My Fellow Wisconsinites,
On behalf of the people of Wisconsin, Lieutenant Governor Barnes and I hope this email finds you safe and healthy. Our state is continuing to both heal from recent events in Kenosha and to grapple with challenges surrounding racial equity. Keeping these significant challenges in mind, and remembering your previous correspondence, we would like to provide you with up-to-date and accurate information regarding financial assistance and the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of September 21, more than 100,000 Wisconsin residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and over 1,200 Wisconsinites have died from COVID-19. Lieutenant Governor Barnes and I would both like to extend our deepest condolences to everyone who has lost a loved one to COVID-19. We are both thinking of you and holding you in our hearts, just as Wisconsinites grieve with you. Please know that our administration will continue to do everything it can to contain and slow the spread of this virus.
Lieutenant Governor Barnes and I recognize that many Wisconsinites continue to struggle financially during the pandemic. We want to inform you of the following forms of economic relief.
First, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order halting residential evictions. Protection under this order is not automatic, and we encourage you to read more about how to qualify for this order here. Notably, the order does not change a tenant’s responsibility to pay rent.
In addition to the financial resources above, we have included a more comprehensive list here:
- If you are struggling to make utility payments, you may find it useful to know that the Public Service Commission (PSC) recently voted to further extend its moratorium on utility residential customer disconnections and refusal of service for nonpayment until November 1.
- If you are struggling to pay for groceries, you may qualify for the Department of Health Services’ (DHS) FoodShare program.
- If you are struggling to afford health insurance, you may be eligible for one or more programs offered through the Department of Health Services or the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.
- If you are struggling to pay your rent, you may be eligible for the Department of Administration’s Wisconsin Rental Assistance Program.
- If you are a low-income parent or are pregnant and low income, you may be interested in the programs available through the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families.
- If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) funds, you are not eligible under state law to also receive UI, but you may be eligible to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). We encourage you to apply online for PUA. Our administration is also advocating for the state legislature to change state law to ensure SSDI recipients can qualify for UI in the future.
- If you are currently unemployed, you may find it useful to know that the federal government recently approved Wisconsin’s application to receive funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program. While we are grateful to be able to provide an additional $300 to eligible claimants, the Trump administration’s LWA program is a stopgap measure that fails to meet the needs of many Wisconsinites. We encourage you to contact your congressional representatives and senators at the federal level in support of further action on unemployment benefits.
- For more general resources, please see the following list available under the 211 program. You can also call 2-1-1 to be connected to resources over the phone.
- You can always complete the “Request for Assistance” form on my official website. This will connect you with a caseworker within our office.
Lieutenant Governor Barnes and I also understand many Wisconsinites are concerned about the school year. Although decisions about the current school year are up to each local district, our administration will continue to work with the Department of Public Instruction to support schools during the public health emergency.
In addition to the more than $46 million in financial assistance we announced over the summer for K-12 schools, our administration also recently announced an additional $30 million of federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act dollars to support early care and education providers.
Our early care educators stepped up in a big way for Wisconsin families – and their kids – to help keep our state’s economy strong and our families safe during the pandemic. Frankly, our state needs them now more than ever. These funds are a recognition of the vital role they play in our communities.
Finally, we would like to remind folks that the election on November 3 is steadily approaching. We encourage everyone to request an absentee ballot as early as possible to avoid a large number of last minute requests. The Wisconsin Elections Commission website has a comprehensive list of deadlines relating to voting in the upcoming election.
Thank you for contacting our office to share your concerns about the spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin. If we can be of further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to respond to this email.
Mandela BarnesLieutenant Governor
GOVERNOR TONY EVERSP.O. Box 7863Madison, WI 53707Phone: 608-266-1212
LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MANDELA BARNESP.O. Box 2043Madison, WI 53707Phone: 608-266-3516