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Unemployment insurance, tax assistance and other resources designed to help those affected by multiple sclerosis facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis, job loss and other unforeseen circumstances.

If your employment has been impacted by COVID-19, please contact an MS Navigator at 1-800-344-4867 or complete the contact form to receive helpful resources.

Employment Options and Loss of Income

  • There is expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance for those who have lost or are at risk of losing income. Please contact your state’s unemployment office directly for information on your options. This Unemployment Benefits Finder from Career One Stop can help you find local contact information and any relevant updates from your state regarding benefits.
  • The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been expanded to offer additional protections for those staying home due to illness or caring for someone who is. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division or call 1-866-487-9243 for additional information on FMLA.
  • Eligible employees who work for certain types of employers that do not provide sick leave may now have access to up to two weeks paid sick days and paid leave.
  • If requesting reasonable accommodations from your employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) would assist you in continuing to work and perform the essential functions of your job, learn more about your rights and responsibilities by contacting the Job Accommodation Network at 1-800-526-7234 (voice).
  • Learn more about the one-time economic security relief payments most American households will receive. Complete this form if you do not usually file a federal income tax return.

Health Insurance Protections and Choices

  • If you lose job-based health coverage, you and your dependents have options. Learn if you qualify for a 60 day Special Enrollment Period or COBRA.
  • See if you or others in your household qualify for Medicaid or the Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) any time through
  • To help address the COVID crisis, a new Open Enrollment period for health insurance coverage available through is scheduled from February 15 to August 15, 2021. Many state-based marketplaces are also offering special enrollment opportunities. Contact your state’s marketplace directly to find out more information.

Tax Assistance

  • The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $56,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. To locate an open VITA site near you, use the VITA Locator Tool or call 800-906-9887.

Financial Assistance

For assistance with everyday expenses, view Financial Resources. For help addressing financial impacts due to COVID-19, view the following resources.

HealthWell Foundation
  • Through a new fund to assist at risk or quarantined patients with COVID-19 costs, HealthWell will provide up to $250 in financial assistance for a 12-month grant period to eligible patients who have annual household incomes up to 500 percent of the federal poverty level. Grants awarded will provide reimbursement assistance for delivered food and medication and transportation costs to managing COVID-19. In addition, eligible copayment and incidental costs associated with tele-health treatments and diagnostics related to COVID-19 will also be covered under the fund.
  • COVID-19 Insurance Premium Payment Assistance - Covers up to $6,000 for eligible patients to assist with: A) COBRA premium costs related to COVID-19 layoffs/unemployment, or B) the employee portion of insurance premium cost, related to COVID-19 furlough.

National Organization of Rare Disorders
The NORD COVID-19 Critical Relief Program is designed to provide eligible rare disease patients with assistance for non-medical essential expenses, and the NORD COVID-19 Premium & Medical Relief Program is designed to provide eligible rare disease patients assistance with insurance premiums and limited medical expenses. Both programs are specifically for rare disease patients who have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through job loss, reduced work hours, quarantine, etc.

NeedyMeds COVID-19 Resource Center
NeedyMeds is a national non-profit which connects people to programs that will help them afford their healthcare costs. Visit the COVID-19 Resource Center to view programs for those experiencing financial hardships and struggling with healthcare expenses due to the coronavirus.

PAN Foundation Covid-19 Fund
To help affected patients cope with unprecedented financial stress relating to the COVID-19 outbreak, also known as coronavirus, the PAN Foundation is providing direct assistance of $300 on a pre-paid debit card for eligible individuals who have annual household incomes up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level and who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or directed to self-quarantine due to COVID-19. Eligible patients can use the financial support for treatment expenses for COVID-19, over-the-counter and prescription medications, medical equipment and supplies, and groceries and meals, including delivery services. Visit website for eligibility qualifications. To apply, call PAN Foundation at 1-866-316-7263.

Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) COVID Care Recovery Fund will deliver $500 in direct financial aid to eligible patients who need non-medical, cost-of-living support as a result of their diagnosis of COVID-19. Patients can access the fund and complete an application for assistance via a secure portal 24x7, or through the toll-free hotline at 1-855-824-7941, option 1.

State Department of Human Services/Health and Human Services
Offers financial assistance to support individuals & families, such as food stamps, housing vouchers and other cash assistance.


Visit the website for the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development to get up to date on all COVID-19 information related to HUD programs. Visit to find the latest information and resources for homeowners and renters.

On September 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an eviction moratorium for nonpayment of rent. On March 29, 2021, the CDC Director extended the eviction moratorium through June 30, 2021. The moratorium applies to all tenants who meet certain eligibility requirements and applies to all rental properties. It prohibits residential landlords nationwide from evicting eligible tenants. Renters must meet certain requirements and sign a declaration to their landlord to be covered, and all rent amounts would still be owed. 

In response to COVID-19 and its economic impacts, many cities and states are creating or expanding rental assistance programs to help individuals and families impacted by the pandemic. To determine if rental assistance is available in your area, view the National Low Income Housing Coalition's COVID-19 Rental Assistance Database.


Many companies are suspending shut-offs at this time. Contact your utility providers or go to utility provider’s website, which may note if shut-offs have been suspended.

Food Assistance

Feeding America can help you find local food banks, as well as to determine eligibility for federal food assistance including SNAP (formerly called Food Stamps) and meal programs for children. provides an online directory of food pantries, subsidized grocery resources and other local sources of food assistance.

Meals on Wheels America distributes food through 5,000 independently run local programs. Programs focus on caring for individuals whose diminished mobility makes it hard to shop for food, prepare meals or socialize with others. Programs typically serve adults ages 60 and over, although age requirements can vary by areas served.

Patient Advocacy Foundation Emergency Food Distribution Program - Eligible persons affected by COVID-19 and living with MS may qualify for a one-time $300 grant for groceries and food delivery/pick up costs.

UPDATE: Due to the overwhelming response of emergency food pickup and delivery requests, this program is not accepting new applications at this time. Please check the website for more information.

Helpful Tips

  • School districts may provide free lunches to students at this time. Check with your local school districts.
  • Grocery stores may offer delivery and/or exclusive hours for elderly and immune compromised customers (e.g. first hour of the day)
  • Explore if a neighborhood list-serve exists where a person can post the need for help accessing food, assistance with other errands, etc. (NextDoor, etc.)
  • Prescriptions – check with your physician to see if they could extend your prescription from a 30 to 90-day supply through insurance to reduce your need to leave the house.

Cell Phone and Internet

Some providers are suspending termination of services or offering affordable internet for families with children now doing online learning. Contact your service provider for information. Also, check with local public schools as they may be sharing free/low cost internet resources to help students achieve online learning.



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