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COVID-19 RESOURCE CENTER

During this Crisis, NYLAG is here for you.

NYLAG’s COVID-19 Resource Center houses easy-to-understand  resources and up-to-date information on court procedures, policies, and COVID-related benefits. Learn more about our NY COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline here to speak with a NYLAG expert about your unique situation. 

RESOURCES

COVID-19, A Year Later: “The Need Was Great.”

NYLAG staff reflect on loss, grief, and justice during COVID-19.

Federal reserve building. American flag. Notepad. US dollar bills. Text stating "STIMULUS BILL."

What You Need to Know: 7 COVID Relief Bill Benefits

President Biden recently signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package into law. Find out if any of these seven benefits from the relief bill affect you or your loved ones.

Your Legal Questions Answered: COVID-19 Vaccine

Have questions about your legal rights when deciding to get the COVID-19 vaccine? If you are a NYC resident, you’ve come to the right place—this resource can help.

LATEST INFORMATION

Our intake lines are open–We are meeting with clients via telephonic and virtual meetings and we are continuing our advocacy efforts. Please note that our physical office is closed in accordance with Governor Cuomo’s orders.

If you have an active case with NYLAG, including an upcoming court case, please reach out to your NYLAG case handler if you have questions.

Our intake is still operating as outlined at nylag.org/gethelp. The page is updated in real time with the latest information on how to contact us.

Who qualifies?

  • Individuals with up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income
  • Heads of household with up to $112,500
  • Married couples who file jointly with up to $150,000
  • Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2020 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,400 for individuals or $2,800 for married couples.
  • One of the differences with this bill is that there is no age limit on dependents. So in addition to the individual qualifications, those with dependents (children or adults), could receive an additional $1400 per dependent. For example, a family with a child and adult dependent could receive $5600 as part of this stimulus. 
  • If you earn between $75,000 and $80,000 as an individual or $160,000 as a married couple, you will likely receive a smaller check.
  • Individuals who earn more than $80,000, married couples who make more than $160,000 and heads of household making more than $120,000 likely will not receive any stimulus payment.
  • Payments will automatically go to individuals who receive Veteran pension of disability compensation and Social Security benefits.

Do immigrants or mixed-status households qualify?

  • Undocumented immigrants unfortunately are not eligible but their spouses and children are eligible as long as they have Social Security numbers.
  • Mixed-status households with undocumented family members will receive stimulus checks

When will I see my payment?

  • The vast majority of people do not need to take any action. The IRS will calculate and automatically send the economic impact payment to those eligible within several weeks. You can check your payment status here.
  • If the IRS does not have your direct deposit information, there will likely be an opportunity in the future to use a web-based portal for individuals to provide their banking information to the IRS online, so that individuals can receive payments immediately as opposed to checks in the mail. See here for further updates. 

Will this stimulus payment affect my eligibility for Public Assistance, Medicaid, SNAP, or Section 8 benefits (or other?)

  • Medicaid. The payment does not count as “income” for Medicaid. If you are age 65+, blind, or disabled, it also will not count as a “resource” for 12 months after you receive it. In other words, it will not affect your Medicaid eligibility.
  • SSI and SSD. SSI will not consider economic impact payments as income for SSI recipients, and the payments are excluded from resources for 12 months.
  • Public Assistance. Stimulus payments are not counted as income for the purposes of Public Assistance. Receipt of the payment is not subject to the lump sum provisions. The payment will be excluded as a resource in the month received and the 12 months from the date of receipt. Any remaining funds after that will be counted as a non-exempt resource.
  • SNAP (Food Stamps). Stimulus payments are not counted as income for the purposes of SNAP. They are an exempt resource in the month received and in the 12 months from the date of receipt. Any remaining funds after that will be counted as a non-exempt resource.
  • VA Benefits. The economic impact payment does not count as income or assets for VA purposes. It is important that the check be spent within 12 months of receiving it, because any remaining stimulus money will be considered an asset.
  • Section 8. Because the stimulus payment is not income, it should not affect someone’s Section 8 share.
  • Emergency Assistance. For Emergency Assistance to Families (EAF), Emergency Safety Net Assistance (ESNA), and Emergency Assistance to Adults (EAA), stimulus checks are not counted as income or as a resource for 12 months from the date of receipt, in determining an individual’s eligibility for emergency assistance, which includes rent arrears grants.

Other important information:

  • This payment is expected to count as an advanced tax refund and is not counted against entitlement benefits for income or resource purposes.
  • Your stimulus payment can be garnished in NYS by any NYS bank, creditors, or debt collector. 

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.

What is a Child Tax Credit? In short, eligible families can receive a $3,000 annual benefit per child ages 6 to 17 and $3,600 per child under 6 in tax year 2021. The credit will also be fully refundable. This is in addition to the $1,400 stimulus checks and enhanced unemployment benefits. In a major update, you don’t have to be employed to get the credit.

Who is eligible for the Child Tax Credit?

  • Parents with children under the age of 18. (This will be the first time those with children aged 17 will receive the tax credit.)
  • Families with children under 6 will receive a $3,600 credit per child, while those with school-aged children will receive $3,000 per child. 

Will I get the full amount?

  • The full child tax credit will be available to individuals who earn up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000. 
    • The credit will be reduced by $50 for every additional $1,000 of adjusted gross income (AGI) earned. (Important note: the $3,000 credit provided to parents of a child aged 6 to 17 would be phased out completely for individuals earning $95,000 and those making $170,000 and filing jointly.)
  • Families who are ineligible for the new $3,000 credit because they earn higher AGI are still able to claim the $2,000 per child tax credit.
    • This is available to individuals making up to $200,000 ($400,000 for married couples filing jointly).
  • Payments are expected this summer.

For tax purposes, does this count as income?

  • Child Tax Credits will not count as income in the month received and would only count as a resource if not spent within 12 months. 

IMPORTANT. You don’t have to be employed to get the child tax credit. Unlike in the past, households with no income can claim the credit. 

Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. FEMA will begin to implement COVID-19 funeral assistance in April. Additional guidance is being finalized and will be released to potential applicants and community partners as soon as possible. In the meantime, people who have COVID-19 funeral expenses are encouraged to keep and gather documentation.

Who is Eligible?

To be eligible for funeral assistance, you must meet these conditions:

  • The death must have occurred in the United States (U.S.), including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • The death certificate must indicate the death was attributed to COVID-19.
  • The applicant must be a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or a qualified non-citizen who incurred funeral expenses after January 20, 2020.
  • There is no requirement for the deceased person to have been a U.S. citizen, non-citizen national, or qualified non-citizen.

How to Apply

In April, FEMA will begin accepting applications. If you had COVID-19 funeral expenses, we encourage you to keep and gather documentation. Types of information should include:

  • An official death certificate that attributes the death directly or indirectly to COVID-19 and shows that the death occurred in the United States, including the U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia.
  • Funeral expenses documents (receipts, funeral home contract, etc.) that include the applicant’s name, the deceased person’s name, the number of funeral expenses, and the dates the funeral expenses happened.
  • Proof of funds received from other sources specifically for use toward funeral costs. We are not able to duplicate benefits received from burial or funeral insurance, financial assistance received from voluntary agencies, government agencies, or other sources.

How are Funds Received

  • If you are eligible for funeral assistance you will receive a check by mail, or funds by direct deposit, depending on which option you choose when you apply for assistance.

For more information visit FEMA’s website and/or their webpage on COVID-19 funeral assistance

The NYC Civil Courts are continually updating and changing court procedures. The courts have provided a contact number where you can receive the most up-to-date information, which is available citywide Monday through Friday from 9 am – 5 pm. The number is 646-386-5409.

Existing Court Cases

If you have any ongoing court case with an upcoming court date, that court date will be postponed automatically until the courts reopen to hear consumer debt cases. You will receive notice of the new date via postcard, which will come from the court. Please make sure to open your mail to check when your new court date will be.

You can also check the eCourts system, New York State’s online database of many cases filed in New York. You can access that here. As stated on the eCourts web site, the information may not be updated with the most recent information.

New Court Cases

  • New court cases are being filed in the NYC Civil Courts.
  • It is also possible that a case was filed before the courts closed, and you just received notice that a lawsuit was filed.
  • If you have been sued you need to file an answer within 20 days, if the papers were given to you personally. If you received the papers any other way you have 30 days to answer. Nevertheless, even if you missed these deadlines you should still try to file your answer as soon as possible because the court will most likely accept the late answer. If you do not answer at all, you could suffer a default judgment.
  • To file your answer you can go to court to file your answer or submit your answer by mail. If by mail, you can fill out an answer form and mail a copy of the answer to the attorney for the Plaintiff AND the court. For consumer credit actions, you can use this  form to fill out your answer.

Contact NYLAG (see information below) if you have questions about filling out an answer.

What to Do If You Just Learned about a Default Judgment

Many people first learn about a lawsuit against them when a judgment is enforced (action is taken to collect money allegedly owed) or after they receive a debt collection letter from the judgment creditor asking for payment. Judgment creditors most often enforce judgments by freezing your bank account or by hiring a Marshal to send a request to your employer to garnish (or take money from) your wages.

If you discover that you have a default judgment you can go to the court to file a request that the court vacates (get rid of) the judgment against you. This request is called an “Order to Show Cause to Vacate a Default Judgment.”

The New York State Court System offers a free DIY program that can help you write your Order to Show Cause to Vacate the Judgment. That program is available  here.

If you’re an existing NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.

Family and Supreme Courts are physically closed except for individuals who are ordered by the Court to appear in person, or for individuals who have no ability to access the courts through technology, including phone.

Supreme Court is accepting all filings. Family Courts are accepting all filings, but they continue to prioritize the scheduling of emergency filings which include new requests for orders of protection or violations of existing orders, writs, and some juvenile delinquency and child protective matters.

You can file custody/visitation and support matters, but it is unclear how long it will take to receive a court date for those cases. Please see the section on “New York State Courts” on this page for more information on these matters. To file:

  • Orders of protection/ Writs:
    • To file, pro se litigants may email their applications to: NYFCApplications@nycourts.gov. You can also call to get filing assistance from a court clerk, at 646-386-5299. For non-urgent matters, you may also mail applications to the relevant Family Court. If you need assistance in filing for an order of protection, please reach out to our DVLU Unit, Safe Horizon, or the Family Justice Centers to receive immediate assistance.
  • At this point, all cases that were filed before the pandemic that was delayed and had no court appearances in the pandemic should have received a new court date. If you filed a case in advance of the pandemic and still don’t have a court date, you should reach out to the court clerk and/or check Webfamily at https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fcasfamily/main to find out your next court date. Please keep in mind the need to update the court with any current contact information if that has changed, or you may miss notices.
  • Nearly all court appearances are being conducted remotely by Microsoft Teams or telephone.
  • All criminal court, family court, and Supreme Court orders of protection are extended by administrative order. Click here for the official order. Still, for orders of protection to be valid, new orders should be re-served if both parties were not present together the last time the order was extended.
  • Family Justice Centers (FJC), staffed by NYLAG and other NYC organizations, are available remotely to provide guidance on immediate safety planning, shelter assistance, and community resources. From Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., clients can call their nearest FJC (information available here. Manhattan and Staten Island FJCs have limited days when people can appear in person for services, as well.
  • In the evenings and/or on weekends, clients should call NYC’s 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-621-4673. For emergencies, as always, call 911. · A helpful resource for safety planning during COVID -19 be found here.

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.

Paid Sick Leave and Family Leave

  • New York State Paid Sick Leave: **As of January 1, 2021, New York State mandates paid sick leave, including for reasons unrelated to COVID. This law is permanent, and it is separate from New York State’s previously enacted Emergency COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave Law. It requires employers with five or more employees or a net income of more than $1 million to provide paid sick leave, and to employers with fewer than five employees and a net income of $1 million or less, to provide unpaid sick leave to employees. Covered employees in New York State began to accrue leave under this law at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. More information about this law is available here.
  • New York State Family Leave Law and New York City Paid Sick Leave: Aside from the new state measures, employees may be eligible for additional leave under the pre-existing NYS Paid Family Leave Law and the NYC Earned Safe and Sick Time Act.
  • The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”) required that employers with fewer than 500 employees provide sick and family leave benefits for certain COVID-19 related reasons. It provided up to 12 weeks of paid leave for employees whose children’s schools have closed or whose childcare providers are unavailable due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the FFCRA provided up to 2 weeks of paid sick time for those who have been advised by a medical provider to self-isolate due to coronavirus concerns.
  • **Unfortunately, the FFCRA expired on December 31, 2020 and was not renewed by Congress in its most recent pandemic relief package. That means that employers will not be required to provide paid leave under the FRCRA after December 31, 2020. However, some employers may voluntarily choose to continue to provide FFCRA benefits, because covered employers are eligible for tax credits through March 31, 2021 if they continue to provide FFCRA leave. Employees who already took leave in 2020 will not necessarily be eligible for additional leave, even if their employer chooses to extend those benefits.

Discrimination and Retaliation

  • Employers are prohibited from harassing, firing, or discriminating against you because of your race/ethnicity, disability, nationality, and other “protected classes.”
    • For example, an employer cannot force you to get a COVID test or quarantine simply because you are Asian.
  • Employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation to employees who request one based on a disability, including relating to an employees’ potential risk of contracting COVID-19.
    • For example, if your doctor recommends that you work from home, or adjust your schedule, or take medical leave related to your risk of exposure, you may request such accommodations, and your employer is required to acknowledge your request, and engage in an individualized process to determine whether it can grant you the request, including putting in writing if it cannot grant the request.
  • It is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees for requesting or asserting their rights under any of the above laws, including for reporting health/safety hazards.
  • All NYC Financial Empowerment Centers are now remote and taking appointments by phone. To learn how, click here.
  • Click here for a blog about available financial resources, and saving tips.

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG financial counselor.

Mortgage Relief

  • Both the federal government and NYS are establishing relief programs for borrowers who are unable to make mortgage payments due to the impact of the coronavirus crisis. New York State is working on a Homeowner Assistance Fund to provide relief for our state’s most vulnerable homeowners. The details of the program will be available later this year.
  • Borrowers with a direct financial loss due to the pandemic should contact their mortgage servicers to discuss options. The lender will be the one making the final determination if a borrower qualifies for any forbearance or repayment plan.
  • Those who can financially continue to make their mortgage payments should do so.

Foreclosures

  • Residential foreclosure court cases have resumed in New York. Homeowners with pending foreclosure cases should contact the court asap to find out the status of their case. Homeowners experiencing a hardship related to COVID may file a hardship declaration to have their foreclosure cases stayed until August 31, 2021.

If you would like assistance completing the hardship declaration or have specific questions about your foreclosure case, please call NYLAG at 212.946.0349 or email contactfpp@nylag.org for a free consultation.

We understand that many New Yorkers are anxious about their ability to pay back-rent. Please know there are billions of dollars of rent relief for tenants nationwide.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (“ERAP”) opened to applications on June 1, 2021. You need to apply online through this portal. You should apply if you have experienced financial hardship during the pandemic and have any rent arrears from March 13, 2020 and on. The program covers up to 12 months of back rent and three months of ongoing rent. Immigration status does not matter and the money does not need to be paid. If you back rent and are behind on your gas and/or electric bill, ERAP will also cover your utility arrears. There are many organizations that are assisting people to complete applications. You can find a list of these organizations here. The application consists of two main parts:

  1. Using an online form you input information input about yourself, the financial hardship you faced because of COVID-19, the people in your household, your income, information about your lease and the back rent that you owe, your utility arrears if you have any, and any prior rental assistance you might have received.
  2. After you submit that online form, you have to upload a number of documents to show the following: (a) the identity of each member of your household, (b) your address, (c) the income of all the people in your household, (d) a document showing what your monthly rent is, (e) documents relating to utility arrears if you’re applying for utility arrears. You can find a list of these documents here.

To be approved for assistance, you need to complete both parts of the application. Some may find the document upload process challenging. If you have any problems you should definitely reach out for assistance. Once your application, if you have a case in Housing Court, your case in Housing Court will be stayed pending a determination of your eligibility for the program. If you’re found eligible, the money will be sent directly to your landlord via direct deposit.

The Eviction Moratorium is in effect until August 31, 2021

  • On May 4, 2021, New York state passed a law extending the eviction moratorium from May 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021!
  • To be protected by the eviction moratorium, New Yorkers who have experienced hardship during the COVID-19 period must submit a Hardship Declaration (if you haven’t already) to the Court or their landlord to stay an eviction—or even the filing of an eviction case—until August 31, 2021. 
  • Once a tenant signs the hardship declaration and gives it to their landlord or the Housing Court, any existing eviction case is stayed until August 31, 2021. That means nothing can happen in the case until August 31, 2021. A hardship declaration is a form published by the state court system in which a tenant makes a sworn statement by checking a box on the form that they:
      1. have experienced financial hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic
      2. and/or if the tenant had to leave their home now, it would pose a significant health risk because the tenant or one or more members of the tenant’s household have an increased risk for severe illness or death from COVID-19 due to being over the age of 65, having a disability, or having an underlying medical condition.
  • If your landlord has not already sued you in Housing Court and you give your landlord the hardship declaration, the landlord can’t start any case in Housing Court until August 31, 2021.
  • The landlord can still send rent demands.  Landlords can still send you letters and rent demands for any rent they claim you owe during this time.  However, those rent demands must now come with the hardship declaration. If you provide the hardship declaration to your landlord or the court, that will stop your landlord from starting its case in court until August 31, 2021.
  • Right now, you are still obligated to pay rent. However, as a result of the Tenant Safe Harbor Act, which became law in the summer of 2020, you cannot be evicted for any rent that became due after March 7, 2020, if you experienced financial hardship after March 7, 2020. But your landlord will still be able to sue you in Housing Court for unpaid rent and get a money judgment. Landlords won’t be able to evict you for post-March 7, 2020 rent that you owe until all parts of the state of emergency are lifted, which will likely not be for several months and possibly longer.
  • If you entered into an agreement in court prior to the moratorium that required you to pay rent by a certain date and you can no longer make that payment, your landlord cannot call the marshal/sheriff/law enforcement agency to evict you until February 25, 2021, and a status conference is held. That stay of eviction can be extended to August 31, 2021 if you give your landlord or the court the hardship declaration.

 Other Housing Court Matters

  • Housing Court is open for tenants to file cases such as landlord illegal lockouts, apartment repairs, and applications addressing serious repair orders. You can find more information about how to file those types of cases here.
  • All pending Housing Court matters are still postponed. Do not appear. New appearance dates will be sent to you directly. 
  • Landlords can file new cases. But when a landlord starts a new case, they must provide proof that they served you with the hardship declaration before they started the case. If you receive a hardship declaration from your landlord, sign it, and return it to your landlord (or the court), the landlord can’t start the case against you or move forward with a case until August 31, 2021.
  • There is a limited exception. Landlords can start new cases and not be stopped by the new law, but only if a tenant, “is persistently and unreasonably engaging in behavior that substantially infringes on the use and enjoyment of other tenants or occupants or causes a substantial safety hazard to others, provided.” The law also has a number of safeguards built in to prevent landlords from abusing this limited exception to do an end run around the law.
  • If you receive any legal papers from your landlord, their lawyer, or the Housing Court, DO NOT IGNORE IT. Contact NYLAG’s NY COVID-19 Legal Resource Hotline at (929) 356-9582 or online, or the New York City Office of Civil Justice at (718) 557-1379civiljustice@hra.nyc.gov, or visit their website.
  • Illegal Lockouts If you are an NYC tenant, you can file a case at an emergency courtroom to be let back into your unit. The courts and the City are referring all post-eviction and illegal lockout cases to the Right to Counsel legal services organizations, regardless of where you live or your income.  
  • Vacate orders are still issued when an apartment is dangerous or illegal, and only city agencies can issue them. Landlords are not legally empowered to directly issue vacate orders. During this crisis, we would expect to vacate orders to be rare — in response to truly dangerous situations or as the result of a fire. Once a vacate order is issued, tenants have the right to access relocation services provided by City agencies. Relocation services remain open during the crisis.  

NYCHA and Section 8 Residents

  • Section 8 Vouchers: While the HPD Section 8 Customer Service Office is closed to the public, the HPD Section 8 team is still available to the public. Voucher holders facing rent hardships due to drops in income should email DTRAI@hpd.nyc.gov or fax at 212-863-5299.
  • During this time, any HPD Section 8 voucher set to expire will be automatically renewed. Clients do not need to reach out to HPD for an extension. 
  • All subsidy terminations in the process are suspended until further notice. All tenant conferences & briefings are postponed & will be rescheduled. All hearings for appeal are canceled until further notice. HPD will continue to pay the subsidy until final determinations are made.
  • NYCHA Rent Reduction: A household may qualify for an NYCHA rent reduction based on a rent hardship. NYCHA has simplified its Rent Hardship Policy to make it easier to reduce the rent in NYCHA during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • NYCHA accepts applications through an Interim Recertification if an individual’s hours have been cut at work or for loss of a job.
  • Households can now submit Interim Recertifications for Income Changes via a new simplified Self-Service Portal interface
  • There is no waiting period to apply.
  • Until further notice, NYCHA residents may self-certify their income loss. This means that supporting documents such as pay stubs, a letter from the employer, and/or verification of unemployment benefits, which are usually required to submit the Interim Recertification, are not required at this time.
  • Households now have the ability to contact the Customer Contact Center (CCC) to make these requests over the phone. NYCHA CCC staff is equipped to answer questions related to the Rent Hardship policies put in place in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency. Households can call 718-707-7771 and select option 5.
  • Tenant Protection Information resources for tenants impacted by COVID-19 can be found at the Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants’ webpage here: Information and Resources for NYC Tenants Impacted by COVID-19.

Rental/Emergency Assistance AND Ongoing Cash Assistance Benefits

  • Clients can apply for emergency assistance grants as well as ongoing Cash Assistance through ACCESS HRA, but if you’re applying for rental assistance, it’s best for you to first apply for ERAP. To apply for Cash Assistance, a client does not need to apply for an emergency grant, but we do ask questions during the online application process in order to make sure that an emergency grant is not needed to ensure the financial security of the clients. Therefore, every ACCESS HRA Cash Assistance application starts with a series of emergency indicator questions.
  • As provided previously, below are instructions for applying for Cash Assistance through ACCESS HRA. We encourage organizations to sign up for an ACCESS HRA training webinar for additional information on using our online tools. Click here to view the webinar options.
  • To apply for Cash Assistance or a one-time emergency grant (one-shot deal), clients will need to take the following steps:
  1. Visit ACCESS HRA and log-in
  2. Select the ‘Benefits’ link from the menu options on the homepage
  3. Select ‘Start a New Application’
  4. Select the ‘Cash Assistance’ option on the ‘Select Application’ page
  5. Identify any applicable emergency indicators and click ‘Next’
  6. Select the type of benefits you would like to apply for:
    • Cash Assistance
    • One-Shot Deal, or
    • Child Care without Cash Assistance (CILOCA)
  7. Complete and submit the application
  8. Follow instructions on the ACCESS HRA confirmation page and submit required documents using the ACCESS HRA Mobile App.
  • Clients with an active Cash Assistance case can submit a special grant request for rent or utility arrears via ACCESS HRA. To submit a Cash Assistance Special Grant Request, clients will need to:
  1. Visit ACCESS HRA and log-in
  2. Enter identifying information to ‘Find My Case’ and link to your HRA case
  3. Select ‘View Case’ in the ACCESS HRA user home page
  4. Select ‘Request Special Grant,’ located on the left-hand side
  5. Identify the special grant you are requesting, complete the request and submit
  6. Follow instructions in confirmation and submit required documents using the ACCESS HRA Mobile App.

If you’re an NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney. If you need legal assistance, contact us for help. 

Immigration Court

Opening dates for some non-detained courts: Hearings in non-detained cases at courts without an announced date are postponed through, and including, July 5, 2021. The New York non-detained Immigration Court will reopen for limited hearings on July 6, 2021. 

  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and both the New York and Newark Asylum Offices in Bethpage NY and Manhattan are reopened for interviews.
  • Please visit the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) website for information on which courts are open.
  • Postponements:
    • All New York immigration court non-detained hearings between now and July 5, 2021, are postponed and you should not appear.
    • The New York immigration courts will reopen on July 6, 2021 for limited hearings. New hearing dates should be sent to you. 
    • All New York immigration court detained hearings are still being held.
    • Check the court’s website for updated information and postponements.
    • Find out if your case has been rescheduled:
      • For both detained and non-detained cases, you can call the immigration court’s automated system at 800-898-7180 and enter your 9-digit alien registration number (“A number”) to find out if your case has been rescheduled.

ICE Check-ins

  • ICE has resumed limited in-person check-ins. Please check with your attorney or with the ICE office to see if your appointment will move forward or be rescheduled.
  • Check the ICE Twitter feed @ICEgov for updates. An official will call to reschedule for a new check-in date.

US Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) Appointments

  • USCIS appointments, biometrics, oath ceremonies, and Asylum Interviews began limited in-person appointments on June 4, 2020.
  • The New York Field Office which includes 26 Federal Plaza and the Bethpage Asylum Office is now open. Interviews and oath ceremonies started in June.
  • Check http://www.uscis.gov for the latest updates. Read this memo on how appointments will be scheduled.

Public Charge

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it would not consider testing, treatment, or preventive care related to COVID-19 for the purposes of public charge, even if public benefits are used for care. Clients can seek necessary medical treatment for COVID-19 without fear.

Health coverage

  • If you are feeling sick but are nervous to go to the doctor because you are undocumented, please know that individuals who are undocumented can enroll in Emergency Medicaid through the Marketplace. Your status will not be shared. Emergency Medicaid covers emergency conditions only.
  • All New Yorkers with low-income regardless of immigration status can access free or low-cost health care at New York City Health + Hospitals locations. Anyone who is uninsured can enroll in the Health + Hospitals Options program at 844-NYC-4NYC.

Because information is changing daily and there is a lot of misinformation, please consult with a lawyer. If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.

How to Apply for Medicaid and Are You Eligible?

The rules are easier for those who are under 65 or, if younger, do not have Medicare. They are discussed first below. See further below for Medicaid for seniors age 65+ or people with disabilities who have Medicare.

  1. If you are under age 65 and do not have Medicare. It is easier to get Medicaid for people in this group because there is no limit on “assets,” which means it does not matter how much money they have in the bank, in investments, or real property.
    • Eligibility is based on their “income” – wages, Social Security, pensions, IRA distributions, regular Unemployment insurance, interest and dividends, and other types of income.
    • If you are under 65 and do not have Medicare, and your income is too high for Medicaid, you may be eligible for the Essential Plan.
    • Here are the income limits for Medicaid and the Essential Plan for singles and couples in this age category. (Bigger households have higher limits).

Household size 

Medicaid (Higher if pregnant or for child under 18) 

ESSENTIAL PLAN 

1 

$1,482 

$2,128 

2 

$2,004

$2,874 

HOW TO APPLY and LEARN if YOU ARE ELIGIBLE:
WHEN TO APPLY – 
  • Medicaid or Essential Plan: You can always enroll in Medicaid or the Essential Plan any time of the year
  • Qualified Health Plans: For those whose income is too high for Medicaid or the Essential Plan, Open Enrollment has been extended through December 31, 2021. Look for updates here.   You must apply within 60 days of losing employment-related coverage.
  • Get help with enrolling in any of these plans with a navigator or Community Health Advocates at 1-888-614-5400.
  • Get help with enrolling in any of these plans with a navigator or Community Health Advocates at 1-888-614-5400.
2. People age 65+ or who are younger, disabled and have Medicare

The rules are stricter for people who are age 65 or older or, if younger, have Medicare because of disability. For them, there is a limit on INCOME and also on their ASSETS.

  • See this Fact sheet that explains the rules on eligibility for Medicaid for people age 65+ or younger and disabled.
  • The Economic Stimulus payments and the Pandemic Unemployment benefits ($300/week) DO NOT count as income for Medicaid.
APPLICATIONS
New York City-  Medicaid applications for Age 65+, Disabled can be Faxed
  • You can now fax a Medicaid application to 917-639-0732. This includes people applying for Medicaid in order to obtain home care or enroll in a Managed Long Term care plan. You can fax a pooled income trust with the application with the required documents described here.
  • If you have an Immediate Need for home care, you can FAX the Medicaid application and home care request to 1-917-639-0665 – see this Fact sheet for requirements.
  • Your doctor can complete the Form M11q required for Immediate Need requests by telehealth or telephone. The doctor should write on page 1 for “place of this examination” that the assessment was done by telehealth or telephone. If your doctor cannot complete the M11q, they can call in a verbal Order to 212-274-5143, and later provide the signed M11q.
  • To submit a pooled trust after Medicaid is already approved, fax with the new Form MAP 751w to 917-639-0645. Note on the form whether you are enrolled in an MLTC plan or are receiving home care services.
HRA prefers faxing applications during the pandemic, but if you cannot fax:
  • Mail a Medicaid application to HRA–MICSA Mail-in Unit 505 Clermont Ave, 5th floor Brooklyn, NY 11238.
  • If you are applying for Medicaid in order to enroll in a Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) plan, mail your application here:

HRA–HCSP Central Medicaid Unit 785 Atlantic Avenue, 7th Fl Brooklyn, NY 11238

  • To apply in person, there is one Medicaid office open in each borough. You can not apply for Medicaid online if you are 65+ or if you are <65 and you have Medicare.
  • Contact a Facilitated Enroller for the Aged-Blind-Disabled for help with applying (in NYC).

COUNTIES OUTSIDE NYC – Check with your county to see if they are accepting applications by fax, mail or online. You can consult a Facilitated Enroller for the Aged-Blind-Disabled (outside of NYC)(in NYC) to help you apply.

WHAT TO SUBMIT WITH MEDICAID APPLICATION
  • The NYS Department of Health (DOH) has released Relaxed Requirements for Medicaid Eligibility & Enrollment because of the public health emergency. (See also this guidance).
  • YOU DO NOT NEED TO SUBMIT DOCUMENTS to prove the following- you can simply “attest” to:
    • The amount of your income and assets, including the amount of distributions from your IRA.
    • You must include Supplement A with the application (DOH–5178A). You can write in the types and amount of each of your assets, but do not have to attach proof because of the emergency.
    • If you are applying for Nursing Home Medicaid, you can attest that you and your spouse have not transferred assets in the last 5 years.
    • YOU DO NOT HAVE TO enroll in Medicare in order to apply for Medicaid if you are 65, or to apply for VA benefits if you are a veteran.
    • YOU STILL NEED TO document your citizenship or immigration status. However, if you do not have documents, you will be given 90 days of coverage while you try to get documentation. If you still can’t get documentation, and there is still an emergency, you will get a 90-day extension.
    • Surplus or Spend-down (Excess Income) –if you met your spend-down or used “Pay-In” for March, or for any month during the emergency, your coverage will be extended for six months.
      • If you are unable to submit a bill, contact your local Medicaid agency. (In NYC, call the HRA Surplus line 1-929-221-0835 and leave a message with your name, phone number, and Medicaid number, the amount of the bill, the date of service and name of the provider.  You will only receive a call back if they need more information.  Otherwise, your coverage will be extended for six months.   See the instructions here on page 2 under “Surplus”.
    • Any in person-appointment requirements are eliminated at this time.

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG representative.

For more information about Medicaid during the COVID-19 Emergency:

  • See NYC Medicaid agency information about COVID-19 here
  • See NYS Fact Sheet on Medicaid and COVID-19 here
  • See more information in this article.

People who have Medicare and are age 21+ who need Home Care Have TWO Options to apply for Home Care:

  1. Managed Long Term Care (MLTC) plans – Most adults who have must enroll in an MLTC plan  to receive home care:
    • First, you must have Medicaid to enroll in MLTC. If you do not yet have Medicaid, see the applying drow-down on this page. 
    • Next, call New York Medicaid Choice to request a “Conflict-free” nursing assessment. These are generally done in your home, but because of the pandemic, part of the assessment may be done by phone (“telehealth.”) 
    • If NY Medicaid Choice approves you for MLTC, contact an MLTC plan to request enrollment. (At this link, scroll down to HEALTH PLAN LISTS and then to LONG TERM CARE PLANS in your area). Normally the MLTC nurse visits you at home, but under State guidance issued March 18th, they should conduct this assessment by phone or telehealth. If they are not willing to conduct the assessment by phone, complain to the State Dept. of Health at 1-866-712-71975 or email mltctac@health.ny.gov or call ICAN.
    • If you are already in an MLTC plan, and need more services, the plan should conduct the assessment by telephone or telehealth. If they do not, complain to the State Dept. of Health or call ICAN (see above contacts).
  2. IMMEDIATE NEED HOMECARE – Since applying for Medicaid and enrolling in an MLTC plan can take a long time, adults age 21+ who have Medicare may apply to their local Department of Social Services for both Medicaid and personal care or Consumer-Directed Personal Assistance services based on “Immediate Need.”
  • If you do not already have Medicaid, you can submit the Medicaid application with this request. If you do have Medicaid, include your Medicaid case number on the application. 
  • Physicians can fill out the required physician’s form based on talking to you on the phone or doing a telehealth examination to assess home care needs. In NYC, use the M11q form , and outside NYC use the Form DOH-4359. In NYC, if your doctor cannot fill out the M11q because of the pandemic, they can call in a verbal order to 212-274-5143, but must provide the signed M11q within 120 days.
  • Your local Medicaid office can then conduct the nursing assessment and social assessment by telephone or telehealth.
  • Click here for a Fact sheet on applying for Immediate Need in NYC.  Outside NYC, use Physician’s form DOH-4359 and ask your county how to file the application.

People who have Medicaid but do not have Medicare or other health insurance who need home care

  • They are usually in Medicaid managed care plans that provide all of their Medicaid services. To get home care, their physician must fill out the required M11q form (NYC)(use DOH-4359 outside NYC) following a remote (telephone or telehealth) examination to assess home care needs.

Other Home Care Changes because of the Coronavirus:

  • Periodic home care reassessments by the MLTC or managed care plan or local Medicaid agency are suspended – home care should be reauthorized without requiring a reassessment. In the past, all home care was reassessed every six months. Now, reassessments will be once a year, unless you request a change in your care plan before the annual reassessment because of a change in your condition or other circumstances.
    • On October 14, 2020, the state lifted its previous COVID-19 suspension of the annual health assessment for home care aides. All home care aides must obtain an annual health assessment by December 31, 2020.
    • Now that both the federal and NYS government have opened up visitation in nursing homes, your local Medicaid office, managed care or MLTC plan should be willing to send a nurse to assess you for home care. See federal CMS guidance expanding Nursing Home Visitation dated April 27, 2021 and State guidance dated March 25, 2021.
    • According to DOH guidance (updated June 18, 2020), home health aides must be screened for illness before meeting with home care recipients. Those who have been potentially exposed need to be self-quarantined.
    • You may voluntarily pause or reduce the home care you receive from an MLTC plan, a managed care plan, or your local Medicaid agency. You might want to do this if you are concerned about exposure to the virus, or if your family is able to help you because they are not working. See NYLAG’s Know Your Rights Fact Sheet for MLTC Membersabout the State’s COVID-19 Guidance for Voluntary Plan of Care Schedule Change (April 23, 2020).

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney

For more information about Medicaid during the COVID-19 Emergency:

  • See NYC Medicaid agency information about COVID-19 here
  • See NYS Fact Sheet on Medicaid and COVID-19 here
  • See more information in this article.

If you already have Medicaid, under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act, no Medicaid recipient will lose their coverage after March 18, 2020, through the end of the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency. 

  • If your Medicaid is due for annual recertification, with last year’s authorization ending any time between the end of March 2020 and the end of July 2021, your Medicaid cannot be discontinued whether or not you return the renewal package. Your Medicaid coverage will be automatically extended for 12 months. We expect this special rule will be extended to authorizations that end later in 2021 as well, but we are awaiting word from the government.
  • If your renewal is pending, no matter what you did or did not submit, your Medicaid cannot be discontinued after March 18, 2020.
  • Also, your Medicaid cannot be discontinued even if you do not respond to a request for information about your assets, or if you do not enroll in Medicare or Veteran’s benefits.
  • If your SSI or temporary cash assistance was discontinued, or if you were recently enrolled in Medicare, normally you would receive notice to submit renewal forms to keep Medicaid. You may still receive these renewal forms, but because of this emergency, you will automatically keep Medicaid for 12 months, even if you do not return the renewal forms. See info here
  • If you have Medicaid with a “spend-down” or “excess income,” usually you must submit proof every month that you had medical expenses that meet your spend-down amount.   During the COVID public health emergency,  if you submit bills to meet your spend-down or used “Pay-In” for any month since March 2020,  your coverage will be extended for six months.
    • If you are unable to submit a bill, contact your local Medicaid agency. (In NYC, call the HRA Surplus line 1-929-221-0835 and leave a message with your name, phone number, and Medicaid number, the amount of the bill, the date of service and name of the provider.  You will only receive a call back if they need more information.  Otherwise your coverage will be extended for six months.   See the instructions here on page 2 under “Surplus”.

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.

If your Medicaid is discontinued despite the special rules described above, immediately request a Fair Hearing and request “aid continuing.” Use lawhelpNY.org to find help. If you receive Medicaid home care and your case is discontinued, call ICAN at 1-844-614-8800.

For more information about Medicaid during the COVID-19 Emergency:

  • See NYC Medicaid agency information about COVID-19 here
  • See NYS Fact Sheet on Medicaid and COVID-19 here
  • See more information in this article.

Cost-sharing should be waived for COVID-19 testing and treatment in doctor’s offices or emergency rooms, and telehealth services. There is added flexibility for prior authorization requirements, prescription refill limits, and mail delivery of medications.

Also, the federal Medicare agency expanded Medicare coverage for temporary stays in a Skilled Nursing Facility. There is no 3-day hospital stay requirement for Skilled Nursing Facility coverage. Also, if the 100-day limit for Medicare coverage of a rehab stay has been exhausted, renewed Medicare coverage can be authorized, without requiring the usual 60-day period outside of the facility. See more here.

See here for updates on the NYS courts.

Family and Supreme Courts are physically closed except for individuals who are ordered by the Court to appear in person, or for individuals who have no ability to access the courts through technology, including phone.

Supreme Court is accepting all filings. Family Courts are accepting all filings, but they continue to prioritize the scheduling of emergency filings which include new requests for orders of protection or violations of existing orders, writs, and some juvenile delinquency and child protective matters. You can file custody/visitation and support matters, but it is unclear how long it will take to receive a court date for those cases. 

To file:

  • Orders of protection/ Writs:
    • To file, pro se litigants may email their applications to: NYFCApplications@nycourts.gov. You can also call to get filing assistance from a court clerk, at 646-386-5299. For non-urgent matters, you may also mail applications to the relevant Family Court. If you need assistance in filing for an order of protection, please reach out to our DVLU Unit, Safe Horizon, or the Family Justice Centers to receive immediate assistance.
  • Support matters:
    • To file, pro se litigants may email their applications to: NYFCSupport@nycourts.gov or mail applications in to the relevant Family Court. They can also call to get filing assistance from a court clerk, at 646-386-5299. The cases will be date stamped in, so any future order may be retroactive to that filing date. 

      stamped in, so any future order may be retroactive to that filing date.

  • At this point, all cases that were filed before the pandemic that was delayed and had no court appearances in the pandemic should have received a new court date. If you filed a case in advance of the pandemic and still don’t have a court date, you should reach out to the court clerk and/or check Webfamily at https://iapps.courts.state.ny.us/fcasfamily/main to find out your next court date. Please keep in mind the need to update the court with any current contact information if that has changed, or you may miss notices.
  • Nearly all court appearances are being conducted remotely by Microsoft Teams or telephone.
  • This is for pending cases and alternative dispute resolution (ADR). The conferences must be done remotely by Skype or telephone

If you are a client, please reach out to your NYLAG attorney for updates on your case.

  • New York has in place executive orders with regard to notarization and witnessing of documents, which will enable documents such as advance directives to be executed via audio-video technology. They are currently extended until June 24, 2021.
  • Notaries can check for future extensions here: Notary Public | Department of State (ny.gov)
  • A new Power of Attorney law will go into effect on June 13, 2021. The new law makes substantial changes to the statutory short form Power of Attorney and the old statutory forms should not be used after this date. Existing Powers of Attorney remain effective if they were validly executed prior to June 13, 2021. You can read more about the new Power of Attorney here.
  • Read this NYLAG resource for more information on other long-term planning documents.

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.

  • All in-person Human Resources Administration (HRA) appointments are canceled. No negative case actions are being taken for missed appointments: For appointments that were already scheduled, there will be no negative case action taken for failure to attend.
  • You can use ACCESS HRA to apply for benefits, recertify, and make case changes. HRA has expanded the use of ACCESS HRA for Cash Assistance (CA) applications, including emergency benefits. You are encouraged to upload documents using the mobile app or you can fax documents to their center (a list of job centers with fax numbers is here).
  • The ACCESS HRA mobile app can be used to upload documents needed for eligibility determinations, as well as submitting recertification forms. It can also be used to submit requests for special grants and emergency assistance.
  • Don’t have internet access? You may call INFOLINE at 718-557-1399, and ask for a Cash Assistance / SNAP application to be mailed to them. HRA can process Cash Assistance and SNAP applications over the phone for clients who cannot use ACCESSHRA. HRA has obtained a signature waiver allowing them to process applications for clients over the telephone, for clients who cannot use ACCESSHRA.
  • Are you homebound or do you need a home visit? You may call HRA’s Office of Constituent Services at (212) 331-4640.
  • Emergency Allotments (EA) will be issued to SNAP households that did not receive the maximum allotment for the months of March 2020-January 2021. These households will receive a supplement to bring them up to the maximum benefit level for the household size. Emergency Allotments are approved by the federal government each month, and announced from the beginning to the middle of the month in which the supplement will be issued.
  • Maximum SNAP Allotments have been increased from January 1-June 30, 2021. Clients will receive a supplement for the month of January to bring them up to the new level. Beginning in February, new budgets will be calculated based on the new maximum. Below is a new chart with SNAP Maximum Allotments for Jan 1-June 30, 2021:
Household Size
Maximum Allotment
1
$234
2
$430
3
$616
4
$782
5
$929
6
$1,114
7
$1,232
8
$1,408
Each Additional Member
+$176
  • EBT cards can no longer be picked up at 109 East 16th Street. All Cash Assistance and SNAP applicants who have been approved for benefits will receive an EBT card in the mail. If an applicant’s EBT card has not yet arrived, they can go to one of seven open center locations for a temporary (Vault) card that will have all benefits available until the EBT card arrives. Please see the list of HRA office locations here. If necessary, applicants can go to the Over the Counter (OTC) service center at 227 Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn for their permanent card.
  • They can also go online to www.connectebt.com or call EBT Customer Service at (888) 328-6399 for account information or to request that a replacement Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card for SNAP or Cash Assistance be mailed to them.
  • HRA has increased the amount of burial/funeral services allowance from $900 to $1,700 with a funeral cost cap of $3,400. This is available to individuals regardless of immigration status. Click here to obtain more information.
  • The recertification period for Cash Assistance and SNAP have been extended for some clients: Cases with certification periods scheduled to end in March-August of 2020 were extended by 6 months from the original date they were set to expire. Clients who already received an extension will be required to recertify at their next certification date, which might be coming up now. If you receive a notice telling you to recertify, this means that you probably received an extension in March-August, and you must complete recertification at this time. You may complete recertification online or by mail. You may go into a center, if necessary. For clients whose certification period was not extended in March-August, they may receive an extension now, and should not be notified by HRA that they need to recertify.
  • Most Job Centers and SNAP centers have remained closed until further notice: For clients who need to go in person, there will be 7 Job Centers, 5 SNAP Centers, and 10 HASA offices that will remain open. Please visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/hra/locations/locations.page before visiting any center.
  • Treasury Offset Program re-started on October 10, 2020 after a temporary suspension period starting on March 27, 2020: Claims that were previously active in TOP at the time of the suspension will be reactivated, and new claims will become active.
  • The Federal Emergency Relief Act extends Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefits (FPUC) of $300 per week through March 14, 2021. This FPUC of $300 will not be counted as income when budgeting for SNAP, Cash Assistance, and HEAP, and any lump sum received will not subject a recipient to a period of ineligibility for these benefits.
  • SNAP Student Eligibility:
    • The Federal Emergency Relief Act temporarily amends the SNAP student eligibility rules the following ways, in effect until 30 days after the COVID-19 federal public health emergency is lifted:
      • A student is eligible if she or he is eligible to participate in state or federal work-study, regardless of whether the student is actively employed or participating in work study; and
      • Any students that have an “expected family contribution” of $0 may participate in SNAP, if otherwise eligible.
    • SNAP Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWD) rules suspended.
  • Pandemic EBT:
    • Pandemic EBT is a nutritional assistance program similar to SNAP that provides additional funds for groceries for families with children who are eligible for free or reduced lunch. There is no application process for P-EBT the benefits will be automatically issued by the State to EBT cards for families with eligible children. P-EBT benefits will remain in effect until the end of the scheduled school year (through June 26, 2020). P-EBT has been authorized for school year 2020-2021, but not yet distributed.
    • Please see https://otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/Frequently-Asked-Questions-Pandemic-EBT.asp for the most up-to-date information about P-EBT benefits
    • Unlike SNAP, P-EBT is available to people who are undocumented.
    • P-EBT is not counted under the federal public charge rule.
    • SNAP purchasing rules apply.
    • For issues with P-EBT benefits, State OTDA is providing a P-EBT helpline at 833-452-0096. The helpline is available from 8:30 am – 5 pm Monday through Friday. Translation services are available. Questions can also be submitted through the State’s contact form regarding P-EBT food benefits.

See the “Housing (evictions, NYCHA)” section on this page for information on rental/emergency assistance. 

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.

  • Social Security offices are closed to the public and all services are being conducted by phone and online. Individuals who cannot complete their Social Security business online should call their local offices directly. The numbers can be found by zip code here.

  • SSA COVID-19 Policy updates can be found here. All Social Security benefits (disability/retirement/SSI) will be paid out normally.

  • If you received a denial of a disability application, you can file a reconsideration here. If you received a denial of a disability reconsideration, you can file a hearing request here. If you need help filing a reconsideration or a hearing request, you can contact NYLAG for assistance. Please leave your name and phone number and you will receive a callback.

  • Social Security has begun to process new suspensions and overpayment collections. If you get a notice about a suspension or termination of benefits, you can contact NYLAG for assistance.

  • If your benefits are currently terminated or suspended but you think you are eligible for benefits, contact SSA by phone to request reconsideration or reinstatement of benefits. These cases are still being processed at the local office level. You can file a reconsideration electronically here. You can contact NYLAG for assistance on these issues.

  • SSA is still holding hearings by phone currently, and soon by web video. If you want to have an in-person hearing, you need to let SSA know that you do not want a phone hearing. More information about SSA hearings can be found here and the contact information for the hearing offices can be found here.

  • The Inspector-General of Social Security is warning the public about fraudulent letters threatening suspension of Social Security benefits due to COVID-19-related office closures. Read the fraud advisory.

  • See the Economic Stimulus Section on NYLAG’s webpage for more information and here

Our intake is currently open for disability appeals, Continuing Disability Reviews, age 18 redeterminations, terminations, and suspensions for individuals under age 65 who are financially eligible for our services. If you’re not a NYLAG client and you want help on a Social Security matter, please call 212-613-5024 and leave your name and phone number. You will receive a callback.

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG advocate directly. Please leave a message. We are regularly checking our NYLAG voicemail.

After facing intense opposition to his decision to close public schools, on November 29, Mayor de Blasio announced a new re-opening plan:

  1. Students in 3K, pre-K and K-5 will be able to return to school on December 7 if their families had previously chosen the blended option plan (which included some in-person learning). On the other hand, students whose families, prior to November 15, had not chosen the blended option (instead opting for all remote learning) will remain fully remote.
  2. Students who attend District 75 schools, regardless of age/grade, will return to school on December 10. District 75 schools are attended by some children with special needs.
  3. There is currently no timeline for when students in middle school or high school can return to school.
  4. Students who return to school – with the exception of those in 3K, pre-K and K, as well as those with medical conditions – will be tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis.
  5. Mayor de Blasio has pledged that the entire NYC public school system will NOT be shut down again.
  • On his first day, President Biden and his administration have extended the suspension of federal student loan payments and interest; borrowers will not have to make payments until October 1 at the earliest.
  • The U.S. Department of Education announced that during the COVID-19 national emergency, borrowers can suspend federal student loan payments for at least 60 days with 0% interest.
  • Principal and interest payments on federally-held student loans are automatically suspended through October 31, 2021. 

If you’re an NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.

  • New York State Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefits are available to workers who have lost work through no fault of their own, including for reasons related to the Coronavirus pandemic. These benefits are not available to workers who are employed and able to work remotely, or to those on paid leave.
  • Click here for the current Department of Labor (DOL) instructions for filing an unemployment insurance claim online. Note that New York State is waiving the statutory 7-day waiting period to apply.
  • The federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act significantly expanded on the protections of the NYS UI system, adding the following programs:
    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): is available to workers ineligible for traditional UI benefits, including independent contractors, self-employed workers, students, and those without sufficient work history to qualify for state UI benefits. PUA is available to those who have lost their jobs for reasons directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic and may be available to workers who are forced to quit their jobs due to the pandemic. However, it is not advisable to quit your job in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits. PUA has been extended in the most recent COVID relief law and is now available under September 6, 2021. The maximum duration of PUA benefits has been increased to 79 weeks. 

    • Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (PUC): adds a supplemental payment of $300 per week to claimants’ weekly UI earnings. That $300 payment has been renewed in the most recent COVID relief law and has been extended through September 6, 2021. (This is the same payment that had previously been a $600 benefit, which expired in the last full week of July 2020 and was replaced with the $300 payment per week from December 28, 2020 through March 14, 2021.)

    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): extends UI benefits beyond the typical benefit year, and has been extended in this most recent COVID relief law, to between 79 and 86 weeks of benefits (depending on the state’s unemployment rate). (The original program expired on December 27, 2020 and was extended through March 14, 2021, for a total of 24 weeks of additional benefits.)
    • Lost Wages Assistance (LWA): This is no longer in effect. It was a partial and temporary replacement for the $600 per week PUC payment. It paid eligible claimants a supplement of $300 per week, retroactive to August 1, 2020 through September 6, 2020. The LWA program ended with the December 27, 2020 COVID-19 relief package.

    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC): originally this program added 13 weeks of benefits for individuals who had been on UI benefits but had exhausted their initial 26 weeks of state benefits. The original program expired on December 27, 2020 and has now been extended through March 14, 2021, and increased to provide a total of 24 weeks of additional benefits.

    • Extended Benefits (EB): This is no longer in effect. EB added another 20 weeks to a claimant’s individual eligibility, effective May 3, 2020, on top of the initial 13 weeks of PEUC that were added to a claimant’s initial 26 weeks of UI benefits. This brought the total duration of UI benefits to 59 weeks. EB was not extended by Congress in the COVID-19 relief package.

    • Updated information from the NY DOL about claimants’ eligibility under the above programs remains to be updated.

    • Immigrants are only eligible for UI where they can provide a valid Social Security number or work authorization.

    • Claimants who are denied benefits are entitled to ask for a hearing. You will know you were denied benefits if you receive a Notice of Determination, explaining the reasons for your denial. More information about the hearing process is available here.

    • The DOL is in the process of establishing a waiver application, which would allow claimants to request forgiveness of overpayments of federal unemployment insurance, i.e., benefits that were paid to claimants who were later found not to be eligible. A claimant who received an overpayment of benefits may apply for a waiver if the claimant was not at fault for the overpayment, and if the claimant can show that recovery of the overpayment would be “contrary to equity and good conscious.” The DOL is still developing the application process and it is expected to announce the program on its website soon.

UPDATED RULES IN NEW YORK FOR PARTIAL UNEMPLOYMENT IN EFFECT JANUARY 18, 2021

Governor Cuomo announced on January 18, 2021 new measures for the eligibility and payment of partial unemployment benefits. Under this new system, unemployed New Yorkers can work up to seven days per week and still receive some unemployment benefits as long as they work fewer than 30 hours and earn no more than $504 in gross pay.

The changes will go into effect for work done on or after Monday, January 18, 2021, which unemployed New Yorkers certify for starting on Sunday, January 24, 2021.

The new method of calculating partial benefits is outlined below:

  • New Yorkers who work between zero and four hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive their full unemployment benefit;
  • New Yorkers who work between four and ten hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive 75 percent of their unemployment benefit;
  • New Yorkers who work between ten and 20 hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive half of their unemployment benefit;
  • New Yorkers who work between 20 and 30 hours in a week and earn no more than $504 will receive 25 percent of their unemployment benefit;
  • New Yorkers who work over 30 hours in a week, regardless of earnings, will not receive any of their unemployment benefits.

New Yorkers will still be required to submit weekly certifications online or over the phone to receive their benefits each week. Claimants should know that, for the time being, they will still be asked how many “days” they worked in the previous week. Claimants should add up

the total number of hours they worked in that previous week and use the following guidelines for reporting “days” worked:

  • New Yorkers who work between zero and four hours in a week should report zero days worked
  • New Yorkers who work between four and ten hours in a week should report one day worked
  • New Yorkers who work between ten and 20 hours in a week should report two days worked
  • New Yorkers who work between 20 and 30 hours in a week should report three days worked
  • New Yorkers who work over 30 hours in a week should report four days worked

More information on the DOL website, including a FAQ, is available here.

If you’re a NYLAG client and have specific questions about your case, contact your NYLAG attorney.

  • Student Veterans: Emergency legislation continues GI Bill Benefits for student veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic. For individual questions, veterans can contact the VA Education Call Center at 1-888-442-4551.
  • Deadlines: Until further notice, veterans have the option to submit paperwork late for the following actions: (1) perfecting claims, (2) challenging adverse decisions, (3) submitting Notices of Disagreement, (4) submitting Substantive Appeals, and (5) responding to Supplemental Statements of the Case. Veterans do not need to proactively request an extension in advance. For more details call 1-800-827-1000 or visit here.
  • Disability Examinations: As of September 22nd, all VA facilities and contracted private facilities are scheduling in-person C&P examinations for disability compensation benefits claims. If you are concerned about your safety traveling to or attending a C&P examination, contact the scheduling facility or the VA (1-800-827-1000) to discuss your options.
  • Other Questions: Additional information Veterans should know about COVID-19 can be found here.

Veterans and their family members can email vethelp@nylag.org or call our veterans’ intake line at 212.946.0343.

*Last updated June 25th, 2021. This is not an exhaustive list and information is changing rapidly. This does not constitute legal advice nor does it substitute for legal advice. 

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