LEGAL SERVICES BRIEFING ON CHANGES IN PUBLIC BENEFITS

LEGAL SERVICES BRIEFING ON CHANGES IN PUBLIC BENEFITS & FEDERAL STIMULUS PAYMENTS

 

For our community partners

 

april9_Benefits_Briefing

Presented by

Lucy Potter and Alison Weir, Greater Hartford Legal Aid
Kristen Noelle Hatcher and Wendy Wanchak, Connecticut Legal Services

  • How have DSS procedures changed?
  • Do my clients need to file for redeterminations for SNAP, TFA, or HUSKY?
  • What is covered by HUSKY for COVID-19?
  • How can folks access their federal stimulus payments?
  • And other current benefits and relief questions. .

 

Thursday April 9, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Call-In #: (860) 541-5012 Conference ID 59705 (push #)

Please RSVP to BenefitsBriefing@ghla.org and send your questions!

 

LEGAL SERVICES BRIEFING ON COVID-19 EDUCATION AND SCHOOL ISSUES

Apr9EducationBriefingAnnouncement

LEGAL SERVICES BRIEFING ON COVID-19 EDUCATION AND SCHOOL ISSUES

For our community partners

Apr9EducationBriefingAnnouncement

 

Presented by

Maria Morelli Wolfe and Lynn Cochrane, Greater Hartford Legal Aid
Agata Raszczyk-Lawska, Connecticut Legal Services
Erin Shaffer, New Haven Legal Assistance Association

  • What must school provide for studentseligible for special education?
  • How can | get students support with distance learming?
  • What must out-of-district placements provide students?
  • How can | advocate for the students | work with?
  • And other current issues in education…

Thursday April 9, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Callin #: (860) 541-5012 Conference ID 59705 (press #)

Please RSVP to EducationBriefing@ghla.org and send your questions in advance!

An Update on Covid-19

Dear Friends and Supporters,

We hope you and your families are staying safe and healthy during these unprecedented times.  We want to assure you that although CLS’ physical offices are closed, our staff is working remotely and we continue to provide legal services to our clients and take referrals from other community agencies.

COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic have created fear and uncertainty in all of us. But none have felt the insecurity of these times more than our clients and the members of the low-income communities throughout Connecticut who struggle to maintain stability, provide food for their families, and meet their health care needs.

With your support, we have continued to provide legal services to our clients. We are representing clients in priority court matters such as abuse and neglect petitions for children, requests for relief from abuse for victims of domestic violence, and immigration cases for unaccompanied minors. We also are providing legal counsel across all of the civil law areas in which we practice. As incidences of family abuse increase during times of stress such as these, we are working with local domestic violence shelters and the courts to ensure that our clients are able to secure their physical safety.

As we adjust our work, comply with CDC recommendations, and practice social distancing, we also are responding to the new legal issues that have arisen because of COVID-19. In addition to the direct legal services we continue to provide as noted above, we are advocating on behalf of our clients to ensure that they maintain access to necessary services to meet their ever changing needs over the next few months, such as:

·     Housing: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask the courts to implement a full moratorium on evictions and to ask HUD to suspend eviction related actions. The court has enacted an immediate stay of all ejectments through May 1, 2020.

·     Benefits: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask the DSS commissioner to suspend any actions meant to terminate benefits or enforce benefit time limits. DSS has enacted these changes.

·     Elder: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask DSS and DPH to suspend residential care home and nursing home discharges, and on terminations of long-term care Medicaid payments to nursing homes.

·     Employment: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask the DOL to provide unemployment for those who are unable to work because of the pandemic but who would otherwise be excluded from eligibility.

·     CAR: We collaborated with our partners in the legal aid network to ask the Governor to allocate funds to address educational needs through increased access to internet, data, and digital devices and other school based services for children with disabilities or additional educational needs.

During these difficult times, CLS maintains its dedication to its mission to provide access to justice and protect critical civil legal rights of low-income individuals and families through representation, systemic advocacy, advice, collaboration, and education. Anyone seeking legal assistance within our service area can continue to call our local offices (which can be found on our website ctlegal.org), call Statewide Legal Services at 1-800-453-3320, or find comprehensive self-help materials at ctlawhelp.org.

Stay home, stay safe, and take care of each other!

Your friends at CLS

Please consider helping us continue to provide services to our clients

during these difficult times.

DACA recipients are eligible for Unemployment Compensation Benefits

Since DACA recipients have work authorization and are working legally, they are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits if they lose their jobs through no fault of their own, if they have worked a sufficient amount of time. It’s best to apply as soon as possible because payments won’t begin until after applications are filed. There is a big backlog already, so the sooner they apply the better. Applications can be made on line at WWW.FILECTUI.COM .

For tips on how to get your money faster, see the following information:
http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/UI-OnLine/unemployedduetocoronavirus.pdf

Note that Unemployment Compensation Benefits are not considered for public charge.

HUSKY Health members are advised of the following

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath):

 

o   We strongly urge you to contact your primary care provider to seek treatment.  HUSKY Health primary care providers are now authorized to schedule and conduct visits with you by telephone or videoconference.

o   If you do not have a primary care provider, please call the HUSKY Health line at 1.800.859.9889 or access the online provider look-up at the following link: https://www.huskyhealthct.org/provider_lookup.html#

o   If you would like to speak with a nurse about your symptoms, call the HUSKY Health Nurse Helpline, also at 1.800.859.9889, and follow the prompts to talk to a nurse who will answer your questions.

 

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 but need medical attention:

 

o   If it is an emergency, call 911.

o   If it is not an emergency, but you would like to speak with a nurse about a health issue, call the HUSKY Health Nurse Helpline, also at 1.800.859.9889, and follow the prompts to talk to a nurse who will answer your questions.

o   If it is not an emergency or an urgent situation, contact your primary care provider to ask for his or her guidance.  HUSKY Health primary care providers are now authorized to schedule and conduct visits with you by telephone or videoconference.

o   If you do not have a primary care provider, please call the HUSKY Health line at 1.800.859.9889 or access the online provider look-up at the following link: https://www.huskyhealthct.org/provider_lookup.html#

Connecticut HUSKY Health has made the following changes in coverage, related to COVID-19:

 

·         Suspension of timeframes for renewal of Medicaid/HUSKY Health and cash assistance benefits of current beneficiaries.  Initial implementation:  if medical or cash assistance benefits were scheduled to end in March 2020—benefits will be automatically continued through June 2020.  If medical or cash assistance benefits are scheduled to end in April 2020—benefits will be automatically continued through July 2020.

·         Suspension of co-payments for full benefit Medicare Part D beneficiaries who are dually eligible for Medicaid.  These beneficiaries are no longer responsible for co-payments of up to $17 per month (aggregate for all prescriptions) for their medications covered by Medicare Part D.  Instead, the Department of Social Services will cover the copayment amounts in full, after any other insurer has paid, during the public health emergency.

·         Suspension of co-payments in HUSKY B (Children’s Health Insurance Program).  The Department of Social Services will reimburse providers for the full reimbursement amount for services subject to the copayment, including the copayment amount.  This does not apply to other forms of HUSKY B cost sharing, such as monthly premiums and co-insurance and allowances for dental services.

·         Extending fills for non-maintenance and maintenance medications for up to 90 days for Medicaid/HUSKY Health beneficiaries (except for controlled substances).

·         Allowing early refill for prescriptions when an individual has used 80% of the prescription (reduced from 93%).

·         Telemedicine in medical and behavioral health.  HUSKY members can receive medical and behavioral health services from their health care providers by audio-only telephone or videoconferencing.

 

Important information for uninsured Connecticut residents–HUSKY Health coverage is available year-round for those who qualify

 

The Department of Social Services reminds the public that applications are open year-round for HUSKY Health coverage (Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Uninsured residents with low and moderate incomes are encouraged to: 

·         Apply online:  www.accesshealthct.com;

·         Apply by phone: 1-855-805-4325

Free Internet to Support Americans Through Coronavirus Pandemic

Stay Connected!

Internet providers pledge access to support businesses and residents during the COVID-19 emergency

With an increasing number of school closures and families staying home to protect against COVID-19, several internet providers in Connecticut are stepping up to ensure that families have the access they need to conduct business and complete schoolwork.

As part of the Federal Communication Commission’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge launched on March 12, eight internet service providers in Connecticut have committed to not terminating business or residential service, or charging late fees for anyone who can’t pay their bill due to hardship caused by COVID-19. They also have committed to provide Wi-Fi hot spots to any American that needs them. These pledge commitments will be in place for at least a 60-day period.

Connecticut providers that have signed the pledge include Comcast, Frontier, Altice (Optimum), Charter (Spectrum), Cox, Atlantic, Verizon, and AT&T.

In addition to signing the pledge, several companies are providing additional resources. Some of these include:

  • Comcast announced a plan to ensure low-income families have internet access that will be effective as of March 16. The benefits include 60 days of free service for new Comcast customers, and higher internet speeds for all qualifying customers. Families can check their eligibility and learn more about available programs at internetessentials.com.
  • Altice and Charter are offering 60 days of free broadband to households with K-12 and college students who have been impacted by COVID-19 and not already subscribers to their services with no installation fees.
  • AT&T is waiving home internet data caps during the entire COVID-19 outbreak.

Businesses and families in Connecticut that need assistance are encouraged to contact their service provider to see what programs they may have available to be supportive during this time.

 

 

Comcast Announces Comprehensive Covid-19 Response To Help Keep Americans Connected To The Internet

Comcast has made this announcement & is a great opportunity for low-income households:

“As our country continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency, we recognize that our company plays an important role in helping our customers stay connected – to their families, their workplaces, their schools, and the latest information about the virus – through the Internet.
We also know that for millions of low-income Americans who don’t have Internet service at home, this uncertain time is going to be even more difficult to manage. As schools and businesses close and families are encouraged, or even mandated, to stay home, Internet connectivity becomes even more important.
We recently announced that we’re expanding access to and increasing speeds for our Internet Essentials customers as more students and families start to learn and work at home. And as ambassadors and digital inclusion advocates, we need your help to spread the word about this announcement with your networks, including local schools and school districts – see attached flyer promoting this initiative. In addition to the Internet Essentials announcement, we’ve also taken additional steps to help ensure people stay connected – see attached press release.”

You can learn more about their announcement

 

Read the one page English & Spanish Comcast-flyer-free-low-income

 

Read their Comcast-Press-Release-Free-Internet

Help Announced for State’s uninsured

 

ACCESS HEALTH CT ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD

 

Now, more than ever, people who are uninsured need options for health care coverage.  This is one opportunity, offered by the state’s health insurance exchange, for people to explore getting coverage.

  • In light of the threat coronavirus poses to public health, Access Health CT will allow uninsured individuals to sign up for health insurance coverage starting March 19 until April 2.
  •  The only way to sign up for this NEW Special Enrollment Period is by calling 855-365-2428.
  • Coverage will begin for all enrollees on April 1.

 

“We are experiencing a moment in history that requires flexibility and innovative ways to access healthcare,” said Chief Executive Officer at Access Health CT, James Michel. 

 

 Who’s elligible?ONLY qualified individuals who are uninsured,

lawfully present and not incarcerated.

 When can I enroll?From March 19, 2020 through April 2, 2020.
 When will my coverage start? The effective date of coverage for all enrollments during the NEW Special Enrollment Period will be April 1, 2020.
 How can I enroll? PHONE ONLY:

855-805-4325 (TTY: 1- 855-365-2428)

8AM – 5PM   |   Monday – Friday

**Table from Access Health CT

 

Immigrants can seek medical care and testing for COVID 19 without fear of public charge

To address the possibility that some aliens impacted by COVID-19 may be hesitant to seek necessary medical treatment or preventive services, USCIS will neither consider testing, treatment, nor preventative care (including vaccines, if a vaccine becomes available) related to COVID-19 as part of a public charge inadmissibility determination, nor as related to the public benefit condition applicable to certain nonimmigrants seeking an extension of stay or change of status, even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits, as defined in the rule (e.g. federally funded Medicaid).

COVID-19 News You may be eligible for these benefits

Benefits help during this medical emergency

As businesses and schools shut down in Connecticut in the wake of the Corona virus, workers may find themselves with no paychecks.  If the situation persists, the workers and their families may become eligible for help with food, cash assistance and even health care coverage.

Student Meals:  As of now, many of the closed school districts in the state are making meals available to financially eligible students who cannot attend school.  Up to two pre-made meals may be available.  Some districts are putting together food sites for pick up of these meals.  Contact your local towns or school district for more information about your town’s meal plans.

Food Assistance: If an individual’s or a family’s income goes down substantially, they may become eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (formerly known as food stamps).  To determine whether you or your family is eligible, go to www.connect.ct.gov  or call 1-855-626-6632.

There are also food banks and food pantries around the state to help with emergency food.  Please call 2-1-1, United Way’s telephone help line to locate help in your area.

Cash Assistance:  Currently the Federal government is determining how to help families who lose income during this medical emergency.  There may be some income replacement coming.  However, if the health care emergency persists over time, it is possible that family incomes may go down and families may become eligible for unemployment benefits, cash assistance or even health care coverage if not already insured.  For information on cash assistance go to www.ct.gov/dss/apply  or call 1-855-626-6632

If you become unemployed, go to www.FileCTUI.com for help with filing an unemployment claim.  You can also go to a local “American Job Center” for help filing a claim on the internet.

Medical Coverage:  If you think that you might qualify for HUSKY medical coverage, CT’s version of Medicaid for low-income individuals and families, go to www.accesshealthct.com or call 1-855-805-4325.

Judicial CT Courts COVID-19 Status

Notice from Judicial CT Courts COVID-19 Caronavirus Status

 

COVID-19 Updates (3-12-20)

The Judicial Branch has implemented various measures as a result of concern over the spread of the COVID-19/Coronavirus and in recognition of the public health emergency declaration Governor Lamont issued. It is also important to note, in the clearest terms possible, that the courts of the State of Connecticut are open and will remain open.

These measures are:

  • Under the terms and provisions of the Judicial Branch’s Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP), commencing Monday, March 16, 2020, and continuing through March 27, 2020, the courts will schedule and hear only those matters identified as “Priority 1 Business Functions.”

The following matters are Priority 1 Business Functions:

  • Criminal arraignments of defendants held in lieu of bond and all arraignments involving domestic violence cases;
  • Juvenile Detention hearings;
  • Family orders of relief from abuse;
  • Civil orders of relief from abuse
  • Civil protection orders
  • Ex parte motions
  • Orders of temporary custody (Juvenile Matters)
  • Orders to appear (Juvenile Matters)
  • Emergency ex parte order of temporary custody
  • Juvenile detention operations for detainees held for juvenile court
  • Termination of parental rights
  • Domestic violence victim notification
  • Civil and family capias mittimus execution and bond reviews
  • With the exception of jury trials already in progress and criminal jury trials necessitated by the filing and granting of a speedy trial motion, all jury trials, civil and criminal, are suspended for the next 30 days.

If jurors have any questions please contact Jury Administration by:

  • Going on the Judical Branch’s website
  • Speaking with jury administration through the Live Chat feature, or
  • By calling jury administration at 1-800-842-8175

Posters will be placed at all entrances of Judicial Branch’s facilities urging people who are at risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19 to avoid entering the facility.

Consistent with guidance offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Connecticut Department of Public Health, these measures are being taken to reduce the number of people entering our courthouses in an effort to mitigate the potential for spreading of the virus.