COVID-19 Resources & Legal Forms

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NYS COVID-19 Emotional Support Helpline: 844-863-9314

Email

If you have access to a smartphone, tablet, or computer and the internet, email is a free, quick, and convenient way to communicate with your LSHV attorney. Learn how to set up an account here: https://www.wikihow.com/Set-Up-an-Email-Address

Stimulus checks

If you did not receive a stimulus check or the supplemental $500 payment for qualifying children, review this https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-takes-new-steps-to-ensure-people-with-children-receive-500-economic-impact-payments IRS website for current information.

Know Your Rights Video: What to know about stimulus payments under the CARES Act if you are an immigrant

Power Point: Stimulus Payment

 

Resources By Legal Practice Area

Benefits

Department of Labor FAQs on unemployment

For the New York State Department of Labor’s unemployment filing website, click here: https://www.labor.ny.gov/home/

If you have an unemployment hearing that has already been scheduled, click here: https://uiappeals.ny.gov/

For DSS applications for public assistance and SNAP, click here: http://otda.ny.gov/programs/applications/

For a guide to accessing public benefits at this time, click here: https://cssny.s3.amazonaws.com/system/files/uploads/Coronavirus_-_Impact_of_on_Public_Benefits.pdf

Know Your Rights Video: unemployment insurance benefits in COVID-19

Know Your Rights Video: What to know if you need to apply for Temporary Assistance during Covid-19

Know Your Rights Video: What to know if you have emergency needs at this time

Power Point: Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Power Point: New York State Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Power Point: Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act

Power Point: Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Power Point: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

Consumer

If your wages are being garnished and/or your bank account is restrained, and this is because a private creditor (like a credit card company) has a judgment against you, and you cannot buy necessary items because of this, here are instructions consumer OSC instructions and the forms to fill out proposed order; statement in support; notice of emergency filing. Please call our intake number for assistance filling out this form.

Know Your Rights Video: Student and Medical Debts in the Time of Covid-19

Power Point: Student and Medical Debt

Power Point: Consumer and Utility Law

Domestic violence/orders of protection

Westchester residents can contact the Pace Women’s Justice center: PWJC services during Covid 19. All NYS residents can call the court’s corona virus hotline, 833-503-0447 to get in touch with court personnel about filing an order of protection, and the court expects to post more information on its website soon.

Know Your Rights Video: Obtaining an Order of Protection From Family Court During the COVID-19 Crisis

Education

Know Your Rights Video: Special Education During COVID-19

Elder Law

View webinars by Senior Law Day Collaborative here: https://www.seniorlawday.info/2020-webinars/

Foreclosure

Foreclosures Stayed in New York

On December 28, 2020, the New York legislature passed the COVID-19 Emergency Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Act (CEEFPA) and Governor Cuomo signed it immediately into law that same day.

What does the CEEFPA law do?

CEEFPA immediately put into place a 60-day stay /pause of all residential foreclosure actions until February 26, 2021 and allows a homeowner time to sign a COVID-19 hardship declaration form that if signed and sent to the court and/or foreclosing party will further delay the foreclosure until May 1, 2021.

NOTE: This delays the foreclosure court case but it does not forgive payments and late fees you owe.

What types of foreclosures, owners, and mortgages are eligible?

All residential foreclosures are subject to the CEEFPA stays, even ones where the Judgment of Foreclosure and Sale has been signed but not brought to auction or sale yet (at least until a status conference is held by the court). Any foreclosures that get filed between December 29, 2020 and January 27, 2021 will also be subject to this law.

CEEFPA applies to all residential foreclosures where the owner is a natural person who owns 10 or fewer units (combined counted across all properties owned by the person).  It applies to co-op and condominium foreclosures as well as tax lien foreclosures in addition to mortgage foreclosures.  This new law does not apply to vacant and abandoned properties listed on the statewide vacant and abandoned building list prior to March 7, 2020. This law does not apply to mortgage loans made, insured, purchased or securitized by SONYMA ( “a corporate governmental agency of the state constituted as a political subdivision and public benefit corporation”).

How does the law work?

If you are already in foreclosure proceedings in court, the court will send you a copy of the hardship declaration form and if you have had a COVID-19 hardship listed on the form, you would complete the form and sign it, then mail it back to the court. If the form was mailed to you from the foreclosing party, then the foreclosing party will provide you a mail and email address where you can send the completed form.  You should also send it to the court if a foreclosure lawsuit has already been started against you.  ALWAYS keep a copy or photos of your completed form for your records and as proof you completed and sent the form.

If you have not been sent the form by the court or the foreclosing party yet, you can download the form from the Court system here.

If no hardship declaration is submitted by the homeowner, the foreclosure action can start moving forward again after February 26, 2021.

If a Judgment of foreclosure and Sale was signed but no auction or sale was held yet, the Court must hold a status conference and must be stayed at least until the conference is held. If the homeowner provides a signed hardship declaration at or before this status conference, the foreclosure will be stayed until May 1, 2021.

Recognized hardships

CEEFPA recognized the following COVID-19-related hardships in the hardship declaration:

  1. Significant loss of household income during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. Increase in necessary out-of-pocket expenses related to performing essential work or related to health impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Childcare responsibilities or responsibilities to care for an elderly, disabled, or sick family member during the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively affected my ability or the ability of someone in my household to obtain meaningful employment or earn income or increased my necessary out-of-pocket expenses.
  4. Moving expenses and difficulty I have securing alternative housing make it a hardship for me to relocate to another residence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. Other circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic have negatively affected my ability to obtain meaningful employment or earn income or have significantly reduced my household income or significantly increased my expenses.
  6. One or more of my tenants has defaulted on a significant amount of their rent payments since March 1, 2020. To the extent that I have lost household income or had increased expenses, any public assistance, including unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment assistance, disability insurance, or paid family leave, that I have received since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic does not fully make up for my loss of household income or increased expenses.

New foreclosure filings

If a foreclosure case has not been filed yet and a homeowner submits a hardships declaration, then the foreclosing party cannot file a new action until after May 1, 2021.

If no hardship declaration has been completed and submitted to the potential foreclosing party, no new foreclosure filings will be accepted by the court unless the foreclosing party filed proof of sending the hardship form to the homeowner and filing an affidavit that the foreclosing party has not yet received back a completed hardship form from the homeowner.

The court must also check with the homeowner to see if they received the hardship form and if the homeowner indicates that have not, then the court must provide the form and stay the foreclosure at least 10 business days for the homeowner to consider and return the form.  If the homeowner does not complete and return the form after the above procedure, then the court can proceed with the foreclosure as normal.

Tax lien foreclosures

Courts overseeing tax lien and “in rem” tax foreclosures, are not required to send out the form as they would in mortgage foreclosure cases.  Instead, the foreclosing party or enforcing officer of the entity conducting the foreclosure, must inform the homeowner of their rights under CEEFPA at least 30 days before the tax lien sale’s scheduled date or if they file a new tax lien foreclosure petition.  If the homeowner completes the hardship form, the foreclosure must be stayed until May 1, 2021.

Get Help with Foreclosure

If you need help understanding this law or your rights as a homeowner in foreclosure, please call Legal Services of the Hudson Valley at 1-877-574-8529  for an appointment with an attorney who is a foreclosure expert for advice, help in completing hardship forms, and answering newly filed foreclosures.

Housing

On December 28, 2020, the Governor signed a new law delaying most evictions until May 1, 2021 and pausing eviction proceedings for two months.

The law applies to tenants and occupants who:

Are behind in rent or whose leases or month-to-month tenancies have expired. Evictions can proceed against a tenant if the landlord can prove that the 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.”

Vacating and moving would pose a significant health risk because a member of the household have an increased risk of severe illness or death from Covid due to being over 65 or having a disability or medical condition.

Are experiencing one of these types of financial hardship that makes it impossible to pay the full rent or to move to other housing:

  • Significant loss of income during the pandemic
  • Increase in expenses due to being an essential worker or related to health impacts, including caring for another person
  • Caregiver responsibilities interfering with employment
  • Moving expenses and difficulty finding other housing

If your landlord started a court case against you before December 28, and the court entered a judgment, you can send to your landlord and the court a hardship declaration if you can swear that you are experiencing a hardship. There is a form available on the court’s website here: https://www.nycourts.gov/covid-eefpa.shtml

If your landlord started a court case against you before December 28 and the court had not entered a judgment, the court will send you a hardship declaration that you can send to your landlord and to the court if you can swear that you are experiencing a hardship.

If your landlord had not started a court case against you before December 28, the landlord cannot start a case without first sending you a rent demand or notice to vacate with the hardship declaration attached. If you return the hardship declaration, the landlord cannot start a court case until May 1, 2021. If you do not, the landlord can serve you with court papers with the hardship declaration attached and the court will give you time to submit the hardship declaration if you can swear that you are experiencing hardship.

The CDC has issued a nationwide order preventing evictions for non-payment of rent until December 31, 2020 for tenants who meet certain criteria. You can find the order here https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-09-04/pdf/2020-19654.pdf.

For information about housing emergencies, click here: No New York State tenant can be evicted without a government order

For a form to file with detailed instructions if you have been illegally locked out or have emergency repairs that your landlord is refusing to do, click here: Tenant’s Pro Se Order to Show Cause and Petition to Recover Possession

For information about reporting income changes and requesting hearings for Section 8 voucher holders, public housing tenants, and tenants in RAD housing, click here: Important rights of public housing and RAD tenants and Section 8 voucher holders

To report a change to your income or household for Section 8, public housing tenants, and tenants in RAD housing, there is a form you can use here if you have not gotten instructions from your housing provider about how to report changes at this time: Notice of income change for Section 8, public housing, RAD. Note: HUD has stated that stimulus checks are NOT income that is included in a household’s rent calculation.

To request a hearing if you received a notice from Section 8, public housing, or RAD, or if your housing provider has not responded to a request you made or you disagree with their decision about a request you made, there is a form you can use here if your housing provider has not given you a form: Hearing request for Section 8, public housing, RAD. Note: most housing providers are not having hearings at this time.

If you do NOT have Section 8 or live in public housing, and you pay more than a third of your gross income for rent, you may qualify for a limited amount of rental assistance. The application is here: https://covidrentrelief.hcr.ny.gov/

Fact Sheet: HUD Tenants’ Rights – The CARES Act and NY State Law

Know Your Rights Video: What to know if you are having trouble making your mortgage payments

Know Your Rights Video: What to know if you have a pending loss mitigation application or active trial payment plan

Know Your Rights Video: What to know if you’ve been locked out of your home

Know Your Rights Video: What to know if your landlord has made your home uninhabitable

Know Your Rights Video: rent recalculation during COVID-19

Immigration

Know Your Rights Video: What to know about stimulus payments under the CARES Act if you are an immigrant

Know Your Rights Video: Green Light Law

Know Your Rights Video: The Facts About the New Public Charge Rule

LGBTQ

Know Your Rights Video: Supreme Court update for LGBTQ+ people facing employment discrimination

Veterans

Know Your Rights Video: Veterans and Military Families Advocacy Project & Tips for Veterans during COVID19