GUEST COLUMN: You can take action in this pandemic

May has arrived in Kentucky, and rather than planning a Kentucky Derby celebration, a road trip to Pineville for the Mountain Laurel Festival, to Cumberland Falls to take in the moonbow, or to Louisville to jam at Louisville’s Kentucky Reggae Festival, we’re practicing social distancing and doing our parts to be #HealthyAtHome or #HealthyAtWork.

That’s assuming you’re among Kentuckians who are currently working during the current novel coronavirus pandemic, or COVID-19.

With so many people sick and dying and unemployment at a level not reached since the Great Depression, Kentuckians might, for the first time, find themselves needing help. Others who have received assistance might find that they need more than before with healthcare, food, and cash.

There is help, and the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services is pleased to be in a position to help connect residents of our commonwealth with assistance.

In this time of exploding need, there’s no reason not to take action to help yourself, those in your household, or to pass this information along to someone who might benefit from it. Here’s what you need to know.

Applying for help has gotten easier. The process for applying for help during this COVID-19 emergency has been simplified. The process to confirm eligibility has gotten faster, and there are fewer steps to go through.

There are a couple of ways to apply. One is to visit, and you can do this anytime, from anywhere – the site is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you’ve never visited this site before, focus on the picture of the mare and foal. Don’t let words such as “Medicaid” and “IRS form 1095B” cause you to think twice about applying. Instead, look for the big green “Let’s Get Started” box on the right side of the page. Clicking on it, and you’ll be on your way to creating an account and getting a quick start to connecting with the help that’s out there.

You or others you may know can get help with this fast-tracked application by phone, too. The toll-free number is 1-855-306-8959 and the TTY number is 1-800-627-4720.

In the midst of this pandemic, it’s important to know that assistance is available. All you need to do is take the first step. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, those in your household, or people you know who could use a hand during this concerning time.

Eric Friedlander is Acting Secretary of the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS). Follow CHFS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for COVID-19 and other information that helps Kentuckians.

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