During this unprecedented health emergency created by the outbreak of COVID-19, The Legal Aid Society is committed to continuing to serve our clients. We want our clients to know this important information.
Although our physical offices are closed we remain open for business remotely.
If you need assistance from the Criminal Defense Practice or Juvenile Rights Practice continue to call our main number 212-577-3300. Indicate you need legal assistance and your call will be forwarded to an operator who will assist you.
If you need assistance from our Civil Practice call the neighborhood office in your borough:
Staten Island: 347-422-5333
If you are not able to get through at first, please be patient as we work to improve our ability to assist you while working remotely.
The Access to Benefits (A2B) Helpline 888-663-6880 will be open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Interpreters are available for all languages.
A2B staff can assist NYC residents with:
Limited proceedings have resumed in-person, contact your attorney for more information.
Visitors (including parties, attorneys, witnesses, spectators, law enforcement officers, prisoners, vendors, and all other non-UCS personnel) to any Court System facility house will be required to submit to temperature screening and questioning upon entry into the Courthouse and prior to magnetometer and x-ray security screening.
As of June 1, 2021, funding is available for New York City households who are behind in their rent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible households may have up to 12 months of their back rent paid and may be able to get three months of future rent, as well as other assistance. Learn more.
If you have lived in your apartment for more than 30 days, then your landlord must get a court order to evict you, and such orders have currently been suspended by the State of New York. If your landlord illegally changes your locks, shuts off your utilities, or removes your belongings, click here for more information on your rights and what steps you can take if your landlord has locked you out.
The SCRIE & DRIE processing unit of the NYC Department of Finance is still operating but with less staff. There is customer service staff able to assist via 311 and through online inquiries. The walk-in-center is now closed until further notice. Click here for the most up to date information, including the revised processes for applications and renewals.
You do NOT have to go to a HRA Job Center in person to apply for benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. You can apply online, via mail, or fax. In certain circumstances, you can also apply over the phone or request an in-person visit. Learn more about your options here.
Immigrants are eligible for many forms of health insurance, cash benefits, and food assistance. Some immigrant households may have concerns about accessing benefits because of an immigration issue called “public charge.” Please note that public charge only applies to certain immigrants and certain public benefits. Accessing COVID-19 testing and care WILL NOT count against an immigrant who is or may be subject to public charge in the future.
Read our Public Benefits Flyer for Immigrants (English / Spanish) for more information. Also see our updated FAQ on Public Charge which includes COVID-19 information, and other information and resources regarding public charge here.
Any community member or advocate with questions should call Legal Aid’s Immigration Helpline at 844-955-3424, Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Our team can then call you back to answer additional questions. Interpreters are available for all languages.
On March 18, the Governor signed a law authorizing emergency paid sick time. For more information, please check the resource below:
The NYC Food Czar is now overseeing the distribution of meals to seniors. Call 311 to obtain free meal delivery. For additional information about the City’s food programs click here.
The Community Development Project has created Fact Sheets to help small businesses respond to issues during the COVID 19 crisis:
Other important information to know includes:
You may be eligible for a credit of up to $50 per month towards broadband service and a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase an internet-accessible device (laptop, desktop, tablet, etc.) from participating providers.
The FCC announced that eligible households will be able to enroll in the program on May 12, 2021. Eligible households can enroll through an approved provider or online here.
More information on the Emergency Broadband Benefit is available here.
Free financial counseling by phone
Professional financial counselors from NYC Financial Empowerment Centers are available by phone to answer questions about eligibility, help you open a bank account and set up direct deposit for your payment, and check the status of a payment. Visit nyc.gov/TalkMoney to book an appointment.
Free tax preparation online
You must take action by October 15 to receive your stimulus payment this year. This may mean filing a tax return, or registering for your payment as a “non-filer” on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) website if you are not required to file a tax return because your income was too low—under $12,200 (single filer) or under $24,400 (joint filers). IRS certified VITA/TCE volunteer preparers from NYC Free Tax Prep can guide you. To use the free service, you must earn $64,000 or less (families) or $45,000 or less (single filer). Visit nyc.gov/taxprep for information about NYC Free Tax Prep providers and how to contact them.
Notary Services Can be Handled Electronically
The Governor has authorized the notarization of signatures utilizing audio-video technology. You must be physically in New York State and present valid photo ID during the video conference. You must then send by fax or electronic means a legible copy of the signed document on the same date it was signed. Click here for step by step guide.
Please refer to the following sites for up to date information on COVID-19 from public health officials:
Every school will randomly test weekly unvaccinated students, who have submitted consent for testing, at a threshold of ten percent of unvaccinated students per school population (Pre-K and Kindergarten are excluded). Please note that students must submit a new COVID-19 testing consent form for the 2021-2022 school year to participate in the testing program. Read the City’s FAQ on school testing here.
The New York Health Care Proxy Law allows you to appoint someone you trust — for example, a family member or close friend – to make health care decisions for you if you lose the ability to make decisions yourself. For more information and a form you can complete online, visit Health.NY.
DSS/HRA has issued an emergency rule that increases the burial allowance to $1,700 and increases the cap on burial costs to $3,400. It also extends the time frame for when you can apply to 120 days from the date of death. Applications received on or after March 12 will be considered for the increase, regardless of immigration status. For more information click here.
The information on this page has been prepared by The Legal Aid Society for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any information without retaining professional legal counsel.
Last Updated: 12 October 2021
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