February 16, 2022
Celebrate Black History Month
Nassau Suffolk Law Services celebrates Black History Month as a time to honor the contributions and legacy of African Americans and the contributions they have made as activists and civil rights pioneers to leaders in industry, politics, science, culture and more. This year’s theme is Black Health and Wellness and we pay tribute to all the African American medical and healthcare heroes who went above and beyond assisting those in need throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. For a list of books on Black Health and Wellness, you can review this list curated by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History.

The New York Homeowner Assistance Fund (NYS HAF) is accepting applications until February 18th, 2022. Any applications received after that date will be put on a waiting list. The New York State Homeowner Assistance Fund is a federally funded program dedicated to assisting homeowners who are at risk of default, foreclosure, or displacement as a result of a financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications should be submitted as soon as possible as they are processed in the order in which they were received. To apply, go to https://www.nyhomeownerfund.org/ or call 1-844-77-NYHAF (1-844-776-9423).

Nassau Suffolk Law Services assists eligible homeowners to prevent foreclosure, through loss mitigation options and/or legal challenges by providing: advice and counsel, limited assistance at settlement conferences, pro-se pleadings and motions, full representation, and possible appeals, and/or help with loan modification paperwork. Suffolk residents can call 631-232-2400. Nassau residents can call 516-292-8100.

The United States Education Department released a statement on February 8, 2022 stating they would not seize the tax refunds parents get from the enhanced child tax credit in order to satisfy past due student loan payments. The federal government does not have to go to court to collect on a defaulted federal student loan. The federal government can garnish wages, freeze one's bank account, garnish social security retirement and disability payments, and seize federal tax refunds without a court order. Nassau Suffolk Law Services has served many clients where the social security disability check is at risk of being garnished by the federal government where the defaulted student loan is more than twenty (20) years old. The good news is there are lots of options to take control of your student loan debt whether it is discharging student loan debt due to total and permanent disability or rehabilitating your student loans to have a reasonable payment plan. More education on this topic can be found at studentloanborrowerassistance.org. Please note that private student loans are required to sue on a defaulted student loan in order to garnish wages or freeze bank accounts.

Nassau Suffolk Law Services provides legal representation and advice to eligible Nassau and Suffolk residents experiencing consumer debt problems (like student loans), especially in the matters of medical and credit card debt. Suffolk residents can call 631-232-2400. Nassau residents can call 516-292-8100.

Medicaid recipients be on alert! One of the many moratoriums in place during the Covid-19 pandemic has been the moratorium on banning case closings and reductions of coverage for Medicaid recipients. If Medicaid was authorized for a period ending March 31, 2020 through March 31, 2022, the local district must recertify Medicaid for 12 months, regardless of whether the recipient fails to return the annual renewal forms or respond to for information. (More info: http://www.wnylc.com/health/news/86/#renewals/disco). If the Public Health Emergency (PHE) is not extended (which is the basis of NYS’s moratorium) then those authorized after March 31, 2022 could be (and probably will be) subject to discontinuances for issues such as lack of paperwork, excess income, etc. If the PHE is extended, then that due date is pushed back an additional 90 days (the PHE last 90 days at a time).

Nassau Suffolk Law Services 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; and 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 can call 631-232-2400. Nassau residents can call 516-292-8100.

Low Income Water Assistance Program Open. The Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) helps low income households pay the cost of drinking water and wastewater services up to a maximum of $2,500 per drinking water or wastewater provider, or $5,000 if drinking water and wastewater services are combined. The program can assist households who have past due bills (arrears) for drinking water and/or wastewater services. A household may be eligible for a benefit if:

  • A member of the household is a Citizen, U.S. National, or qualified alien and
  • The household's gross monthly income is at or below the current income guidelines for your household size as posted in the table below; or
  • The household receives Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) benefits or
  • The household receives Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits or
  • The household receives Temporary Assistance (TA); or
  • The household receives Code A Supplemental Security Income (SSI Living Alone); and,
  • The household pays a vendor directly for your drinking water and/or wastewater usage and
  • The household's drinking water, wastewater, or combined drinking water and wastewater account is twenty (20) days past the due date, you have a water lien that is levied on your local property taxes, or your drinking water, wastewater, or combined drinking water and wastewater service is terminated or otherwise facing disconnection due to unpaid arrears.

Remember, applicants who are denied or disagree with the amount of assistance for which they were approved have sixty (60) days after receiving their determination to request an appeal. To apply and determine eligibility, visit the OTDA website here.
Veterans Rights Project Presentation

On January 12, 2022, Veterans Rights Project Paralegal, Dolores Sclafani gave a presentation with other Veterans organizations at an event sponsored by the Nassau Vet Center. Ms. Sclafani spoke about Nassau Suffolk Law Services Veterans Rights Project and participated in a Q&A regarding Veterans' rights.
Suffolk County Ombudsman Presentation

On February 9, 2022, Adult Care Facility Unit Staff Attorney, Erika Verrill, presented to the Suffolk County Ombudsman about the variety of different adult care facilities in New York and provided information on legal rights of residents and the differences between different agents who may be involved with a resident such as representative payees, power of attorney, and guardians. A copy of the presentation can be downloaded through our website.
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).
New Team Members:

  • Jacob Buckheit, Paralegal, Veteran's Rights Project, Islandia
  • Teresa Butler, Staff Attorney, Civil Unit, Riverhead
  • Megan Fuentes, Paralegal, Domestic Violence Unit, Riverhead
  • Tuere Rodriguez, Staff Attorney, Civil Unit, Islandia
  • Charlie Rogers, Staff Attorney, Civil Unit, Islandia
  • Courtney Spellman, Staff Attorney, Civil Unit, Riverhead

Staff Transitions:

  • Desiree Saad, Law Graduate, Consumer Debt Unit, Islandia
The Community Legal Help Project
Brentwood Public Library: Tuesdays 2-5pm
Middle Country Public Library, Selden Building: Thursdays 3-6pm
For more information, see the flyer here.

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

Nassau County- (516) 292-8100
Suffolk County- (631) 232-2400
Email- scampo@nsls.legal

Looking forward to your help!

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