Financial Assistance Resources for Seattleites
Use this link to find general financial assistance suggestions as graphics or see the index below to find what you’re looking for in this guide. If you have any additions or edits, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
B. Unemployment Benefits
C. Paid Sick Leave
D. Federal Stimulus Bill
E. Mutual Aid, Grants, and Relief Funds
F. Who’s Hiring?
G. Apply for Benefits
H. Food Assistance
I. Rental Assistance
J. Utility Assistance
K. Health Insurance
L. Mortgages, Credit Cards, and Loans
First, here’s some other resources that may be helpful:
COVID-19 Public Health Websites
King County: Coronavirus Disease 2019
Washington State Department of Health: Novel Coronavirus Outbreak 2020
CDC: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | CDC
- See the AARP Mutual Aid Tracker at aarpmutualaid.org, a list of mutual aid funding by state here, or neighborhood pods here.
- Child Care Aware has a one-pager here about their work to connect caregivers with vacant daycare slots.
- Washington Department of Financial Institutions best practices here and a list of financial protections from the Consumer Protection Bureau.
- Know Your Rights from the National Lawyers Guild here.
- Customers with disabilities who are in need of transportation can contact the Access Transportation Call Center at 206-205-5000.
- Being isolated for long periods of time can feel miserable. Take care of yourself and we can take care of eachother!
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, text HOME to the Crisis Line at 741-741.
- Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUS to 66-746 for the Disaster Distress Hotline.
- Call 1-800-799-7233 or text LoveIs to 22-522 to connect with the National Domestic Violence Hotline, or the National Deaf Domestic Violence Hotline available by video chat, email, or more here.
- Find more information about online AA meetings here.
- If you cannot work from home, find a therapist providing free or reduced rate therapy here. The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation will also cover sessions, see here. Resources for social workers and therapists here. NAMI resources for BIPOC mental health here.
Financial Assistance Resources
Don’t forget to call 211, visit their website at crisisconnections.org, or text your zip code to 877-211-9274. If you need help accessing food, social services, or other emergency assistance, 211 is your one-stop shop for community resources.
Unemployment benefits assist workers who lost their jobs through no fault of their own – including closures and slowdowns due to coronavirus. Anyone who has lost their job due to coronavirus, has reduced hours, or has had to take time off from their job to self-quarantine or care for a sick relative (and do not get paid sick time from work) should apply for unemployment with the Employment Security Division (ESD, esd.wa.gov).
- On April 18th, ESD updated its systems. If you worked less than 680 hours, are caring for a child because of school closures or have been advised to stay home by a healthcare professional, you are eligible for unemployment.
- Apply by phone if possible with these forms ready. Call 800-752-2500 (or schedule callback here..)
- You can subscribe for updates as ESD makes changes to unemployment insurance here. New rules here.
- View one of their public webinars here
- Creating a SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account here.
- Introduction to filing here
- Unemployment Law Project:
- If you need additional support, the Unemployment Law Project is offering free legal help for people who have been denied or had claims challenged by their employers, as well as interpretation. Call 206-441-9178 x0.
- Filing weekly claims but not yet receiving benefits? Spending hours on hold with ESD? Contact your legislators to tell them about your experiences. Help our politicians make changes to our unemployment system. You can take action here.
- Further application instructions for Lyft/Uber drivers here.
- Unite Here! Local 8 has a graphic in multiple languages here. See a one-page FAQ from the Poverty Action Network about the CARES Act and unemployment here. United Way has run-through for people who are laid off here.
- Sound Outreach is able to directly connect older adults with a Financial Coach here. More information at soundoutreach.org.
Paid Sick Days/ Paid Family and Medical Leave
First, Paid Sick Leave. If you are still employed but missing work because you are sick, quarantined, or due to the closure of childcare, you likely have access to paid sick leave; many people will have two to four weeks. Washington State law and the City of Seattle (see also Seattle’s Office of Labor Standards FAQs) guarantee most workers the right to earn at least an hour of sick leave for every 40 worked. New emergency federal paid sick leave provides for 10 days of COVID-related sick leave for workers in companies with fewer than 500 employees in addition to any other leave you already have. If your workplace was shut down due to new public-health restrictions, you may still have access to your paid sick leave. For more information, click here.
Secondly, for people still working or who worked last year, there’s Paid Family & Medical Leave (PFML). PFML is available to almost anyone who worked at least 820 hours in the state in the past year. PFML can extend for up to 12 weeks and in some cases up to 18 weeks with partial pay. It is available to workers who have been with their employer at least 30 days, but only applies to workers in companies with fewer than 500 employees. It covers leave to care for a new child, a serious health condition of you or a family member. If you have underlying health conditions and are advised to self-quarantine, you may qualify for paid sick leave or PMFL, depending on your case. Unfortunately, if you are practicing social distancing absent additional underlying factors, you do not qualify for benefits. Talk to your employer about your sick leave, then visit paidleave.wa.gov to apply. Certification by a healthcare provider is required.
Finally, anyone whose job has brought them into direct contact with someone with coronavirus (for instance, a first responder or a healthcare worker) and is ill or required to quarantine can file for workers’ compensation with Labor & Industries here. King County has a one-pager about L&I here.
- If you are employed but have an underlying medical condition and/or are over the age of 65, you have the following rights:
- 1) Alternative work assignments, including telework if feasible, and social distancing measures,
- 2) The ability to use any accrued leave or unemployment benefits if an alternative work assignment is not feasible,
- 3) employers must maintain your health insurance while you are off the job, and
- 4) employers are prohibited from permanently replacing high-risk employees.
- Read more about PFML and Paid Sick Leave from the Economic Opportunity Institute here.
- Watch a video from the ESD about filing weekly claims for Paid Family and Medical leave here.
- Family Values @ Work also has an interactive “Know Your Rights” tool here.
Federal stimulus bills
If you are eligible and the IRS has your bank information, then checks for $1,200 were issued early April (plus $500 for every eligible child). A second round of stimulus checks may be on the way: CNET has a breakdown of when these payments may roll out here. You can get more information here from the IRS and find their FAQs here. The full payment will be available to those individuals making less than $75,000, or families making less than $150,000. The New York Times has a list of FAQs here and the Washington Post has a calculator for how much you’re eligible for here. Finally, the Poverty Action Network has a one page summary here as well as a debrief of the entire CARES Act here.
- No worries if you didn’t file your taxes in 2018 or 2019! Social Security beneficiaries do not need to fill out a separate form to receive a check, use the IRS web tool to sign up here or read a how-to here (unless you have dependent children, then you will need to file income taxes to receive the additional $500). Anyone else who was not required to file income taxes for 2018 or 2019 will now need to file a simple tax return form in order to get the stimulus payment (you can see Section L of this document for more information on how to do that).
Many community organizations and individuals are offering financial support. If you need help, contact organizations, unions, churches, neighborhood associations, branches of the military, or other communities you’re a part of. For example, for UW students, UW provides emergency aid and may be able to help (North, South Seattle and Seattle Central College information is here, Seattle University here). You can also search hashtags on social media (here’s a quick how-to for Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook if that’s new for you) like #wegotthisseattle or join threads like this one for people who are immunocompromised and struggling to stock up, this one queer/trans people in the gig economy, or this one for Native folks.
General mutual aid:
- COVID-19 Mutual Aid Group, on Instagram @Covid19MutualAid and Facebook. Request support here. The request form is currently paused, but check back soon.
- South Seattle and Eastside Mutual Aid, request support here.
- If you are an elderly, low-income, or a financially struggling, apply for food assistance from ICNA Relief with this form.
- Modest Needs is a tax-exempt charity where you can make small, emergency grants to low-income workers for whom no other source of immediate help is available. You can apply here.
Parents and caregivers:
Financial aid for workers or veterans:
- Restaurant workers who live and work in King County and have suffered financial hardship because of the COVID-19 crisis may be eligible for $500 in immediate assistance, visit theplatefund.com. For further rental assistance for restaurant workers, see rerf.us or Big Table for help.
- See the Seattle Hospitality Emergency Fund and apply for help here. They are currently out of funding: more information here.
- Emergency Tipped and Service Worker Support Fund can be accessed for donating and applying for assistance here. This is cash assistance for restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more.
- Apply here for the Bartenders Emergency Assistance program. Workers in need must be referred by a coworker or manager.
- The LEE Initiative has a Restaurant Workers Relief Program here.
- Seattle Service Industry+ mutual aid group is on Facebook here.
- DoorDash has some emergency funding here.
- If you are a member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, you can apply for support now, and they may be able to open up for more workers soon; sign up for updates here. See also Resources for domestic workers on coronavirus here, available in Spanish here.
- Minority Vets opens applications for financial assistance for veterans from the 1st to the 7th of every month here.
- Email Greenlight Project at email@example.com to apply for the the Sex Worker Aid Network Initiative or donate here.
- SWOP has emergency mini-grants available here.
- Seattle Sounders have a grant for any person who was laid off, furloughed, or experienced a reduction in hours in one of the three listed neighborhoods that was regularly open for fans here.
- Freelancers Relief Fund is currently out of funding, but you can see more information or check if they’ve reopened here.
- Journalists who have been temporarily laid off or had their hours reduced can apply here.
- AFL-CIO union members and families enduring hardship can find information about how to apply for financial assistance here. The Foundation for Working Families does prioritize union members, but other families may apply.
- Professional Beauty Association COVID-19 Relief Fund here.
- EASE (Emergency Assistance for Seattle Employees) provides assistance to City of Seattle employees here.
- Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Market assists small farmers here.
Mutual aid/grants/funding for artists:
- NW Folklife has a comprehensive list of grants and funding here.
- For the Seattle Artists Relief Fund, apply for relief here.
- The Artist Relief Project has funding for any individual artist in any discipline whose income has been impacted by COVID19-related cancellations here.
- Artist Trust Relief fund here.
- 4Culture’s Cultural Relief Fund is here, providing grants of up to $2,000 to support cultural workers.
- Apply for the Arts & Cultures Leaders of Color fund here.
- CERF+ has emergency relief grants for artists infected with the virus that require intensive medical care. More information here and a list of other resources they’ve compiled here.
- Freelancer and community resources have been compiled here by @cardsbyde, see also a compilation for freelance artists here.
- Equal Sound has a Relief Fund for musicians to apply for an initial grant up to $500 here.
- Finally, see here for a webinar running through City or City supported funds.
Resources for people who are undocumented:
- The Betancourt-Macias Family Scholarship Foundation has a huge list of resources and funding available for people who are undocumented at undocuscholars.com or call 253-653-4630.
- Seattle Fund for Undocumented People here.
- See a comprehensive list of resources for people who are undocumented here.
- Fondo de Becas Para DACA: $75,000 estarán disponibles para cubrir las tarifas de renovación de DACA. $75,000 is available to cover DACA renewal fees. Scholarship funds are available to individuals who have or previously had DACA status, have a completed DACA renewal application, and who reside/work/or go to school in Seattle. Grantees will receive a check made out to the Department of Homeland Security. More information here.
- OneAmerica has a list of resources for immigrants here. See also this spreadsheet for people without immigration status.
- Get FREE help with your citizenship application from ReWA, and meet later on June 27th to finalize your application with an immigration attorney. Call or text to see if you are eligible and start the application process today: 206-552-0859. More information here.
- Mission Asset Fund is accepting pre-applications for $500 in assistance here.
LGBTQI+ mutual aid and financial resources:
- Ingersoll Gender Center organized Trans and Gender Diverse Community Financial Assistance Programs here.
- Queer people in Seattle can also apply for support here.
- Point of Pride has an Emergency Fund to offset the unexpected costs and hardships that have impacted trans community here.
- Trans Lifeline has operators to help you access the many emergency funds and mutual aid resources arising locally and nationally at 877–565–8860.
Did your work need to close as business slowed? Would you be interested in working with any of the below organizations?
- WorkSource has a list of hiring organizations here, including Washington State jobs at careers.wa.gov or federal jobs here.
- LinkedIn has a massive list of hiring organizations here. Zippia has a guide specifically for working remotely, including suggested organizations, here.
- Ingersoll Gender Center maintains a Job Board for transgender and gender diverse folks seeking employment or training here.
- See the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s FAQs about COVID-19 and the ADA, the Rehabilitation Act and other laws, including information about reasonable accommodations here.
Apply for Benefits
It never hurts to check if you’re eligible for benefits. Use Washington Connection and foodhelp.wa.gov to apply or check your eligibility for assistance with food, cash, child care, long-term care, or programs like the Medicare Savings Programs. For example, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a federally funded, state-run benefits program helping families who experience temporary difficulties. You can also check with benefitscheckup.org, a DSHS benefits calculator here, and for discounts with the City of Seattle Affordability Portal.
- Washington residents without documentation apply through DSHS for the Disaster Cash Assistance Program (DCAP). Visit WashingtonConnection.org to apply or find more information here or read DSHS FAQs here. Washington State has also announced more relief for people who are undocumented coming soon, read more here.
- Columbia Legal Service has a one-sheet page of benefit information for people without immigration status here.
- Read Solid Ground’s overview of the updates to public benefits here, Poverty Action Networks’ overview about TANF updates here, or Seattle/King County’s Coalition on Homelessness overview here. You can watch a webinar with the Poverty Action Network, Solid Ground, and the Eastside Legal Assistance Program here.
- Solid Ground’s Benefits Legal Assistance attorneys provide FREE legal help to get or keep public benefits, call 206-694-6742.
- Community Living Connections can connect older adults, adults with disabilities, caregivers, family members and professionals to community resources and service options at 1-844-348-5464.
- Need help with Social Security? Contact the Benefits Law Center, call 206-686-7252.
See the King County list, Food Lifeline list, Northwest Harvests list, or Washington State list here. All of this food is free and available to you, even if you don’t use SNAP or EBT. Food Lifeline can also help you check your eligibility for programs like SNAP and EBT here. Seattle Public School District has more information here regarding school closures and meals.
- More information on the Meals on Wheels program for seniors here. For those who are HIV+, living with a serious illness, or homebound seniors, see more information about Chicken Soup Brigade here.
- Free home delivery of emergency food boxes across Seattle, North King County, and East King County can be ordered here or by calling 833-540-0800, Mondays to Fridays from 11am-4pm.
- Free meals lists organized here.
- WithinReach’s Help Me Grow Hotline is at 1-800-322-2588; hotline hours are Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The hotline provides information about food, health care access, child development, breastfeeding, immunizations, and other resources including WIC state hotline/locations & screening. Visit parenthelp123.org.
- See here for a one-pager about how to apply for SNAP.
- FEEST Seattle is setting up free grocery delivery to families at Chief Sealth, Evergreen, Rainier Beach, and Tyee High Schools, see here.
- Food boxes are available for people who were formerly incarcerated here through the Prison Scholar Fund.
- The Babies of Homlessness Hotline is a 24/7 hotline and can provide resources for basic needs here.
- The Station has a community mutual aid corner where folks can walk up and grab any items they need. Visit thestationbh.com.
Seattle’s eviction moratorium ends January 1st, 2020. While this is significant, it is not rent forgiveness: rent will still be due on the other side of the moratorium. The best practice is to contact your landlord as soon as possible, have all communication about your rent in writing, and contact tenant or financial assistance organizations now to help with payment plans. The West Seattle Food Bank has a list of emergency rental assistance resources linked here. If you have past-due rent or utility bills and live in zip codes 98106, 98116, 98126, 98136 or 98146 complete an application online with the West Seattle Food Bank.
- You can now apply for assistance through King County. Complete this form and read more here.
- From NPR: What to do when you can’t Pay Rent
- See the Seattle Moratorium on Residential Evictions for non-payment of rent FAQs here.
- If you can’t get your landlord to work with you in the future, receiving an eviction notice doesn’t mean you leave immediately! See here for a breakdown of what an eviction notice means.
- Unfortunately, United Way has closed their applications for rental assistance. More information at uwkc.org/renthelp/ or you can sign up here to receive an email if the program is reopened.
- Contact the Seattle Department of Construction and Inspections at 206-684-5700 (Renting in Seattle Hotline) if you receive an eviction notice or late fees. The Washington State Attorney General is also enforcing the eviction moratoriums, go here to file a complaint.
- The below resources can help protect yourself and your finances as you set up payment plans with your landlords. They may also be helpful if you are issued a notice or late fees during this moratorium and can provide legal referrals or action plans.
- The Tenants Union, 206-723-0500
- Housing Justice Project, 253-234-4204
- Tenant Law Center
- Solid Ground, 206-694-6767
- Washington LawHelp is a library of free "know your rights" website covering many common legal issues such as family law, housing, public benefits and money/debt problems. This site also includes a directory of legal aid programs in Washington state. It's a good place to start researching your legal issue. Visit www.washingtonlawhelp.org. See also the LGBTQ+ clinic information here.
- Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network (WAISN) COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-724-3737 can help you find rental assistance.
- Landlords should be aware of this resource through the Washington State Department of Commerce.
- The Eastside Legal Assistance Program has Tenants Rights webinars and shortcuts here. See also this comprehensive guide from Washington Law Help here or the National Law Housing Project here.
Contact your phone, internet, and cable providers as soon as possible. Be sure to specifically mention you are impacted by coronavirus/COVID-19. Also note that Seattle City Light (SCL), Seattle Public Utilities (SPU), and Puget Sound Energy (PSE) have a moratorium on shutoffs during this outbreak and all have emergency financial assistance programs that may be able to support you, which are linked below. WSFB’s Helpline services maintains an additional list of assistance organizations linked here. Community Action Partnership keeps a list of organizations providing financial assistance with energy bills here and WUTC has another list here.
- New Internet Essentials customers with Comcast will receive two free months of internet. You will receive a self-install kit that includes a cable modem with a WiFi router. More information here.
- SCL will not be shutting off customers and is helping Seattleites register for the Utility Discount Program (UDP) which reduces bills by up to 60%. Call 206-684-0268 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- PSE offers payment plans and allows customers to change bill’s due date. PSE will continue to offer its other assistance programs and you can also apply for their CACAP (COVID-19 Relief program), more information at www.pse.com/covidhelp.
- Most mobile phone networks are not shutting off for nonpayment and waiving late fees. Call your provider and mention specifically you are impacted by coronavirus. More information about T-Mobile here, call AT&T at 800-288-2020, or see the roundup of phone providers including Verizon at this link. You can also see this compilation of affordable internet options.
- InterConnection.org and Connectall.org have discounted technology including internet use. If you have a student in Seattle Public schools, see here for more information about laptop distribution. SafeLink Wireless has free phones/service for eligible people here.
Enroll until at wahealthplanfinder.org, including low-to-no-cost options. If you already have coverage through the Exchange, and your income has gone down, you can report that change and your premiums will likely decrease, or you might be enrolled in no-cost Apple Health. If you have lost your job, and your income is suddenly below $17,609 for a single adult (more for families), you qualify for Apple Health and it is available year-round. For more information, see the Healthplanfinder COVID-19 FAQs here or call customer support at 855-923-4633.
- Information about healthcare access for undocumented folks here. See also the City of Seattle guide for immigrants who want to know more about how the issue of public charge might affect their ability to access healthcare and other services here.
- Community Health Access Program can help with enrollment over the phone and finding a medical/dental provider at 1-800-756-5437 in Spanish, Vietnamese, Amharic, Korean, Somali and other languages available through their language line service. They can also provide support with ORCA Life, Basic Food, energy assistance, and more. More information here.
- Resources from LegalVoice for gender-based violence, reproductive healthcare and more here.
Community clinics offer free or low-cost medical services including prenatal care. Some local examples include International Community Health (206-788-3700) and Neighborcare (206-548-5710). Also try the Healthcare Access Alliance, freeclinicdirectory.org or the King County directory here.
- Financial assistance programs help uninsured patients who cannot afford to pay their medical bills and don't qualify for government aid. The patient services department of your local hospital can help you find out if you're eligible. Reach out to the hospital before your medical service and explain your situation.
- NeedyMeds is an online information resource of programs that provide assistance to people who are unable to afford their medications or healthcare costs. Their discount card can save up to 80% on prescriptions. Visit needymeds.org/newuser.
- You can get enrolled in a health insurance plan (including Apple Health) with the assistance of a multilingual LGBTQ health navigator with Gay City here.
The federal government has extended the filing deadline to July 15. People with incomes of $69,000 or less can use Free File to file their federal income taxes at no cost, get more information at irs.gov/freefile or myfreetaxes.com. While Free Tax Preparation sites are temporarily closed, you can visit www.getyourrefund.org to chat with someone to help you file your taxes if you need back up. For further support, call United Way at 833-540-0800 from 11am - 4pm, Mondays through Fridays or visit their website here.
Mortgages, Loans, and Credit Cards
Talk to mortgage lenders, credit card companies, auto loan providers, and student loan providers right away about the situation and ask about hardship programs or loan forbearance. This could include waiving certain fees as well as allowing you to delay or adjust payments. SPECIFICALLY MENTION THAT YOU ARE IMPACTED BY COVID-19/CORONAVIRUS.
- Contact the Washington Homeownership Hotline at 1-877-894-HOME.
- Review this financial coaching document.
- Federal student loans have been suspended without interest until December 2020, more information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau here.
- BECU has a 0% interest personal emergency loan here.
- National Foundation for Consumer Credit can help connect people with credit counseling, www.nfcc.org.
- United Way has two financial literacy documents here and here.
- NW Consumer Law Center continues to provide legal representation to save homes, stop abusive debt collection, and find solutions for student loans. Fill out their intake form here or call the intake line at 206-805-1722. Visit the website for webinars for more information about student loans and mortgages as well.
- Facing Foreclosure? Call 1-800-606-4819. At this time, foreclosures have been paused more information here. See also these lists of HUD approved Housing Counseling Agencies in Washington State, apps.hud.gov or consumerfinance.gov. Try also the HOPE Hotline, open 24/7 at 888-995-4673.