COVID-19 What You Need to Know Now

Besides keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from disease, many issues about your daily life may need to be addressed. 

There is so much to know about what kind of help is available for you to get through this crisis. Kansas Legal Services will try and answer your questions and keep you up-to-date on what's available to help you.

The Centers for Disease Control extended its nationwide eviction moratorium through March 31, 2021.

Kansas extended the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions through January 26, 2021. The Governor extended Executive Order 20-61, the eviction moratorium, through EO 20-64.1.h.  The CDC Agency Order is in effect through March 31, 2021, if the tenant signs a declaration.

If you are in a situation that you feel is urgent, and you need advice or legal assistance to determine your next steps, please ask for help.

Apply Online for legal assistance. Or call 800-723-6953

You can access forms and resources put together for the public by a consortium of housing advocacy groups, click here.


Foreclosure Prevention under the CARES Act - Extended to March 31, 2021

If you are a homeowner and unable to fully pay your mortgage at this time, parts of the CARES ACT may allow you to request a delay in payments (A Forbearance).  This applies to any loan covered by VA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, USDA or FHA.  Since this loan servicing decision is made by your lender, you may be eligible and not know it. 

To help borrowers at risk of losing their home due to the coronavirus national emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will extend the moratoriums on single-family foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) evictions until at least March 31, 2021.  Read more here.


The Veterans Administration has extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for VA-guaranteed loans through February 28, 2021 Read more.


USDA Single Family Housing Direct Loan and Guarantee Programs:  Extended through March 31, 2021

* Effective January 20, 2021, with the exception of vacant or abandoned dwellings, foreclosures and related evictions for borrowers with USDA single family housing Direct and Guaranteed loans are suspended through March 31, 2021.  


Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) to prevent foreclosures of multi-family homes until March 31. 2021  

The programs had been set to expire December 31.  Read more about it here.


Federal Housing Administration (FHA) extends Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium through March 31, 2021

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) published Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2021-03, Extension of Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium in Connection with the Presidentially-Declared COVID-19 National Emergency. Yesterday, President Joseph R. Biden directed agencies to extend a federal moratorium on evictions and a moratorium on foreclosures on federally guaranteed mortgages in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This ML announces a moratorium of foreclosures and evictions for single family properties with FHA-insured mortgages through March 31, 2021.

The moratorium applies to all FHA Title II Single Family forward mortgages and Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), except for those secured by vacant or abandoned properties.

This ML also extends the deadlines for the first legal action and reasonable diligence timelines for 120 days from the date of expiration of this moratorium for FHA-insured Single Family mortgages, except as noted above.

https://safeguardproperties.com/fha-info-21-05-foreclosure-and-eviction-moratorium-policy-extension/#:~:text=January%2021%2C%202021&text=This%20ML%20announces%20a%20moratorium,mortgages%20through%20March%2031%2C%202021.


Request forbearance or mortgage relief - Information from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

Español 

To request forbearance, you’ll need to reach out to your servicer. To ensure that you are ready for that conversation, the CFPB has got some information to help you prepare.


Kansas Housing provides $1.8 million in rent, utility assistance


You can get expert advice for your specific housing situation from Housing and Credit Counseling, Inc. (HCCI) .

HCCI - 785-234-0217 / 800-383-0217

Advice can be provided in Spanish or English.


If you live out of state and have questions about eviction moratoriums in other locations, please check this website Legal Help FAQ on Eviction & Rent Protections during the COVID-19 emergency  https://legalfaq.org/


CHILD SUPPORT

Question: I make less than when my child support amount was set.  How do I change the amount I pay?

The Court must order a reduction of child support, based on a request of the parent.  This request is called a motion, which must be filed with the Clerk of the District Court and set for a hearing. 

You can use this form, Motion to Modify Child Support, to change or stop the child support order.

Instructions to help you complete the Motion to Modify Child Support will help you create the forms you need. Here are the Motion for Modification of Child Support Instructions.

As Courts reopen this month, you must act quickly to seek a change back to the time of your job loss due to COVID 19.  Otherwise, the change can't occur until the month after you file the motion. 

There will be a filing fee of $62 for filing the motion unless you qualify for a waiver of the filing fee.  Request to Waive Filing Fees


CONSUMER SCAMS

The Federal Trade Commission has warned people to be on the lookout for COVID-19 related scams.

-You can report fraud or price gouging to the KS Attorney General online ag.ks.gov

If you receive unsolicited calls, emails, or other communication claiming to be from the FDIC or another federal agency in connection with COVID-19 related grants or payments in exchange for personal financial information, please do not respond.  These are scams. Find out how to report COVID-19 scams.


COURT RESTRICTIONS

Courts were briefly closed for all non-emergency proceedings (including evictions and foreclosures). District courts can now resume eviction and foreclosure hearings via phone or video. If an eviction was filed before 3/12/20 or is not related to a coronavirus related financial hardship, those evictions may now continue. Decisions about whether to hear these cases are now left up to district courts across Kansas.

Question: I have a court date, but the Courthouse is closed.  What do I do?

With the exception of first appearances and emergency motions, all court dates have been moved or changed to virtual hearings.  If you are represented by an attorney, you should contact your attorney.  If you are representing yourself but the other side has an attorney, contact the other attorney.   Some courts are resetting cases already, and you can call them to get your new court date.  Wait times are extended due to the current situation.  Understand, we are not sure when this shutdown will end, and your court date may move again.  

Question: While the Courthouses are closed, can a Judge do anything to help my situation?  

In most counties, only emergency hearings are being held.  All other hearings are either virtual or moved to a later date.  If it is an emergency, you can file a motion, but there is not guarantee that it will be heard before the courts are open.  If you are represented by an attorney, you should reach out to your attorney. 

If you are in a domestic violence situation, you can still file a protection from abuse or protection from stalking order.  Contact the local domestic violence shelter and they will assist you, or you can call our office and complete an intake for assistance.  

Parenting Time Orders

-You can still travel for your parenting time during shelter in place orders. This is considered an essential activity. You should be following these orders.

-Almost all supervised visitation and exchange centers are closed.

-For families who can't exercise physical parenting time consider utilizing FaceTime, Zoom, Skype

Question: Can I stop visitation if I believe the other parent isn't following stay at home restrictions?

The Stay at Home Orders specifically defines an essential activity as any action necessary to comply with valid court orders. Parenting plans, including exchanges of minor children between parents, remain valid court orders, previously found to be in the minor children's best interest.

If you believe that your co-parent is not following the stay at home restrictions you should not unilaterally terminate visits. You can file a motion to modify the parenting plan on the basis that the pandemic is a material change in circumstances and the other parents' refusal to abide by the stay at home orders is not in the best interests of the minor child(ren).

If you believe it is an emergency you can file an ex-parte motion to modify, but you must have grounds and specifically cite what makes your situation an emergency.

Self-Represented Litigants Filing Documents

How to file using a district court drop box

As of December 9, under a Supreme Court temporary rule, a self-represented litigant may file a document in a case using a district court drop box. Drop boxes ensure self-represented litigants are always able to file, even if a courthouse is closed to walk-in service. 

Go here to read more about filing a document to a drop box.


DRIVER'S LICENSES AND VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS

Questions about driver’s licenses and other Division of Vehicle services can be answered by email at kdor_dovdl@ks.gov

Questions about your vehicle registration should be directed to your local county treasurer’s office.

In addition to the extensions, these services can be conducted online at iKan.ks.gov or on mobile devices through the iKan application.

This page will help you with driver's license issues.


FOOD ASSISTANCE

Kansas gives emergency food assistance benefit to current program households who get SNAP benefits. The emergency allotment increases a household’s monthly benefit to the maximum allowed for the size of the family. The maximum monthly benefit for a family of four is $646.​

Read more about Kansas food assistance.  You can find links to other food-related assistance on this page.


HOUSING ISSUES

Governor Kelly has suspended evictions and foreclosures through January 26, 2021.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until March 31, 2021.

Eviction or foreclosure should be caused by substantial financial difficulties as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (job loss, reduction in working hours, etc).

The Veterans Administration has extended a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for VA-guaranteed loans through February 28, 2021.

Apply Online for legal assistance or call 800-723-6953 


If you live out of state and have questions about eviction moratoriums in other locations, please check this website: https://legalfaq.org/


IRS/STIMULUS CHECKS

Questions and Answers About Those Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payments

Read more at the IRS website about Economic Impact Payments here.


KANSAS DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT (KDHE) RESOURCES

KDHE's website has many resources for Kansans on issues such as resources for healthcare workers, how to protect yourself and others, what to do if you think you're sick, frequently asked questions, toolkits, and much more.

You can also get the up-to-date information on cases in Kansas.  https://www.coronavirus.kdheks.gov/


PUBLIC BENEFITS

You may complete an online self-assessment through the Kansas Department of Children and Families that can tell you which services you and members of your family may qualify for at http://www.dcf.ks.gov/services/ees/pages/application-for-benefits.aspx

You can use this page to apply for the following services: Food Assistance, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, Child Care Assistance, Child Support Services, Medical Assistance, LIEAP.

Question: Will the Economic Impact (Stimulus) Payment count as income or a resource for Supplemental Security Income recipients?

The Economic Impact Payment will not count as income for SSI recipients.  The  Economic Impact Payment will count as a resource if you still have it 12 months after you receive it.  Single SSI recipients can have $2,000 in total resources.  Married SSI recipients can have $3,000 in total resources.

Surviving Debt: Six Essential Rules for Surviving Debt

Surviving Debt is from the National Consumer Law Center (NCLC)  https://library.nclc.org/sd/0102


UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

Kansas Department of Labor - Unemployment Compensation page.

As of December 30, the State of Kansas is waiting on Congress to release COVID relief funds for an extension of unemployment claims at an additional $300 per week. The extension will last through March 2021.  The $300 per week will cover back to December 27, retroactively.

Apply for benefits now to be in line for the additional $300/week.


UTILITIES

On May 21,  the Kansas Corportation Commission (KCC) approved an order requiring all utilities under its jurisdiction to offer 12-month payment plans and waive late fees through the end of the year to help residential and small business customers avoid disconnection. Read more about KCC orders here: https://kcc.ks.gov/public-affairs-and-consumer-protection/important-notices-related-to-covid-19

Utility customers - Collection activities have begun with some utilities. If you are behind on payments, call your utility to set up a payment plan.

 

 

Page Updated 01/21/2021

COVID-19 What You Need to Know Now

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