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Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut is open to serve you! Call our legal aid hotline: 1-800-453-3320. You can also learn about our services and apply for legal help online. Stay on this page for links and resources about COVID-19.

Information about COVID-19

Abuse - If you are not safe at home

CT Safe Connect’s domestic violence hotlines are open 24/7, and their staff can help you ask the court for a restraining order.

  • Call or text 1-888-774-2900.
  • Chat or email with staff at www.ctsafeconnect.com.
  • They can help you apply for a temporary restraining order.

Even though Connecticut courts are not hearing some types of cases now, you can still ask the court for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) or a Civil Protection Order (CPO).

Important things to know during COVID-19:

Although you may file for a temporary restraining order on your own, the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV\ CT Safe Connect) is available to help you with your application. For assistance, contact CT Safe Connect at www.CTSafeConnect.org or call (888) 774-2900.

The courts are also processing criminal cases involving domestic violence.

If you have very low income, you can get legal help from Statewide Legal Services by calling 1-800-453-3320. You can also visit https://ctlawhelp.org/family/abuse.

Court, Immigration, and Administrative Hearings

Status of State Courts

Only a few state courthouses are open and you may only enter an open courthouse if you are

You can also file non-urgent court papers in lock boxes located in the lobbies of the operating Superior Court courthouses. Remember to include your contact information on all papers you put in the lock box. If you are submitting payment of a court fee payment or rent, use a check or money order and keep a record of the payment. 

Currently, the operating Superior Court courthouses are open for the above business Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Note: You do NOT need to visit a courthouse to apply for a Temporary Restraining Order or Civil Protection Order. Read this section to learn more about applying for one of these orders by email or fax

For all other family, housing (including evictions), small claims, and motor vehicle cases, please do not enter a courthouse. Instead, call the courthouse open in your area using the number listed on this document. You can also email questions to a Court Service Center staff person at Court.ServiceCenter@jud.ct.gov.

Is my hearing or trial still being held?
Hearings for restraining orders, protection orders, emergency Ex Parte motions (including motions in lockout cases and emergency temporary custody cases), and criminal arraignments for people in custody continue to be scheduled. Most other civil and criminal hearings and trials are not being held until further notice. 

  • No eviction hearings or trials are being held.
  • No eviction judgments (including default judgments) are being entered.
  • No previously issued eviction orders (called executions) can be served by state marshals until at least August 2, 2020.
  • No child support enforcement hearings are being held.

To check the status of your case, look up your case here.

I was served eviction court papers (called a summons and complaint) with an upcoming Return Date. Do I have to go to court?

No, you should not go to court to respond to these papers right now because the courts are only open for the emergency cases listed in the above bullet points. The courts will not allow you to enter to file your response to eviction papers. The courts have suspended the deadline to file your appearance for the duration of the public health emergency. You should plan to go to court to respond to eviction papers only after the governor declares that the public health emergency has ended, and the courts fully reopen. For more information about evictions during the COVID-19 crisis, read this article.

Note: Fines and fees for criminal and motor vehicle matters have been deferred until further notice, but all traffic tickets can still be paid online.
 
Read the Judicial Branch’s full notice on limiting entrance into state courthouses. Get more information about the Judicial Branch’s official COVID-19 updates.
 
If you have very low income and you need help with a legal problem, call Statewide Legal Services at 800-453-3320.

  • Status of our federal trial court (“U.S. District Court – District of Connecticut”): Beginning June 16, 2020, individual judges will determine, after giving due consideration to the public health risks presented by in-court appearances, whether it is in the interests of justice to hold any non-jury civil or criminal proceeding in the courtroom. A judge presiding over a case may decide to hold a proceeding in the courtroom, to hold the proceeding over video or telephone, or to hold a hybrid proceeding in which the number of persons in the courtroom is limited while other persons participate or observe remotely via video or telephone. Read more...

  • The Hartford Immigration Court will resume hearings in non-detained cases on Monday, June 29, 2020. For the foreseeable future, no master calendar hearings are going forward at this time. Merit cases that had already been scheduled for June 29 or later will be going forward as scheduled, unless attorneys and/or respondents have been notified otherwise. Hearings that had been postponed due to COVID-19 will be rescheduled, and hearing notices are being sent out to notify attorneys and respondents of the new hearing dates.

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is preparing to reopen some domestic offices and to resume non-emergency public services on or after June 4. For the latest information on the status of individual offices, check their office closures page.

  • The Executive Office for Immigration: Get current info.

  • U.S. District Court: See the latest information on their website.

 

DSS Benefits, health Insurance, and More

Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Payments)

This information is evolving quickly and we will try to update as needed. You can still get a stimulus payment if you did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return (or you do not receive social security, railroad retirement, or veteran’s benefits). You can still file tax returns for 2018 and/or 2019 before October 15, 2020 and get stimulus money – and you should! This includes people with very low income (less than $12,200) and people who do not otherwise owe taxes. Read more: Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Payments)

Food, SNAP, Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT)

Additional SNAP benefits are coming on June 12 for many households in Connecticut. If you are enrolled in SNAP, you should get the maximum food benefit allowable for your household size, even if you are not usually eligible for the maximum benefit. Note: If you already got the max for your household size, you will not get anything extra.

You should also get your normal SNAP benefits on the first three days of each month as usual, according to your last name.

If you are already on SNAP, you will see this amount added to your card. If you have kids on HUSKY but not SNAP and they are able to get free or reduced lunch, you will get this amount on their HUSKY card.

If you are not on either SNAP or HUSKY, you will be getting EBT cards with this amount.

Getting Pandemic EBT does not put you on SNAP. If you think you might qualify also for SNAP, which is an ongoing monthly program, go to the legal aid article, Do you need help paying for food? for information on how to apply. Learn more: Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT): Extra Food Assistance for Families.

Beginning June 2 and June 3, people who get SNAP will be able to use their EBT card to buy eligible food items online for delivery or curbside pickup. Retailers approved for the initial launch of online SNAP purchasing are Amazon (including Amazon Pantry and Amazon Fresh), 12 Walmart stores, and 22 ShopRite stores.  Online contact points for the stores are www.amazon.com/snapebt; www.walmart.com/grocery; and www.shoprite.com/Store-Locator.

Only SNAP benefits on EBT cards can be used for online purchases. At this time, cash assistance benefits on EBT cards cannot be used for any part of online shopping, including shopping, delivery, or service fees. Federal rules do not allow any SNAP benefits to be used for shopping, delivery, or service fees, but some food retailers may choose to waive fees (as Amazon does for orders over $35). Online shopping customers using SNAP benefits will be able to use other debit or credit cards to pay for any fees or non-SNAP-eligible items they wish to purchase.

The maximum benefit for SNAP is:

Household
size
Maximum
Benefit Amount
1 $194
2 $355
3 $509
4 $646
5 $768
6 $921
7 $1,018
8 $1,164

Each additional person: add $146

Health Information

What if I can’t pay my rent during COVID-19?

As of right now, landlords cannot start most new eviction cases until at least August 22. All ongoing eviction cases are on hold until further notice. If you already went to court and lost your eviction case, a marshal cannot physically remove you and your belongings until at least August 3. This means

  • you cannot be evicted right now, and
  • you do not have to move right now.

Your landlord also cannot ever

  • lock you out,
  • remove your belongings,
  • cut off your utilities, or
  • refuse to make necessary repairs.

Important reminder about paying rent:

  • There is no July rent extension. July rent is due by its normal deadline.
  • If you paid a security deposit that is more than one month’s rent, you can use the portion of your security deposit that is more than one month’s rent toward rent due between April and August.
  • If you asked your landlord for an extension on your May rent and your rent is due on the first of the month, you must pay your May rent on or before July 1.

Read more about rent and evictions during the COVID-19 crisis, including what to do if you can't pay rent.

Information for Public Housing, Section 8, and Voucher/RAP Tenants

If someone in your household has lost work hours and/or income because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you can report the loss of income to your site manager or caseworker and ask to have your rent lowered.

How to apply for a rent adjustment

You will need to report your lost income and make your rent adjustment request in writing to your site manager or case worker.

  • You can enter your information into this online form, and it will create a letter for you to send to your site manager/caseworker. (Or if you are a participant in any Housing Authority of New Haven/ Elm City Communities program, you can use this HANH/ECC form to directly submit your request to HANH/ECC.)
  • You can also fill in this blank letter yourself and then email, mail, or hand-deliver the letter and proof of your change in income to your site manager’s/caseworker’s office.

If you can, please provide documents showing your change in income when you make the request. 

  • Examples include a paystub or a letter from your employer saying that your hours have been reduced or that you no longer have your job.
  • You can ask your employer for a copy of your paystubs or a letter, and you can use your cellphone to take screenshots of this paperwork in order to upload the documents to the online forms or to add them as attachments to your email.

If you do not have documents showing your change in income, you should still ask for the rent adjustment anyway. You can discuss with your case worker or property manager what documentation you will need and when you will be able to get it (or whether they can help get it by contacting your employer directly). You may be able to self-certify (sign a sworn statement) about your change in income and have the rent change processed until you can get the documents from your employer.

Remember to save your emails, and take pictures of any paperwork you mail or hand-deliver so you have a copy for your own records.

NOTE: Your stimulus payment does not count as income or a resource for any public benefit programs like TFA, Medicaid, or SNAP.  It also does not count as income in calculating rent for the state Rental Assistance Program (RAP) or any state funded housing.  In addition, both HUD and the Department of Housing have said that the stimulus payment and the extra $600 some people will be getting as unemployment will not be counted as income in calculating rent for federal public housing, Section 8, or any federally assisted housing.

Immigration

  • The Hartford Immigration Court will resume hearings in non-detained cases on Monday, June 29, 2020. For the foreseeable future, no master calendar hearings are going forward at this time. Merit cases that had already been scheduled for June 29 or later will be going forward as scheduled, unless attorneys and/or respondents have been notified otherwise. Hearings that had been postponed due to COVID-19 will be rescheduled, and hearing notices are being sent out to notify attorneys and respondents of the new hearing dates.

  • Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT): Extra Food Assistance for Families

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is preparing to reopen some domestic offices and to resume non-emergency public services on or after June 4. For the latest information on the status of individual offices, check their office closures page.

  • The Public Charge Rule and the COVID-19 Crisis
    This article answers common questions such as: If I use benefits during the COVID-19 crisis, will I be a public charge? Will receipt of stimulus funds under the CARES Act count against me for Public Charge? Will receiving unemployment insurance make me a public charge? Also see the legal aid article, Frequently Asked Questions About the Public Charge Rule.

  • USCIS encourages anyone with symptoms that resemble Coronavirus to get necessary medical treatment. Medical treatment or preventive services will not negatively affect any future Public Charge analysis. Read more...

School and Education

Social Security, Medicare

  • More information from the Social Security Administration: Social Security & Coronavirus Disease

  • Do you have an SSI or SSDI overpayment? Social Security says they are suspending collection of overpayments during the pandemic. See: What workloads is SSA not doing during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  • Avoiding SSA scams during COVID-19
    Federal Trade Commission

  • Medicare Part B will cover coronavirus testing if your doctor or other health care provider orders it and the test was performed on or after February 4, 2020. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) has also released some documents that may be of interest to people who get Medicare.

  • All local Social Security offices will be closed to the public for in-person service until further notice. Their online services are available. Local offices will continue to provide critical services over the phone. 

    If you are applying for Social Security or appealing a Social Security decision, keep any documentation you have of COVID-19 making it hard for you to apply/appeal for SSA benefits, and always ask for GOOD CAUSE if you appeal late. Keep a list of how many times, and how long each time, you stayed on the phone trying to connect with the local or national phone line. All forms and documentation should be sent to your local SSA office.

Taxes

Utilities, Phone, Internet, Driver's Licenses, and More

Utility Shutoffs

DMV: Driver's License and more

Internet Access

Lifeline is a federal program that lowers the monthly cost of phone and internet. Eligible customers will get up to $9.25 toward their bill. Learn more about Lifeline.

During the COVID-19 crisis, internet providers in Connecticut have been making efforts to help the state's residents get online and stay connected. Here are the packages and offers currently available in the state. Also see Increased Access to Internet Coverage for Connecticut Residents and T-Mobile for Education.

Work and Employment

Health and Safety Checklist for Returning to Work

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) released guidelines for businesses that will be allowed to reopen during Phases 1 and 2 of the state’s reopening plan. If your employer is not following these standards, record which guidelines your employer is not following and make a report to the 2-1-1 hotline or your local health department. Read more: Health and Safety Checklist for Returning to Work

Can I get unemployment benefits if I am not working because of COVID-19?

Yes. You may be eligible if your employer terminated you, furloughed you, or laid you off; you are self-quarantining; or you are the primary caregiver for children whose school is closed. You should also apply for unemployment if you quit because the work conditions were creating an unreasonable risk to your health. Read more: Questions and Answers about Unemployment during COVID-19

You have been called back to work… Now what?

As businesses get loans to rehire workers and governments begin to loosen restrictions on business operations, workers across CT will face a hard dilemma about how to balance risks to their health and livelihood with employer requests that they return to work. If you decide not to return to work, it is possible that you could lose your Unemployment Compensation (UC) or Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. This checklist identifies some issues that may help you decide whether or not you should return to work. Read more: Checklist for Returning to Work during COVID-19

I need to miss work because of COVID-19, but I don’t have paid leave time available. What can I do?

On April 1, 2020, a new law went into effect that requires some employers to give their employees paid leave for reasons related to COVID-19. This law will remain in place until December 31, 2020. If you work at a company with fewer than 500 employees, you can probably get paid sick leave. Read more: Understanding Sick Leave and Family & Medical Leave during COVID-19

More reading:

Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Payments)

This information is evolving quickly and we will try to update as needed. You can still get a stimulus payment if you did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return (or you do not receive social security, railroad retirement, or veteran’s benefits). You can still file tax returns for 2018 and/or 2019 before October 15, 2020 and get stimulus money – and you should! This includes people with very low income (less than $12,200) and people who do not otherwise owe taxes. Read more: Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Payments)

Get Help From Legal Aid

Age 60+: Get help from legal aid.
Under age 60: Find legal help or apply online.
Not from Connecticut? Find help in another state.