As our nation addresses this global pandemic, Congressman Cuellar is working hard to make sure you have the latest information about the coronavirus and what Congress is doing to address it. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus. COVID-19 was first detected in China and has spread to other countries, including the United States.
Please see Congressman Cuellar’s COVID-19 Handbook, which will help you better understand all the financial resources available for our community, such as critical federal funding sources to assist small businesses and local governments. To read the COVID Handbook in Spanish, click here.
Trusted resources on the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19):
For the latest updates from the Texas Department of Public Health, click here.
For the latest updates from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), click here.
For the latest updates from the World Health Organization (WHO), click here.
What are symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms that may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
If you develop any of these for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately:
- Trouble breathing
- Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
- New confusion or inability to arouse
- Bluish lips or face
What can the public do to limit the spread of COVID-19?
The CDC recommends the following steps to prevent the spread of all respiratory viruses:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Work or engage in schooling from home when possible.
- Practice social distancing.
- Avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people.
- Avoid discretionary travel, such as shopping or social visits.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Where's my closest COVID-19 Testing Site?
The state of Texas recently released a website to help Texans find their closest COVID-19 testing site. Not only will the map show you the closest testing site, but it will also give you information on how to setup an appointment. As more testing sites open throughout the state, this website will continuously be updated. To access the site, click here.
What is Congress doing?
Earlier this April, Congressman Cuellar voted for the Interim Emergency Funding Package, which provides significant relief to small businesses and hospitals in both urban and rural areas. Specifically, the package includes a provision that makes sure funding goes to Main Street and other underbanked businesses.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which Congressman Cuellar voted for in March, is a $2 trillion economic relief package that is working to protect the American people from the public health and economic impacts of COVID-19. This bipartisan legislation dedicates historic federal funding to support small businesses, industries, individuals and families, gig workers and independent contractors, and hospitals.
How do I get my economic impact payment?
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) launched the "Get My Payment" web app for individuals to track the status of their economic impact payment and for taxpayers to submit their banking direct deposit information to speed up delivery of their payment. You can access the IRS “Get My Payment” web app here.
For taxpayers to track the status of their payment, they will need to enter basic information in the “Get My Payment” app:
- Social Security Number
- Date of birth
- Mailing address
IMPORTANT NOTE: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who have dependent children and did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes need to file by Tuesday, May 5, in order to receive additional payments for their eligible children. SSI recipients should immediately go to the IRS’s webpage and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Information section to provide their information.
Have questions about your economic impact payment or the “Get My Payment” app? The IRS has added a detailed Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to their website. On this page, you can find answers to common questions on eligibility, bank account information, and address changes. You can access the IRS FAQ webpage here.
What if my small business has been impacted by COVID-19?
On April 27, the Small Business Administration resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders. These loans are designed to help small businesses keep employees on their payroll as much of the country is still experiencing stay-at-home orders. If you are interested in applying or need help finding an eligible lender, visit SBA's website, here.
Our small businesses are the backbone to our state and they need our help now more than ever. Congressman Cuellar worked hard with State leaders and the Texas congressional delegation to get the Small Business Administration to approve their request to make Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to qualifying Texas small businesses. To apply for these Disaster Loans, click here.
Details on the disaster loans:
- SBA can provide up to $2 million loans on terms as long as 30-years
- Currently, rates are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits, though my office is strongly advocating the SBA for these to be zero-interest
- Recipients are able to defer first payment for up to one-year
- Approval time average 2-3 weeks, once approved funds can be disbursed within 5 days. As well, we are advocating to accelerating the approval process.
- Applicants must fit SBA’s definition of a small business. This includes most private non-profits, as well as people who are self-employed
- Businesses applying should be expected to provide the SBA Form 5 (loan application form), the most recent year’s tax returns, completed IRS Form 4506-T, a personal financial statement, and a schedule of liability
I am senior and I am concerned about my health. How do I protect myself? Do I still receive my benefits?
Congressman Cuellar is committed to ensuring the most vulnerable Americans, including our seniors, can continue to receive care and their benefits during the coronavirus pandemic. Medicare has expanded its telehealth services to benefit patients who cannot travel to their physician’s office. To learn more, click here.
Social Security will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. All Social Security field offices are closed, however they will still offer service by phone and online.
If you receive a letter, text, call or email that you believe to be suspicious, about an alleged problem with your Social Security number, account, or payments, hang up or do not respond. We encourage you to report Social Security scams using our dedicated online form, at https://oig.ssa.gov.
I lost my job due to COVID-19. How do I obtain unemployment benefits?
If your employment has been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19), apply for benefits either online at any time using Unemployment Benefits Services or by calling TWC’s Tele-Center at 800-939-6631 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday.
To get the latest updates on unemployment benefits from the Texas Workforce Commission, click here.
I am stranded abroad. What should I do?
The State Department has issued a Level 4 – Do Not Travel advisory. U.S. citizens are to avoid all international travel. U.S. citizens that are stranded abroad need to seek arrangements for their return home immediately. As the situation develops, commercial or evacuation flights could become more limited or unavailable. For the latest updates on travel restrictions, click here.
Congressman Cuellar is actively working on solutions for constituents stranded in different countries around the world. The Coronavirus pandemic brings a number of challenges when dealing with foreign countries, however, Congressman Cuellar is committed to bringing all constituents safely back home. If you or a loved one is stranded abroad, please see the information below:
An individual stranded abroad should email their name, date of birth, passport numbers, location and contact info to the public e-mail address of their closest embassy or consulate. To find the closest embassy or consulate, click here.
Travelers are encouraged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at step.state.gov. STEP provides updates from the State Department and helps the nearest embassy or consulate make contact with the traveler.
If you are concerned about a loved one overseas, please call:
- From the U.S. & Canada - 1-888-407-4747
- From Overseas - +1 202-501-4444