June 30, 2022

Credit Discrimination Awareness! Under federal law, it’s illegal for banks, credit unions, mortgage companies, retailers, and any other companies that extend credit to discriminate against you. So during the application process or when making a credit decision, a creditor must not consider — among other things — your race or sex, including sexual orientation and gender identity. (But a creditor may ask you to voluntarily disclose this information because it helps federal agencies enforce anti-discrimination laws.) You have the right to know within 30 days of filing your completed application whether it was accepted or rejected — and, if rejected, the reason why. The lender must tell you the specific reasons (for instance, “You haven’t been employed long enough”) or how to find them out. Learn more on the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) website.

Students can now receive college transcripts even with unpaid college debt! Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation on May 4, 2022 that prohibits colleges from withholding a student’s transcript because of unpaid debts or charging individuals who owe debts a higher fee to obtain their transcript. This legislation ensures that students can access their transcript when necessary so that they may continue their education or find a job. 

Foreclosure Prevention Tip! If you or a client are having trouble making your mortgage payments, have already fallen behind or are in default or foreclosure, it is very important that you act quickly to communicate your situation clearly to your lender and reach out for the help you need. The longer you wait, the fewer options you may have to save your home or avoid foreclosure. Here are some steps to take if you find yourself in this situation: (1) Contact Your Lender or Loan Servicer Immediately: It is crucial that you contact your lender or loan servicer as soon as you realize that you are unable to make a payment. This is a crucial first step in addressing your situation and identifying possible solutions. It is very important that you respond to mail and phone calls from your lender. If your lender does not hear from you, they are more likely to start legal action leading to foreclosure. Provide any information requested by your lender or servicer quickly and keep records and copies of everything. (2) Get Help! Contact a Not-for-Profit Housing Counselor: Housing counselors that handle foreclosure-related issues can give you advice on your options and resources at little or no cost. They may also be able to negotiate with your lender for free and help you find free legal services in your area. If you are already in the foreclosure process, you should consult an attorney.

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.

Exempt from collection income update! As of January 2022, the minimum wage on Long Island is $15 per hour. With this increase, the amount of disposable income exempt from garnishment to pay a private debt is now $450 per week. “Disposable income” means income after deductions required by law, such as taxes or Social Security. Other non-mandatory payroll deductions such as health insurance premiums still count towards disposable income. This means that clients with employment incomes less than $450 per week are exempt from private debt collection. The frozen bank account exemption increased to $3600. For those with higher incomes, the limits on garnishment are as follows: The lesser of (1) 10% of gross income or (2) 25% of disposable income. All direct deposited exempt income (e.g. social security benefits, veterans’ benefit, etc.) are always protected no matter the amount. If you find that your bank is not complying with the law, you may file a complaint with the New York Department of Financial Services. 

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

We have many LSCA trainings in the works including one on Family Law this Fall. Please check back often to see the upcoming training dates and how to register.
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).
On June 16th, NSLS Director of Community Relations Cathy Lucidi, Supervising Attorneys Sharon Campo and Lynn Iacona, and ICAN Unit Staff Attorney Kimberly Bolk gave a presentation regarding the services provided by NSLS to the Suffolk County Public Librarians as part of their "Libraries Nourish Initiative."

On June 26th, 2022, NSLS Supervising Attorney Sharon Campo gave a presentation on the Legal Aspects of Medical Debt to Touro Law School students in their Health Law class.
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.
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
  • 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

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

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