August 30, 2022

Higher income levels eligible for Child Care Assistance! Starting August 1 2022, households with incomes up to 300% of the State Income Standard are eligible for the child care subsidy program. For example, a family of 2 with a household income of $54,930 and a family of 4 with household income up to $83,250 can apply for child care assistance. Applications can be submitted through the local Nassau or Suffolk Department of Social Services or by mail.

NSLS' Public Benefits Unit provides legal assistance to persons who experience problems with public benefits programs which are administered by the local Departments of Social Services, including:
  • Welfare (TANF and Safety Net)
  • Medicaid
  • Food Stamps (SNAP)
  • Child Care Assistance
  • HEAP
  • Emergency shelter for the homeless
  • Unemployment insurance appeals and overpayments
  • Other emergency assistance programs
We also assist low-income households in establishing Supplemental Needs Trusts to eliminate the Medicaid spend-down and assist homeless families to obtain rent supplements from DSS to enable families to leave the shelters or retain permanent housing. Suffolk residents west of 112 can call 631-232-2400 and east of 112 can call 631-369-1112. Nassau residents can call 516-292-8100.

New Law to Assist Students with Disabilities! In June 2022, Governor Hochul signed a new law which clarifies that schools are allowed to continue providing instruction and services to students with disabilities who turned 21 during the 2021-22 school year. Students in New York State have the right to attend high school until the end of the school year in which they turn 21. Students with disabilities also have the right to receive transition services—such as job training or support developing independent living skills—to help them prepare for life after high school. However, during the pandemic, many older youth with disabilities had limited access to the special education supports and services needed to help them successfully transition to adult life. The new law makes clear that schools can give students with disabilities who receive special education services pursuant to an individualized education program (IEP), and who would otherwise “age out” in June 2022, more time to finish high school. The students will be able to finish their education plans in the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years or until they turn 23 years old, whichever occurs first. 

Nassau Suffolk Law Services’ Education and Disability Rights Project (EDRP) is a bi-county unit representing students with disabilities between the ages of 5-21 in Special Education matters, including attendance at Committee on Special Education (CSE) meetings, Resolution Sessions and Impartial Hearings. In addition, the EDRP assists students in issues pertaining to residency and homelessness and helps adults with developmental disabilities to secure eligibility and services through the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). If you are in need of services from the EDRP, please contact us at (516) 292-8100.

New Law to Help Victims of Identity Theft! A new New York State law was signed into law in June 2022 by Governor Hochul to empower victims of crime. The new law expands what qualifies as documentation of identity theft and expands the eligibility of victims of unlawful dissemination of intimate images, as well as reckless endangerment. Under previous law, victims of identity theft must have filed a police report for a creditor to cease collection, with there being no alternative if a police report was not filed. The new law expands which documents can be used to show identity theft in certain circumstances relating to debt collection. These materials can now include Federal Trade Commission and Law enforcement reports, as well as criminal and family court documents. This increases protection for victims of identity theft by requiring creditors to cease collection activities until completion of their review of certain information allowing more victims of identity theft to put these heinous acts behind them.

The Consumer Debt Legal Assistance Project provides legal assistance to persons who are experiencing consumer debt problems, especially in the matters of medical and credit card debt. Services may include litigation defense and representation, phone advice, and/or referral for further services, including bankruptcy where appropriate. Suffolk residents west of 112 can call 631-232-2400 and east of 112 can call 631-369-1112. Nassau residents can call 516-292-8100.

Electric and Natural Gas Bill Relief Program! In the 2022-23 state budget, New York provided $250 million in funding to eliminate pandemic-related utility arrears for residential households, with a priority to low-income households, from March 7, 2020 through March 1, 2022. This funding will be applied to customers’ accounts by the utilities, including PSEG-LI, and will be administered by the Department of Public Service (DPS).

Phase I bill relief program:
  • Includes a one-time credit for residential low-income customers to eliminate accrued arrears through May 1, 2022. Customers are responsible for service after May 1, 2022.

  • Credits are expected to be posted to customer accounts by August 1, 2022 and consumers can expect to see the credit on their next billing cycle.

  • Authorizes the same bill relief for any low-income customers that enroll in the low-income bill discount programs by December 31, 2022.

Eligibility for Phase I bill relief program:
  • Must be an income eligible NY residential gas and/or electric utility customer with an active account.
  • The customer must be enrolled in their utility’s bill discount program/Energy Affordability Program by December 31, 2022 or has received a benefit under one or more of the following programs: Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP); Lifeline Telephone Service Program (Lifeline); Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); Medicaid; Veterans Disability or Survivors Pension; Supplemental Security Income (SSI); Federal Public Housing Assistance; Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance (if living on tribal lands); Head Start (if living on tribal lands); Tribal TANF (if living on tribal lands); Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (if living on tribal lands); Utility Guarantee / Direct Vendor programs; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF); Safety Net Assistance

The NYS Energy Affordability Program/Low-Income Bill Discount Program provides income-eligible consumers with a discount on their monthly electric and/or gas bills, as well as other benefits, depending on the characteristics of the particular utility's program. You may be enrolled automatically if you receive benefits from a government assistance program. For more information visit your utility website: PSEG and/or National Grid.


The Post Foreclosure Options LSCA training was held virtually by Kathy Maher, Foreclosure Unit Staff Attorney, on March 31st, 2022. Ms. Maher discussed actions to take if you are assisting someone who is at risk of foreclosure or is already in court for a foreclosure. This presentation is appropriate for attorneys and advocates alike. Due to technical difficulties, a recording of this presentation is not available. Please register to download the presentation slides.

The Accessing Healthcare and Preventing Medical Debt LSCA training was held virtually on April 28th, 2022 by Nassau Suffolk Law Services Supervising Attorney Sharon Campo and the Health and Welfare Council. The presentation discussed how to apply for healthcare (including Medicaid), what to do when you are denied health insurance or your health insurance denies a claim, the new Surprise Bill Law, and how to handle medical debt collection. Please register to view the training.

The Role of An Advocate LSCA training was held virtually by Cathy Lucidi, Director of Community Relations on June 9th, 2022 providing tools and tips on how to be the most effective advocate you can be. Please register to view the training.
If your organization is interested in having Nassau Suffolk Law Services present on what services we provide or a specific area of law, please contact the Legal Support Center for Advocates at 631-232-2400 extension 3324 (advocates only).
NSLS' Re-Entry Unit Staff Attorney, Carly Sommers, attended the Suffolk County Sheriff's National Night Out at Fireman's Memorial Park on August 2, 2022 to educate community members about the free legal services provided by Nassau Suffolk Law Services. National Night Out aims to strengthen bonds between law enforcement and the communities with live in.

NSLS' Civil Unit Supervising Attorney, Marissa Luchs-Kindler, Director of Office Administration and Information Technology, Nancy Green, Director of Government Affairs, Sheila Johnson, and receptionist Giselle Vera Guillen attended and tabled at the NAACP Islip Chapter’s Back to School, Stay in School Rally held on Saturday August 20th, 2022. NSLS' Advisory Council member, Marvin Smith, helped organize the event where over 1000 community members were in attendance.
The Community Legal Help Project
Brentwood Public Library: Tuesdays 2-5pm
Middle Country Public Library, Selden Building: Thursdays 3-6pm
For more information, please see our flyer. The Community Legal Help Project is seeking volunteer attorneys with experience in matrimonial, family, and immigration law to give half hour consultation during our library hours. If you are interested, please email us today!
Are you looking to give back to the community while also getting paid? We would love to have you apply for our currently open attorney, paralegal, and receptionist positions. To find out more, go to our website.
A little more about our volunteer needs:

  • Volunteer attorneys needed to assist pro bono clients with direct client representation in family, bankruptcy, matrimonial, and elder law
  • Provide half-hour legal consultations with our Suffolk County library project in immigration, matrimonial, family, landlord/tenant, elder, consumer, and more

  • Law Student / Paralegal/ Pre-law undergraduate internships
  • Assist Law Services Staff with intake, case analysis, case referral, and recruitment of volunteer attorneys
  • Nassau County Volunteer Landlord/ Tenant Attorney for a Day

631 232-2400 | 516 292-8100 | 631 369-1112

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