Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance

If you meet all of the qualifications below, text COVIDCARES to 898211 to get the process started.

If you or your family have lost a job or income due to impacts from the pandemic, you may qualify for one-time financial assistance to pay for basic expenses such as rent and utilities.

Application deadline: July 7, 2020.

Do you qualify?        

  • Job or income loss directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e. your workplace shut down under state or local orders): You will be required to provide documentation. Examples: paystubs, a letter from employer, proof of employer business closure. 
  • Income restrictions: During the month in which you apply for assistance, your household income cannot exceed 200% of the federal poverty level. This amount varies depending on the number of people in your household:
Number of People
in Household:
Income the Month You
Apply Can Be No More Than:
  • Asset limits: You may have no more than $4,000 in liquid assets (cash, savings and checking).
  • Pinellas County residency: Proof may include driver’s license or utility bill with current address.
  • Legal status: Proof of U.S. Citizenship, including naturalized citizens, or other legal residency status (i.e. permanent residents).

You can only apply for one-time assistance to cover coronavirus-related costs that have not already been paid for by insurance or by another federal program.

How it works

If you meet all of the qualifications, text COVIDCARES to 898211 to get the process started. You’ll be asked to send pictures or documentation referenced above to show you meet the qualifications. Applications will be processed from 7 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

You can also call 211 for more information or for help applying. Call volumes may be higher than usual during the application window. Text messaging ensures the most efficient response.

Once all your documentation has been received, you’ll get a message confirming the status of your application.  Upon approval, all payments will go  directly to the eligible utility, mortgage lender or landlord. You will not receive a direct payment.

Please note: Assistance requests will be processed as quickly as possible. Due to the widespread impact of the pandemic on our local community, we anticipate a high volume of requests. Please do not call or text to check on the status of your request as this will slow down our process of approving and distributing assistance.  


View Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance Frequently Asked Questions.