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COVID-19

NLS Status

While our physical doors may be shut, our virtual ones are open for business! NLS is again accepting applications via our online intake, available by clicking the Get Legal Help button, or telephone at 1-866-761-6572. Please be aware that it may take several days for staff to return calls as they are all working remotely.

  • Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, the  PFA CLE seminar scheduled for May 1, 2020, at K&L Gates has been canceled.  We will post when rescheduled.
  • Attention: we are currently in need of probono volunteers to assist attorneys with PFA cases once the courts reopen. If you are interested in helping the most vulnerable during this crisis click here for more information.

Court Information

  • Allegheny County Court of Commons Pleas President Judge Kim Clark issued an initial judicial emergency order on March 16, 2020, and subsequent orders on April 2 and May 6 which extend the judicial emergency through June 1st. Of note to our clients: in the Court of Common Pleas in Allegheny County, housing court motions are limited to emergency motions; all landlord/tenant arbitrations will be rescheduled; the Family Law Center is closed to the public and temporary PFAs are being issued from the Municipal Court, 660 First Avenue; and all Allegheny County Magisterial District Court cases are postponed and all Orders for Eviction or Possession are stayed (stopped for now). The Court has issued FAQS on Landlord-Tenant issues during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • Lawrence County - The President Judge extended the Declaration of Judicial Emergency with regard to any trials thought May 31, 2020. Family Motion court will resume April 24, 2020 via Zoom video conference. Temporary PFA’s may be filed. All other business will resume as usual on May 4, 2020, unless the Supreme Court orders otherwise.
  • Butler County - Pursuant to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Order dated April 1, 2020, the Butler County explanatory memo dated March 20, is extended until May 1, 2020.  Family Motions Court will be conducted via teleconferencing as needed.  All Motions may be transmitted via fax or email to chambers or to court administration at familypetitions@co.butler.pa.us with the original mailed or filed with the Prothonotary.  EMERGENCY MOTIONS should be faxed or emailed to chambers or familypetitions@co.butler.pa.us with the original mailed or filed with the Prothonotary after notice is provided to opposing counsel/party, and the court will review the motion to determine if, in fact, it is an emergency. If it is an emergency, the court will schedule oral argument as soon as is possible via telephone if all parties are represented by counsel, and in person if there are self-represented parties. If available, all parties may participate via telephone conference (on the record).
  • Beaver County - All filing deadlines are extended to May 1, 2020. There are drop boxes inside the main entrance of the courthouse for essential filings and mail and electronic filing is also available. All existing custody orders and schedules are to be followed. Emergency Motions may be heard by Judge DeCostro and telephone testimony. Contact her chambers for information.  Persons needing to file temporary Protection from Abuse petitions should appear at the PFA office on the second floor of the courthouse before 9:30 am.  Writs of Possession are being accepted by the Prothonotary but cannot be acted upon until May 1.  Entry to the courthouse is limited to those who have a justifiable reason to enter. The Sheriff is enforcing this restriction.
  • For more County and State Judicial Orders – http://www.pacourts.us/ujs-coronavirus-information

Unmployment Resources

  • If you are out of work or lost hours because of the current public health crisis, you may qualify for Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation benefits. Apply online at www.uc.pa.gov or call the statewide number 1-888-313-7284. For additional information, need help applying for benefits or were denied benefits, NLS may be able to help. Click here for our informational flyer.
  • Click Here for presentation that contains an overview of unemployment benefits during Covid-19.
  • Haven't received anything in the mail after filing for unemployment? Click here to help troubleshoot why that might be.

Public Benefit Resources

  • Have you lost income during the Covid-19 crisis? There is a new Emergency Assistance program starting May 11th through DHS, which offers cash assistance to people affected by this crisis. To see if you qualify click here for more information.
  • The Department of Human Services has issued guidance in response to the COVID-19 emergency about continuing Medical Assistance coverage.  Anyone who had Medical Assistance, Long Term Care Medical Assistance, or Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waiver coverage on or after March 18, 2020 cannot have their coverage terminated until the end of the public health emergency.  If someone had benefits on March 18th and those benefits were terminated, their coverage should be reinstated.  Timelines for appeals have also been extended – the CAOs will accept Medical Assistance appeals filed within 90 days of the date of the notice being appealed. There is an operations memo from the Department of Human Services which explains this.

    Additionally, people receiving services through one of the Home and Community Based Services waiver programs may not have their services reduced during the public health emergency.  A letter from DHS was issued to the Community HealthChoices MCOs about the temporary changes to the Community HealthChoices waiver.

  • All County Assistance Offices are closed to the public at this time. Applications, renewals, and other documents can still be submitted the following ways: COMPASS (www.compass.state.ps.us) or the myCOMPASS mobile app; US mail to the applicable office address; put items in the CAO dropbox (if there is one); or call 1-866-550-4355 to complete a Medical Assistance application via phone. EBT cards can be obtained by calling 888-328-7366. If you have questions or information to report about your case record, please call the Statewide Customer Service Center at 1-877-395-8930.
  • All local Social Security Administration offices are closed to the public.

Housing Resources

  • Renters in Pennsylvania are protected from eviction through July 10. Click here for more information.
  • The Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh suspended all evictions except for those with serious public safety implications. – https://pittsburghpa.gov/press-releases/press-releases.html?id=3734
  • Columbia Gas, Duquesne Light, and Peoples Gas have suspended service shut-offs until at least May 1. – https://pittsburghpa.gov/press-releases/press-releases.html?id=3734
  • The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority extended its shut-off moratorium until May 31 and waived income qualification criteria. – https://www.pgh2o.com/news-events/news/press-release/2020-03-13-pwsa-extends-expands-shut-moratorium-response-covid-19
  • Pennsylvania American Water has also ceased shut-offs – “In an effort to keep our customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic, Pennsylvania American Water will be placing a moratorium and discontinuing service shut-offs at this time. We will continue to evaluate this moratorium as more information becomes available. Additionally, Pennsylvania American Water will begin the restoration of service to previously shut-off customers. The restoration may take some time, but we will work as quickly and safely as possible. If your service has been turned off, prior to March 12, 2020, we will restart your service.” – https://amwater.com/paaw/
  • Wilkinsburg Penn Joint Water Authority – has enacted a self-imposed moratorium on shutting off customer water service starting Monday, March, 16th 2020.
  • The PA Public Utility Commission has signed an emergency order prohibiting electric, natural gas, water, wastewater, telecommunication, and steam utility terminations. The moratorium will remain in place for as long as the disaster proclamation issued by Gov. Tom Wolf related to the coronavirus is in effect. – http://www.puc.pa.gov/about_puc/press_releases.aspx?ShowPR=4326

Consumer Resources

  • If you do not usually file an income tax return you are still eligible to receive the $1,200 economic stimulus payment. Simply visit: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments which will take you to a special "efile site" in which you will be able to apply. Information to have on hand for the process includes but is not limited to: full name, current mailing address and an email address, date of birth, valid Social Security number and bank account information, if you have one. [Caution: Using this tool to obtain the EIP now will prohibit the user from later e-filing a standard tax return for 2019. Because low-income taxpayers may, in addition to the EIP, be eligible for a tax refund (due to over-withholding or a refundable credit), they may instead want to obtain their automatic EIP by filing their regular 2019 return with the
    IRS’s free file program.]
  • NCLC is temporarily giving free online access to their excellent book:  Surviving Debt.

Additional Information

  • COVID-19 Testing Available at Community Health Clinics in Allegheny County

    PITTSBURGH – Testing for COVID-19 is now available at federally qualified health centers in Allegheny County and through Pittsburgh Mercy, a certified community behavioral health clinic.

    The tests will be offered at no charge, and patients do not need a doctor’s referral. Anyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 should get tested.

    Symptoms include cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. This is not a list of all possible symptoms. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

    To schedule an appointment, visit http://alleghenycovidtesting.com/ or call the clinic nearest you.

    Participating health clinics include:

    Health ClinicAddress, Phone Number
    Alma Illery Medical Center (Homewood)7227 Hamilton Avenue, Pittsburgh 15208
    412.244.4700
    Braddock Family Health Center404 Braddock Avenue, Braddock 15104
    412.351.6300
    East End Family Health Center117 North Negley Avenue, Pittsburgh 15206
    412.404.4000
    East Liberty Family Health Care Center6023 Harvard Street, Pittsburgh 15206
    412.661.2802
    Hazelwood Family Health Center4918 Second Avenue, Pittsburgh 15207
    412.422.9520
    Hill House Health Center1835 Centre Avenue, Pittsburgh 15219
    412.392.4400
    McKeesport Family Health Center627 Lysle Boulevard, McKeesport 15132
    412.664.4112
    Metro Community Health Center1789 South Braddock Avenue, Suite 410, Swissvale 15218
    412.247.2310
    North Side Christian Health Center816 Middle Street, Pittsburgh 15201
    412.321.4001
    Northview Heights Clinic525 Mt. Pleasant Road, Pittsburgh 15212
    412.322.7500
    Pittsburgh Mercy Family Health Center
    (South Side)
    249 South 9th Street, Pittsburgh 15203
    412.697.3260
    Squirrel Hill Health Center4516 Browns Hill Road, Pittsburgh 15217
    412.422.7442
    Steel Valley Family Health Center1800 West Street, Homestead 15120
    412.461.3863
    Sto-Rox Family Health Center710 Thompson Avenue, McKees Rocks 15136
    412.771.6462
    West End Health Center415 Neptune Street, Pittsburgh 15220
    412.921.7200
    Wilkinsburg Health Center807 Wallace Street, Suite 203, Pittsburgh 15221
    412.247.5216
  • Be aware of COVID-19 Fraud Schemes
  • Pennsylvania Legal Aid Network’s
    COVID-19 Resource page – https://palegalaid.net/coronavirus-covid-19-information
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – https://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/coronavirus/

 

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