The Rural Summer Legal Corps helps address the access to justice crisis for people living in rural communities throughout the United States. The SLLS Rural Summer Legal Corps Student Fellow will assist SLLS in expanding access to justice in two rural parishes with some of the highest poverty rates in our service area.

The Fellow will engage in extensive community outreach with at least 16 government, nonprofit, and community stakeholders to raise awareness of how civil legal aid can help improve the lives of vulnerable community members. The Fellow will work to create a successful model of working with rural libraries, holding monthly legal clinics and Know Your Rights sessions on hot legal topics to increase access to civil legal aid.

The Fellow will be based out of our Hammond office, either virtually or in-person.

The application for the 2021 Rural Summer Legal Corps is available hereApplications for the program are due at 11:59 p.m. ET on February 8, 2021.

 

Federal and state laws help students stay in or get into schools if they are homeless or do not have stable housing. They do not just protect children on the street or in a homeless shelter. The laws protect children and youths who do not have “a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.”

This includes children who:

  • are “doubled up” or had to move in with others—such as family members and friends due to a loss of housing, economic hardship, domestic violence, a natural disaster, or similar reasons
  • were sent to live with others because their caretaker could not afford proper housing or was urgently hospitalized for illness
  • live in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to lack of other housing
  • live in emergency or transitional shelters
  • have been abandoned by their parents
  • live at night in a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping place
  • live in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar places; and
  • foster children

These laws apply to children and youth until high school graduation or equivalent (up to age 21).

These children are entitled to the same access to public school and public pre-school programs as other children.

Where does this protection come from?

Most is from the federal McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Foster children in Louisiana are protected by LA Revised Statute § 17:238.

Are students who lose housing due to COVID-19 covered by the Act?

Yes. Students in the list above because of COVID-19 are considered homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act. So they are entitled to the same legal protections and services as other students experiencing homelessness or inadequate housing.

Who can I contact for help if my child is homeless?

Each school district has a “Homeless Liaison.” This person can help your child get enrolled, receive school supplies, free school meals, transportation to and from your child’s school, tutoring, and help connect the family with community support agencies. You can find the contact information for your child’s school district here.

If my child is in the list, can they stay in the same school?

Yes. Unless you agree to move your child to a different school, your child’s school from before becoming homeless is required to try and keep your child enrolled there. A public school cannot deny enrollment to any child because that child has no permanent address. The school your child attended before becoming homeless is called his or her “school of origin.”

If my child becomes homeless, can they change schools to where they are currently staying?

Yes. The student also the option of enrolling in school where they are currently living, even if it is outside of their original school district. However, the school may later dispute the enrollment

What happens if the school tries to move my child out of a school or refuses to let them enroll?

The school district must make placement decisions based on the best interests of the student.

Under the law:

  • The local Homeless Liaison will decide the dispute between you and the school.
  • The child must be allowed to attend the school until a decision is made.
  • You must be given a written explanation of the decision, including how to appeal.

The Homeless Liaisons are used to helping children in dire circumstances and usually very helpful.

My child is missing documents required for enrollment. Can they still enroll?

Yes. A school must immediately enroll a student in the list, even if the student does not have documents normally required for enrollment, such as academic and medical/immunization records or proof of residency. Once enrolled, the Homeless Liaison for the school must help the family or guardian obtain the necessary records and/or immunizations.

If my child obtains permanent housing during the school year, will they have to change schools?

No. Under the law, a student who went through homelessness (as set out in the list above) and gains permanent, adequate housing during the school year has the right to stay at their current school until the end of the school year.

If my child is in the list, can they get transportation to and from school?

Yes, until the student gets permanent housing. The Homeless Liaison will help arrange transportation to and from school. In general, transportation is available if one hour or less in each direction. Transportation must be made available even if the school does not provide it for other students.

The school may use a school bus or provide access to public transportation, like public bus passes. Factors like the distance from the school and the child’s age will be considered in making transportation arrangements.

This only applies to students who are currently homeless (in the list above). If a student gets permanent housing outside of the school district, the school can decide whether to continue transportation.

If my student is homeless, can they get free school lunch?

Yes. Homeless students are automatically eligible for free school lunch. Paperwork should be completed during the registration process with the Homeless Liaison.

If my student is homeless, can they participate in school programs and activities?

Yes. Students experiencing homelessness have the right to fully participate in activities including enrichment programs, such as tutoring, gifted and talented programs, and test preparation and homework help programs; after-school programs; and extra-curricular activities, such as clubs and sports. If a homeless student meets the requirements for the activity (attendance, grades, try-outs, etc.), and a fee will be a barrier, the fees should be waived or paid for by the district. If the fees are not directly covered by the school district, the district should connect the student with other funding sources such as booster clubs, the school PTA, or non-profit organizations.

Updated January 12, 2021 

Funds for this program are limited and may have already run out. However, as the program gets more funding, those who applied earlier may have priority as funds are awarded again.

Who qualifies for the program?

Workers who meet all of the following requirements are eligible:

Worked more than 32 hours per week in restaurants, bars, or hotels before March 9, 2020 in the following parishes:

  • Assumption
  • Jefferson
  • Lafourche
  • Orleans
  • Plaquemines
  • Bernard
  • Charles
  • James
  • John the Baptist
  • Tammany
  • Tangipahoa
  • Terrebonne
  • Washington

Have minor children (under 18 years) and/or other qualified dependents

Whose total Household Income was at or below these amounts, by parish:

*Must be at least a household of 2 for the program.

*Applicants who have previously received funding are ineligible.

What is the program called?

The Greater New Orleans Foundation Service and Hospitality Family Assistance Program.

How do I apply for the program?

You can apply online at https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=gnofscholarship.

  • You will need to create an online account using your email address.
  • Applications are available in English, Spanish and Vietnamese.

You will need to provide:

  • A scanned copy of your driver’s license or another other government-issued ID
  • Scanned copies of your pay stubs for the last 30 days you worked
  • Copy of your 2019 tax return (If you do not have a 2019 tax return, you can submit your 2018 tax return.)

You can watch a video on how to apply at this website.

Scanning Your Required Documents

To submit your documents electronically, you will need to scan them. You can do this from your phone or tablet. You will need a device with a working camera and can download a free scanner app from the Google Play store (if you have an Android device) or App Store (if you have an iPhone/Apple device).

  • Place the documents you would like to scan on a flat surface with a plain, dark background.
  • Take a picture of the document with your device’s camera. Try to stand over the document so that you can get a picture of the whole page. If there are multiple pages, be sure to take a picture of each page.
  • Be sure to check that the document is not blurry and is easy to read.
  • The app may ask you to name the scanned document. You should include a date, your name, and a short description of what the document is.
    Example: 10.04.2020_Jane Doe_Pictures.

The app will ask if you want to save the scan. It’s a good idea to save the scanned document to your device so you have the documents ready to send.

How long does the process take after I submit my application?

Applications are reviewed within 10 days after they are submitted. If you are approved for the grant, payments are made within 14 days after approval.

If I need help or have a question who can I contact?

You can send questions to this email address: assistance@gnof.org. 

The government offers free or discounted cell phone service to for some people. Due to Covid-19, you may no longer be able to apply for this program in-person and will need to apply either online, by phone, or by mail. 

In general, you qualify for the program if:

You or someone in your household receives:

  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/food stamps)
  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but not if you just receive regular Social Security
  • Federal Public Housing Assistance 
  • Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit

* You will need to provide a card, letter, or official document as proof when you apply. 

* Until February 28, 2021, you may also qualify if you are receiving or have applied for Unemployment Benefits. You will need to provide a copy of your benefits statement or proof of your application. 

        OR

Your household income is equal to or less than these amounts: 

Number of People in Your HouseholdAnnual Household IncomeMonthly Average
1$17,226 $1,435.50
2$23,274 $1,939.50
3$29,322 $2,443.50
4$35,370 $2,947.50
5$41,418 $3,451.50
6$47,466 $3,955.50
7$53,514 $4,459.50
8$59,562 $4,963.50
For each additional person, add$6,048 $504.00

Note: There is a limit of one phone or service discount per household.  

How can I apply? 

To get a free phone, you can apply directly with a specific service provider.  

There are a number service providers for Louisiana you can apply with. You will need to provide:

  • Your Name
  • Your Social Security Number
  • A Working Email Address 
  • A Mailing Address (cannot be a P.O. Box)
  • Income or Benefits documentation as listed above. If you are not receiving a government assistance listed above, you should send a copy if your tax return from last year or or proof of three months in a row of your income; other proofs may be accepted if you do not have year-long income documents.

Each program has different features, such as the amount of minutes you’ll receive for phone calls and texts, the amount of “data” you’ll get (to access the Internet from your phone), and whether the program will provide you with a free phone. There are also some differences in the coverage areas (where you can get cell service). You can check what the exact benefits for your area are by providing your zip code on the provider’s website.

ProgramProgram FeaturesHow to Apply
NewPhone Wireless• Free Smartphone
• Unlimited Phone Calls and Text
• 4.5 GB of Data
• Apply online at https://www.newphone.com/signup
Assurance Wireless• Free Smartphone
• Unlimited Text
• 1,000 Minutes for Phone Calls
• 3 GB of Data

Coverage Map
• Apply online at https://www.assurancewireless.com/?

OR

• Apply over the phone by calling 1-888-898-4888.
EnTouch Wireless• Some applicants may be Eligible for a Free Phone
• Unlimited Text
• 1,000 Minutes for Phone Calls
• 100 MB of Data

Coverage Map
• Apply online at https://www.entouchwireless.com/lifeline/apply-now

OR

• Apply by completing and mailing a paper application to:
enTouch Wireless
PO Box 37
Hiawatha, IA 52233
The paper application can be found at https://www.entouchwireless.com/pdf/enTouchCertProcess_LA.pdf
Q Link Wireless• Unlimited Phone Calls and Text
• 3 GB of Data

Coverage Map
• Apply online at https://qlinkwireless.com/signup/g-6-717/
SafeLink• Unlimited Text
• 350 Minutes for Phone Calls
• 4.5 GB of Data
• Apply online at https://www.safelinkwireless.com/

OR

• Apply over the phone by calling 1-800-723-3546.
TAG Mobile• Unlimited Text
• 1,000 Minutes for Phone Calls
• 250 MB of Data

Coverage Map
• Apply online at https://www.tagmobile.com/StatePages/Louisiana-Free-Lifeline-Phones
TruConnect• Unlimited Text
• 1,000 Minutes for Phone Calls
• 250 MB of Data

Coverage Map
• Apply online at https://www.truconnect.com/
Access Wireless • Unlimited Text
• 1,000 Minutes for Phone Calls
• 4.5 GB of Data

Coverage Map
*Enrolling for this program can take weeks, since you have to submit two different applications.

• In order to apply for this provider, you must first complete and mail in a paper application to:
USAC, Lifeline Support Center
P.O. Box 7081, London, KY 40742

The paper application can be found here: https://www.usac.org/wp-content/uploads/lifeline/documents/forms/LI_Application_NVstates.pdf

It can take up to 45 days for your application to be processed.

• After your USAC Lifeline application is approved, you can enroll with Access Wireless online at: https://www.accesswireless.com/lifeline/enroll
Standup Wireless• Unlimited Text
• 1,000 Minutes for Phone Calls
• 4.5 GB of Data (but changing for everyone on February 28, 2021 to only 100 MB of Data. Those already on can keep the higher amount for $10/month)

Coverage Map
Apply online at https://standupwireless.com/apply-now/

SLLS is seeking proposals for strategic planning. The RFP can be found here, along with our 2020 Top Ten Accomplishments and our 2019 Annual Report to provide additional background information about our nonprofit.

Responses are due to ltuggle@slls.org on or before 2/7/2021 at 5:00 p.m. Central Time. Any questions can be directed to Laura Tuggle, Executive Director.

Thank you for considering responding to our Strategic Planning request for proposals.

Updated as of December 29, 2020                         

The President signed the new stimulus bill providing new relief for many. The new laws will go into effect soon. These laws may provide relief if you currently have an Overpayment on your account for unemployment benefits you received under certain federal programs.

If the agency issues you an Overpayment, it is important that you appeal it and request a waiver. There are time limits to do this, so it is important that you do this right away. The Louisiana agency has not been providing waiver papers to a lot of people who received the special pandemic unemployment benefits before. The paperwork asks about your finances. If you do not get these papers before your hearing, ask for them and point that out at the hearing.

What are the changes under the new Act?

Until now, if you received benefits under some federal unemployment programs and shouldn’t have, there were no exceptions to the requirement that you pay the money back, even if you did nothing wrong. Now you can request a “waiver” (forgiveness of the debt) if it was not your fault and would cause a hardship.

You can now request a waiver if you are issued an Overpayment for receiving benefits under the following programs:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: This is the federal program that allows people who cannot receive regular state unemployment benefits when their unemployment is Covid-19 related. These are usually people who do not have enough countable wages for state unemployment. But it also includes some people disqualified from state benefits.
  • Lost Wage Assistance: This provided an additional $300 of unemployment benefits during part of August and September, 2020.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation that added $600 dollars a week to unemployment benefits up until July and now provides $300 already allowed waivers.

How do I appeal an Overpayment?

Appeal right away to protect your rights! You only have 15 days to submit your appeal. Just because you appealed your disqualification does not mean you appealed your overpayments. Often there will be more than one overpayment notice. You must appeal each overpayment separately. Your overpayment notice will include the date you must submit your appeal by. If you miss the deadline, you may lose your right to appeal.

The letter will provide instructions on how to appeal the overpayment. You can appeal:

  • Online through your HIRE account at net. (This will be the fastest option.)
  • Email— Complete the "I appeal" section on your letter, scan the page, and email it to ClerkAppeal@lwc.la.gov.
  • Fax—Complete the "I appeal" section on your letter, and fax it to 1-225-346-6077.
  • Postal mail— Complete the "I appeal" section on your letter, make a copy, and mail it to:

Louisiana Workforce Commission

Attn: Appeals Tribunal

P.O. Box 94094

Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9094

Make sure your appeal is postmarked by the appeal deadline provided on your letter.

If you decide to file an appeal and were getting benefits, you should still file your weekly certifications.

You should also be sent papers to request a waiver. You will fill out information about your income and expenses, and have the chance to explain why you cannot pay the overpayment amount.

These papers are often titled, “Consideration for Waiver of Recovery.”

It is important that you provide all of the information about your finances and hardships on these forms. Providing proof of these expenses will help as well. You will need to complete these forms and add them with your appeal.

The “Consideration for Waiver” form and proof of expenses do not need to be attached on the same day you submit your appeal, BUT it needs to be uploaded in the appeals section in HIRE for your overpayments at least 2 BUSINESS DAYS before the day of your hearing. An administrative law judge is not required to accept or review any documents that are not on time.

If you do not have a HIRE account, you may also submit this form by one of the following methods:

  • Email— complete the "I appeal" section on your letter, scan the page, and email it to ClerkAppeal@lwc.la.gov.
  • Fax—complete the "I appeal" section on your letter, and fax it to 1-225-346-6077.
  • Postal mail— Complete the "I appeal" section on your letter, make a copy, and mail it to:

Louisiana Workforce Commission

Attn: Appeals Tribunal

P.O. Box 94094

Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9094

Make sure you send your Consideration for Waiver form as soon as possible to allow time for delivery of postal mail. The Board of Review may review a “Consideration for Waiver” form that is submitted after a hearing has already been held, but there needs to be just cause. An example of just cause is if the Agency did not provide this form for you to fill out.

You can also call Southeast Louisiana Legal Services to see if we can give you free legal help. Call our COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to apply for free legal assistance. But go ahead and appeal before you hear back from Legal Services.

What happens if I appeal?

If your appeal is submitted before the deadline on your letter, a telephone hearing will be scheduled with an Administrative Law Judge, unless the agency fixes the problem ahead of time.  Be sure you are available for your hearing. If you cannot make the scheduled time, you must contact the agency as soon as possible so that you don’t automatically lose your appeal.

You will be sent a letter with the hearing date, time, and the reason for the hearing. Be sure to read this letter carefully.

The judge must also explain your rights at the hearing. These rights include the right to:

  • speak for yourself
  • have witnesses with important information speak
  • go over your entire record of documents and proof submitted regarding your unemployment claim and overpayment.
  • object to improper evidence or testimony

If you are not given the opportunity to appeal or if you are not given information on your hearing, you should contact a lawyer as soon as possible.

At the hearing you will have the opportunity to explain why the overpayment is incorrect or why the amount the State claims that you need to repay is incorrect.

 

Updated as of January 21, 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) moratorium on certain evictions is extended until March 31, 2021. You can still be evicted for some reasons other than nonpayment of rent. In order to qualify for protection you must fill out a declaration form and provide it to your landlord. Click here for more information about the CDC moratorium.

The last stimulus law passed by Congress also provides certain protections and resources for renters impacted by COVID-19:
1. The law includes $25 billion in rental assistance for landlords and tenants. Stay tuned for how to access this money. Currently these resources may be available for rental assistance:

2. The law also includes a $300/week boost to unemployment programs for an extended 11-week period. Click here for more information about changes to unemployment under the stimulus plan. To learn more about to how to apply for unemployment benefits go to www.louisianaworks.net/hire/vosnet/Default.aspx.

3. Qualifying individuals who make less than $75,000 per year will receive a $600 stimulus payment. Click here for important information about how to access a stimulus payment if you do not file taxes.

Potential New Pandemic Changes for Unemployment Benefit Claimants

Updated as of January 12, 2021.

Congress passed the new stimulus bill providing new relief for many. These benefits are sometimes called PUA and PEUC. Here are some of the new changes that will occur:

 

Will my benefits continue past December 26, 2020?

The last payments under the previous stimulus bill were issued for the week ending on December 26, 2020.

Under the new stimulus package, eligibility for benefits would be extended from:

  • 39 weeks (under the CARES Act) to 50 weeks for those under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which is only two weeks short of a year… OR
  • 11 weeks (under the CARES Act) to 24 weeks for those under Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

BUT… all of this would end on March 14, 2021 unless it gets extended further.

To get this, claimants must meet the requirements weekly, by certifying with the agency weekly, looking for work, etc.

You may need to refile to continue your eligibility, but depending on your facts and what the agency requires.

Will my benefits be the same amount?

The federal government will add an extra $300 a week to unemployment checks. This will be similar to the previous extra $600 supplement under the CARES Act.

And if Louisiana takes certain action, some workers who had low reported wages but also had some other work will get a $100 a week increase because their benefits are so low. This new program will most likely apply to workers such as gig-workers or independent contractors that have a mixed form of earned income.

Will my benefits count towards my income for SNAP (also known as Food Stamps)? 

If you are receiving or applying for SNAP, the extra $300 will NOT be counted as income to determine if you are eligible for SNAP.

However, State unemployment benefits will still be counted.

What happens after the changes expire on March 14, 2021?

If you have not used all your benefits weeks by then, the new stimulus bill would allow for benefits to continue for an additional 4 weeks. This means that your benefits would continue until the week of April 5, 2021.

Again these additional 4 weeks are ONLY for those who do not use all their benefits by March 14, 2021. For example, if you are on your 36th week (if you are a pandemic unemployment assistance claimant) of receiving benefits on March 14th then you will be able to continue receiving benefits for 4 more weeks.

There is no information or plan yet for those who used all their benefits before then.

Can benefits be retroactive to my original date of unemployment?

Maybe. Claimants who started receiving their benefits based on specific Covid-19 reasons before December 26, 2020 were able to receive unemployment benefits back to their original date of the unemployment. Newer claimants would only be able to back date their Covid-related claims for their related COVID-19 unemployment to December 1, 2020, even if the job loss was earlier.

 

Will the COVID-19 related reasons for eligibility change?

No. There have been no changes to the COVID-19 related reasons that allow some people to qualify for unemployment even if they would not have under normal state law. People who would not get unemployment under normal state law continue to be eligible for if you meet one or more of the following COVID-19 related reasons:

  • You have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and are seeking medical diagnosis;
  • member of your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • You are providing care for a family member or a member of your household who has COVID-19;
  • A child or other person in the household for which you are responsible for is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work;
  • You are unable to reach your workplace because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of COVID-19;
  • You are unable to reach your workplace because you have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • You were scheduled to commence employment and do not have a job or are unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19;
  • You have become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID-19, and/or
  • Your place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Other reasons might be recognized depending on your situation. It is important to remember that LWC will be reviewing each claim on an individual basis.

Will there be any new requirements for applicants?

Yes. If you have been receiving benefits throughout this year, you may be asked submit proof of wages you earned from employment. This requirement will be for both regular W-2 workers and self-employed workers. You will have 90 days to submit these records to the agency. It is not certain when this 90 day deadline would start, but you should be receiving some notice from the agency.

Failing to provide proof of wages should not be the only reason for your benefits to stop. Though it is important that you have these records ready in case you will need to provide them to avoid any delays.

New applicants who start filing on or after January 31 will also need to provide proof of their earnings, but will only have 21 days to provide this proof to the agency. There may be some exceptions to the 21 day deadline if there is good cause. Again failing to provide proof of wages should not be the only reasons for benefits to stop, but it is important to have these records ready.

This new requirement will mostly be apply to those receiving benefits under Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

If I am asked to refile, will my weekly benefit amount change due to my new base period?

Most likely not. The new stimulus bill will allow most people to continue receiving benefits based on the original base period you had when you first filed your claim for unemployment benefits. This means your weekly benefit amount should not change. In some unusual situations, this may not be true. You can contact the number below to see if we can help if your weekly benefit amount goes down.

Other important information:

It is important that you file your weekly certifications. Failure to file weekly certifications was sometimes excused in the summer and fall of 2020. But now failure to do this may keep your benefits from continuing.

This Blog post is only meant to provide information on the new stimulus bill. There is still no information on how these changes will happen in the course of the next couple of weeks. Please keep checking the SLLS blog for updates and changes in the law.

If you are having problems with your unemployment benefits please feel free to call the Southeast Louisiana Legal Services Covid-19 Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871. We may be able to provide free legal assistance regarding your unemployment situation.

 

 

 

 

Legal Updates FAQ

Current As of November 2020

Have you gotten a letter or lawsuit about owing money back to ROAD HOME? If so, help may be available for lawsuits and debt collections.

  • There may be help even if you have not returned home, not elevated or are otherwise not in compliance.
  • There may be help as to the first or later grants from ROAD HOME.

If you have proof any of these problems kept you from elevating or returning to your home, you might be able to get your debt ended or reduced:

The Problem or What Happened

Contractor Fraud

Theft or Vandalism

Later Property Damage (hurricane, flood, fire, etc.)

Money used for rent or other housing costs (After August of 2008)

You had to use the funds to pay down or off the mortgage of the damaged property

Proof You May Need

Copy of contract, receipts, lawsuits filed, proof of incomplete work, police reports, etc.

Police reports, insurance claims, civil or criminal complaints, proof of damage, receipts or proof of stolen items, etc.

Insurance claims or paperwork, building inspections, photos of damages, etc.

Lease agreements, rent receipts, hotel/motel receipts, etc.

Mortgage Payoff letter, copies of insurance checks, payoff statements, etc.

These are some of the common problems and documents used to show what happened. This is not a list of every problem or every document you may need.  Keep the documents in a safe place. Make copies, take pictures or scan the documents. A lawyer experienced in dealing with Road Home collections can help you through this. To see if Southeast Louisiana Legal Services can provide free help, call 1-844-244-7871.

Hay muchas razones por que la agencia (LWC) puede descontinuar sus beneficios después de ser realizados. Estas razones incluyen:

  • No presentar sus certificaciones semanales.
  • Proporcionando información errónea.
  • Otras razones no incluida en esta lista.

De cualquier manera, usted debe recibir notificación escrita por cualquier motivo que haya provocado que sus beneficios cesen. Si esto le está pasando, usted puede llamar a nuestra agencia de servicios legales conocido como Southeast Louisiana Legal Services. Nuestro número es 1-844-244-7871. Nosotros le podemos proveer servicios gratuitos.

Usted siempre debe recibir una notificación que provea las razones de por que sus beneficios han parado. Estas notificaciones deben incluir información también de como usted puede apelar cualquier determinación hecha por la agencia LWC. Estas notificaciones siempre deben ser disponible por su cuenta de HIRE.

Solo hay 15 días disponibles para apelar cualquier notificación. Apelar estas notificaciones es bien fácil, pero si sus beneficios han parado, es importante que usted revise su cuenta de HIRE inmediatamente por una notificación si no ha recibido información.

Algunas veces estas notificaciones proveen información sobre documentos o instrucciones que usted no ha seguido. A veces, no proporcionar ciertos documentos o información puede impedir que se procesen los pagos de sus beneficios. Si usted puede resolver este problema, sus beneficios pueden empezar de nuevo. Usted solo va perder una semana de beneficios. Si está desempleado el tiempo suficiente para que se le acaban los beneficios, se le pagara el mismo número de semanas que le hubieran pagado de todos modos (para compensar la semana perdida).

Pero la agencia NO PUEDE:

  • Parar sus beneficios sin darle una notificación con información de por qué sus beneficios han parado y sin darle una audiencia. (No importa si usted ha llamado a la agencia y que le digan que están trabajando sobre su caso. Usted siempre debe recibir una notificación con información de sus derechos. Si usted no ha recibido una notificación, esto es una violación de sus derechos.)
  • Parar sus beneficios porque creen que usted no está elegible en recibir sus beneficios sin darle una audiencia primero. También no pueden parar sus beneficios si usted tiene una descualificación. Personas en esta situación también pueden recibir una notificación que dice que usted debe todo los beneficios que usted ya ha recibido.

Si unas de las razones mencionadas le han pasado, las cortes judiciales serán más disponible en decidir que el Estado de Louisiana debe cumplir ciertos pasos antes de que sus beneficios cesen. En varias maneras, el estado no está haciendo esto.

¿Cuáles son los pasos que las cortes judiciales requieren antes de que una agencia cambia su decisión sobre las razones que usted estaba recibiendo beneficios de desempleo?

La agencia siempre debe darle información incluyendo las razones por que sus beneficios han parado. También la agencia debe darle una oportunidad para responder antes de que sus beneficios han parado. Esto lo pueden hacer por una notificación que le dé la oportunidad de apelar cualquier decisión antes de un cambio en sus beneficios.

Si sus beneficios han parados y no recibió una notificación, talvez puede recibir ayuda con nosotros. Nuestro número de emergencia para servicios legales es 1-844-244-7871. Este número lo dejara aplicar para servicios legales gratuitos.

¿Qué otra cosa puedo hacer?

Usted puede apelar cualquier decisión que dice que usted ya no está elegible para beneficios de desempleo e también puede apelar cualquier decisión sobre un sobrepago. Usted debe apelar inmediatamente. Casa persona solo tiene 15 días para apelar cualquier decisión hecha por la agencia, LWC.  Su notificación va incluir puede incluir la fecha en que usted puede someter su apelación. Si usted pierde esta fecha, usted puede perder su derecho para apelar.

Cada notificación incluye instrucciones de como apelar. Pero usted puede encontrar más información sobre apelaciones aquí. (Información solo disponible en inglés.)

Otros Recursos

Para más información sobre beneficios de desempleo puede ser encontrado aquí.

Información sobre situaciones de sobrepagos con la agencia de desempleo se puede encontrar aquí.

 

 

There are many reasons why the agency (LWC) can cut off your unemployment after it started. These include failing to do your weekly certifications, misreporting something to the agency, and others. You should get a written notice about any cut-off. If your unemployment benefits have been cut off, you can call Southeast Louisiana Legal Services at 1-844-244-7871 to see if we can provide free help.

The cut-off notice should say why your benefits are being stopped and say how you can appeal. It should be mailed unless you signed up with the agency to get notices another way, like by email. You should always be able to see any notices through your online “HIRE” account.

There are only 15 days to appeal a notice. The appeal is easy to file. But if your benefits stop, it is important to look in HIRE immediately for a notice if you have not gotten one.

Some cut-offs can also be fixed if you do something the agency says you failed to do. If you fix the issue, your benefits can restart the next week.  For example, if you missed your weekly certification, go ahead and do your certification the next week. You will only lose one week’s benefits.  If you are unemployed long enough that your benefits run out, you will end up being paid the same number of weeks as you would have been anyway (making up for your missed week).

But the agency should not:

  1. Cut off your benefits without a notice to you about why and without offering you a hearing. (Even if you call in and the agency says it is working on your claim, the agency must still send you a notice. Not sending a notice when it stops your benefits is wrong.)
  2. Cut off your benefits because it thinks you were never eligible for (or were always disqualified from) receiving unemployment without giving you a hearing first. People in this situation will also get an overpayment notice saying they owe all the benefits they were paid back.

If either occurs after you were approved for unemployment benefits, courts are likely to rule that the State has to follow certain steps before your benefits are cut off. In many cases, Louisiana is not doing these things.

What do courts often require before the agency can change its mind about whether I get unemployment?

The agency should let you know that it wants to stop your benefits and why.

And it must give you a chance to respond before cutting your benefits off. It can do this by giving you a notice that you can appeal and an appeal decision before your benefits stop.

If your unemployment benefits were stopped and you were not given the reason why and a hearing before they stopped, Southeast Louisiana Legal Services may be able to help. Call our COVID-19 Helpline at 1-844-244-7871 to apply for free legal assistance.

What else should I do?

You can appeal any decision that you should not get unemployment or that you have been “overpaid.”  Appeal right away to protect your rights! You only have 15 days to submit your appeal. Your notice will include the date you must submit your appeal by. If you miss the deadline, you will lose your right to appeal.

The letter will provide instructions on how to appeal. You can find more information on appeals here.

OTHER RESOURCES

More information on Unemployment Benefits during Covid can be found here.

Information on Unemployment Overpayments can be found here.

 

What is a remote hearing?

A remote hearing is a court hearing by video or telephone (using programs such as Zoom).

The Louisiana Supreme Court has ordered that remote hearings should be used as much as possible for court hearings to help protect people from Covid-19. Some courts are doing most of their hearings that way.

You may be scheduled for a remote hearing (it will be on the notice telling you to appear in court) or may need to request a remote hearing to help protect yourself from Covid-19. More information on protecting yourself from Covid in court and requesting a remote hearing can be found here.

I don’t have a smartphone or computer? Can I still participate in a remote hearing?

Yes. Programs such as Zoom will allow you to join by dialing in from your phone. You will call in using the number provided by the Court.

If possible, it is best that you participate by smartphone or computer if your computer has a microphone and webcam. Using video can help your case and will let you see what everyone else is seeing. Some courts are providing the technology used for remote hearings. If you do not have a device you can use for your hearing, contact the Court to see if they are providing it.

Is a remote hearing more casual than an in-person hearing?

No. You should treat a remote hearing the same way you would when you go to court. You should still be prepared, be on time, and wear “church clothes” like you normally would to court. Others in your house should not be making noise in the background or interrupting. Also look at what will be on camera that is behind you—will it make a good impression on the judge?

I want to show the judge some evidence. How do I do that during a remote hearing?

Contact the court well ahead of the hearing. You can find the contact information:

If you have a document that is important for your case, it is important for the court and others at the hearing be able to see it, or it may not be considered. Each court will have its own rules about evidence for a remote hearing. But its rules may not be in writing anywhere. You may be asked to email or mail it to court staff or use the court’s website. Or the court may tell you to submit it during the hearing. See below. You should also ask the court what the deadlines are for submitting evidence. Try to do this as soon as possible, since some courts will require you to submit your evidence several days before your hearing.

What are some things I should practice before my remote hearing?

If the court is using Zoom:

1. Install Zoom

On your smartphone or tablet

You can also download Zoom on your smartphone or tablet in the Google Play store (if you have an Android device) or App Store (if you have an iPhone/Apple device.) The app name is “Zoom Cloud Meetings.”

On your laptop or computer

You can download Zoom on your laptop or computer by going to https://zoom.us/support/download. The download will likely start automatically.

2. Create a Zoom Account

  • You can create a Zoom account from the app you downloaded or by going to the website https://zoom.us/freesignup/. You will need an email address to create your account.
  • You will receive an email from Zoom (no-reply@zoom.us). In this email, click Activate Account. You must activate your account in order to use it.

3. Practice Using Zoom

This is very important so that you know what to do during the court hearing. Most judges are not going to want to train you! With a friend on the other end practice:

  • getting in to a call
  • unmuting yourself
  • making sure you can hear others on the call and that they can hear you
  • making sure you can see others on the call and that they can see you
  • switching the view so you can see everyone at the hearing at the same time
  • seeing others on the call while someone is presenting a document (sharing their screen)
  • sharing documents during a call, in the way the court has said it wants it done, if you have documents that you will be sharing
  • looking at the “Chat” function, in case the court uses it
  • seeing whether you have strong enough internet to run the video. (If your video is choppy you may want to watch by video but call in by phone so the court can clearly hear you. If the court has not sent a call-in number, call ahead to get one

You can also try a practice call at https://zoom.us/test. This will let you test the features on Zoom and become familiar with the program.

Helpful Instruction Videos from Zoom

JOINING A ZOOM MEETING

ZOOM FUNCTIONS

If the court is using something that is not Zoom:

  • Be sure to download it ahead of time
  • Be sure you can start it and run it on your computer or phone
  • Try as many of the things listed above for Zoom as you can. If possible, practice it by getting a friend to get the same application, so you know what you are doing.
  • Look on the internet for tips about using the program

Scanning Evidence Using Your Phone or Tablet

If you have to submit evidence electronically (either by emailing the Court, using the Court’s website, or submitting it during your remote hearing), you will need to scan the documents you want to show the judge. You can do this from your phone or tablet. You will need a device with a working camera and can download a free scanner app from the Google Play store (if you have an Android device) or App Store (if you have an iPhone/Apple device).

  1. Place the documents you would like to scan on a flat surface with a plain, dark background.
  2. Take a picture of the document with your device’s camera. Try to stand over the document so that you can get a picture of the whole page. If there are multiple pages, be sure to take a picture of each page.
  3. Be sure to check that the document is not blurry and is easy to read.
  4. The app may ask you to name the scanned document. You should include a date, your name, and a short description of what the document is.

Example: 10.04.2020_Jane Doe_Pictures.

  1. The app will ask if you want to save the scan. It’s a good idea to save the scanned document to your device so you have the documents ready to send to the Court or submit during the call (if that is how evidence is submitted for your hearing).

Sharing Evidence during Your Remote Hearing

Some courts may ask that you submit your evidence during the hearing. You will do this using the video software used for your hearing (most likely, Zoom).

  1. During a Zoom meeting, click “Chat.”
  2. Click “File,” then click “Your Computer” to send a file from your device.
  3. Make sure you are sending the file to “Everyone.”
  4. When the file has been successfully sent to everyone on the call, you will see a green checkmark.

Log In Early to Your Hearing

Courts do not like people to be late, and it can take a few minutes to get on or figure out a problem that comes up. So get onto the call at least ten minutes early.

What should I do if I cannot login in to my remote court hearing or if I miss it?

If you are scheduled for a remote hearing, you must provide the court with a good phone number and email address that you will be checking daily. The information for your videoconference hearing will likely be sent by email. You may also be emailed documents or evidence that will be discussed at the hearing.

If your contact information changes, you should let the court know as soon as possible.

You should check your email often (at least daily) leading up to your hearing, since the court may send information about your case and you may need to take action quickly. The court’s information for the hearing may change a day or two ahead or even on the day of the hearing, so it is important you check your email.

Do not ignore the video hearing. If you cannot make the hearing, notify the court in advance (unless it was something like an emergency hospitalization).

If you cannot connect to the hearing using the information sent to you, contact the court immediately. If your connection drops during the hearing or if you are kicked off of the call, immediately try to get back in. If you get back in, say to the court on the video how long you were off and ask them to go back through the part missed again. If this does not work, contact the court.

If you do not connect for your hearing and do not answer if the court tries to contact you, a judgment may be entered against you. This may require you to file additional motion(s) and paperwork with the court, or else lose your case.

What should I do if I can’t see or hear the other people in the virtual hearing or if there are tech issues?

If you are able to connect to the hearing, but cannot see or hear the other people on the call, do not just leave the meeting. Try to let the other people on the call know about the issues you are having by either speaking or using the “chat” feature on the program or calling the judge’s staff while the hearing is still happening.

You should also try to get all of the issues you have during a virtual hearing “on the record.” Be as specific as you can. If it is related to tech issues, be sure to state that.

Example: Can you repeat that? I had trouble hearing you since we’re using Zoom for today’s hearing.

Example: Can you repeat that? The call cut out.

Some virtual hearings may be “mixed hearings”—some people are participating with video and others are in court in-person. Be sure to get any issues you are having hearing or seeing parts of the hearing on the record.

Example: I cannot see the document, since I am on video and the attorney showing the document is at the court in-person.

OTHER TIPS

More remote court tips can be found here.