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September 2020

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The LARC Advocate

“We stand alone, together.”

A monthly newsletter from

THE LEGAL ADVICE & REFERRAL CENTER

ISSUE 7 SEPTEMBER 2020

 

 

In this issue:

Economic Impact Payment Update

Help your clients get the most from their appointment at LARC

A QUESTION OF LAW: Can a father file for custody of an unborn child?

News and Information for the Low-Income Community

Good Client Story

When you hear that someone receives any kind of EVICTION NOTICE, have them call LARC immediately. We are here to provide free legal help with evictions.

Economic Impact Payment Update

October 15, 2020 is the deadline for non-filers to complete the IRS form to receive their Economic Impact Payment (EIP). Most people get their Economic Impact payment automatically after filing a tax return (or based on participation in certain federally administered programs), if you are among the "non-filers," you must take action to get your money (worth up to $1,200 for adults and $500 for qualifying children).  Eligible individuals have until October 15 to file for their EIP this year. Currently, once these deadlinse pass, individuals will have to claim their EIP payment as a credit on their 2020 federal income tax return. 

Also, eligible people with dependent children have until the end of September to register using the Non-Filers tool on the IRS.gov website in order to receive $500 per child economic impact payments (EIP) before the end of 2020. Individuals who missed the previous short deadlines in the spring and have not registered their dependent children with the IRS have until September 30, 2020 to provide this information so that they can receive their payment this year.

Eligible individuals include people who receive Social Security retirement, survivor, or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement benefits or Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits and have qualifying children under age 17 but who were not required to file a tax return for 2018 or 2019. These individuals should have already received their own $1,200 stimulus payment, but were not sent the $500 dependent payment for their qualifying children. Those who already used the non-filer tool after the spring deadlines do not need to re-enter the information about their dependent children, and will now be receiving their $500 payment for each child before the end of this year.

Help your clients get the most out of their appointment with LARC

Applications for LARC’s help are increasing. Help your clients to prepare for their LARC appointments so they get the most from our services<

  1. Documents

    The more documents you can share with us, the easier it is for us to help you. Send your documents to LARC before your appointment so we have time to review them.

    Most legal problems have documents – like an eviction notice, a parenting petition, a landlord and tenant writ, a termination of public benefits notice, a judge’s notice of decision.

    • Get your documents from the court.&If your legal problem is already in court but you do not have documents, get them from the court. Show the court clerk your ID and ask for the documents you need. The clerk will make copies of those documents for you. You may need to pay.
    • Send documents to LARC by email to webmaster@larcnh.org (attach a photo or scan of the documents), by fax to 603-224-6067, or by mailing them to LARC, 15 Green Street, Concord NH 03301.
    • Include a Citizenship Attestation with any documents. Just write “I am a citizen of the United States” and sign it, date it, and print your name, or use LARC's Citizenship Attestation Form.
    • Put your papers in order by date before our call.
    • Have your documents with you when LARC calls !!!
    • Read your documents to us.  If your legal problem has documents, we will want you to read them to us. Even if you think you remember “all the important stuff,” we MUST hear every single word on the papers.
  2. Phone

    • Be sure your cell phone is fully charged.
    • Be in a spot with reliable cell phone service.
    • Answer all the calls you get in the 2-hour call window you were given for your appointment. We do not know how LARC’s phone number will show up on your caller ID.
  3. Take Notes

    • We give you important advice, instructions, or phone numbers for you to write down.
    • Have more than one pen or pencil.

We look forward to talking with you.

A QUESTION OF LAW:

Can a father file for custody of an unborn child?

Q: I am pregnant and I am concerned that the father may try to take my child after it is born. Can the biological father file for custody now and get custody orders before the child is born?>

A: No. A court will not issue custody orders for an unborn child. Once the child is born, either parent can then file a parenting petition at the family court in the jurisdiction where the child resides, but not before.

The above information is not a complete guide to thelaw. It is meant to serve as an aid in assessing possible legal options and is not meant to replace the services of a lawyer. Be advised that changes in the law affecting this subject matter could occur at any time.

 

NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR THE LOW-INCOME COMMUNITY

Free Legal Advice and Referrals:

LARC is an essential service and remains open during the State of Emergency. We advise low-income people of their legal rights in non-criminal matters. Call 800-639-5290 between 9 AM and 1 PM weekdays, or apply online at any time. LARC gives free legal advice by telephone and makes referrals to partner agencies: NH Legal Aid and the Pro Bono Program.

Economic Impact Payments:

The IRS has a help line for those who did not receive an EIP payment. You can initiate a trace on your payment by calling the IRS at 800-919-9835.

Help for those struggling with mortgage payments:

Many homeowners are behind on mortgage payments. Servicers and other financial institutions have options available. To learn what they are and what to do,watch a short video from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

This guide explains more about mortgage relief options.

Housing counselors can help free-of-charge to explore options for each situation. Call 211 to find a HUD-approved Housing Counselor (just dial 2-1-1). Multilingual assistance and TDD access is also available. For those outside of New Hampshire, call 1-866-444-4211. Or go to the 211 website here.

Homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments due to COVID-19 can apply for financial help. Direct them towww.capnh.org.or to call their local CAP agency or call 2-1-1 from any NH phone.

If foreclosure is imminent, they can apply for free legal advice from LARC’s Foreclosure Relief Project (FRP): leave a message at 877-399-9995 orapply online.

Community Guidance for the COVID-19 crisis from NHLA:

New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA) offers a detailed guide with up-to-date information on state and federal assistance and other programs available to people in need with links to apply or to get more information. See NHLA’sCommunity Guidance for the CIVOD-19 crisis also available on the homepage of their website,nhla.org.

Topics covered in this guide include CARES Act stimulus payments; Social Security Benefits; Unemployment Insurance Benefits; Utilities support; Food Stamps; Cash Assistance; Medicaid; Domestic Violence; Housing; Senior and Consumer Law; and Youth Law/Education.

NHLA hopes you will share this resource with your community and clients://www.nhla.org/blog/NHLA-Community-Guidance-for-COVID-19-crisis-entry-76

 

GOOD CLIENT STORY

"May" was a 28-year-old woman living with her 2-year-old son in an apartment in central NH. May's husband was arrested and removed from the home after he assaulted her using a knife. May's landlord then brought her to eviction court for alleged lease violations. May defaulted from the case because she didn't understand how the legal process worked.

When May called the Legal Advice & Referral Center (LARC) for help, she and her son were 24 hours away from being locked out by a sheriff.

LARC realized that the eviction notice written by the landlord's attorney had omitted new, required information about May's tenant rights- like her right to file certain paperwork at court which would have prevented her default. LARC helped the young Mom draft a motion for the court which highlighted the invalid eviction notice and asked that the lockout be stopped. A few hours later a judge granted the motion, called off the lockout, and scheduled a hearing.

A LARC staff attorney represented May and reached an agreement with the landlord's attorney that allowed May to stay on until the end of September, at which time she'd be moving into a new apartment. LARC put May in touch with the NH Victims' Compensation Program which helped her secure the new place. With the threat of homelessness removed, LARC also referred May to the Pro Bono Referral Program for a volunteer attorney to assist with divorce and custody.

"You did so much for me when I really doubted there was anything that could be done," May told LARC. "I would have been lost without your help."

If you know someone who had a good outcome in a legal case due to LARC’s help, please share that Good Client Story with us! We would love to share it with our readers. LARC will never use a client’s real name or any facts that could reveal who that client is.  Send your Good Client Stories to:webmaster@larcnh.org and put “Good Client Story” in the subject line.

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