Experts from AARP, the Social Security Administration and Baylor Scott & White joined U.S. Reps. Van Taylor, R-Plano; Jeff Leach, R-Allen; and Matt Shaheen, R-Plano, for the discussion.
Those who are waiting to receive stimulus checks and who typically receive Social Security direct deposits, direct express or paper checks are expected to receive the checks in the week of April 27, according to a representative from the Social Security Administration. No further action is needed for that group.
However, those who receive Social Security or are a Railroad Retirement Beneficiary and have a dependent under age 17 must have claimed them by April 22 at www.irs.gov to receive an additional $500 per child, Taylor said.
Those seeking unemployment benefits who have applied for benefits and are having difficulty reaching the Texas Workforce Commission can reach out to their local representative’s office for assistance. Members of AARP can also offer assistance at www.aarp.org/coronavirus.
Texas also entered into an agreement with the federal government April 4, which alows for unemployment benefits to be backdated to the start of the agreement, with $600 available for each week of unemployment, Taylor said.
More than one caller raised concerns about testing availability.
Right now, there is a shortage of testing, said David Winter, a geriatrician with Baylor Scott & White. Once more testing becomes available, there will likely be a large number of people discovered who had the virus in a mild form, he said.
More testing sites will become available soon, Winter said, but an important second type of testing called antibody testing is expected to become available in the coming weeks. Checking for antibodies gives a view into how many people have built up potential immunity and allows experts to determine how much of the population is affected by the virus with symptoms or not.
For now, Winter advised those with symptoms to contact their health provider and to isolate themselves.
Collin County Health Services is also working to track any possible spread of the disease and monitoring those suspected to have come into contact with a positive coronavirus case.
Time-specific answers as well as other specifics will become more clear in the coming weeks, according to Taylor.
“This time next week, we're going to have a lot more clarity,” Taylor said. “Policymakers and all Texans [will have] a lot more clarity when the governor announces his order next Monday. The statewide strike force that he put together will be releasing their plan to reopen Texas.”