As the coronavirus situation continues to evolve, you might have questions about COVID-19 or how it affects people with disabilities. Here’s a collection of helpful resources.
- Children and families - Childcare
- Community - Disability-specific information, Federal and state guidance, Transportation
- Health - COVID-19, Health care, MA-EPD, Mental and physical health, Personal care assistant, Prescriptions, Waivers
- Home - Food, Housing, Utilities
- Money - Benefits, Student loans, Taxes
- Work - Unemployment
Children and families
How do I support my child during COVID-19?
- What we know now and how you can protect your family and others | American Academy of Pediatrics
- Balancing work, childcare and self-care | Child Mind Institute
- Help your child cope with stress during the COVID-19 outbreak | World Health Organization
- Tips to support your child at different age groups | Psychology Today
- Ways to support your child with Autism | Child Development Institute Autism Team
How do I limit COVID-19 exposure for my child?
- Social distancing for families | American Academy of Pediatrics
- Charting the LifeCourse Integrated Supports Star example to explore options for social distancing | Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities
- Charting the LifeCourse Information | Disability Hub MN
- Charting the LifeCourse Integrated Supports Star to explore options for social distancing | Disability Hub MN
- Ways to protect yourself and your family | Minnesota Department of Health
- Stay connected to loved ones, friends, and even medical providers with video conferencing. There are several free options to choose from accessible by phone, computer, and tablet:
- Zoom – First 40 minutes of a call is free.
- Google Hangouts – Free up to 10 participants, need a Gmail account.
- Skype – Free up to 50 participants, unlimited amount of time.
What if I become sick or am unable to be with my child?
- Prepare for an outbreak | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Complete and share the following forms with others in case you are not able to care for or be with your child:
How can my child have a successful school experience?
- Complete and share the Charting the LifeCourse trajectory worksheet can be used to create goals for a successful distance learning school experience.
- Special education and school - for parents and for educators/administrators | Minnesota Department of Education
- Distance learning engagement | Institute on Community Integration - University of Minnesota
- Distance learning in special education and IEP | Pacer
- Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare has information for parents caring for a child who has special medical needs.
- Family Voices of MN is a parent-run organization providing support for families who have children special health care needs and disabilities.
- The Arc Minnesota provides support children with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families statewide.
- National Alliance Mental Illness (NAMI) - Parent Warmline is a resource for parents that want to connect to a Certified Peer Specialist Parent for support due to your child’s behaviors or mental illnesses.
- PACER is committed to being a valuable resource for families of children with disabilities and students with a focus on special education.
- Disaster planning toolkit for families (for children with special health needs) | Alaska Department of Health and Social Services
- Coronavirus social narrative| The Autism Educator
Are childcare providers still open?
Childcare providers that serve younger children have been instructed to continue to remain open for frontline and essential workers.
- Childcare for essential employees during school closures| State of Minnesota
- YMCA childcare| YMCA Minnesota
People with disabilities have a right to information that explains COVID-19 and identifies the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic in order to make informed choices about how and where to spend their days and access the community as allowed under emergency orders. See the Person-Centered, Informed Choice and Transition protocol web page for more information. Review stay-at-home guidance daily, which provides educational materials in plain language. For the latest COVID-19 information from the state of Minnesota, see the #StayHomeMN Frequently Asked Questions webpage.
What should I expect right now?
Things can change quickly and be different from day to day. Here are some things that you can expect to be a little different for a while:
- Your case manager might call or video chat with you instead of making in-person visits.
- Staff members might call or video chat with you instead of making in-person visits.
- You might have to stay home from work if your employer says so.
- If you live in a foster care or customized living, there might be more people in there than you’re used to for a while.
- Someone else might need to provide services to you (family, friends, new staff).
- Day programs will be closed.
- Activities that you had planned could be canceled or changed to a different day to protect you and others.
- Visitors might not be allowed.
- Staff members might wear masks, gloves or other things to protect themselves and you.
- Disability-specific recommendations for COVID-19| New Mobility Magazine
- What older adults and people with disabilities need to know about coronavirus| Administration for Community Living
- Aid for artists with disabilities| Springboard for the Arts
- Worker protections related to COVID-19| Minnesota Department of Human Rights
- Emergency plan for people with disabilities| Minnesota Council on Disability
- Emergency planning tool for individuals with disability| New Hampshire Disability & Public Health Project
- Wheelchair and Assistive Technology Users - Precautions for COVID-19 | American Association on Health and Disability
FEDERAL AND STATE GUIDANCE
- CARES Act and Family First Response Act| National Disability Institute
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force at the White House| White House
- Executive Orders from Minnesota Governor Walz| State of Minnesota
- Metro Mobility and Metro Transit updates| Metropolitan Council
What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?
- If you have symptoms and can manage those symptoms at home, you don't have to seek health care or be tested for COVID-19.
- Just stay home while you are sick. This prevents you from accidentally spreading COVID-19 to others who may be at higher risk for serious complications.
- If you are older or have underlying medical conditions, it may be helpful to let your health care provider know you are sick. They may have some specific advice for you.
- Some people with COVID-19 have worsened during the second week of illness.
- Seek medical care right away if your illness is worsening (for example, if you have difficulty breathing).
- Before going to the doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them your symptoms. They will tell you what to do.
CDC's Coronavirus Self-Checker found at Symptoms & Testing can help you make decisions about seeking medical care. This tool is not intended for the diagnosis or treatment of disease or other conditions, including COVID-19.
- Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-657-3903
- Strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Minnesota| Minnesota Department of Health
- What you need to know about COVID-19| Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- COVID-19 information by and for people with disabilities - in English and in Spanish | Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center
- Stop the spread of germs| Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- 5 things about handwashing(1:17)| Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- COVID-19 information| Oregon Office of Developmental Disabilities Services
- Why your doctor looks different during Covid-19 | MyQuillo
- Staying healthy during coronavirus | Self-Determination Channel
- Talking to people with intellectual disabilities about COVID-19 | Open Future Learning
- COVID-19: What in the world is going on? Video and PDF | Informing Families
- COVID-19 information by and for people with disabilities (Vietnamese) | Green Mountain Self-Advocates
Can I apply for health care if I am laid off and can't access my employer's health benefits?
The MNsure special enrollment period ended on April 21. You may still have options for enrolling in coverage or help towards paying for your current plan:
- Life events like losing health insurance from your employer can make you eligible. Information is available with MNSure.
- If you currently have insurance through MNsure, and your income has gone down, you need to report it. You may become eligible for an advanced premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions.
- Year-round enrollment is available to anyone who qualifies for Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare or is a member of a federally recognized American Indian tribe.
Are Early Intensive Developmental and Behavioral Intervention (EIDBI) providers able to provide telemedicine visits right now?
Yes, and there is no longer a limit on how many telemedicine visits are allowed per week.
Are EIDBI providers able to deliver coordinated care conferences via telemedicine?
Yes, starting April 30.
Can the individual treatment plan (ITP) for the EIDBI service extend service authorizations right now without being updated?
Yes, starting March 13.
Where can I find information about my Medicare coverage?
Information about Medicare and any changes associated with coronavirus is located here. Medicare and coronavirus | Medicare.gov
- Frequently Asked Questions for Coronavirus/COVID-19 and Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) | Minnesota Department of Human Services
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL HEALTH
How do I stay physically and mentally healthy?
In Emergency Executive Order 20-20, Governor Walz states people can still participate in outdoor activities as (e.g., walking, hiking, running, biking, driving for pleasure, hunting, or fishing), and may go to available public parks and other public recreation lands, consistent with remaining at least six feet apart from individuals from other households.
There are several free options to stay connected to others using technology. Choose from accessible by phone, computer, and tablet:
- Zoom – First 40 minutes of a call is free.
- Google Hangouts – Free up to 10 participants, need a Gmail account.
- Skype – Free up to 50 participants, unlimited amount of time.
Are there other virtual support groups available?
Yes, Facebook has a lot of different support groups. To find a group that might be beneficial to you, search the groups section using words like "AA" or "mental health".
- Wellness in the Woods- Peer to Peer Telephone Support: 1-844-739-6369
- Crisis Text Line: Text MN to 741741
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
- State mental health and substance use disorder clinic resources| Fast-Tracker
- Taking care of your emotional health| Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Mental health support and COVID-19| National Alliance on Mental Illness
- Online resources for Alcoholics Anonymous| National Online Intergroup Alcoholics Anonymous
- Physical activity basics | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide | National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
PERSONAL CARE ASSISTANT
Is my PCA still going to get paid? Can my PCA work more hours than usual?
Yes, your PCA should be paid for the hours they are working to support you. You and your PCA should discuss your available hours with the agency you work with to determine options for coverage of your needs.
Does my PCA have to be affiliated with a provider in order to help me and get paid?
If you are on Medical Assistance and you have an approved service agreement and service plan through your lead agency, yes, your PCA needs to be affiliated with a provider to get paid.
- Action steps for attendant service users in response to coronavirus| Center for Disability Rights
- Minnesota's dedicated job board and hiring resource for direct support workers com
Can I get more than 30 days of my prescription, so I don't need to go out to get refills?
Yes, if you are on Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare. Contact your health plan if you aren’t on Medical Assistance.
- Waivers and modification | Minnesota Department of Human Services
What if I can't access my waiver services because of social distancing? Will my waiver close?
No, your waiver will not close and you should discuss your service options with your case manager to determine if you can receive other supports and services during COVID-19 pandemic.
Are licensed adult day service providers able to provide services for waiver recipients in alternative ways?
Yes, starting May 4, people can receive the service through remote support (real-time, two-way communication) temporarily for several waiver services. Remote support may be delivered through phone or another interactive technology like a computer or tablet.
Where can I find help with additional food support right now?
There are resources at COVID-19 emergency food support, Minnesota Department of Human Services
Do grocery stores have special shopping hours for people who have underlying medical conditions?
Yes, most grocery stores have special shopping hours for people who have underlying medical conditions. Please check with your preferred store for their updated schedule.
- Food and nutrition resources| Minnesota Department of Education
- Where to get a free meal| Hunger Solutions
- Metro Mobility grocery delivery| Metropolitan Council
Can I be evicted if I can't pay my rent due to COVID-19?
No, not during the COVID-19 pandemic. Check here for more information.
- Attorney General will enforce order suspending evictions| Attorney General's Office
- Renters' rights and court changes during the pandemic| Education for Justice
Can my electricity or gas be turned off if I can't pay because I was laid off due to COVID-19?
Most utility providers have suspended all utility disconnects. Check with your utility provider for assistance.
- Minnesota Energy Assistance Program| Minnesota Department of Commerce
- Free internet| Internet Essentials from Comcast
- Low-cost internet services| everyone on
- Lifeline subscribers and the Lifeline program| Federal Communications Commission
- Keep America Connected Pledge - telephone, internet and cell providers| Federal Communications Commission
- COVID-19 phone and text consumer warnings and safety tips| Federal Communications Commission
Will my benefits end if I am unable to do my renewal due to COVID-19?
No, in addition, you will not receive renewal paperwork in the coming month, as it won’t be sent out. See the Waiver and Modification page on the DHS website for more details.
Can I apply for benefits due to COVID-19?
Yes, you can submit an application for benefits at any time. Benefit information is available at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. (https://mn.gov/dhs/people-we-serve/people-with-disabilities/)
Are you receiving services now, or would you like to see what help is available, given the COVID-19 emergency?
Follow the Minnesota Department of Human Services and sign up for email alerts.
How can I stay updated about what SSA is doing during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Visit the Social Security Administration for updates. You may select "Subscribe" to receive alerts.
Am I eligible to receive the economic stimulus check?
Most people are eligible based on their income. If you get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Childhood Disability Benefits (CBD), or Disabled Widow/er Benefits (DWB) you will receive stimulus payments whether or not you filed taxes. Your payments will come from the US Treasury and will either be sent through direct deposit or a paper check depending on how you receive your Social Security payment.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will receive automatic Economic Impact Payments directly from the Treasury Department. Treasury anticipates these automatic payments no later than early May.
How will the economic stimulus check impact my benefits?
Stimulus payments will not be considered income for people getting SSI, and are excluded from resources (assets) for 12 months.
- Coronavirus tax relief and economic impact payments | Internal Revenue Service
- Impact on the disability community synopsis | National Disability Institute
- Statement from Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul about payments for beneficiaries | Social Security Administration
- SSI recipients will receive automatic COVID-19 economic impact payments | Social Security Administration
- Student loan information| Federal Student Aid
- Tax deadlines and preparation| Minnesota Department of Revenue
- Free tax preparation| Minnesota Department of Revenue
- IRS news releases | Internal Revenue Service
Can I apply for unemployment due to COVID-19 while on SSI/SSDI?
UI benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. All workers affected by COVID-19 are encouraged to apply for UI benefits. The UI program will review your application and determine your eligibility for benefits.
The best way for a person to apply for is online at www.uimn.org. The system will only allow you to apply on certain days of the week based on the last digit of your Social Security number. The chart below shows what day you are able to apply.
Last digit of your Social Security Number
The day of the week you are able to apply
Thursday and Friday
If you need assistance to complete the application or reset your password, call 651-296-3644 or 1-877-898-9080 (TTY: 1-866-814-1252) Monday-Friday 8am-4:30pm.
- COVID-19 and unemployment benefits| Minnesota Employment and Economic Development