Senator Kaminsky giving out food


By State Senator Todd Kaminsky

We are living in a truly unprecedented time where everyday comforts are suddenly restricted and we must adapt to this new way of life due to COVID-19. As we struggle to maintain a sense of normalcy without compromising our own health and that of others, I thought it would be helpful to provide some information.

The governor has instituted a new program aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus.

As a result of this PAUSE, our businesses and workers are going to be feeling the strain. With that in mind, below you will find a series of measures that should help you try to get through this:

Paid Sick Leave. Your state government recognizes the need to take care of workers who are forced to self-isolate or quarantine as a result of being exposed to COVID-19. To ensure sick folks do not experience financial hardships while recovering, the legislature has passed, and the governor has signed, a comprehensive paid sick bill that will provide monetary relief to this particular group.

If you are under a mandatory quarantine order, visit for more information.

Mortgage Relief. Both the state and federal governments are providing relief with mortgage payments for people who are unable to work because of the virus. To alleviate the impact caused by this crisis, mortgage borrowers who demonstrate they are not able to make timely payments (those with financial hardships) may receive the following from mortgage servicers:

  • Delaying mortgage payments for 90 days from their due dates;
  • Refraining from reporting late payments to credit rating agencies for 90 days;
  • Offering mortgagors an additional 90-day grace period to complete trial loan modifications, and ensuring that late payments during the COVID-19 pandemic does not affect their ability to obtain permanent loan modifications;
  • Waiving late payment fees and any online payment fees for a period of 90 days; and
  • Postponing foreclosures and evictions for 90 days.

Independent Contractors. Independent contractors are not eligible for unemployment benefits and suffering. I am committed to fighting for you and making sure that when we begin the process of rebuilding, you are not left out.

Tax Deadline Extension. The state tax deadline, originally set for April 15, has been extended to July 15.

SBA Loan Information. Realizing that this virus is having catastrophic effects on our economy, especially our small businesses, the Federal Small Business Association is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19.

This program offers assistance up to $2 million per small business experiencing financial difficulties.

Apply here for this SBA loan.

As we saw following superstorm Sandy, some who had applied for an SBA loan immediately after the storm, were penalized later when it came to receiving federal grant assistance. Until we receive guidance from the federal government on this, please contact my office with any questions you might have concerning duplication of benefit issues before you apply.

LIRR Ticket Refunds. Now that 100 percent of all nonessential workers must work from home, many commuters are looking to refund their tickets. If your April ticket is on auto-renew, you must act quickly to receive the full refund. To do so follow these instructions:

  1. If you purchased your monthly through the MTA eTix app, you can initiate directly through your e-ticket.
  2. If you are normally mailed a ticket, return the yellow section in the enclosed envelope ensuring that the return ticket address shows through the envelope window. Do not remove the ticket from the clear seal. If the MTA receives your ticket back prior to April 2, they will not charge your account for the ticket. Any tickets received after April 3 will be billed and then refunded back to the account after the MTA receives the ticket. There will be no $10 fee in either case.

May’s ticket production will be on April 14, if you do not intend to use May’s ticket please visit to skip May’s ticket no later than April 10. You may also call Mail and Ride at 718-217-5477 Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and a representative will be available to assist you.

In addition, I recently asked the MTA to waive the $10 service fee on refunds.

Health Tips

  • Wash your hands frequently, for at least 20 seconds at a time
  • Use hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol
  • Coronavirus is thought to be spread by “respiratory droplets” that come from bodily functions such as sneezing and coughing, so practice “social distancing,” staying at least 6 feet away from others.
  • Don’t touch your face; sneeze into your sleeve and throw tissues away right after you use them.
  • Thoroughly clean all surfaces.
  • Only wear a mask if you are displaying symptoms. Masks are in short supply and should be saved for those who are sick as well as healthcare workers and caregivers.

Are You Sick? Three main symptoms are fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your doctor or ER before you go so they can best prepare to treat you. Symptoms can display anytime between two and 14 days after exposure, the average is five days. Eighty percent of people who get coronavirus have only “mild” symptoms. The elderly and people with underlying conditions appear to be most susceptible to severe cases.

Getting Tested. Two drive-up testing sites are set up on LI, at Jones Beach State Park and Stony Brook University, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Call 888-364-3065 for an appointment. A healthcare worker will ask a few questions, take your temperature and swab your nose or back of your throat. Results come anywhere from one to five days.

Feeding The Hungry. If you know of someone who is food insecure and are worried about how they will continue to have access to meals, please contact my office and we will work to get them food. Remember, we will only get through this if we work together. Stay home, practice social distancing and wash your hands!

For questions, contact my office at 516-766-8383.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here