The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Updated as of 3/16/2021

March 2021 changes to Unemployment Benefits

On March 11, 2021, the President signed the American Rescue Plan Act. This Act has extended the COVID-19 unemployment programs including the $300 added weekly to most unemployment checks. Most rules regarding these plans remain the same, but here is a quick outline of changes.

Has Pandemic Unemployment Assistance been extended?

Yes. This program was enacted on March 27, 2020. The program will now remain in effect until the week ending on Saturday, September 4, 2021 giving claimants up to 79 weeks of benefits.

The program may be extended again, but this will be up to Congress.

There is no information as to what may become available after September 4, 2021.

What if I ran out of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Benefits before March 13, 2021?

If you met the requirements but ran out of weeks of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you will be able to claim additional benefits. But you will not be able to receive any back payments for weeks before the week ending on March 20, 2021.

What if I never filed for Unemployment Compensation until recently, but have been unemployed due to COVID-19 before March 13, 2021. Can I receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits for earlier weeks?

Maybe. If you are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, you may only receive back payments as far as December 1, 2020 if you have just filed for this program.

Has Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation been extended?

Yes. The program will now remain in effect until the week ending on Saturday, September 4, 2021 for up to 53 weeks of benefits.

The program may be extended again, but this will be up to Congress.

There is no information as to what may be available after September 4, 2021.

What if I exhausted my Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation Benefits before March 13, 2021?

If you met the requirements but ran out of weeks of Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation, you will be able to claim additional weeks now. But you will not be able to receive any back payments for weeks before March 20, 2021.

But if you were unemployed due to a recognized Covid-19 related reason for weeks before March 20, 2021 you may be able to qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance as discussed above above. The agency may switch you to Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, but only for these exhausted weeks.

What is a COVID-19 related reason?

  • 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 whom you are responsible for is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 and this makes you unable 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 begin 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.
  • If you refuse to return to work that is unsafe due to COVID-19.
  • If you refuse to accept a job offer or new work that is unsafe due to COVID-19
  • If you provide services or work for educational institutions or educational agencies, but do not have a contract or a guaranteed return date with the educational employer.
  • If you are currently employed, but:
    • Your hours at work have been reduced, OR
    • You are temporarily laid off from your job, OR
    • You are permanently laid off from your job.

Other reasons might be recognized depending on your situation. It is important to remember that the unemployment agency should review each claim on an individual basis.

Has Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation been extended?

Yes. This program adds $300 in weekly benefits to people’s unemployment benefits. The program now runs until September 4, 2021.

The program may be extended again, but this will be up to Congress.

There is no information as to what may be available after September 4, 2021.

Other important information:

It is always important that after your apply for unemployment compensation, you keep filing your weekly certifications to confirm your unemployment status and report your 3 required weekly work searches.

Even if you are not receiving any payments, it is important to keep filing. This confirms that you remain unemployed or are short on hours of work due to COVID-19. Once the agency determines you are eligible for benefits, you will receive payments for all weeks that you have successfully filed a weekly certification.

Failure to file weekly certification was sometimes excused in the summer and fall of 2020 last year, but now failure to do this may keep your benefits from continuing.

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only.

If you are having problems and need legal assistance, you can apply for our services at our webpage or click here for more information.

 

*Please note, our services are only available for residents of the following parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge Parish, East Feliciana Parish, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana

Updated as of 3/16/2021

FEBRUARY 2021 CHANGES TO

PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT ASSISTANCE BENEFITS

On February 25, 2021, the Department of Labor issued new guidelines for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefit program. Certain unemployed workers can get Pandemic Unemployment Assistance even if they were disqualified before.

What new types of individuals may now qualify for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance?

  • If you refuse to return to work that is unsafe.
  • If you refuse to accept a job offer or new work that is unsafe.
  • If you provide services or work for educational institutions or educational agencies, but do not have a contract or a guaranteed expected return date with the educational employer.
  • If you are currently employed, but:
    • Your hours at work have been reduced, OR
    • You are temporarily laid off from your job, OR
    • You are permanently laid off from your job.

What are some examples of refusing to return to work that is unsafe?

  • If your workplace’s conditions do not meet the local, state, or national COVID-19 health and safety standards.
    • For Example:
      • Employees and Customers were not wearing masks.
        • If certain necessary Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) was not provided at work. Examples:
          • Safe disinfectant products to clean highly touched surfaces.
          • Glass/ Plastic shields for customer services booths/counters.
        • Social distancing was not enforced.
      • If you have a high risk health condition and it would not be safe to continue in your workplace because of the risk of getting COVID-19.
        • For Example:
          • Your workplace has a lot of people coming in and out who could expose you to COVID-19.
        • If you are living with a high risk individual.
          • For Example:
            • Living with a person above the age of 50 years old or with a health condition that puts them at risk.

 

What are some examples of refusing to accept a job offer or new work that is unsafe?

  • The examples are like those above.

What are some examples of services or work for educational institutions or educational agencies, that do not have a contract or a guaranteed expected return date with the educational employer?

  • For example:
    • A temporary substitute teacher who is hired on-call to a school or different schools.
    • A school bus driver who is called on an as needed daily, monthly, or yearly basis.
    • A school cafeteria worker who works for an independent company on an as needed daily, monthly, or yearly basis.

What if I meet one of the reasons listed above, but was denied due to that reason?

  • These provisions apply even to your old claim. You may be able to receive back payments of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, if you applied before and were denied.
  • The agency should be reaching out to individuals who were denied for the reasons listed above. But it may not reach you quickly. You may want to call the Louisiana Workforce Commission’s phone number 1-866-783-5567.
  • The phone line system is usually available from Monday to Friday at 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You will need to call on your designated day:
    • If your Social Security Number ends with 0000-2499, you are to call on Mondays.
    • If your Social Security Number ends with 2500-4999, you are to call on Tuesdays.
    • If your Social Security Number ends with 5000-7499, you are to call on Wednesdays.
    • If your Social Security Number ends with 7500-9999, you are to call on Thursdays.
    • Anyone can call on Fridays
  • It is always good to check the HIRE website to see if there are any extended call-in times outside normal business hours or days.

 

Since when was Pandemic Unemployment Assistance in effect?

  • The program has been made effective for the weeks ending on February 8, 2020 to September 6, 2021 (current deadline under the American Rescue Plan).
  • This means that if you were denied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance on February 10, 2020 for one of the new recognized reasons listed above then you may be entitled to receive benefits for the weeks that you were denied.

What if I did not apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits because my unemployment reason related to COVID-19 was not covered until now?

  • You can still apply for unemployment compensation and be considered for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
  • But your claim can only be backdated to December 1, 2020. You will not be able to get back payments for weeks before that. (These new back payment rules were provided under the Continued Assistance Act and reaffirmed under the American Rescue Plan.)

Other important information:

It is always important that after your apply for unemployment compensation, you remain filing your weekly certifications to confirm your unemployment status.

Even if you are not receiving any payments, it is important to keep filing. As mentioned above, the weekly certifications are a confirmation that you remain unemployed or are experiencing a shortage of hours/days of work due to COVID-19. Once the agency determines you are eligible for benefits, you will receive payments for all weeks that you have successfully filed a weekly certification.

Failure to file weekly certification was sometimes excused in the summer and fall of 2020 last year, but now failure to do this may keep your benefits from continuing.

This post is only meant to provide information on the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance guidelines, and does not represent legal advice. It is not clear on how back payments will be processed for these new recognized COVID-19 reasons. As mentioned above, you may want to call the Agency for more information.

If you are having problems and need legal assistance, you can apply for our services at our webpage or click here for more information. In addition, our COVID-19 hotline number is 1-844-244-7871.

 

*Please note, our services are only available for residents of the following parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge Parish, East Feliciana Parish, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana

Do You Need Affordable Health Insurance?

New chance to enroll for reduced price, complete health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (sometimes called Obamacare)

ACA Health Insurance Enrollment
You can enroll in or change Marketplace health insurance plans
February 15, 2021 through August 15, 2021

Whether you are signing up for the first time or want to change your plan under the latest expansion, you must enroll by August 15, 2021.

Heard the Rates are Too High? Financial help lowers costs for 93% of people getting insurance in Louisiana. Financial help can pay for premiums, co-pays, and deductibles.

The American Rescue Plan passed by Congress in March makes health coverage more affordable for more people. You may now be eligible for additional savings and lower costs for “Marketplace” health insurance. Reductions are available even for people who were not eligible for coverage before. If you lost your job due to Covid and are receiving unemployment benefits, you may also be able to get help for your “COBRA” coverage.

How does the new law make healthcare coverage more affordable?
Based on your income, the new law covers more of your insurance premiums, copays, and deductibles.

Those who make up to 150% of the Federal Poverty Level can now get coverage through a “Silver Plan” without having to pay premiums. Those who are eligible for this premium-free coverage have household incomes that are at or below these amounts:

Number of People in Your Household Annual Household Income Monthly Average
1 $19,320 $1,610.00
2 $26,130 $2,177.50
3 $32,940 $2,745.00
4 $39,750 $3,312.50
5 $46,560 $3,880.00
6 $53,370 $4,447.50
7 $60,180 $5,015.00
8 $66,990 $5,582.50
For each additional person, add $6,810 $567.50

Help for premium costs also increases for everyone with incomes up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level (or, an annual income of about $106,000 a year for a family of 4).

Are these changes permanent?
No. These changes are temporary and will be in effect during 2021 and 2022.

Are there any changes to help those receiving unemployment benefits?
Yes. People who receive unemployment benefits at any time during 2021 will be eligible for a zero-premium “Silver Plan.” This also includes reductions in copays and deductibles. These changes will only be in place for 2021, unless Congress votes to extend them.

Where do I enroll for healthcare benefits?
There are two options for enrolling on your own:

Visit www.healthcare.gov
or
Call 1-800-318-2596

What if I need help enrolling or finding a plan?
Find an assister to help you find a plan that’s best for you by visiting: https://localhelp.healthcare.gov

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I enroll?
Visit http://www.healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 by August 15, 2021.

If I don’t enroll now, can I enroll later if I get sick or hurt?
Probably not between August 15 and November 1 of 2021.  If you or a family member have to go to the hospital or have other expensive health needs during the year, you may not be able to get coverage after the August 15 deadline.  In November, you can start applying for coverage in 2022.

However, you might qualify for an exception (“special enrollment period”) if you get married, have a baby, adopt a child, or lose your current health insurance. And if your monthly income goes under 138% of the poverty line and you live in Louisiana, you can apply for Medicaid.

What documents will I need to sign up?
For each person in your household, you need social security numbers and information about income and taxes.

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying at the "Get Help" section of our website.

*Please note, our services are only available for residents of the following parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge Parish, East Feliciana Parish, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only.

If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Updated February, 18, 2021

Do I need to pay taxes on the stimulus payments I received from the federal government?

No. The federal government sent two rounds of stimulus payments to eligible individuals and their dependents under 17 years old. The first round was for $1200 for adults and $500 for eligibile dependents, and the second round was for $600. This is different from unemployment benefits you may have received. These payments are NOT taxable income, so you do not have to declare them on your 2020 return or pay taxes on them.

What if I did not receive my stimulus payments?

If you did not receive your stimulus payments:

  • Were you claimed as a dependent on another person’s tax return? That person may have received the stimulus payment for you.
  • Did you receive a “Refund Anticipation Loan” (RAL) when you filed your 2018 or 2019 return? The tax preparer may have received the stimulus payment in a bank account set up for you. You should contact the tax preparer.
  • Were you divorced or separated in 2020? Your spouse or former spouse may have been sent the stimulus payment.
  • If you did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return and did not register on the IRS website, the IRS may not have known where to send your stimulus payment.

If you have not received your stimulus payment, or believe someone else wrongly received your stimulus payment, you should electronically file a 2020 tax return now, claiming the credits for the stimulus amount.

  • You can do this even if you did not work in 2020 or did not have enough income to need to file.
  • If your claim for a stimulus payment refund is denied by the IRS, you will have 30 days to submit a written appeal.

Do I need to pay taxes on my Unemployment Benefits?

Yes. Unemployment benefits are like wages, and you must report it as income on your tax return if you earned enough income to need to file taxes.

  • You should have federal and state income tax deducted from your unemployment benefits, if possible.
  • The Louisiana Workforce Commission should issue you a 1099, which will tell you how much you received. You’ll use this amount when you file your taxes. If you were not sent a 1099, use your own records to report.

If I withdrew money from an IRA or Retirement Account, will I need to pay taxes on it?

Yes. It is taxable income that must be reported on your tax return.

  • Normally, if you withdraw money before the age of 59 ½ years, you must pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty as well as the usual income tax.
  • Due to the pandemic, Congress has changed the rule for withdrawals made in 2020, so you do not have to pay the early withdrawal penalty.
  • You can also spread the withdrawal over 3 years, if you cannot pay tax.

Organizations that Provide Free Tax Preparing and Filing

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA Program) https://www.unitedwaysela.org/vita

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide provides taxpayers 60 and older with low income with free tax help.

You can also go to irs.treasury.gov/freetaxprep to search for other free providers.

Be sure to protect yourself when filing your taxes or having them filed for you!

If you are filing your own taxes:

  • You can prepare your own taxes using software or forms downloaded at this website. You will have to create an online account to do this and will need to provide an e-mail address.
  • Low Income taxpayers can file electronically for free on this website.

If you are having someone else prepare and file your taxes:

  • Watch out for fraudulent tax preparers putting false information on your return or stealing your identity. Putting false information on your tax return is a crime. Only you are responsible for your tax return. If you receive a fraudulent refund, YOU will have to pay it back, not the tax preparer. Fraudulent tax preparers may try to steal your identity and file false returns in your name. The IRS has put together a directory of qualified tax preparers here.
  • It is illegal for a tax preparer to charge you a percentage of your refund. The preparer should quote you a set fee.
  • The tax preparer must ask you for documentation of your income, deductions, etc. If they do not, your tax return will not have accurate information.
  • DO NOT sign blank or incomplete returns. Your preparer must sign the return with you.
  • DO NOT allow the preparer list a bank account under their name for your refund to be sent to.

The SLLS Tax Clinic cannot electronically file your current tax return.

SLLS may be able to offer free help if you:

  • Federal taxes and cannot repay them.
  • Are being audited.
  • Need to file for Injured or Innocent Spouse relief.
  • Have been the victim of ID theft with the IRS.

To apply for services, call Lynnette Tillis toll-free at (877) 521-6242, extension 225, or apply on our website here. 

*Please note, our services are only available for residents of the following parishes: Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge Parish, East Feliciana Parish, Iberville, Jefferson, Lafourche, Livingston, Orleans, Plaquemines, Pointe Coupee, St. Bernard, St. Charles, St. Helena, St. James, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Terrebonne, Washington, West Baton Rouge, West Feliciana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

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.

 

The information provided on this post does not, and is not intended to, represent legal advice. All information available on this site is for general informational purposes only. If you need legal help, you should contact a lawyer. You may be eligible for our free legal services and can apply by calling our Covid Legal Hotline at 1-844-244-7871 or applying online here.

Some people in the following Louisiana jobs can get $250 from the state:

  • Grocery store, convenience store, and food assistance program workers;
  • Bus drivers; gas station staff members; sanitation workers; residential, commercial and industrial solid waste and hazardous waste removal workers; storage and disposal staff;
  • Many medical workers:
    • Nurses, assistants, aides, medical residents, pharmacy staff, phlebotomists, respiratory therapists, and workers providing direct patient care in inpatient and outpatient dialysis facilities;
    • Housekeeping, laundry services, food services and waste management workers in hospitals and healthcare facilities;
    • Long-term care facility staff members, outpatient care workers, home care workers, personal assistance providers, home health providers, home delivered meal providers, and childcare service providers;
    • Public health epidemiologists
  • Many “first responders”:
    • Emergency medical services (EMS) staff, fire and rescue members, and law enforcement officers;
  • Mortuary service providers; or
  • Veterinary service staff

The full list of eligible jobs can be found here.

This is separate from the federal stimulus check and unemployment benefits. Even if you received those, you may still be eligible for the $250 if you meet the requirements below.

To get the check, you must apply. Funds may run out, so sooner is better. If you are eligible, apply as soon as possible.

If you have questions about the program or the application, you can call the Louisiana Department of Revenue at (855) 307-3893 or visit this website.

Who can get the $250?

Workers who meet all of the following requirements are eligible:

Is a Louisiana resident with $50,000 or less in adjusted gross income on their 2019 Louisiana Income Taxes

  • You do not need to be a Louisiana resident for a certain amount of time to be eligible.
  • If you did not file a tax return for 2019, your 2018 tax return will be used. If you were not required to file a Louisiana income tax return those years, that will not keep you from being eligible. But you will have to turn in other documents.

Worked outside of their home for at least 200 hours between March 22, 2020, to May 14, 2020

  • You must have provided in-person services outside of your home to members of the public (customers, clients, patients, etc.)

Employed in one of the jobs listed on or after March 11, 2020.

Submitted their application for the program to the Louisiana Department of Revenue before October 31, 2020.

*If you are mailing your application in, it must be postmarked by October 31, 2020.

How do I apply for the program?

You can apply online at frontlineworkers.la.gov, or you can apply by printing and mailing the form at http://revenue.louisiana.gov/TaxForms/R-6186%20(7_20)F.pdf to:

Louisiana Department of Revenue
P. O. Box 5128
Baton Rouge, LA 70821

  • You cannot apply by phone.
  • Mailed applications will not get a receipt. The department will follow up if there are questions or if you are denied. If you are approved, your payment will be sent to you.
  • Do not apply more than once (like once online and once by mail). The agency says this will delay any payment. Only the first application will be reviewed. All others will be denied.
  • Each eligible worker will need to submit their own application. For example, you and your spouse would both need to apply separately.
  • Filing copies of your paycheck stubs for March 22, 2020 to May 14, 2020 when you apply can speed up your application.

What is this program called?

The Frontline Workers COVID-19 Hazard Pay Rebate Program or Covid-19 Hazard Pay.

I worked part-time in one of the eligible jobs. Can I get the $250?

Maybe. If you worked at least 200 hours from March 22, 2020 to May 14, 2020 and meet the other program requirements, and the money does not run out, you will be eligible. Both part-time and full-time employees can get it.

I did not work the 200 hours in one job. Can I combine hours from two jobs on the list?

Yes. As long as you also meet the other requirements, you will be eligible. There is no requirement that the 200 hours need to be all for the same employer.

I worked in-person in one of the eligible jobs, for at least 200 hours after March 22, 2020. But I was laid off before May 14, 2020. Can I get the payment?

Yes. As long as you meet all of the requirements of the program, you will be eligible. For example, if you were laid off on April 30, 2020, but already worked 200 hours since March 22, 2020, you will still be eligible.

I received unemployment benefits in March 2020, but I worked in an eligible job beginning in April for over 200 hours by May 14, 2020. Can I get the payment?

Yes. You qualify if you received unemployment, as long as you meet the requirements.

I am self-employed doing in-person services in an eligible job. Can I get the payment?

Yes. Self-employed people are eligible if all of the requirements are met. You may need to submit more documents.

How will I receive my payment?

If you give your bank information on your application, you will be paid by direct deposit. If you do not send your bank information, you will be sent a paper check.

How will I know if there are issues with my application?

If the Louisiana Department of Revenue has questions about your application, it will send a letter. Be sure that your application has your current address. If you moved after filing your application, call the Department at (855) 307-3893.

If the Department sends a follow-up for more information, you must respond within 30 days or your application will be denied.

Some common errors that can delay payment include:

  • Applying more than once
  • Putting more than one worker on an application
  • Not sending all documents the Department of Revenue requested in a follow-up letter

If your application is denied, you will receive a letter.

 

SLLS Helps Prevent an Air Force Veteran from Becoming Homeless

Mark* is a proud Air Force veteran. After receiving an Honorable Discharge in the early 1980s, he worked as a mechanic for many years. After Hurricane Katrina, he gutted and rebuilt storm damaged homes to play his part in bringing New Orleans back. As he got older, he struggled with medical problems that made it harder and harder for him to do the heavy lifting this work required. But in 2016, Mark’s health took a tragic turn for the worse. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and heart failure. He just couldn’t do that kind of work any longer.

Mark wasn’t sure what to do and thought about applying for disability. Then, one day, while at a doctor’s appointment at the VA Medical Center in New Orleans, his social worker told him that he could get free legal help downstairs in the hospital. There, in a small office across from the cafeteria, SLLS’ Veterans Justice Project – funded with support from the New Orleans Bar Association and New Orleans Bar Foundation – helps low-income veterans resolve civil legal problems.

Mark decided it was worth a try. He had nowhere else to turn and was scared that he would lose his home if he didn’t find a solution soon. When Mark walked into our VA Hospital legal clinic, he was 60 years old, unable to work, and had no income.

Our attorney did a full civil legal needs screening for Mark. Based on the screening, we recommended Mark apply for VA service connected benefits. We also helped Mark apply for Social Security benefits. Advocating for and supporting Mark through every step of the process, we helped him get an expedited approval of his disability claim from the Social Security Administration. Mark is now receiving both VA and Social Security disability benefits, which together, pays him nearly $10,000/year. He no longer fears he will become homeless. He is reassured to know that SLLS is there for him, conveniently located at the VA Hospital, if he ever needs legal help again.

Mark served his country well and worked hard his whole life. We’re proud that we had the opportunity to serve him when he needed help.

 

* Names and other identifying information were changed to protect our client's identity.

 

PLEASE NOTE BEFORE READING: The names of the individuals portrayed in the following series were altered to protect our client’s identities.

When Ms. Mable decided to move out of Mississippi, she was looking forward to a peaceful retirement in her hometown of St. Rose in St. Charles Parish. She suffered from severe medical problems and needed medical treatment for her worsening conditions. With less than $1,000 to her name and relying on her Social Security retirement benefits for income, Ms. Mable could not afford to pay the premiums, co-pays and other fees associated with her Medicare insurance.

Since her prior Medicaid insurance took care of these Medicare costs in Mississippi, she wasn’t worried about getting approved for the same benefits in Louisiana. Sadly, to her surprise her Louisiana Medicaid application was denied. Ms. Mable didn’t know what to do.

Without Medicaid, she could not afford to pay for her medical treatment or prescription medications. She decided to seek legal help from SLLS’ Harvey office.

Her SLLS attorney discovered that the Medicaid office failed to properly assess her Medicaid application. Thanks to our advocacy, Ms. Mable’s application was approved. Now she can rest assured that her medical care is covered and that she has access to the life-saving benefits she needs for a peaceful retirement.

On a cold and stormy evening, Mr. Turner sat alone in the dark in a rusty, old wheelchair wondering what he could do to improve his life. His deteriorating home was owned by his family and lacked electricity, running water, and proper insulation to keep him warm at night. Aside from allowing him to live there, his family wanted nothing to do with him.

Mr. Turner struggled to make a living for himself. He worked countless hours in a series of manual labor jobs – cutting grass, digging ditches, and working in restaurants. He rarely earned more than minimum wage. While he barely managed to make ends meet, Mr. Turner hoped for a better future.

Sadly though, things took a turn and got even worse. Mr. Turner seriously hurt his left foot in an accident. Because he couldn’t afford health insurance or out-of-pocket medical costs, he didn’t go to the doctor. Left untreated, his injury got infected – he faced a serious risk of amputation. To avoid putting pressure on his infected leg, Mr. Turner used a wheelchair to get around in.

His injury and infection became more and more painful over time. Eventually, it was so bad, he could no longer work full time. He had nowhere else to go, had no job prospects, and believe there was no one who would help him. He felt hopeless.

Thankfully staff at the One Stop Homeless Services Center in Baton Rouge referred Mr. Turner for a civil legal aid assessment at SLLS’ on-site legal clinic. After listening to Mr. Turner, our attorney determined that he might qualify for Social Security benefits. We helped him file his application and represented him throughout the several months long application process. We also helped him get Medicaid and connected him to doctors and medical transportation so he could finally get treatment for his conditions.

We were thrilled when we learned that Social Security approved Mr. Turner’s application. With these benefits, Mr. Turner now has a small monthly income and continued access to Medicaid so he can keep getting the medical care he needs.

Several months after we closed the case, Mr. Turner dropped by our clinic to check in on his attorney. She learned that Mr. Turner’s health had improved tremendously. And now he’s fixing up his family’s property so he will have a safe and warm home to live in this holiday season.

Your generous support ensures that people like Mr. Turner have access to attorneys who will listen, who think holistically and connect them to other services they need, and who fight tirelessly for their legal rights. Thank you!

PLEASE NOTE BEFORE READING: The names and other identifying information of the individuals portrayed were changed to protect our client’s identity.

With generous support from people like you, New Orleans became the first city in the U.S. to end homelessness for veterans in 2014. Yet, there will always be a need to ensure equal justice for all. Today, thousands of veterans in southeast Louisiana continue to “combat” life on the streets. Together, we can defend the rights of the brave men and women who served our country and ensure that they have a safe and stable home to sleep in at night.

Recently, you gave hope to a 34-year-old veteran who struggled with serious health issues and helped end his homelessness.

After leaving the U.S. Army, Mr. Leonards struggled with PTSD, depression, and several other medical conditions. Despite his illnesses, he managed to build a life for himself as a civilian and work a full-time job. Unfortunately, over time, his medical conditions got worse preventing from maintaining a job. After losing his job, Mr. Leonards was evicted.

With nowhere else to turn, Mr. Leonards slept in different homeless shelters in downtown New Orleans. When the shelters were full, he went under the overpass to sleep on the cold, hard sidewalk. Faced with the reality of having no income, no safe place to lay his head at night, and increasingly severe health problems, Mr. Leonards felt helpless and defeated. Thankfully he quickly found hope at Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS).

Within minutes of walking into our office, he met with a caring and passionate attorney who immediately opened a Social Security disability benefits case for him. SLLS also referred him to one of our partner agencies who quickly helped him obtain rental assistance so he could get off the streets.

Thanks to our advocacy, Social Security approved Mr. Leonards’ application for disability benefits in only 4 weeks (a process than typically takes 4-8 months to complete). Now that he has the economic support he needs to afford his rent, he can focus on his health.

Because of people like you, homeless veterans and people with disabilities can access critical legal help they otherwise could not afford. You have the power to defend their rights and to ensure that they can get on their feet and move forward. Thank you!