MID-NOVEMBER NEWS and BENEFITS YOU CAN USE
COVID-19 VACCINE HOTLINE
To answer any outstanding questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine mandate agreement between DC 37 and the City, DC 37 has established a COVID-19 vaccine mandate hotline. Members can call this dedicated phone line to speak to a representative for assistance. The DC 37 hotline at 212-815-1100 is available Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM. You can find the terms of the agreement here.
If you need to get the COVID vaccine, the flu vaccine, or the COVID-19 booster shot, DC 37 urges you to get immunized now so you can enjoy a healthier fall and winter and holiday season with your family. All adults who want a COVID-19 booster can get it. City workers can get up to four hours of excused leave to travel to get the COVID-19 vaccine and the COVID-19 booster shot. Hundreds of sites across the city offer appointments or walk-up vaccines at no cost. Help end the pandemic, get vaccinated.
KIDS CAN GET THE PFIZER COVID VACCINE and $100, PLUS INCENTIVES
Children ages 5 and up are eligible for the Pfizer COVID vaccine. As part of the City’s COVID-19 vaccination effort, in November kids who get their first vaccine dose at schools and city-run clinics and pop-up sites are eligible for a $100 debit card and other incentives. No appointment is needed, just walk in with your student on the day of your school’s pop-up vaccine site. It’s quick and easy, and will help keep your student, your family, and your school community safe.
City employees may take up to four hours of excused leave per child for travel during scheduled work hours to accompany a child or children to receive a COVID-19 vaccine for each required administration of the vaccine. The employee should give their supervisor three days’ notice. However, if the child has a reaction to the vaccine, the parent will have to use their own applicable leave balances to stay home with the child. The current Time and Leave rules for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine also apply to the COVID-19 booster shot. (For example: excused leave will be given to receive the booster shot.) For more details, please speak to your union rep.
Parents and legal guardians can visit the NYC Dept. of Education website to find out what nearby school is a popup site. There also is information on consent and incentives like tickets to the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Cyclones, and more.
Like adults, kids must take two shots, three weeks apart, to be fully vaccinated.
if you need a vaccine, please visit one of the hundreds of sites across the city offering appointments or walk-up vaccines at no cost.
MSK LUNG HEALTH SCREENING IS EASY
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month. Lung cancer is the #1 cause of cancer-related deaths in men and women in the United States. It causes more deaths each year than breast, prostate, and colorectal cancers combined.
During the early stages of lung cancer, most people have few symptoms, or none at all. With early lung cancer screening, we find 80% of lung cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat.
Learning about the risk factors associated with developing lung cancer, such as smoking history, age, family history, and exposure to toxic substances, can help lower fear and uncertainty commonly associated with this disease.
To encourage you to learn more about lung health and early lung screening, MSK Direct has partnered with DC 37 to provide resources on DC 37’s dedicated MSK Direct webpage.
DC 37 has a partnership with MSK Direct to provide members, and their families dedicated access to exceptional cancer care, support, and expert resources from the world’s leading specialists at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK).
If you or a family member are impacted by cancer and would like to discuss treatment options at MSK, call the dedicated MSK Direct phone line for MSK Direct at 883-786-3365 or visit DC 37’s dedicated webpage. Take charge of your health.
MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PLUS PLAN for NYC RETIREES
The Municipal Labor Committee has voted to move to a Medicare Advantage Plus Plan designed specifically for our NYC retirees. The plan goes into effect January 1, 2022. For more information, call 833-325-1190.
DC 37 DENTAL CENTER REOPENS
The DC 37 Dental Center will reopen its state of the art, 30-chair facility at 115 Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan on Nov. 15. DC 37 members and retirees can visit the D C 37 Dental Center at 115 Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan by appointment, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM and Saturday 8 AM to 5 PM. To schedule an appointment, please call 212-766-4440.
NYC PUBLIC SCHOOL FAMILIES CAN GET A $50 MONTHLY INTERNET CREDIT, APPLY NOW
New York City public school families can receive a $50 monthly discount on internet broadband service and a one-time $100 credit for a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. Families must apply and find a broadband provider in their area participating in the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. The broadband service provider then offers eligible families a discounted rate and is reimbursed by the federal government. Apply here while funds last.
DC 37 EVENTS:
STUDENT LOAN DEBT WEBINAR NOV. 17 at 6 PM
MELS will host a virtual Student Loan Debt webinar on Nov. 17 at 6 PM. Legal experts will discuss COVID-19 protections for student borrowers; income driven repayment plans; loan consolidation; rehabilitation after default, and updates to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Register at: www.dc37mels.com. For more information, please call the MELS Screening Unit at 212.815.1111, or email: MELSscreeningunit@dc37.net
PARENTAL LEAVE WORKSHOP NOV. 18 at 5 PM
ONLINE FREE for DC 37 MEMBERS
Taking a parental leave soon? Attend a free virtual Planning Workshop from the Center for Parental Leave Leadership on Thursday, NOV. 18 at 5 PM or Monday, DEC. 13, at 2 PM.
We’ve made special arrangements with the Center for Parental Leave Leadership and authors of the recently released book The Parental Leave Playbook to attend this free parental leave planning webinar.
In this free workshop you’ll:
- Learn the ten touchpoints of the parental leave transition
- Learn how to plan for all three phases of parental leave:
- Prepare for leave
- During leave
- Return from leave
- Get a free Next Steps Action Plan template for planning your leave
- Have the chance to ask your questions of the parental leave experts!
Register at: https://cplleadership.com/register-for-a-leave-planning-workshop/. Use our unique code when you sign up: DC37
CLIMATE JUSTICE COMMITTEE
The DC 37 Climate Justice Committee meets the first and third Tuesday of every month. To join, please email Committee Chair Jon Forster at firstname.lastname@example.org.
STUDENT LOAN FORBEARANCE UPDATE
To take advantage of the temporary waiver (see below), otherwise qualified borrowers with indirect student loans, or borrowers who simply have a history of repayment on non-qualifying plans, must consolidate their indirect loans; select an income driven repayment plan, and submit the PSLF Employer Certification form by October 31, 2022. Doing so will allow the borrower to receive credit for payments made on any plan.
Whether your loan is in default, you need assistance in qualifying for PSLF, wish to learn how switching to an income driven repayment plan will affect your cost, or you just want help understanding student loans, MELS can help. To connect with a MELS attorney call the MELS Screening Unit at 212-815-1111. MELS can help!
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Temporary Waiver:
On October 6, 2021, the US Department of Education temporarily waived a number of the requirements borrowers who qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) must meet. The waiver period expires on October 31, 2022. Appropriate steps must be taken prior to that date in order to take advantage of the benefits of the waiver.
Waiver of the Qualifying Repayment Plan Options:
Under the traditional rules, to qualify for PSLF a borrower working full-time in a qualified employment was required to make 120 payments toward their direct federal student loan debt pursuant to one of the four income driven repayment plan options: PAYE, RE-PAYE, Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment. The repayment plan requirement is temporarily waived. During the waiver period, payments made on any plan will count toward PSLF.
Borrowers with FFEL and Perkins Loans:
Borrowers with FFEL and Perkins loans now have an improved pathway to PSLF. Under the traditional rules, only direct federal student loans qualified for PSLF. Borrowers with FFEL loans and Perkins loans had to consolidate into a direct consolidated federal loan in order to qualify for PSLF. Payments made prior to consolidation did not count toward PSLF. During the waiver period, borrowers must still consolidate. However, provided a borrower consolidates during the waiver period, payments made prior to consolidation, on any repayment plan, will count toward PSLF.
For information on the appropriate steps to take, affected members and their eligible family members are encouraged to call MELS at 212.815.1111. MELS can help!
IMPORTANT UPDATE ON EVICTION MORATORIUMS
NEW YORK STATE EVICTION MORATORIUM
New York State lawmakers agreed on Sept. 1 to extend sweeping protections against evictions. The state’s amended eviction moratorium, extended through Jan. 15, 2022, is one of the most extensive protections put into place in the nation. Under the amended law, landlords can challenge a tenant’s declaration of hardship. However, tenants are still encouraged to file New York State hardship declaration forms. MELS can help with issues related to the N.Y.S. hardship declaration form and the other protections available to tenants. Call the MELS Screening Unit at 212.815.1111 for advice and legal representation.
CDC FEDERAL EVICTION MORATORIUM
The U.S. Supreme Court has recently invalidated the CDC Federal Eviction Moratorium. This means that tenants who filed a hardship declaration form under the federal CDC provision are no longer protected under that provision.
Tenants who owe rent or are facing an eviction case should not give up and move out. There are still many steps landlords must take to proceed with an eviction and there are still many ways tenants can defend their homes. MELS can help. Call the MELS Screening Unit at 212.815.1111 for advice and legal representation.
EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (ERAP)
New York State’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance will no longer accept Emergency Rental Assistance Program applications after Nov. 14. Tenants who have applied for ERAP are protected from eviction while the application is processed. ERAP can provide up to 15 months of rent and up to 12 months of gas and electric utility arrears. If you have questions or need assistance, call the MELS Screening Unit at 212.815.1111.
HEALTH and COVID:
COVID-19 WORKERS’ COMP and SHORT-TERM DISABILITY BENEFITS
DC 37 urges members who believe they have contracted coronavirus in the line of duty to apply for New York State Workers’ Compensation. For a list of Workers’ Comp lawyers click here: https://bit.ly/3f1wK8z. Additionally, DC 37 Health & Security short-term disability benefits may be available for members who have filed Workers’ Comp claims. For more information click here: http://bit.ly/3ptCdt0
FEMA COVID-19 BURIAL RELIEF
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) burial relief program is accepting applications. The maximum amount of financial aid available is $9,000 per funeral up to $35,500 per application with multiple COVID-19 decedents. FEMA federal funeral assistance can be used to help with expenses for funeral services held in 2020 for COVID-19 deaths, interment or cremation. Call the FEMA hotline: 844.684.6333 (TTY: 800.462.7585), 8 AM to 8 PM Central Time (7 AM to 7 PM EST), Monday through Friday. For additional burial assistance programs, please visit: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/help/burial-assistance.page.
PAID FAMILY LEAVE BENEFIT
The NYS Paid Family Leave benefit is 12 weeks. The maximum weekly paid benefit is $971.61 or $1,943 bi-weekly. This union negotiated New York State benefit is available to nearly all DC 37 members, including members in the six nonprofit and private sector locals. To access the 2021 PFL calculator, visit: http://on.ny.gov/2LsklQ8
Be sure to join the free PLANNING PFL WORKSHOP Nov. 18 at 5 PM. Register at: https://cplleadership.com/register-for-a-leave-planning-workshop/. Use code: DC37
GET HELP PAYING for CHILD CARE
The Child Care Facilitated Enrollment Project is a NYS funded pilot program that was developed to assist working parents to increase access to childcare subsidies and quality care in New York City for children up to 13 years of age with qualifying incomes (up to $72,050 for a family of four). For more information, visit: https://www.cwenet.net/nysfe-1
AFSCME FREE 4-YEAR COLLEGE
The AFSCME free 4-year college program has been extended for good. This can be combined with the Free College program, under which AFSCME members and their immediate family can earn associate degrees for free. This means members of the AFSCME family can go to college for free from anywhere in the country. All they need is a computer and an internet connection. For more information, visit: https://freecollege.afscme.org/
DC 37 EDUCATION FUND
THE EDUCATION FUND IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE WINTER 2022 CYCLE: Please visit the DC 37 website at www.dc37.net/benefits/education/edfund to sign up for classes beginning in January. Classes fill up quickly so register today!
FREE SOCIAL WORKER WORKSHOPS FOR LOCAL 768 MEMBERS: The DC 37 Education Fund in conjunction with the National Association of Social Workers, New York City Chapter, plans to host a continuing education workshop in December for eligible Local 768 licensed Social Workers.
CULTURAL PROFICIENCY: THIS MIGHT GET AWKWARD (2 CEU’s) Wed., Dec. 15 at 7 PM. Registration deadline is Nov. 23. This workshop will be held online. To attend this workshop, please enter the following link into your web browser and complete the online application: www.dc37edfund.org/socialworkdec2021
For questions regarding the online application for the workshop, please email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOCAL 372 PARAPROFESSIONALS can earn 18 credits annually towards a degree in Human Services through a partnership with Monroe College. If you are interested in entering the college in January for the Winter 2022 term, email: email@example.com.
LOCAL 372 MEMBERS WORKING in SCHOOL FOOD can earn an Associate Degree in Nutrition and Culinary Management through a partnership with LaGuardia Community College. The next cohort will enroll for the Spring 2022 term. For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
CUNY COUNSELING IS HERE FOR YOU! This is the ideal time to plan for Spring 2022 enrollment at the CUNY college of your choice. Let Worker Education at the CUNY School of Labor & Urban Studies (SLU) help guide you through the process of finding the best CUNY program to match your education and career goals. Expert advisors offer FREE one-on-one phone sessions on: academic requirements for specific jobs; choosing a CUNY campus and major; applying to and financing a CUNY degree; certificate and non-credit options at CUNY, transferring previous credits, and more. Each session is free and catered to your specific goals and needs. To view the calendar and schedule your CUNY advisement session visit: https://cunydays.eventbrite.com. Can’t find a date/time that works for you? Email: WorkerEd@slu.cuny.edu.
EDUCATION AND CAREER COUNSELING: Do you need guidance selecting a class from our offerings, updating a resume or need assistance reaching a career or educational goal? Contact a counselor to schedule a virtual appointment: https://www.dc37.net/benefits/education/offerings/counseling
TEST PREP WORKSHOPS: Workshops offered in the Winter term will assist members to prepare for Civil Service and other exams. Members can select from one or more subject areas: Reading, English Language Arts and Math. Each workshop is six sessions long.
These classes will provide essential knowledge of the subject area that is being tested in addition to strategies for selecting the best response. Familiarity with the question types will reduce anxiety and improve success. Although the workshops do not address a specific exam, the essential learning is beneficial to all exams. The workshops are online. Applications are available on the website: https://www.dc37.net/benefits/education/offerings/testprep
RETIREES EDUCATION COURSES FOR WINTER 2022: We are accepting applications for online classes for the WINTER 2022 cycle. Apply here: https://form.jotform.com/212973147752158, to file online; or go to https://www.dc37.net/benefits/education/deptclasses/retirees if you prefer to print and mail the application to the address indicated. For more information, email Manuel Gomez-Rosa: email@example.com or call 212-815-1700.
FLU SEASON IS HERE. FREE FLU SHOTS ARE AVAILABLE!
The City and its unions offer free flu shots to municipal employees and their families. Learn more and make a flu shot appointment at a WorkWell NYC Clinic here: on.nyc.gov/wwnycflu.
HACKING the HOLIDAY MENU: YOUR HEALTHY EATING SURVIVAL GUIDE NOV. 17 at 12 PM
Food is often a big part of holiday celebrations this time of year. In recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month, join WorkWell NYC’s nutrition and mental health specialists as we answer your questions about how to enjoy holiday meals and family traditions healthfully. Together, we’ll explore healthy food preparation tips, holiday meal swaps, stress management techniques, and how to thrive this holiday season! Register here.
To see the full list of WorkWell NYC events, visit: on.nyc.gov/upcomingevents