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COVID-19 News for Community Partners from Legal Aid

Posted April 23, 2020
1:43 pm

Dear Community Partner: Please see important updates related to Legal Aid and other community services during COVID-19 in the message below–

  • Urgent action needed for Social Security recipients with children!
  • NEW Worker Information Line hosted by Legal Aid
  • Legal Aid is helping tenants maintain housing through the pandemic
  • Many people are entitled to the economic stimulus payment
  • Everyone expecting a stimulus payment should be careful to avoid scams
  • The EITC in Cuyahoga County is launching virtual tax preparation services
  • Legal Aid is open: apply for help online 24/7 or by phone during most business hours

Questions? Contact Anne Sweeney, Managing Attorney for Community Engagement, at

Federal Updates (TIME SENSITIVE!):

Urgent action needed for Social Security recipients with children!  Social Security Beneficiaries with Dependents and Who Do Not File Tax Returns MUST ACT BY WEDNESDAY 4/22 to Receive $500 Per Child Payment.

Social Security retirement, survivors, and disability insurance beneficiaries with dependent children and who did not file 2018 or 2019 taxes should immediately go to the IRS webpage at and visit the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here section to provide their information.  They need to act by Wednesday, April 22, in order to receive additional payments for their eligible children quickly.  By doing so, they may receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment.  We strongly encourage completing this process promptly, in order to avoid having to wait to file a tax year 2020 tax return to obtain the additional $500 per eligible child.

SSI recipients need to take this action by later this month; a specific date will be available soon.

Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients with no qualifying children under age 17 will receive their Economic Impact Payments soon, and do not need to take any action.

Those with Direct Express debit cards who enter information at the IRS’s website should complete all of the mandatory questions, but they may leave the bank account information section blank as Treasury already has their Direct Express information on file.

For more information, please read the new press release from Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul.

You can also find more detailed information about the economic stimulus payments at

Legal Aid Updates:

Legal Aid launched a new Worker Information Line to answer questions about employment benefits, worker rights and unemployment compensation.  Callers are invited to leave a short message including name and number, and they will get a call back within 24-48 business hours. Call -216-861-5899 in Cuyahoga County and call 440-210-4532 in Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake and Lorain Counties.  More information is available at

Legal Aid is helping tenants maintain housing through the pandemic.  In partnership with EDEN, Legal Aid is providing counsel and advice, as well as access to emergency rental assistance, for low income tenants.  These services are for (1) individuals/families that but for this assistance would become homeless; (2) households experiencing decline in income, job loss, weekly wage reduction or other financial challenges stemming from COVID-19 related matters; and (3) owe back rent.  Clients who meet these criteria should apply by calling 1-888-817-3777 or online at

Most people with income below $75,000 (for individuals) or $150,000 (for couples) are entitled to an economic stimulus payment.  If you regularly file taxes, you may get your stimulus check automatically.  More info on the stimulus check for tax filers is here.  If you do not regularly file taxes, you can sign up for your stimulus check by using the new “non-filer” tool created by the IRS.  More information on the stimulus check for “non-filers” is here.

Everyone expecting a stimulus payment should be careful to avoid scams.  Several schemes are being used to steal money from people related to stimulus payments.  Read this additional information about common scams and be sure to report any suspicious conduct.

Legal Aid posts several FAQs related to protections and benefits during COVID-19.  Visit to view Frequently Asked Questions related to COVID-19 and the following topics:

  • Community Resources
  • Consumer Protections
  • Education Rights
  • Family Law
  • Housing Protections
  • Immigration Rules
  • Nonprofits and Small Businesses
  • Public Benefits
  • Utility Protections
  • Worker Rights and Benefits

Legal Aid is open: apply for help online 24/7 or by phone during most business hours.  Requests for help with employment issues increased by 105% compared to this time last year.

Other Updates:

The Cuyahoga Earned Income Tax Credit Coalition is launching virtual tax preparation services.  This free service for low income residents replaces the usual Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program.  Individuals in need of help will have 3 options for how to access assistance, depending on personal preference and access to technology.  The EITC will also help non-filers register for their stimulus checks via the IRS non-filer tool. To request services, send an email to with client’s name, phone number and what assistance they need.  A volunteer from the EITC will call to follow up. In the meantime, the Coalition will return to in-person tax preparation assistance as soon as the Governor lifts the stay at home order.

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