Live Chat

IMAGE Center Live Chat for Monday, April 27, 2020 – Finances

Updates May 6, 2020

Useful Budgeting tools from the University of Maryland Extension :

Budgeting to Acquire Savings_0

Use It -Consumer Interactive Budgeting Tool Instructions to use – Consumer Interactive Budgeting Tool Budgeting to Acquire Savings_0

Use It -Consumer Interactive Budgeting Tool

Updates on Guidance about the Stimulus money from the Social Security Administration:

SSA rep payee and stimulus payment

Visit their website for more information:

This is a summary of the discussion for the IMAGE Center Live Chat for Monday, April 27, 2020 – Finances

Please note: We’ve done our best to summarize the discussion and provide citations and resources for the discussion, but please double check the information with the appropriate agency.

From Amanda to Everyone

Hi everyone! Amanda Taylor here with The IMAGE Center:

From Me to Everyone

Hi Amanda! HI everyone!

You can reach the Image Center via email

From Michele Guyton to Everyone

Hi All,

From Susie M

Susie Michaels from One Voice Recovery Community Center NW.

3 Milford Mill Rd. Pikesville, MD 21208

Open Mondays and Wednesdays.  3 to 9pm.  opening again sometime in the future.

From Cheryl to Everyone:

hi Michele!

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:  02:09 PM

I am on the call today to collect info and make sure that we are on top of the issues facing this community. I appreciate the invite and feel free to contact me anytime.

From Susie M

visit our Facebook page: One Voice Recovery Community Center NW by friending me Susie Michaels or Jaanine Smith and we’ll invite you in.

Mike Bullis introduced the IMAGE Center and the topic.

First question: Is this check this year, going to affect their taxes for next year? Hindley responded that the stimulus money is not going to be included for taxes next year.

If you are on SSDI, it is not earned income so it will not count against your SSDI and does not need to be reported.

CARES ACT states that the benefits being conferred through the ACT are not considered taxable events or deemed income.

Welcome to Michele Guyton from District 42B! Michele introduced herself. She was invited and her office fielding so many calls from area small businesses and is here to learn what issues are and how she can help.

Mike noted that IMAGE qualified under the Paycheck Protection Act as nonprofit and we got some funding through the program.

It is Mike’s understanding the Unemployment is a taxable event, but the extra $600 a week that has been put into place is NOT taxable. He asked Calvin Mitchell, IMAGE Board member.

Calvin said he had not seen anything about whether it would be or not.  This is Crystal, that it is if you want them to take the taxes out when you apply, so assuming parting of it is.

Calvin said they have not declared it non-taxable.

Bong noted that you could do an option to claim withholding.

Mike said that for example, if you were receiving $284 a week and then they were going to add the extra $600 on top of that, based on the language in the CARES Act, that portion wouldn’t be taxable.

Nothing has been stated yet. Delegate Guyton is researching.

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:

I’m working on that now

Unemployment monies are all taxable -reported as part of gross income

MD Dept. for Labor Frequently asked questions about CARES Act

Increase in benefits information:

If the payment goes back to the IRS because the information is wrong, then the IRS will cut a paper check and send it.

Terri asked When are people getting their checks?

It’s based on AGI where you filed your taxes that the lower the income, the faster you get it. The highest earning people don’t get it until July.

If someone went to a tax preparer and got a refund anticipation loan, the stimulus money went to that back account. So then they have to wait an additional time frame for that get straightened out.

Official site for tracking or applying for payments:

From Justine to Everyone:  My mic is experiencing issues. The question I get a lot is are there going to be exceptions for the disability community to receive a stimulus check?

From Jeremy to Everyone

If just started getting SSI in 2020 will I be eligible for the stimulus check.

Not claimed as a dependent, but he will have to file for it since he didn’t file a tax return. Updated for people on Social Security or SSI, but they updated that.

According to the IRS, SSI recipients will receive it without having to file a return.

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:

Stimulus check not taxable

From Mypowell to Everyone:

What happens to the college students who have never filed before?

From Me to Everyone:

If they have been claimed by their parents as a dependent, they will not receive it. If they have not, they would need to file a separate return to request it.


From Mypowell to Everyone:  So the parent doesn’t get any money back for College students because they are 17 and older

From Cheryl to Everyone: that’s correct

From Mypowell to Everyone: Shouldn’t the college student have the ability to request the stimulus especially given the cost of moving the college students home emergency and many of them having lost income?

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:  You can track both eligibility and your status at

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:

College students are not eligible unless they have filed themselves.  I have three  claimed as dependents.

From Mypowell to Everyone:

Once, your child is 17 no money

Essentially, the receipt of Stimulus checks is based on your dependency status. If you’re claimed as a dependent, you will not receive a stimulus check. All forms are available on the website:

Click on “Get My Payments”.

Payments were coming in sooner for people who recently filed their 2019 Income tax return and the IRS has the most up to date information.

It was noted that the Maryland Dept. of Labor is taking the unemployment site down each night from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. for daily maintenance.

Most people reported that when the site is working, they had no issues and it’s an easy site to navigate.

From MARTIN to Everyone: stimulus check is not counted as income for benefit programs SNAP,TCA,TDAP.OHEP,PAA,, the three types of unemployment is counted  as unearned income for  SNAP,TCA,TDAP, but not for PAA and OHEP and the extra $600 payment does not count for MA but other two unemployment checks  does as unearned income  thanks Marty

From Melissa to Everyone:  Unemployment questions: Have a 20 year-old who worked in Delaware and MD, can she file in both states?

How do college students who worked in Delaware while away at college and also PRN in MD with gig work –where do they file?

The recommendation for people with incomplete work histories to go ahead and apply to see if they’re eligible.

From Melissa to Everyone:  Unemployment is not contingent on dependency status.

From Ben J. to Everyone:

  1. What if I have worked in more than one state in the last 18 months?

You may have an option to file against any one of the states in which you worked and have monetary eligibility. You may choose to combine the wages of the states in which you worked to establish a combined wage claim, which may result in a higher weekly benefit amount.

To determine in which states you may have an option to file, contact the states in which you worked to explore all options. Your combined wage claim may be filed in any state in which you have employment and wages in the base period of the state and you qualify based on combining your wages. These claims cannot be filed using the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Internet Website. For more information, you may call a Maryland Claim Center, “Claim Center Telephone Numbers” or contact the states in which you worked. Other states’ telephone numbers are listed at “State’s Unemployment Insurance Contact Information.”

From Melissa to Everyone:  Ben–Thank you

From Amanda to Everyone: Does anyone have personal experience with this, or can you comment on the current delay and how lenient unemployment has been? For example, if someone receives a letter that is dated awhile ago and the mail was delayed and they missed entering the weekly claims, will unemployment be lenient? I know they are backdating payments, but not sure about the weekly claim requirement.

From Cheryl to Everyone:  Ben works for Disability Rights Maryland fyi

From Me to Everyone: Thanks, Ben!

How can I apply for benefits when all the SSA offices are closed?

You have to apply for SSDI, you can not apply for SSI unless you’re also applying for SSDI.

SSDI it is based on work that you have done and taxes you have paid. The only way you can apply for SSI is if the SSDI benefit isn’t enough. If you have never worked and apply for SSI so you have to wait until the system opens.

The best thing to do is to apply by calling the local Social Security Office. There’s an online place you can look for the local offices.  Social Security Field Office:

Another note is that you have a My Social Security account through, you can do some limited business online such as requesting a replacement card or an award letter.

Question: Is SOAR taking new applicants?

SOAR is a program for people with mental health disabilities at risk of homelessness to apply for SSI, but SOAR is still taking applications.

From Melissa to Everyone:

I am the Baltimore County SOAR Lead and you can still apply for both based on the information I have from BHA.  I will double check my information

From Cheryl to Everyone:  Melissa is SOAR taking new applicants?

From Melissa to Everyone:

I will post the information

Yes. MH homeless or risk of Homelessness

I am having tech issues

I will post the information (please see below in the transcript).

From Me to Everyone:  Thank you Melissa! You can also email it to me at

From lbelcastro to Everyone:

  1. What if am living in another state, but worked in Maryland?

If your base period earnings are in Maryland, but you do not live in Maryland, you would file your claim against Maryland. Your claim would be governed by the Maryland Unemployment Insurance Law. You can file your claim via the Internet at or by telephone using one of the telephone numbers listed on the Unemployment Insurance Home Page under “Claim Center Telephone Numbers.”

If you move after establishing a Maryland claim, call the Claimant Information Service to have your address changed.

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:

Anyone who has missed the unemployment mail deadlines can contact me (or Delgate Belcastro) we can intervene if there are delays or problems due to that.  Have had to get involved in several of those situations.

From Melissa to Everyone:

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have a mental disorder and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.


Prologue SOAR Referral 12-2019

SOAR –Bco Power Point Presentation 3-2020

SSA SSI news release (1)

Amanda on the call: They’re waiving the job search requirements because with the lockdown, no one is able to go on job interviews. How lenient has Unemployment been. For example, the mail has been delayed so correspondence is late coming to people. If someone is missing filing their weekly claims, will unemployment be lenient? We know that they’re backdating payments for claims, but not sure about the weekly claim requirement?

Mike asked how long the additional $600 per week was going to continue. The consensus was that it would continue until the end of July.

From Amanda to Everyone:

Thank you, Michele! Can you post the best contact information for you and Delegate Belcastro if you are able? Thank you!

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:

From lbelcastro to Everyone:

From Amanda to Everyone:

Thank you so much!!

From Melissa to Everyone:

Caroline Bolas

Consultant/Director: SOAR Initiative

Initiative of Maryland Behavioral Health Administration

(240) 314 0331


Over the last 14 years, the SOAR model has been used to assist over 80,047 people who were experiencing or at risk of homelessness with applications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the two disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Of the applications assisted using SOAR, 65 percent, representing 43,486 persons have been approved for SSI/SSDI upon initial application since SOAR began (Table 1).1 An additional 6,591 persons, whose applications were denied initially, were approved on reconsideration or at an ALJ Hearing (Table 2). Taken together, since 2006, the SOAR approach is responsible for assisting 50,077 persons who were experiencing or at risk of homelessness to access Social Security disability benefits.

In 2019, there were 4,273 approvals on initial SSI/SSDI applications. Decisions on SOAR-assisted initial SSI/SSDI applications were received in an average of 108 days in 2019 with an al

Question was posed about being able to hire Personal Care Assistants and the impacts on hiring. Some of the concerns expressed were the extra benefit with unemployment creating competition for hiring because the unemployment benefit is higher. Another issue was people not wanting to go to work or into people’s houses due to the transmission of corona virus.

Bong has said that many personal care staff are still going on home visits and but conversely, many are finding that it isn’t for the amount of hours that are given which aren’t a lot of hours. Maybe 15 hours per week. For them it isn’t worth it because of everything that is happening. It does make it harder to get staff out to people.

Mike noted that they are advocating with the Maryland Dept. of Health, the Governor’s office that there should be a wage Pass through benefit for people who work in personal care assistant and working in facilities in order to increase the payments to motivate people to work. And it has to be a wage pass through meaning the facilities can’t take the extra, it has to go to the employees. It’s is pending and we have sent some letters.

Arkansas just recently passed a pass through. Medicaid does allow for it to happen; the question is can we push for that to happen in Maryland. We just haven’t had a clear response yet to the question, but we’re hopeful.

Some of the issues are differences between the state plans and CMS regulations so the concern is getting things aligned.

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:

Does this letter have legislative leadership?  I’m happy to sign on to a colleague letter or distribute one if needed.

Mike offered to send the information on to Delegate Guyton & Delegate Belcastro.

Crystal from the IMAGE Center revisited the issue of residents of nursing facilities that are not infected that are hoping to discharge, but the problem is the similar, changing some of the regulations, CMS has to get some changes enacted so people could discharge early or utilize the Medicaid long term waiver. We have people waiting on the waiver program and that is the only thing keeping them in the facility and they would prefer to wait at home with family providing support until the process is completed.

We want people to be able to leave the facility and go home temporarily and NOT lose their place on the waiting list. It is definitely something that CMS has to approve. There’s not been any movement on this, mainly because it wasn’t something they were thinking about.

Not automatically lose their Medicaid long term care if they leave the facility and for people who are waiting for the Medicaid for the planning process to happen at home rather than in the facility.

The flip side is trying to keep people from the community going into the nursing homes? How can they be prioritized as well so they don’t wind up in the hospital or a facility?

There was consensus that this is something that we will work forward on getting this pushed up to the appropriate levels.

From lbelcastro to Everyone:  Someone had a questions about weekly claim certs that have yet to be filed, you should be able to get your answer here:

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:

feel free to contact me offline if that would be helpful

From Amanda to Everyone:  Thank you, Delegate Belcastro!

From lbelcastro to Everyone:  Yup, contact me as well!

From Melissa to Everyone:

SSA updates related to SOAR SSI/SSA claims

Social Security Administration (SSA)

SSA is the agency that oversees the federal disability programs. It also has had to significantly modify its operations as a result of COVID-19. Much more information can be found on its website at:

At present, SSA local field offices are closed for in person appointments. Many staff members are working remotely, and some staff are going in to check mail and undertake other essential duties.

Local Field Offices are focusing on critical services. These include taking disability applications for the most severe disabilities, including cases involving terminal illness, Wounded Warrior cases; and those who qualify for presumptive disabilities, compassionate allowances, or Quick Disability Determination processes. SSA is also concentrating on resolving payment-related issues such as if claimants do not receive their monthly payment; or are currently experiencing homelessness or at risk of experiencing homelessness, or if benefits were suspended

From Santa Wallace to Everyone:  Thanks for having these weekly sessions, Mike! Very helpful and informative!  Leaving for work zoom. Hope to be back next week

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:  That makes a lot of sense right now. If you send an email with specifics, I will contact Dept. of health today and ask.

From William Fields to Everyone:

Someone stole my identity with Social Security last year. I didn’t unlock my Social Security account.

Question from Mika about Unemployment and SSDI, would the $600 put them over the allowance. Hindley noted that it won’t affect DI at all because it is unearned income.

From Melissa to Everyone:

SSA Press release

News Release


Supplemental Security Income Recipients, Act Now – Go to – A Message from Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul

Action Needed for People Receiving SSI with Dependents and Who Do Not File Tax Returns to Receive $500 Per Child Payment

“Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who don’t file tax returns will start receiving their automatic Economic Impact Payments directly from the Treasury Department in early May. People receiving SSI benefits who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes, and have qualifying children under age 17, however, should not wait for their automatic $1,200 individual payment. They should immediately go to the IRS’s webpage at and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Your Information section to provide their information. SSI recipients who have dependent children and did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes need to act by Tuesday, May 5, in order to receive additional payments for their eligible children quickly

From Michele Guyton to Everyone:  03:04 PM

Thank you for the invitation- hope to hear from you soon.  I need to go but hopefully can join next week.

From Me to Everyone:  Thank you Delegate Guyton!

From Cheryl to Everyone:  I just got an email from my PT place that Aetna, United, and BCBS are waiving copays for telehealth PT sessions. could be useful info for someone

From Me to Everyone:  That’s great!

From Melissa to Everyone:

SOAR Information sent it is posted

From Crystal to Everyone: It’s been great to hear from everyone today! Stay well 🙂

From Me to Everyone:

Hi Melissa, I’m transcribing the information and posting it on our IMAGE Blog. There was so much information today I didn’t want to miss anything!

District 11 Town Hall on Tuesday, 4/28 in the evening. Anyone is welcome to participate! Register here:

Other updates:

Also the Rotary Club is offering free grocery delivery services. It doesn’t look like they have a specific geographical area, however I would imagine that they are working with folks that live in Baltimore County. Read below for more information:

Rotary International Volunteer Shoppers

Rotary members are available to shop for and delivery groceries, medications and other essential items to those at risk for COVID 19 or unable to leave their homes on a volunteer basis.  Volunteers do not have background checks.  They are Rotary members.

Call 240-781-6586 any day from 9:00am – 6:00pm to request assistance.  It takes between 24 and 72 hours to fill a request.

No charge for the shopping services. Payment for goods purchased at the store is through credit cards only.  Volunteers pay for the food with their own credit card. Once an amount is known, the recipient gives their credit card number to Rotary International to be charged the amount spent. Volunteers will shop with SNAP EBT cards too.

Mike Bullis thanked everyone for calling and participating in the calls and answering questions. Please contact the IMAGE Center with questions or concerns! The office number is 410-982-6311 or via email at

Help us continue to serve our community during this crisis by supporting our Lifeline Impact Fund!  Donate to our IMPACT Fund today! 

Or support IMAGE while you shop Amazon! Shop Amazon Smile and support IMAGE!


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