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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.

If you haven’t filed taxes recently, you could still be eligible for a stimulus check. Use the IRS Non-Filer Tool to get your payment.

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.

Read More: Abuse - If you are not safe at home during COVID-19

Court, Immigration, and Administrative Hearings

Status of State Courts

Most state courthouses and clerk’s offices have re-opened to the public. You can check this list to find out which courthouses are open. If you have questions about the status of your case or about visiting the court in person, you can:

Note: If you get court papers such as a Summons or a Notice of Suit that instruct you to file an Appearance and Answer with the court, you should file these forms as soon as possible. Starting as early as September 20, the judge could issue a default judgment against you. A default judgment means that you lost the case without a trial because you didn’t file your Appearance and Answer. If you get a default judgment in an eviction case, the judge can then issue an Execution, which is an order that allows a marshal to physically evict you from your home. Learn more about evictions during COVID-19 crisis.

  • You can get the forms online or at the clerk’s office at the courthouse listed on the Summons or Notice of Suit. If you go to the courthouse, you must wear a mask and avoid bringing children or other people with you.
  • You can get help with filling out the forms at the clerk’s office. Many of the Court Service Centers are also open.
  • If you have an email address, you can also sign up for a Judicial Branch e-services account and file the forms online. Note that this option requires multiple steps. If you’d like to file online, call the court and follow the instructions to speak with a court staff person, or email a Court Service Center staff person at Court.ServiceCenter@jud.ct.gov and ask them to explain how it works.

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 an order to protect you from abuse at home by email or fax.

If you have very low income, you can apply for free legal assistance by calling Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320 or applying online.
Read the Judicial Branch’s full notice on the expansion of court operations. Get more information about the Judicial Branch’s official COVID-19 updates.

  • 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.

DSS Benefits, Health Insurance, and More

Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Payments)

Don’t forget that October 15 is the deadline to apply for your stimulus payment. You can still file tax returns for 2018 and/or 2019 before October 15, 2020 and get stimulus money – and you should! Additionally, the IRS is extending to September 30, 2020 the deadline for recipients of Social Security, federal disability benefits, and other benefits – who have already received their individual payment – to apply for an additional $500 for each qualifying child. 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)

Did your SNAP household experience food loss due to the recent storm? You may qualify for replacement benefits.

ALL CT SNAP households will automatically receive 20% of their August benefit due to the storm outages.

If you lost more than 20% of your food, you can apply for individual benefits instead. There are two forms that you will need to fill out to complete your request and demonstrate proof of more than 20% food loss. Connecticut recently received a federal waiver that extended the application deadline to September 3rd. If you are a SNAP recipient who lost power in the storm and your food has spoiled, you can request replacement benefits. You must act before September 3rd.

Either call the DSS Benefit Center at 1(855) 626-6632 or fill out the request forms and mail them in.

Get more information at EndHungerCT.org.

Here are the forms:
English: W-1225 form | W-1226 form
Spanish: W-1225 form | W-1226 form


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.

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.

Housing - Homes and Apartments

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

New nationwide CDC eviction moratorium starting September 4:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a nationwide eviction moratorium from September 4 through December 31, 2020. A moratorium is a temporary halt on evictions. The CDC moratorium prevents landlords from evicting tenants for not paying rent, not paying other charges such as late fees, or because their lease ended, but it is NOT automaticTo be protected, each adult in your household must give a copy of this signed declaration to your landlord.

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

Questions and Answers about Lost Wages Assistance

The Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) program provides an additional $300 per week in benefits to anyone who has been unemployed since 8/1/2020 who is getting at least $100 in unemployment benefits (counting the $15 per dependent dependency allowance) under any unemployment benefit program. The worker must self-certify that they are unemployed or partially unemployed due to disruptions caused by Covid-19. Read more: Questions and Answers about Lost Wages Assistance

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)

Don’t forget that October 15 is the deadline to apply for your stimulus payment. You can still file tax returns for 2018 and/or 2019 before October 15, 2020 and get stimulus money – and you should! Additionally, the IRS is extending to September 30, 2020 the deadline for recipients of Social Security, federal disability benefits, and other benefits – who have already received their individual payment – to apply for an additional $500 for each qualifying child. 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.