Pinellas CARES Financial Assistance

Program requirements have been updated so more residents qualify for help. Details below.

Text COVIDCARES to 898211 to start the process.

If you lost a job or significant income due to impacts from the pandemic, you may qualify for financial assistance up to $5,000 per household to pay for rent, mortgage or utility payments during the period starting March 1, 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) Updated requirement: You must sign a form attesting that your job or income was impacted directly by COVID-19.
  • Asset limits Updated requirement: You must attest that you have no more than $10,000 in you cash, checking and savings.
  • Residency: You must submit a copy or photo showing both Pinellas County and U.S. residency (examples: driver’s license, utility bill, birth certificate, passport).

Applicants who did not previously qualify for the program or who already received help, but need assistance for additional overdue bills, can apply again with a maximum of $5,000 per household.  

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

How it works

Text COVIDCARES to 898211 to get the process started. You’ll be asked to send pictures or documentation referenced above to complete your request. 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 quickest response.

Once your signed forms and residency documentation have 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.