.virginia.gov

  • Cover Virginia: Learn about Virginia’s Medicaid and FAMIS programs for children, pregnant women and adults. You can also get information about health insurance options available through the Federal Marketplace. www.coverva.org

  • Virginia Easy Access: Special resources for seniors and people with disabilities. VISIT: easyaccess.virginia.gov

SPECIAL ASSISTANCE:
  • Deaf and hard of hearing: Dial 7-1-1 for Virginia Relay then 1-800-230-6977.

  • Out of state, using a videophone, or a disposable cell phone? 2-1-1 VIRGINIA can always be reached at 1-800-230-6977.

  • Moving or visiting out of state? Need information outside Virginia? Visit: www.211.org

ALERT: THE TIME IS NOW ON PROVIDING BANKING ACCOUNT INFORMATION TO THE IRS FOR AUTOMATIC STIMULUS PAYMENTS




The IRS has begun the process of distributing stimulus payments. For those without bank or credit union accounts previously filed with the IRS, the time is now to do so to avoid waiting months for a check (this week for those who’ve never filed taxes, next week for everyone else).

It’s not too late for those who have never given their account information to the IRS. And it’s not too late for those who are unbanked to open a bank or credit union account and get stimulus payments faster, more safely, and for free -- directly deposited into their account!

·     Step 1: Get your bank or credit union account number. If you don’t already have one, open a safe and affordable certified Bank On account online.

·     Step 2: Visit the IRS’ website page on Economic Impact (stimulus) payments and sign up with your account number (starting today for those who did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, and next week for everyone else).


Stimulus Check Updated Disbursement Information



Many of you may have gone to your bank account and noticed a pending deposit from the IRS.  If you don’t see yours in your account, and you met all of the criteria to receive one, here is a link that may be helpful  in determining how and when you may receive your check. This article will give the expected range of dates for direct deposits and for mailed paper checks.



VB STRONG CENTER




I know the past several months have been very stressful. If you need a little help dealing with that stress or simply dealing with life right now, one way to get it is through the VB Strong Center.


Accessing the VB Strong Center

To ensure you’re receiving updates on the VB Strong Center’s programming during this time:

  1. Take a minute and click here to sign up to receive email notifications.
These emails will highlight upcoming programming and/or special offerings.
Emails will not be sent more than once per week.
It will only take a minute to sign up; encourage your friends to do the same.

  1. Check out the calendar of events for upcoming digital programming.
Looking for a mid-day stretch? Check out De-stress @ Your Desk
At home with your little ones? Check out Zumba Kids
Looking to create some “normalcy” during these uncharted times? Check out Healthy Routines for Overall Wellness During Social Distancing
And more!

  1. As a reminder, you can also:
Call 757.507.7200 between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., Monday-Friday, or email vbstrongcenter@sentara.com to:
Schedule your telehealth visit for:
Individual appointments, Intake and Support Services
Help with class registration
Making recommendations for programming & services you would like to see
Asking questions


CALL TO ACTION - YOUR HELP IS NEEDED!!


Governor Northam has called on childcare centers to
serve children of healthcare providers and other essential
personnel. This is mission critical and YOU CAN HELP by
donating these cleaning supplies:

Hand Sanitizer / Gloves/ Hand Soap/
Paper Towels/ Toilet Paper/ Bleach

Taylor Bend Family YMCA 4626 Taylor Rd. Chesapeake 23321
Great Bridge/Hickory Family YMCA 633 S. Battlefield,
Chesapeake 23322
Mt. Trashmore Family YMCA 4441 South Blvd. Virginia Beach
23452
Hilltop Family YMCA 1536 Laskin Rd, Virginia Beach 23451

FIRST DROP OFF DAY IS THURSDAY, APRIL 9TH

Drop off days thereafter:
Mondays and Thursdays from 9AM to 12 PM

Drop off bins are OUTSIDE of entrance doors
PLEASE LABEL DONATIONS "CHILD CARE"


TUTORIAL ON FILING FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS IN VIRGINIA



  As many of you may know the unemployment claims around the country have  increased to over 6.6 million individuals; which is the highest this country has ever seen. If you are one of the millions that has to file for unemployment and are unsure of how to navigate the online application; below is a link to a video found at www.vawc.virginia.gov giving instructions on filing an unemployment claim in Virginia.   




City of Virginia Beach Resources for Utility Bills


Community Resources for Payment Assistance

​​The following resources are available to Virginia Beach residents in need of assistance paying a utility bill. You may also dial 2-1-1 for free information on available community services. When you dial 2-1-1, a trained professional will listen to your situation and suggest resources.
Water Assistance Program- 385-6700
The Water Assistance Program is provided by Virginia Beach Public Utilities to qualifying residents. Residents must meet the income threshold in order to qualify. Eligible residents can receive program assistance at a maximum of $300.00 once per fiscal year for a City Services Bill; and $250.00 for a plumbing repair. For more information, call the number provided.

 
H2O (Help To Others)- 543-8100
The H2O (Help To Others) program, administered​ by The Salvation Army, offers financial assistance to residents needing help with their City Services or HRSD bill. Residents must be able to demonstrate that a personal or family crisis has inhibited ability to pay utility bills. Eligible residents can receive program assistance one time in any twelve-month period in the amount of $250.00 or the balance due, whichever is less. For more information, call the number provided.​
Church of the Ascension​- 495-1886 Ext. 414
Church of the Holy Family​- 481-3492
Holy Spirit Catholic Church​- 468-3600 Ext. 111​
Human Warmth and Care​- 727-3331
Mission United (Assists Military Only)​- 858-7777
​St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church- 497-8330 Ext. 303
St. John the Apostle Catholic Church​- 426-2180 Ext. 9
Star of the Sea Catholic Church​- 428-3492/428-1244
The Stop Organization​- 858-1360
The Potter's House​- 428-7727

How to protect your Virtual Meeting from being Hijacked!



According to Wavy 10 a Zoom class between a local private school teacher and her students was hijacked and inappropriate material was shared with the class.  These types of incidents have appeared recently in many Zoom meeting settings across the country. 

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses have sent employees home to telework.  With telework; the meetings that would have typically been in person are now being hosted virtually through platforms such as Zoom.  With the increase in organizations using Zoom and other virtual platforms; The FBI recommends the following to protect your cybersecurity:

  • Do not make meetings or classrooms public
  • Do not share a link to a teleconference or classroom on social media
  • Manage screen sharing options
  • Use the updated version of any remote meeting application — including the newest version of Zoom, which was updated in January
  • Ensure the organization’s telework policy addresses requirements for physical and information security
Victims of teleconference hijacking or other cyber-crimes should report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. If you receive a specific threat during a teleconference, report it to the FBI online or at (800) CALL-FBI.



Your Guide to Internet Service During Coronavirus (COVID-19)



Below is a link that has internet providers that are providing free internet services for the next 60 days if you meet the criteria.  

https://www.highspeedinternet.com/resources/internet-guide-during-coronavirus-outbreak

If  you already have internet service contact your current provider and see if they can offer any discounts during this time.

Now is also a good time to look at other companies you have service or contracts with and contact them to see if you can lower any of your other expenses.  This is a perfect opportunity to beef up your rainy day funds!