COVID-19 What You Need to Know in November

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 issued a nationwide eviction moratorium through December 31, 2020.

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

On September 10,  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 December 31, 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.

The Kansas Eviction Prevention Program is helping people stay in their homes. Read more about it here. 

Tenants and landlords must apply for program together.

Here are flyers that will help landlords and tenants apply for that program:

Landlords KEPP Fact Sheet

Tenants KEPP Fact Sheet


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/


Foreclosure Prevention under the CARES Act

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.  

Learn more about foreclosure prevention here.

Governor Kelly's order in Kansas suspends evictions and foreclosures through January 26, 2021.


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

HCCI - 785-234-0217 / 800-383-5245

Advice can be provided in Spanish or English.


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.


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 it.


HOUSING ISSUES

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

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have implemented a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures until December 31.

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).

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

The Kansas Eviction Prevention Program (KEPP) helps tenants and landlords. Read more about it here. 

Through the KEPP program, landlords and tenants apply for up to $5000 per household to pay delinquent rental payments dating as far back as April 1, 2020. 

Payments will be made directly to the landlord, who must agree not to evict the household for nonpayment of rent or to charge late fees for the months KEPP assistance is received.

Visit the KHRC website to apply   https://kshousingcorp.org/eviction-prevention-program/

Applications MUST be submitted online.  The applications for both tenants and landlord sare posted on the KHRC website  Applications will be accepted starting Oct. 22.  Program runs until Dec 30 or the money has run out (if sooner).  


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

Check out the  Kansas Department of Labor - Unemployment Compensation page.

The state of Kansas has issued an extension of unemployment benefits to eligible Kansans -- who may apply starting October 2, 2020 for an additional $300 per week. The $300 per week will cover back to August 1, retroactively.


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 11/23/2020

COVID-19 What You Need to Know in November

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