If you are affected by multiple sclerosis and experiencing financial hardships due to COVID-19, we are here to help. We have compiled information and resources on unemployment benefits, healthcare coverage, housing assistance and more. You may also contact an MS Navigator at 1-800-344-4867 or through our contact form.
Unemployment and loss of income
If you have lost work or income due to COVID-19, the government organizations below can provide assistance.
- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has expanded unemployment insurance for those who have lost or are at risk of losing income due to COVID-19. Please contact your state’s unemployment office directly. Refer to the Unemployment Benefits Finder for your state’s contact information.
- The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) has been expanded to offer additional protections for those staying home because they are ill or are caring for someone who is. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division or call 866-487-9243 for additional information.
- The IRS issued Economic Impact Payments to eligible households during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are missing a stimulus payment or got less than the full amount, you may be eligible to claim a Recovery Rebate Credit.
- For information on unemployment insurance, reemployment services and pre-employment training related to COVID-19, see the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.
- If you’re a small business owner, a Community Navigator from the U.S. Small Business Administration can help you access information on loans, loan forgiveness and COVID-19 relief programs.
- If either COVID-19 or MS is making it hard to do your job, you have a right to reasonable accommodations from your employer under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Learn more about your rights and responsibilities by contacting the Job Accommodation Network at 800-526-7234.
Health insurance protections and choices
If you lose job-based health coverage, you and your dependents have options. The tools below will help you extend your insurance, find new coverage or locate alternatives to health insurance.
Turn to the resources below for help recovering from the financial impacts of COVID-19. For assistance with everyday expenses, view our Financial Resources
- The PAN Foundation is providing financial support for COVID-19 treatment expenses, medications, medical equipment and supplies, and groceries and meals for eligible individuals.
- State Department of Human Services/Health and Human Services offers financial assistance to support individuals and families, such as food stamps, housing vouchers and other cash assistance.
- MS Navigators provide people affected by MS with information, resources and support to address the challenges of MS. We are a partner in your MS journey. Contact an MS Navigator at 1-800-344-4867, Monday-Friday, 9 am.-7 p.m. ET, or complete the contact form.
- [waitlist only] NeedyMeds COVID-19 Resource Center is a national non-profit that connects people with programs that will help them afford their healthcare costs.
- [waitlist only] The Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) COVID Care Recovery Fund will deliver $300 in direct financial aid to eligible patients who need non-medical, cost-of-living support as a result of their diagnosis with COVID-19.
If your ability to make monthly payments toward your housing or your utilities — including the internet — has been impacted by COVID-19, see the resources below.
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program for households struggling to pay for internet service. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer or tablet from participating providers.
- The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) provides short-term assistance to low-income families to help pay heating and cooling bills. In some states, this program may also provide free air conditioners to people in need. Use the navigator tool to find the LIHEAP program in your area.
With the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses. It will pay up to $9,000 in funeral expenses or up to $35,500 for multiple family members. For more information, visit FEMA's website.
The IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs offer free basic tax return preparation to people who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns, including:
- People who generally make $58,000 or less
- People with disabilities
- Limited English-speaking taxpayers
To locate an open VITA site near you, use the locator tool or call 800-906-9887.
Request community resources
To obtain a list of community resources for any of the needs listed below, contact an MS Navigator at 1-800-344-4867, Monday-Friday, 9 am.-7 p.m. ET, or complete the contact form.
- Air conditioners
- Children’s expenses (including pediatric MS expenses)
- Computers/internet service
- Durable medical equipment (e.g., walkers, wheelchairs, scooters)
- Employment supports (e.g., job training)
- Healthcare costs (including dental care, mental health treatment, physical/occupational therapy, primary care and vision care)
- Health insurance co-pays, deductibles and premiums
- Home accessibility, including home modifications and repairs
- Home healthcare
- Housing (including rent, mortgage and foreclosure prevention)
- Long-term care (including assisted-living and skilled-living adult day programs)
- Seasonal giving (including back to school supply programs, Thanksgiving meals and children’s holiday gifts)
- Service dogs
- Student loans (including forgiveness and cancellation due to disability)
- Utility assistance (electricity, gas, water, sewage, phone and internet)
- Vehicle accessibility (accessible vehicles, vehicle modifications and driver evaluation/training)