Dear Constituents -
Another week of “Stay Home, Stay Safe” and we are busier than ever learning new digital platforms on which to conduct business, virtually attending committee meetings on COVID-19 relief bills, and assisting constituents with concerns around unemployment insurance and small business losses. The State of Vermont website has excellent resources for answers to questions, some of which have been forwarded to you in email blasts or posts on www.charenforhouse.com and Front Porch Forum (thank you to Rep Fegard while my website is under development).
After a House General Committee briefing from the three Congressional delegates’ offices, I have also included a new link from the Dept of Labor regarding Federal CARES Act information for anyone facing the loss of income:
Your business questions about self-employed individuals, independent contractors, and sole proprietorships are being addressed, and the DOL asks for your patience when filing claims and inquiries. They assure us that all claims will be backdated to when they were submitted so no one will lose benefits due to the backlog and there is no requirement to sign up for the Federal allowance of $600; if you are eligible for State UI, you will automatically receive the Federal money in your check.
Additionally, the Agency of Commerce has set up the following resource page: https://accd.vermont.gov/covid-19
On this page, note the “resources for business,” “resources for individuals,” and “resources of communities” tabs. This should include new, important clarifying information for Seasonal employees seeking Unemployment Insurance benefits, and Vermonters who receive other, on-going benefits, such as 3 Squares, LIHEAP, ReachUp, ReachOut, and Social Security.
The Agency also has posted very specific guidelines on essential businesses and workers and now includes guidance on landscaping businesses, construction contractors, and non-essential retailers.
Another note of interest: the Dept of Liquor and Lottery has updated information on claiming your winnings on their webpage (my committee really does deal with many diverse subjects!)
Wearing another hat, I spent some time on Zoom with my School Board colleagues and administrators in the Northern Mountain Valley Union School District and via email with the Missisquoi Valley Union School District to learn about the great work that is going into feeding and educating our students in northern Franklin County. Both Supervisory Unions have been working tirelessly to understand and implement the Governor’s directives around maintenance learning with creative solutions, in addition to meal prep and delivery, delivery of educational materials, and working with Let’s Grow Kids to identify and place essential workers’ children in appropriate childcare settings. They will now shift their focus to remotely delivering new educational materials to students so they can continue to learn and keeping them connected to the greater school community as they move forward.
My third hat went on as I assisted at the Enosburg Food Shelf again this week, unpacking and re-packing produce generously donated by Hannaford and Jay Peak, and ordered through the Vermont Foodbank. This Food Shelf is serving clients curbside every Thursday 10am-3pm and by limited appointment, and there is no residency requirement to receive food.
One last item I’d like to draw your attention to is the Governor’s call for volunteers, both medical and non-medical personnel; if you are like me and have been meaning to sign up for years and just haven’t gotten around to it, there will never be a better time to help your State than in the near future. Please consider registering to volunteer your time and talents at http://www.vermont.gov/volunteer. I did!
Thank you again for your patience during this unprecedented, anxious time, and please follow the latest Dept of Health guidelines to do your part to stop the spread of this virus! https://www.healthvermont.gov/response/infectious-disease/2019-novel-coronavirus
I am honored to serve you. Stay well!
Representative Lisa A Hango