COVID-19, LEGAL UPDATES, AND COMMUNITY RESOURCES
- The Legal Aid Society of Columbus
- COVID-19, LEGAL UPDATES, AND COMMUNITY RESOURCES
COVID-19 AND UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION
وتعويضات البطالة (COVID-19) انتشار فيروس كورونا المستجد
COVID-19 र बेरोजगारी भत्ता
COVID-19 IYO MAGDHAWGA SHAQO LA’AANTA
El COVID-19 Y LA COMPENSACIÓN POR DESEMPLEO
COVID-19 AND UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION
Who is eligible?
You may be eligible for unemployment compensation if you are an employee and:
- Are unable to work because your doctor, health agency, or employer requests that you isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19; or
- Your employer lays you off due to the loss of production caused by COVID-19.
You do NOT need to be diagnosed with COVID-19.
You do NOT have to be totally unemployed. If your hours of work are reduced, you may still be eligible for some unemployment compensation.
Do I need documentation?
Documentation is NOT required, but may be helpful. If you do not have documentation, you should not wait to file– file immediately. If possible, you should ask your doctor, health agency, or employer for something in writing that you have been requested to isolate due to COVID-19 concerns OR that your hours of work have been reduced due to COVID-19.
What if I am a tipped employee?
If you are a tipped employee and the employer did not include tips in the wages, you will need to file an affidavit with your tipped wages for ODJFS to review and determine the benefit amount due. If the employer includes tips in your wages, there is nothing for you to do.
What if I want to isolate myself but nobody has asked me to do so?
If you do not have any COVID-19 symptoms but want to isolate or quarantine because of COVID-19, you may NOT be eligible for unemployment compensation.
How to apply:
- Online: http://unemployment.ohio.gov, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
- Telephone: 877-644-6562 or TTY 1-614-387-8408. Agents are available Monday through Friday 7am-7pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday 9am-1pm
You will need:
- Your Social Security number
- Your driver’s license or state ID number
- Your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address
- Name, address, telephone number, and dates of employment with each employer you worked for during the past 6 weeks of employment
- The reason you became unemployed from each employer
- Dependents’ names, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth
- If claiming dependents, your spouse’s name, Social Security number, and birth date
- If you are not a U.S. citizen or national, alien registration number and expiration date
- Your regular occupation and job skills
How to qualify:
To qualify, you must have worked at least 20 weeks and earned at least an average weekly wage of $269 in the past 4 or 5 calendar quarters. If you are unsure, you should still apply and this information will be verified.
No waiting week or work search
If you qualify because your doctor, health agency, or employer requests that you isolate or quarantine due to COVID-19, you will not be required to meet the work search requirements to get unemployment compensation. Whether you are totally unemployed, partially unemployed, or participating in the SharedWork Ohio Program, you can receive unemployment compensation starting the first week. For more information: http://jfs.ohio.gov/ouio/CoronavirusAndUI.stm
We can help if you are denied
- Legal advice about the denial
- Representation (as resources allow) for appealing wrongfully-denied
Read more about our expanded Unemployment Compensation services HERE. YOU MAY ALSO BE ELIGIBLE FOR ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE INCLUDING:
- SNAP (food stamps)
- Ohio Works First (cash assistance)
- Prevention, Retention, and Contingency funds (one-time cash assistance)
You can apply for these benefits by contacting your local County Department of Job and Family Services. You can also apply online at benefits.ohio.gov.
COVID-19 Response Program for Franklin County Residents
THIS ONE-TIME ASSISTANCE PROGRAM IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE.
The Prevention, Retention, and Contingency Program for Franklin County residents now includes a COVID-19 Response Program for Franklin county families with children.
Who is eligible?
Families with children who reside in Franklin county and have incomes of 200 percent or less of federal poverty guidelines.
When will this be available?
This is effective starting March 30, 2020 and will be in effect until the funds are exhausted or until 60 days after the end of the health emergency. View the updated plan here.
Waiver of Unemployment Overpayments During the COVID-19 Pandemic Period
You can request a waiver of an unemployment overpayment if it occurred during the pandemic period and there is no claim of fraud.
Q: What is a Waiver?
A: A waiver cancels the overpayment and stops collection of it. In some cases, you could get money back which you already paid toward the overpayment.
Q: How do I find out about the Overpayment Waiver process?
A: Check your online unemployment account. ODJFS sent a notice which included a link to a waiver form. ODJFS will also be sending out notices by regular U.S. mail.
Q: What types of overpayments in UI or PUA can be waived?
A: Overpayments must be non-fraud which means you were not at fault in causing the overpayment.
Q: What standards apply to granting a waiver?
A: It is against equity and good conscience (unfair to you) to collect it.
Q: How do I apply for waiver in the state unemployment insurance (UI) system?
A: Fill out the waiver form. You can submit the form online. It can also be mailed to PO Box 182720 Columbus, OH 43218-2720
Q: How do I apply for waiver in the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) system?
A: Fill out the waiver form. You can submit the form online. It can also be mailed to PO Box 182720 Columbus, OH 43218-2720. If you have any questions, please refer to the “How To” manual found at www.odjfs.state.oh.us/forms/num/JFS20238/pdf/.
Q: How will I know if my waiver request is granted?
A: You will get a written/electronic notice.
Q: If my application for waiver is denied, can I appeal?
A: Yes. Follow the directions on your notice.
Q: Is there a deadline to submit a waiver application?
A: Not at this time.
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (PUA): FROZEN ACCOUNTS
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJSFS) learned that certain banks may have been targeted for potential fraudulent activity. ODJFS is investigating over 270,000 individuals who requested their PUA benefits be direct deposited. As a result, the agency placed a temporary hold on these claims.
If your account is frozen, you will receive a notice requesting documentation to verify your identity.
To confirm your identity and clear the freeze, you will need to provide
the following information:
- A copy of each of the following documents:
Social Security card,
Drivers license/state ID,
Second photo ID (passport, permanent resident card, student ID, company issued ID)
- Proof of your employment and/or income from 2018 to the present (any one of these)
- 2018 and 2019 federal tax returns along with federal Schedule E;
- 2018 and 2019 wage and tax statement;
- pay stubs; self-employment ledger documentation;
- 1040 SE with Schedule C, F, or SE;
- 1065 Schedule K1 with Schedule E;
- booking records including receipts for all allowable expenses;
- bank statements (personal and business);
- signed time sheets and receipts of payroll;
- quarterly or year-to-date profit and loss statement
- If you claimed any dependents (spouse and/or kids) you will need to provide each dependent’s Social Security card, birth certificate, drivers license/state ID, and proof of
- Proof of residence such as a utility bill or lease or mortgage documents.
If your application address is a Post Office Box, proof of ownership, such as the PS Form 1093 is required.
- If you chose Direct Deposit for payment, provide a voided check or other document that includes name of account owner, routing number, and account number.
- The name of your most recent employer and or self-employment and dates of employment, explaining how your employment and/or self-employment was affected by COVID-19.
How do I submit this information and documentation?
You can submit this information and documentation through your PUA account or by email to:
To speak with a PUA representative, call 833-604-0774.
FOR A FULL LIST OF OHIO’S COUNTY COURT PROCEDURE CHANGES DUE TO COVID-19, CLICK HERE.
BANKRUPTCY COURT FOR SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO
Download the court order here: SD of Ohio Bankruptcy Court – General_Order_35-1 re courtrooms
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF OHIO FEDERAL COURT
The Potter Stewart Courthouse is temporarily closed. See order here.
Download the court order here: https://tinyurl.com/yx4febhw
Download the court order addressing video teleconferencing in criminal proceedings here: https://tinyurl.com/w7q6oyu
Download the court order addressing Naturalization under the exigent circumstances created by COVID-19 here: https://tinyurl.com/r4akkuf
|DELAWARE COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT – Among other updates, the order does the following:
DELAWARE COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS – Access Press Release Here
|FRANKLIN COUNTY COMMON PLEAS – DOMESTIC RELATIONS DIVISION – Access Order here: https://drj.fccourts.org/DisplayNews.aspx?PN=163|
|FRANKLIN COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT – Administrative Order – COVID 19 – FRANKLIN COUNTY – 2020-4-7_Administrative Order 07-2020|
|MADISON COUNTY COMMON PLEAS – Administrative Order –Madison County Common Pleas Order
|MARION COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT – Administrative Order – Marion County Municipal Court – COVID-19 temp order
MARION COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS – Administrative Order – Marion County Common Pleas Order
|MORROW COUNTY MUNICIPAL COURT – Administrative Order – Morrow County Municipal Court Order|
|UNION COUNTY COURT OF COMMON PLEAS – Administrative Order – Union County Common Pleas Order|
Can I be evicted during the Coronavirus Outbreak?
Currently, there is no federal or state requirement to stop evictions. Some courts in Ohio have temporarily stopped holding evictions. Some courts are holding eviction hearings according to the normal schedule.
If you would like to find out if your county has stopped eviction hearings, please contact your local municipal or county court or contact your local Legal Aid for updated information. If an eviction is filed against you, the court must tell you in writing when your eviction hearing will be scheduled.
Do I still have to pay my rent?
Yes. You are still responsible for paying your rent, even if the court in your area has temporarily stopped eviction hearings. Landlords still have the right to file an eviction against a tenant for nonpayment of rent and an eviction hearing will be scheduled as soon as the current health emergency is over or the court decides it is appropriate. Landlords are not required to accept late rent.
If your landlord agrees to take rent late, ask your landlord to put the agreement in writing. A text message from your landlord will count as writing.
If you get the agreement in a text message, be sure to screenshot the message and save it on a computer, email it to yourself or send it to another electronic database that you can retrieve if you no longer have access to your phone.
Are landlords allowed to throw away my things or lock me out?
No. Even if your court has temporarily stopped evictions, landlords are not allowed to remove your belongings, change the locks, turn off utilities or do anything to make you leave without first going to court. If a landlord is changing locks, removing belongings, or turning off utilities during this time and no court has ordered you out of your home, you should immediately contact your local law enforcement to report the illegal activity. You can also contact your local Legal Aid office for help.
What should I do if I need something repaired during the Coronavirus Outbreak?
Landlords are still required to make your property safe and complete necessary repairs. If you need something repaired, you should make your request to your landlord in writing. Save a copy of that request. Your landlord must make the repair within a reasonable time. “Reasonable time” depends on the situation, but most repairs must be made within 30 days of the request. If your landlord refuses or fails to make the necessary repair, you may have the right to pay your rent into the court using the rent escrow process. Tenants can only use the rent escrow process if they are current on their rent.
If the property is not safe to live in because of the needed repair, and the landlord refuses to make the repair, you may be able to file a claim against your landlord asking for an emergency order.
Due to the recent outbreak of the COVID-19, many courts have continued eviction hearings. There are still some courts having evictions. Using the court is the only legal way to evict someone. Some landlords may try to evict tenants without a court order or by turning off utilities.
Click here for help if this happens to you.
In order to escrow rent, you Must Be Current in Rent – you cannot escrow your rent if you are behind in rent in any amount. If you start a case when you are behind in rent, it will likely be dismissed. View the escrow procedures HERE.
Getting Mortgage Help Update
Foreclosure Moratorium Information (Download the brochure here)
Foreclosure Moratorium Information
On March 18, 2020, a moratorium or “hold” was put onto foreclosure filings and post-judgment sales.
- This is for properties financed, backed or insured by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, USDA, and VA mortgages.
- This includes reverse mortgages which are usually FHA insured.
The moratorium is now extended through December 31, 2020 for VA, USDA and FHA mortgages and January 31, 2020 for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Mortgages.
How do I know whether my loan is a FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA or VA mortgages?
- Fannie Mae: https://www.knowyouroptions.com/loanlookup or call 1-800-232-6643, option 4 for consumers
- Freddie Mac: https://ww3.freddiemac.com/loanlookup/ or call 1-800-373-3343, option 4 for
- FHA: Check your loan closing papers or call 877-622-8525 to check
- USDA: Check mortgage documents or call loan servicer
- VA: Check mortgage documents or call loan servicer
What does the Moratorium mean for those with FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA or VA Mortgages?
The Moratorium prevents the filing of a foreclosure action, foreclosure sales and evictions resulting from foreclosure actions thru December 31, 2020. However, your mortgage servicer may file a foreclosure once the moratorium ends.
What other protections are available for people with FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA or VA mortgages?
If you have a COVID–19 related hardship and can’t pay your mortgage, contact your loan servicer immediately.
- You should request a forbearance (stop on mortgage payments) for 180 days.
- You can request a second 180 day forbearance period.
- This requirement remains in place as long as the National Emergency stays in effect or until December 31, 2020, whichever is earlier.
You may also be eligible for a loan modification, repayment plan, or other similar loss mitigation option.
To find out what you are eligible for, complete a full mortgage assistance application.
- You will need your income information and a written explanation of your hardship.
- Keep copies of your application and any paperwork submitted.
- If you receive a notice of incomplete application, make sure to meet any deadlines to submit missing documents.
- Send your application using a trackable form of mail so that you have proof of when your paperwork is received by the servicer.
- When you ask for a forbearance, your loan servicer is required to inform you that they need a full application for mortgage statement in order to be evaluated for other mortgage assistance options.
How can I reach my loan servicer?
For most loan servicers, you can submit your request for forbearance or request for other types of mortgage assistance options by sending a written letter, email or fax asking for mortgage payment relief.
What if I don’t have a FHA, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA or VA mortgage?
Many companies have their own loss mitigation options to help customers experiencing difficulty in paying their mortgages. You should contact your loan servicer to ask about those options.
For legal help with these issues, please contact your local Legal Aid.
SEOLS: (614) 824-2503
FRANKLIN & MADISON: (614) 241-2001 or Toll Free 1-888-246-44420
DELAWARE, MARION, MORROW, & UNION: 740-383-2161 or Toll Free 1-888-201-2411
PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE (PUA)
DOWNLOAD THE INFORMATION HERE.
There is expanded eligibility for unemployment compensation benefits to workers that would not qualify for traditional unemployment compensation.
Q: Who is covered under PUA?
- Workers who have exhausted their rights to traditional Unemployment Compensation (UC) benefits after July 19, 2019
- Workers who are self-employed, freelancers, independent contractors, gig workers, and/or 1099 tax filers
- Workers who lost or are working at reduced hours in part-time employment
- Workers who lack sufficient work history or earnings to qualify for traditional UC benefits
- Who is NOT covered under PUA?
- Workers who can telework with pay (unless they work fewer hours than they did prior to COVID-19, in which case they may qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance)
- Workers receiving paid leave unless they are getting benefits for less than their normal work week
Q: How many weeks may a person receive PUA benefits?
A: Benefits are capped at 39 weeks.
Q: If PUA is approved, how much will I get in PUA benefits?
A: The benefit amount is similar to traditional unemployment benefits, and the minimum PUA amount is $189.00. Otherwise, it is 50% of your average weekly wage.
Q: I heard about a $600 payment. Will I get it too?
A: Starting the week ending April 4, 2020, through July 25, 2020, if you qualify for PUA benefits, you will also receive an additional $600.00 per week through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program.
Q: How do I apply for PUA benefits in Ohio?
A: Apply online at https://pua.unemployment.ohio.gov. If you have questions, call 833-604-0774.
Q: What info will I need to apply for PUA?
A: Name, address, telephone number, a valid email address, social security number, date of birth, driver’s license or state ID number, and dates of employment for 2019 and 2020; Reason for unemployment; Dependent information (spouse or children) and their social security number and date of birth; Banking information for direct deposit (or you can choose to get benefits on a debit card); and 2019 tax return if available
If you are self-employed, you must submit acceptable proof of employment, including but not limited to, W-2 forms, recent pay stubs or vouchers, earnings statements (reflecting profit and loss), or recent bank records showing payroll direct deposit.
Q: Do I have to submit weekly claims to receive PUA benefits?
A: Yes, you must submit a claim for every week you have been unemployed due to COVID-19.
Q: What are the current dates of the PUA program?
A: January 27, 2020-December 31, 2020
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) provides an additional 13 weeks of unemployment compensation benefits.
Q: How many total weeks can someone receive unemployment compensation benefits?
A: Maximum of 39 weeks
Q: If I exhausted my traditional unemployment benefits on or after July 19, 2019, how do I get the PEUC extended benefits?
A: Log into your unemployment compensation account and reopen your claim. At the top left there will be an icon for Federal Pandemic Benefits. Click that and follow the prompts.
Q: Do I have to claim my weeks?
A: Yes, you must claim each week you are unemployed.
Q: How can I claim my retroactive weeks?
A: You will need to call 1-877-644-6562 to claim retroactive weeks.
Q: How much will my PEUC extended benefits be?
A: Extended benefits (the additional 13 weeks) will be the same as your regular weekly benefit amount when you were getting unemployment.
Q: Will I also get the $600 benefit known Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC)?
A: Yes. For each week you are eligible for PEUC extended benefits, you will also be paid $600.
New Schedule for Filing Weekly Unemployment Benefit Claims
Starting Sunday, April 26, 2020, this is when you should file weekly claims
|Day||First Letter of Last Name|
|Sunday||A through H|
|Monday||I through P|
|Tuesday||Q through Z|
After being approved for unemployment benefits, you must continue to file claims for benefits.
- If you chose to get notices by e-mail, you must file weekly
- If you chose to get notices by mail, you must file weekly claims online for three weeks and will then be switched to a biweekly schedule
- Once a weekly claim is processed, payment will be made by direct deposit within three (3) business days
This information is being update. Please check back for the latest details.
Download information here.
Pandemic-EBT (P-EBT) is now available to help families afford healthy food for their children. P-EBT is additional money for families to buy food due to COVID-19 related school closures.
Who is eligible for (P-EBT)?
Families with children who receive free or reduced-price school meals.
Families with children who attend schools where all students get free meals under the National School Lunch Program.
How much money is available?
Children eligible for free and reduced-price meals as of March will receive a total of $302.10.
Children that became eligible for free and reduced-price meals in April will receive $239.40.
Use P-EBT in addition to grab-and-go meal sites to meet your children’s food needs.
How will funds be made available?
If you are on SNAP (food stamps) funds will be added to your Ohio Direction Card
If you are not on SNAP, you will get a P-EBT card for EACH eligible child.
When will cards be issued?
Cards should be issued by June 30, 2020.
How are the cards activated?
Call the phone number on the back of the card and follow the prompts
When asked to enter the last 4 digits of the child’s social security number INSTEAD enter the child’s birth year.
Where can I find additional information?
Additional information is available at OhioPEBT.org or by calling 1-866-244-0071.
Ohio’s Cash Assistance Programs and COVID-19
Ohio’s stay at home/social distancing orders issued by Governor DeWine and Dr. Acton of the Ohio Department of Health caused many Ohioans to lose their source of income during this crisis. To help you figure out what financial assistance options are available, SEOLS and LASC have put together this brochure, which provides general information about Ohio’s cash assistance program, known as Ohio Works First (OWF), and the Prevention, Retention, and Contingency (PRC) program, both of which are administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Q: What is Ohio Works First (OWF)?
A: Ohio Works First (OWF) is a time limited cash assistance program for families with children with very low to no income also known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Q: Who can receive Ohio Works First (OWF)?
A: You must be an Ohio resident; a U.S. citizen, national, legal alien, or permanent resident; be six months pregnant or be responsible for a child under 19 years of age; have very low income; and be under-employed, unemployed, or about to become unemployed. Certain relative caretakers of a minor child in the household may also qualify for benefits. Child-only OWF payments also exist.
Q: How long can you receive Ohio Works First (OWF)?
A: Ohio’s time limit to get OWF is 36 months. The federal TANF program allows up to 60 months of these cash benefits.
Q: Can I get Ohio Works First (OWF) if I was time-limited off benefits?
A: Yes, but you will have to apply for OWF and request an extension. Three types of extensions are available: a state/county hardship extension; a good cause extension for those who have not used OWF for 24 months; and a federal hardship extension.
State/County hardship extension periods are determined by each local Job and Family Services (JFS) office and require you to reapply for additional extensions as your extension expires.
Good Cause extension periods are for 24 additional months of OWF eligibility and are only determined once.
Federal hardship extensions are available once you received OWF for 60 months and are based on the same criteria as the state/county hardship.
Q: How do I apply for OWF?
A: You can apply online at https://benefits.ohio.gov/ or you can fill out the “Request for Cash, Food and Medical Assistance” form (JFS 7200) and submit it to your local JFS office. To find your local JFS office: search online at http://jfs.ohio.gov/County/index.stm; call 1-866-365-3748 and select Option 4; or look in your local phone book. If you are planning on using the form JFS 7200, you should call your local JFS office for instructions on how to submit the form because many offices are currently closed to the public but have options for telephone interviews during the COVID-19 crisis.
Q: Will I have to complete work requirements to get OWF during the COVID-19 pandemic?
A: You will be expected to complete work assignments that do not violate the stay at home order. Because some work sites have closed and JFS offices are closed to the public at this time, chances are you will be granted good cause if you cannot complete your work requirements. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families issued guidance advising States to liberally grant good cause exemptions for persons that cannot complete work assignments because of illness (theirs or caring for another), child care due to school and daycare closures, work placement closure, or other similar barrier caused by COVID-19. This same guidance also suggests the use of online work activities and trainings to the extent possible to allow for continued completion of work requirements during this period.
Q: If my county’s Job and Family Services is requiring me to come into the office to complete online work activities and trainings but I am concerned about contracting the coronavirus, what should I do?
A: Most JFS offices are not requiring in-office work activity or trainings during the stay at home order. If your agency requires you to visit their office and you have a disability that makes you vulnerable to the coronavirus, you have the right to request a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act so that you do not have to go into the office to use available computers. Additionally, you should request a good cause exemption if you cannot complete a work requirement until the stay at home and social distancing orders end.
Q: I received Ohio Works First (OWF) in the past but lost the benefits due to sanctions. Can I reapply?
A: Yes, you can reapply. But you will have to sign a Sanction Compliance form. JFS offices can use verbal signatures during COVID-19, so you should contact your local office as soon as possible to remedy the sanction and to reapply for OWF. Use the contact information below to contact the legal aid nearest you for help.
Civil Protection Orders During The Covid-19 Pandemic
IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL 911
If you are experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (24 hours a day)
800-799-7233 or www.thehotline.org
Go to www.odvn.org to get contact info for your local domestic violence shelter
What can a Civil Protection Order (CPO) do for me?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, a Civil Protection Order (CPO) might help you keep safe.
Domestic violence is when you or someone in your household is hurt by someone who is or was a partner, spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend, or other part of your household or family. Domestic violence includes hitting, hurting, threatening, or making you feel afraid by following you or preventing you from moving around freely.
A Civil Protection Order (CPO) orders an attacker to stay away from you for a set time up to 5 years. As a part of the Civil Protection Order, you may also get sole possession of a house or a car, temporary custody of a shared child, an order for the attacker to stay away from schools and workplaces, and monetary support.
How can I obtain a Civil Protection Order (CPO) during the COVID-19 pandemic?
During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can still obtain a CPO. Courts may limit who can come into the courtroom or may have the hearing by phone. Domestic violence is serious and is being treated as an emergency. If you need a CPO, call your local domestic violence shelter and they can help you get a CPO.
After you file for a CPO with the Court there will be two hearings:
1. The “ex parte” hearing – you will get to tell the judge about the domestic violence. The abuser will not be present for this hearing. If the judge grants your “ex parte”
petition, you will have an order for the abuser to stay away from you.
2. The abuser will then be served with the court papers and the court will set a “full hearing,” where the Respondent will be allowed to appear in court and give testimony.
What should I do if my attacker violates a Civil Protection Order (CPO) I have against them?
Call the police if your attacker has violated the CPO by contacting you, coming near you, or doing anything the order says they should not do
Can SEOLS and LASC help me if I need a CPO during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes. Call us and an attorney will discuss your case by phone.
Missed utility payments during Covid?
Your utilities could now be shut off.
Here is what should happen before they are disconnected:
The stay to prevent water shut-offs ended July 10th
You should receive a notice before any shut-off
The notice should explain how you can request a hearing to prevent the shut-off
Ask if they will give you a repayment plan to prevent the shut off
Electric and Gas Service:
Companies can now ask PUCO to start shutting off service
PUCO will require them to give notices and in some cases offer payment plans
To see what your utility company is doing – https://puco.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/puco/utilities/gas/resources/utility-restart
If your electric or gas provider is not on that list, they are not regulated by PUCO
But they still must give a notice before shut-off
You should still ask about a repayment plan
What are my options to keep service on if I am behind on payments?
For regulated utilities –
They must offer a payment plan
Plans can be set up for 6 or 9 months to repay
You will have to make your regular payment plus the arrears payment to keep service on
For unregulated utilities –
Ask for a payment plan
Your provider does not have to offer this, but many are because of Covid
Summer Crisis Program – available thru September 30, 2020
This can help with $ for arrears for both regulated and unregulated companies (electric & gas)
Find out what agency to contact to complete your Summer Crisis application here –
To receive the stimulus check, you must
- Have a Social Security Number (SSN) and have filed taxes in 2018, or
- Have a SSN and filed taxes in 2019, or
- Have a SSN and receive Social Security Retirement benefits, or
- Have a SSN and receive Social Security Disability benefits, or
- Have a SSN and receive Supplemental Security Income benefits, or
- Have a SSN and receives Railroad Retirement Benefits
IRS Launches New Site to Help Non-Filers Register for Economic Impact Payments
The IRS portal for people who do not need to file tax returns is now live. This includes people who only receive SSI, VA benefits. You can find the link here: https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/#/fd/EconomicImpactPayment. Learn more about registering as a non-filer HERE.
Please note: You should not use this if:
· You receive Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or SSDI benefits. The IRS will automatically send you an Economic Impact Payment.
· You have already filed a 2019 federal income tax return.
· Your 2019 gross income exceeded $12,200 ($24,400 for a married couple) or other reasons require you to file a 2019 federal tax return.
· You were married at the end of 2019 and are not submitting information here with your spouse.
· You were not a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident in 2019.
Learn more HERE.
The IRS portal for people who do not need to file tax returns is now live. This includes people who only receive SSI, VA benefits. You can find the link here: https://www.freefilefillableforms.com/#/fd/EconomicImpactPayment. Learn more about registering as a non-filer HERE.
Download our Info Sheet HERE.
Avoiding Scams During the COVID-19 Outbreak
Watch out for these scams
· Misleading consumer products
o There are no cures or vaccines for COVID 19
o Companies are selling products that say they can cure or prevent people from becoming infected with the coronavirus.
o For COVID 19 treatment, contact your doctor or the Ohio Department of Health 1-833-427-5634.
· Identity Theft Scams
o The stimulus checks from the Federal Treasury will come directly from the US Government
o If you get a call or e-mail from a company, agency or non-profit wanting to help you get the stimulus check, it is a scam
o Do no provide information to them such as your name, address and/or date of birth.
· Price gauging
o When someone sells things like toilet paper or hand sanitizer for an amount that is a lot more than the normal price
o Before purchasing an item from an individual or group because it is out of stock, you should check if the group is real – ask for a web address
· Charity scams
o Fake programs or services collecting money for a fake cause
o Ask for a web address to be able to check out the organization before donating
o There are no government programs asking you to obtain a money gram or gift card to obtain the benefit.
o Do not provide your bank information to anyone offering you free money
Download our Info Sheet HERE.
Governor DeWine ordered all Ohio schools closed until at least April 3. There is the possibility that schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. We will provide updated information if the schools remain closed past April 3.
Does a school have to provide educational services during the temporary school closure?
Schools are not required to provide educational services if they can meet the state-mandated minimum hour requirements by the end of the school year.
If a school provides educational services, what must they do to meet the educational needs for
students with disabilities?
To comply with guidance provided by the Ohio Department of Education, school districts that are providing educational services during the temporary school closure must do the following:
· If a school district is providing a virtual learning environment, it must make a good faith effort to ensure that students with disabilities have computer and internet access.
· All students must have access to required learning materials and technologies.
· Any educational services must include the ability to provide for specially designed instruction, supports, and related services set forth within IEPs and 504 Plans to the extent practicable and without endangering the health or safety of the students, teachers, and staff.
· School must also track the services provided under the IEPs and 504 Plans.
· The schools should provide other therapies (i.e., occupational, physical, psychological, and speech therapies) when practical.
· The schools should consider whether aides and/or assistive technologies can continue to be provided.
What if a school is providing educational services to students but is unable to meet the needs of students with disabilities?
· The school will need to look at compensatory education services and extended school-year services.
· Any compensatory education or extended school-year services must be tailored to the needs of each affected student.
· A school district cannot create a blanket policy for all students with disabilities.
Schools must meet upcoming IEP or ETR deadlines.
- Such meetings may occur via telephone or video conferencing.
· Signatures may be gathered by mail, email, or other electronic means.
Schools are responsible for identifying students who may have a disability during the temporary closure period.
· The district must conduct an initial evaluation and complete an ETR within the required 60-day period to the extent practicable.
· Some delays may occur if the school’s closure prevents the collection and review of records or an in-person assessment.
How is the temporary school closure period affecting due process complaints currently under
investigation by the Ohio Department of Education?
- The investigator will have to determine if the investigation can proceed based on information already received from the parents and the school.
· A need for additional information may support a 60-day extension.
· The investigator will notify the parents and the school district if there is an extension.
What proactive steps can a parent of a student with disabilities take to ensure that their child is getting appropriate services during the temporary closure period?
- Contact the school district’s special education director or building principal to get information about:
o Educational services being provided to your child during the temporary closure period and the district’s efforts to ensure that your child is getting the specially designed instruction, supports, and related services set forth in the IEP or 504 Plan;
o The status of an initial evaluation and planned scheduling of an annual IEP or ETR meeting; and/or
o To make any request for services.
· Make requests for accessible technologies, therapies, specialized instruction, and/or supports in writing, and keep a copy of the requests for yourself as well.
· Keep a calendar to track your requests for accommodations and services, and the responses to such requests, and note how the communication occurred (i.e., telephone, email, letter, etc.).
· Keep a calendar to track how many minutes of specially designed instruction and related services (such as speech therapy or occupational therapy) your child is receiving to help determine whether any compensatory education may be owed when the schools reopen.
· If you are a low-income parent who believes the school is not providing equitable services for your disabled child, contact your local legal aid for help.
Additional Resources: The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has also issued a factsheet entitled “Considerations for Students with Disabilities During Ohio’s Ordered School-Building Closure” which may be found on ODE’s website. ODE also has additional information here:
The U.S. Department of Education has issued a five-page “Supplemental Fact Sheet Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Preschool, Elementary and Secondary Schools While Serving Children with Disabilities” which may be accessed here.
You can’t renew, retest or get a new license during the pandemic. All BMV offices are closed.
If your license expired after March 9, 2020, it is still good until
* 90 days after Ohio’s declared emergency ends
* or until Dec. 1, 2020, whichever date comes first.
What should I do if my license was suspended?
CONTACT SEOLS AT 833-288-2936 oR LASC AT 614-241-2001
You will need your full name (including middle initial), date of birth, last four
digits of your Social Security number, and license number
How do I contact the BMV?
online https://bmv.ohio.gov/ (live chat option available)
by phone 844-644-6268
by mail—PO Box 16520 Columbus, OH 43216-6520
License plates and tags
You can renew online at www.oplates.com
BMV is temporarily halting suspensions and late fees for failure to renew. * We do not yet know how long that will last.
BMV and Governor DeWine have asked law enforcement to not pull over drivers just because they have expired tags or licenses.
I was cited for driving during the Stay-at-Home order. What should I do?
If you were working as an essential worker, taking care of someone sick, or dealing with an emergency, talk to a criminal defense attorney.
* Legal Aid cannot handle criminal and traffic cases.
Student Loan Help During COVID –19
Download our information sheet here.
What did the CARES Act Do for Student Loans?
The CARES Act suspended payments and waived interest from March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2020 for
- Direct Loans or
- Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) currently owned by the U.S. Department of Education.
How do I know whether my loan is a Direct Loan or FFEL?
- go to https://studentaid.gov/
- or call your servicer
- or the United States Department of Education at 1-800-4-FED-AID (1-800-433-3243; TTY for the deaf or hearing-impaired 1-800-730-8913)
What if my loan was in already collections ?
For the loans that the CARES Act covers, involuntary collections have been suspended. Any withholdings from Social Security, Veteran’s benefits, tax offsets, and wage garnishments should have been stopped until September 30, 2020.
If I stop making payments until September 30, 2020, will I still be eligible for loan forgiveness?
For the loans that the CARES Act covers, payments due from March 13, 2020 through September 30, 2020 are suspended. Payments for those months are treated as being made for purposes of the loan forgiveness program even if you did not pay.
Do I have to request the payment suspension if I have a student loan that is covered by the CARES Act?
No, the CARES Act suspends all payments for the loans automatically. Your student loan servicer (the company you pay your loans to) should have notified you by April 10, 2020 that your loan payments are suspended until September 30, 2020.
What if I was set up for an automatic payment or I have money taken that was not supposed to be during this time by a wage withholding, benefit withholding, or tax offset?
If you were set up for an automatic payments to be withdrawn from your bank account, the loan servicer should stop withdrawing payments. If that does not happen, you can request a refund of the money that was taken out between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2020.
You can also request a refund if wages were withheld, taxes were offset or a portion of your Social security payment was withheld after March 13, 2020. If you have questions about whether your federal tax refund was withheld, call the U.S. Department of Education’s Default Resolution Group at 1-800-621-3115 (TTY for the deaf or hearing-impaired 1-877-825-9923).
However, this only applies if you have a loan that is covered by the Act.
If I stop making these payment payments because I have a student loan that is covered by the Act, will it hurt my credit score?
No. Your loan servicer is not supposed to be reporting that you failed to make a payment on your credit report if you stop making payments between March 13, 2020 and September 30, 2020. Instead, it should show up on a credit report as you making the payment on the regularly scheduled day.
Do I have any options if I just enrolled in school and then the COVID-19 outbreak made me withdraw?
If you withdrew from school due to COVID—19, the CARES Act requires that Direct Loans be cancelled during payment period you withdrew.
Rights of Homeless Students During COVID-19
Download our Info Sheet HERE. Current as of 3/20/2020
On any given weekday, Ohio schools serve 25,600 homeless students. That number will likely increase significantly due to workplace shut-downs and growing financial concerns as a result of local, state, and federal COVID-19 policies.
It is extremely important that families with school aged children experiencing homelessness and unaccompanied homeless students know that they have rights to access their education and receive supports from their school to maintain stability and minimize trauma.
The McKinney-Vento Act is a federal law that ensures the right of students to go to school even when they or their family are homeless or do not have a permanent address. The law requires districts to appoint a local liaison to identify homeless students, assist in student enrollment, arrange transportation of homeless students if needed, and connect students and families with community resources.
Who is Homeless?
Students meet the McKinney-Vento definition of homeless when they lack a fixed, regular, adequate nighttime residence. Students who are sharing the housing of another person (doubled up) due to loss of housing, economic hardship or similar reason meet the definition of homeless. This includes students living in motels, hotels, RV parks or campgrounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations, as well as those living in emergency or transitional shelters or abandoned in hospitals
What is the Role of the Local Liaison?
The local liaison acts as the primary support and advocate for homeless students and provides resources, McKinney-Vento services and information. The local liaison is responsible for the academic and non-academic support of homeless students, ensuring student enrollment and the delivery of McKinney-Vento resources to increase stability in and out of the classroom.
With Regards to COVID-19, liaisons should be providing updated information regarding COVID-19 and should be proactively engaging students to ensure they are connected to school instruction and other school and community-based supports as needed and appropriate.
How Can Families and Unaccompanied Youth Access Supports/Services?
Many communities are closing schools in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While this is an important step to protect public health, it poses challenges for families and youth who depend on the supports. Communities should consider keeping certain schools or community resource sites open for food, hygiene, and health care, or provide delivery, or drive-by options. If a school does provide meals or services, homeless students should have the ability to access these services.
Schools should work with local public health officials and community partners to identify temporary, safe and stable shelter options for families or youth experiencing homelessness who must quarantine.
If I’m Homeless Do I Have To Switch Schools?
Not Necessarily. Educational stability is critical for students experiencing homelessness. A school needs to work with the student and their parents or guardians to decide where a student will attend school. One option is that the student can stay in the school they were attending at the time homelessness occurs or there was a change to the student’s living situation. This is called the school of origin. A second option is to move to the school in the district where the student currently is living. A student should only move schools if staying in the school of origin creates barriers to educational stability or if the parent requests a move.
Can I Enroll in a New School?
Yes. If it is determined by the school, the student, and parent/guardian that it is in the best interest of the student to move to a new school district, the student must be immediately enrolled. Immediate enrollment is an essential practice to ensure the stability of homeless youth. Delays in enrollment can negatively impact attendance. Additionally, it can lead to other adverse outcomes, such as inaccurate enrollment in classes, not receiving necessary academic services and falling behind in coursework. When it is not in the best interest of the student to remain in his or her school of origin, the new school must immediately enroll the student with or without the necessary documentation.
What if I Don’t Have Transportation?
Once in-person classes resume, you should work with your liaison to arrange transportation paid for by the school. Getting to and from school can create stress and an additional barrier to education for homeless students and their families. Your district must provide transportation for homeless students to support student success and educational stability. This includes transportation to and from extracurricular activities.
- To identify your local liaison, contact your school district, or visit ODE’s website (education.ohio.gov) for a complete directory of all liaisons in the state.
- For more information regarding the state’s response to COVID-19 visit the governor’s website (coronavirus.ohio.gov)
COVID-19 AND BANKRUPTCY
COVID-19 AND BANKRUPTCY
If you have already filed a bankruptcy in the Southern District of Ohio
For in-person 341 meetings scheduled through April 10, 2020
- You will get a notice if the meeting will be held by phone
- If you do not get a notice, the meeting will be continued
- Contact your bankruptcy attorney or trustee for specific information
For trials, hearings, or other conferences scheduled through April 13, 2020
- These will be held by phone
- If you can’t participate by phone, tell the court immediately
Want to file a bankruptcy
- LASC and SEOLS are prioritizing emergency cases for filing
- Have a utility balance, license suspension due to an accident, or current wage garnishment, call us
- We are still preparing bankruptcy petitions and getting cases ready to file
|Homework: Planning to file a bankruptcy – Here is a list of items you will need to get started :
1. Proof of income — pay stubs and child support income (from the last six months), w2s, social security award statements
2. Tax returns—over the past two years
3. Bank account statements—three months
4. Vehicle information—car loan paperwork, car titles/memorandum of titles
5. Housing information—mortgages, deeds, leases
6. Creditor list—access free credit reports at annualcreditreport.com
7. Lawsuit information
8. Life insurance information
9. Retirement account information.
LASC— Melissa Linville SEOLS— Sondra Bryson
1108 City Park Ave. 1108 City Park Ave.
Columbus, OH 43212 Columbus, OH 43212
COVID-19 AND OPTIONS FOR GRANDPARENT CAREGIVERS
خيارات للأجداد المتولين رعاية أطفال बालबाललकाहरूको स्याहार गर्ने हजुरबुबा/हजुरआमाका लागग विकल्पहरू
DOOKHYADA AWOOWEYAASHA/AYEEYOOYINKA DARYEELAAYA CARRUURTA
OPCIONES PARA LOS ABUELOS QUE CUIDAN NIÑOS
OPTIONS FOR GRANDPARENTS CARING FOR CHILDREN
Grandparents caring long-term for their grandchildren face several barriers if they do not have legal support. These can involve difficulty arranging medical or dental care or school enrollment. A order changing legal custody will solve those problems. But not every situation justifies changing custody, and with the COVID-19 Pandemic, many courts are limiting non-emergency hearings due to health concerns and reduced staff.
Thankfully, Ohio has two legal documents that make it possible for grandparents who are taking long-term—but not permanent—care of their grandchildren to have a clear legal right to handle all of those affairs:
Grandparent Power of Attorney (GPOA)
A Grandparent Power of Attorney is a legal document in which the parent(s) of a child give the designated grandparent(s) “any of the parent’s, guardian’s, or custodian’s rights and responsibilities regarding the care, physical custody, and control of the child, including the ability to enroll the child in school, to obtain from the school district educational and behavioral information about the child, to consent to all school-related matters regarding the child, and to consent to medical, psychological, or dental treatment for the child.“ Importantly, the GPOA does not eliminate the parent’s rights or change legal custody.
Requirements of GPOA:
To prevent abuse, GPOAs have strict requirements for validity. In order to give the GPOA, the parent signing must certify that:
- They are experiencing one of these conditions:
(a) Seriously ill, incarcerated, or about to be incarcerated,
(b) Temporarily unable to provide financial support or parental guidance to the child,
(c) Temporarily unable to provide adequate care and supervision of the child because of my physical or mental condition,
(d) Homeless or without a residence because the current residence is destroyed or otherwise uninhabitable, or
(e) In or about to enter a residential treatment program for substance abuse;
- The other parent is deceased and the signing parent has authority to sign the GPOA;
- The parent believes the GPOA is in the child’s best interest
In addition, the parent must certify the GPOA is not for the purpose of enrolling the child in a school or school district for athletic or academic programs.
If there is a court order about custody of the child and only one parent is signing, the signing parent must also certify either that (1) they have attempted and failed to locate the other parent or (2) the other parent is legally not entitled to notice.
Finally, the GPOA must be filed in the juvenile court in the county where the grandparent lives [or in any other court where there has already been orders about the child, like a divorce or juvenile court that has previously determined custody] within 5 days of signing.
Grandparent Caretaker Affidavit (CTA)
A Grandparent Caretaker Affidavit is used when a child is living with a grandparent and the grandparent cannot locate or contact the child’s parents, despite reasonable attempts. With a valid CTA, the grandparent can “obtain authority to exercise care, physical custody, and control of the child including authority to enroll the child in school, to discuss with the school district the child’s educational progress, to consent to all school-related matters regarding the child, and to consent to medical, psychological, or dental treatment for the child.” As with the GPOA, the CTA does not eliminate the parent’s rights or change legal custody.
Requirements of CTA:
CTAs also have strict requirements for validity. In executing a CTA, the grandparent must certify that:
- The child lives with the grandparent
- The grandparent has made reasonable attempts to locate the parents
- If paternity is not established, there is no requirement to attempt to contact a parent other than the mother;
- If there is a court order for custody of the child and one parent either (1) is not entitled to notice of relocation or (2) parental rights have been terminated, the grandparent does not need to attempt to contact that parent
- The CTA is not for the purpose of enrolling the child in a school or school district for athletic or academic programs.
Finally, the CTA must be filed in the juvenile court in the county where the grandparent lives [or in any other court where there has already been orders about the child, like a divorce or juvenile court that has previously determined custody] within 5 days of signing.
Limitations to GPOAs and CTAs
Neither a GPOA nor a CTA creates or changes anything about child support. Child support changes still will have to be handled through the appropriate court or child support enforcement agency.
If there are court proceedings pending about the child, such as an adoption, guardianship, custody, divorce, or juvenile court case, neither a GPOA nor CTA can be created.
Because GPOAs and CTAs do not change custody or the parental relationship, the parents can limit, terminate, or revoke either one if they change their minds. Do not try to use GPOAs or CTAs as a substitute for changes of custody or adoption if a permanent solution is needed.
There is a statutory form for both GPOAs and CTAs. The county law library or department of Job and Family Services should be able to provide a copy. The Supreme Court of Ohio has posted these forms online as well:
The Legal Aid Society of Columbus and Southeastern Ohio Legal Services provide free legal services for low-income Ohioans and seniors. Intake lines are open 9:00am-3:30pm Monday-Friday at 614.241.2001 (Central Ohio) or 1.833.288.2936 (Southeastern Ohio).
This information is being updated. Please check back for the latest information.
INFO FOR SMALL BUSINESSES IMPACTED BY COVID-19 – INFO FROM U.S. SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION:
Subject: SBA Disaster Assistance Form & Additional Resources for Small Businesses
Current as of March 17, 2020
All federal agencies are working together to protect public health, including the U.S. Small Business Administration. The agency’s top priority is to ensure Ohio small businesses – which total nearly 950,000 – can continue their contributions to the state’s economy, and our nation.
The SBA is working directly with Governor DeWine’s office to facilitate a disaster declaration for businesses to be eligible for Economic Injury Disaster loans. To expedite this process, we need your help in disseminating the attached Disaster Loan Declaration form for businesses to fill out. Once you have done so, please email the completed forms to .
Once that declaration is made and the SBA has confirmed it, the agency will be able to provide Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million per small business to assist with economic recovery.
Please feel free to send out the attached handouts as well as the below links to disaster assistance:
- Disaster Preparedness Factsheet (English | Spanish)
- Disaster Mitigation Factsheet (English | Spanish)
- Disaster Assistance Loans: Businesses & Nonprofits (English | Spanish)
- Disaster Assistance Loans: Homeowners & Renters (English | Spanish)
- Disaster Assistance Loans: Community Impact (English | Spanish)
Click on the links below to download helpful materials:
If you have a Court order, you must follow it. If the parenting time requires travel, you must make reasonable efforts to allow visitation. If you run into problems, keep the other parent up to date. The Governor’s stay in place order specifically permits transportation for custody and/or visitation.
Read our information sheet here.
COVID-19 Related Resources for Franklin County Guide: COVID-19 RESOURCES – Franklin County.
City of Columbus COVID-19 Resource Page – HERE
How to Get to Your Local Food Pantry Using COTA – HERE
The Columbus Urban League has funds available to help with rental payments for those directly affected by Covid-19. The application is available here. https://www.cul.org/preventing-a-housing-crisis-emergency-assistance/
Spectrum is opening up all of their WiFi hotspots for free access for 60 days to help with people doing school or work remotely.
HELPFUL INFORMATION FROM SOUTH SIDE THRIVE
Learn more about Rental Assistance Resources HERE: