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Legal Issues During COVID-19 Crisis

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NH LEGAL AID is OPEN during the State of Emergency.

Unemployment

Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Checks)

NH Court Information

Governor’s COVID-19 Emergency Orders

Stay-at-Home 2.0

Work out a "Pay & Stay" agreement with your landlord

Evictions

Help with rent

Local Welfare

Foreclosures stopped

Behind on your mortgage?

Utility shutoffs stopped

Domestic Violence help

Report suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

COVID 19 Scam Alert

Also see New Hampshire Legal Assistance (NHLA)’s “Community Guidance” blog.

ECONOMIC IMPACT PAYMENT

  • The IRS now has a live telephone line dedicated to answering questions about the economic stimulus payments:  (800) 919-9835
  • To check the status of your Economic Impact Payment, go to the "Get My Payment" page of the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/get-my-payment
  • If you have questions or concerns about getting your economic stimulus payment, call the

          -Low-Income Taxpayer Project at the NH Bar Association: (603) 715-3215 or email bheggie@nhbar.org.

          -Legal Advice & Referral Center 9 AM - 3 PM on weekdays at 1(800) 639-5290 or  apply online anytime.

Q. I didn’t make enough money to file a tax return in either 2018 or 2019. How will the IRS know where to send my Economic Stimulus check?

A. If you were not required to file a tax return in 2018 and 2019 and you do not receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or survivor benefits, Veteran’s benefits or Railroad Retirement benefits, then you can use the "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here" application found on the IRS.gov website at: //www.irs.gov/coronavirus/non-filers-enter-payment-info-here

If you receive SSI and did not file returns for the 2018 or 2019 tax years and you have a child dependent under age 17, you may have missed the May 5th deadline to provide information about your child dependents to the IRS.  If you missed this May 5th deadline, you must wait until 2021 and claim the dependent payment when you file your 2020 tax return.  Only your dependent payment is affected. You will still get the $1,200 payment automatically despite missing the May 5th deadline to provide information to the IRS about your dependents.

NH COURTS

NH courts are open on a restricted basis.  Physical access to courts has been restricted to emergency cases.  See the latest information at: Judicial Branch response to COVID-19

**NH courts are closed for non-emergency proceedings until June 16th.

Individuals entering State of New Hampshire courthouses must wear face covers that cover the mouth and nose. The Judicial Branch recommends that people use their own face coverings, but will provide face coverings for people who do not have their own.  This rule does not apply to anyone for whom the wearing of a mask would be contrary to their health or safety. Read the Order.

Telephone access to the courts is fully available during this time.  For questions related to Superior Court or Circuit Court cases, please call 1-855-212-1234. For questions related to Supreme Court, please contact the clerk’s office at (603) 271-2646.

GOVERNOR’S COVID-19 EMERGENCY ORDERS

Read the Orders.

STAY-AT-HOME 2.0:

On May 1, 2020, Governor Sununu announced Stay at Home 2.0 which will be in effect until May 31, 2020.  The state is taking steps to reopen the econnomy in a phased approach.  Read more here.

EVICTIONS:

Governor Sununu issued Emergency Orders stopping non-payment evictions during the State of Emergency. Landlords are not allowed to start eviction proceedings for those unable to pay due to their financial situations. To do so would be against the law. Renters must still pay rent or work out a payment arrangement with their landlord.

**Governor Sununu extended the moratorium on nonpayment evictions (properties NOT protected under the CARES Act) to June 5th.

Read Emergency Order #4 and #24 (link above).

If you are renting from an owner who has a federally-backed mortgage, the CARES Act provides for a suspension or moratorium on evictions. If your landlord has a federally backed mortgage or multi-family mortgage, you cannot be evicted for 120 days beginning on March 27, 2020, the effective date of the CARES Act. After the 120-day period is up, the landlord must start any eviction action against you with a 30-day notice, even if it is for non-payment or some other reason which might ordinarily allow a 7-day eviction notice.

Read more about your protections as a tenant whose landlord has a federally backed mortgage.  Go to the Consumer Financial Protectoin Bureau (CFPB) website here.

If the property you rent isn’t covered by the CARES Act, many states have suspended all evictions and foreclosures due to the pandemic.

If you get an Eviction Notice during the State of Emergency, or anytime, call LARC 800-639-5290 or apply online.

SHORT-TERM RENTAL ASSISTANCE at The Local Community Action Agency:

New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority has made an extra $200,000 available to its Emergency Housing Program. Local Community Action Agencies will be in charge of distributing that money to people in need of short-term rental assistance around the state. If you are behind on rent and under threat of eviction:

  • Apply for rental assistance at a Town or City welfare office.
  • If you are denied assistance at Town or City welfare, contact your nearest Community Action Agency. Call NH Helpline at 2-1-1 for the phone number of your nearest Community Action Agency.
  • If you have problems applying for welfare or to challenge welfare’s denial of rental assistance, call New Hampshire Legal Assistance at 1-800-921-1115, ext 4.

FORECLOSURES:

Governor Sununu issued Emergency Orders stopping foreclosures. All judicial and non-judicial foreclosure actions are prohibited during the state of emergency.

Read Emergency Order #4 and #24 (link above).

If you are facing foreclosure, call LARC’s Foreclosure Relief Project at 877-399-9995 or apply online.

BEHIND ON YOUR MORTGAGE?

Watch the video about the CARES Act mortgage forbearance.

Learn about mortgage relief options.

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.

UTILITIES:

Governor Sununu issued Emergency Orders stopping the shut-off of utilities during the state of emergency. All providers of electric, gas, water, telephone, cable, VOIP, internet service, and deliverable fuel services are prohibited from disconnecting or discontinuing service for non-payments during of the State of Emergency.

Read Emergency Order #3 (link above).

If your utilities have been shut off or you have related problems, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 603-271-3641 or email DOJ-CPB@doj.nh.gov .

UNEMPLOYMENT:

Governor Sununu issued Emergency Orders expanding Unemployment. Individuals who are unable to work or who have reduced hours due to the COVID-19 pandemic will have immediate access to unemployment benefits.

Read Emergency Order #5 (link above).

  • NH Employment Security main website: //www.nhes.nh.gov/
  • To file an initial claim, to file a weekly continued claim or to check the status of an existing claim, visit //www.unemploymentbenefits.nh.gov/
  • Call 603-271-7700 Hotline open 8 AM to 8 PM Monday through Friday and 9 AM to 5 PM on Saturday and Sunday.

This information may have been updated. Call the Hotline number above for the latest information.

LOCAL WELFARE:

Governor Sununu issued Emergency Order #23 that allows Local Welfare offices to transition to operating on-line, phone, or limited appointment -only operation, but Local Welfare must continue to do its job.

Read Emergency Order #23 (link above).

If you have any problems with Local Welfare, call NH Legal Assistance at 603-223-9750 or 1-800-921-1115 and press 4. If you must leave a message, be sure to say you are calling about Local Welfare and state any deadlines you have.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE:

Domestic Violence:  1-866-644-3574

Sexual Assault:  1-800-277-5570

NH Coalition Agsint Domestic & Sexual Violence: https://www.nhcadsv.org/

CHILD ABUSE or NEGLECT:

NH Law requires any person who suspects that a child under age 18 has been abused or neglected must report that suspicion immediately to Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF). (New Hampshire RSA 169-C:29-31)

If a child tells you that he or she has been hurt or you are concerned that a child may be the victim of any type of abuse or neglect, you must call the DCYF Central Intake Unit at:
Telephone: (800) 894-5533 (in-state) or (603) 271-6562 (out of state)
24 hours a day, including weekends and holidays.
For immediate emergencies, please call 911.
Proof of abuse and neglect is not required to make a report.
Reports of abuse and neglect concerns are confidential and can be anonymous.

Learn more about stopping child abuse and neglect here.

Date: 
May 2020
Author: 
LARC

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