October 6, 2020
Our 2020 Commitment To Justice Campaign is online.
Message from our Executive Director below
October 31 Deadline to Complete Census
The deadline to complete the census has been extended to October 31 to ensure an accurate count. The results of the 2020 Census will be critical to helping our community receive the resources it needs to respond to the pandemic. But, the 2020 count has been affected by repeated rounds of litigation over its form, scope and timeline. Everyone living in the U.S. on April 1, 2020 should complete the census. Fill it out it here by October 31.
November 21 Deadline to Use Non-Filer Tool to Receive COVID Stimulus
The IRS just extended the filing deadline for people who still need to register for the CARES Act Economic Impact Payments. Those with income below the threshold for filing a tax return, and who did not receive VA, SSI, or Social Security Benefits in 2019 are required to register to receive economic impact payments for themselves or their dependents. The deadline to do so is now November 21.

Absentee Ballot Voting Deadlines Coming Up Soon

A Law has recently been enacted making it easier for individuals to vote by absentee ballot.

The Purpose of this new law is to allow voters who are concerned about voting in-person due to an epidemic or disease outbreak (such as COVID-19) to vote by absentee ballot. On the absentee ballot application, in box “1”, mark “temporary illness or physical disability” as the reason.

You must request an absentee ballot by mail NOW in order to have one for Election Day. Absentee Ballots may be requested by mail or done electronically. The official absentee ballot request form can be obtained from your Board of Elections, or downloaded here. Or, you may request an absentee ballot electronically here.

While the deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 27th, applications submitted by mail should be sent by October 9 (or as soon as possible) to avoid mailing delays. Ballots can also be picked up in-person up to November 2.
If you have not voted in your current county of residence before, you must also complete a voter registration form. You can download that form here. The deadline to register is October 9.

If you require assistance obtaining absentee ballot applications or voter registration forms, please call: 
- The Board of Elections at (631) 852-4500; 
- The Ombudsman Program of Suffolk County at (631) 470-6755; or
- For Adult Home Residents or advocates: Erika Verrill, Esq. at the Adult Home Unit of Nassau/Suffolk Law Services, at (631) 232-2400, x3362.
Property Tax Exemption Application Window Now Open For Nassau Seniors And People With Disabilities

The Low Income Senior Citizen Property Tax Exemption allows many seniors to remain in their homes and preserve their independence.
However, maintaining the exemption requires an annual re-application that can be challenging for many seniors, particularly if they experience health setbacks that make it more difficult to meet the filing deadlines or if additional documentation is required to prove eligibility. The filing period in Nassau County runs until January 4, 2021. The deadline in Suffolk County is generally March 1. Failing to submit the required materials on time can double a senior's school taxes for the year.
Preserving Critical Senior Citizen Tax Exemption
Dan Okrent, an attorney in our Senior Citizen Law Project, recently won a Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR), preserving his client's tax exemption after the county claimed that she failed to prove her eligibility. The SCAR is a 3rd level and final appeal in Nassau Department of Assessment cases. The client, G, reached out to Okrent after losing the 1st and 2nd level appeals. This type of hearing is usually held in Nassau Supreme Court, but they were conducted by telephone as a result of the COVID pandemic.

G had applied to renew her Senior Citizen Tax Exemption in Fall 2019 but was denied for reasons she did not understand. The Nassau Department of Assessment never told G the reason for the denial or indicated that they needed additional supporting documents. G pays her property taxes through her mortgage escrow. When her exemption was denied, her property taxes increased dramatically. This resulted in much higher mortgage payments, which were difficult to bear. Worse, the deadline for submission of SCAR petitions this year was pushed forward several times, and more than 100,000 SCAR petitions have been submitted in Nassau County this year. So, SCAR petition hearings have been very delayed.

When G's SCAR hearing finally arrived, the county attorney revealed for the first time that the Department was missing documents it needed to verify G's eligibility. Some of the supporting documents were previously sent, but the Department claimed non-receipt. Other documents were never specifically requested. The county attorney argued that the documents, even if submitted then, were too late, as the submission deadline had long passed.

The hearing officer disagreed. She allowed the client to submit the documents even at that late point in the proceeding, considering that the client was never previously told what documents were needed. The hearing officer noted that the client had received the exemption in prior years. The hearing officer specified what documents were required and the client promptly supplied them.

The decision after the hearing was fully favorable, and the client was awarded the maximum possible tax relief.
Dear Friend,
In these challenging times, we’re incredibly heartened by the community surrounding our cause, especially because you are a part of it. Together, we can accomplish anything and make a difference in the lives of our Long Island Communities.

Now more than ever, the threat of homelessness is affecting our community. Our Civil Unit and our Foreclosure Prevention Project remain committed to helping our clients maintain their housing. Our Public Benefits and Disability Advocacy Project will continue to advocate an ensure our clients have proper access to financial and service-related programs such as food stamps, Medicaid, public assistance, and Social Security benefits.

Through our specialized units, we are here to assist Long Island’s most vulnerable populations:
* Veterans
* Senior Citizens
* Disabled Individuals
* Those with Mental Illness
* People living with HIV/AIDS
* Survivors of Domestic Violence
* Students with Special Educational Needs

Our Legal Support Center for Advocates is here to assist community advocates as a legal resource, so advocates may effectively assist their clients, thereby reaching more people in need.

Please help us rebuild Long Island by supporting our Commitment to Justice Campaign. Now more than ever and the months to follow Long Island’s most vulnerable populations will need our legal assistance. We are looking to raise $40,000 to help support our COVID-19 Legal Response Team. Please see enclosed donation form. For your convenience, you can also make a donation on line at www.nslawservices.org. For more information about the services we offer or to make a donation, please contact Cathy Lucidi, Director of Community Relations at 631 232-2400 ext. 3324.

Please stay up to date by visiting our website and following us on social media as we continue to “Do What’s Legally Possible To Create a Just World”. Thanks, as always, for your continued support of NSLS. We wish you and your loved ones safety, comfort, and or all our best as we face the months ahead together as a community.


Jeffrey A. Seigel
Executive Director

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a severe financial crisis for many Long Islanders. Civil legal services are essential to making sure our neighbors have access to justice in cases affecting their basic needs--shelter, food, education and health care -- as well as COVID-19 related legal issues. Walk the path of justice with us by symbolically adopting/ honoring a NSLS Unit so we can continue to “Do What’s Legally Possible to Create a Just World.” Your donation will support the critical civil legal services Long Island communities need to thrive again. Thank you for making a difference in the lives of Long Island’s most vulnerable residents.

Please visit our website at nslawservices.org for unit descriptions. Ads & videos will be displayed NSLS’ Commitment to Justice webpage and all NSLS social media outlets (ads will show your support for NSLS and may be used on all your social media outlets).

Supports all NSLS’s units. Logo and Branding Included on NSLS website, Social Media, Campaign Emails + 2 Center Spread Virtual Ads + 30 second video about why you support NSLS.

Supports four NSLS’s units. Logo and Branding Included on NSLS website, Social Media, Campaign Emails + 2 Full Page Virtual Ads + 30 second video about why you support NSLS.

Supports three NSLS Units. Logo and Branding Included on NSLS website, Social Media, Campaign Emails + 1 Full Page Virtual Ad + 30 second video about why you support NSLS.

Supports two NSLS Units + 1 Full Page Virtual Ad will be displayed on our NSLS website + NSLS social media outlets.

Supports one NSLS Unit + Half Page Virtual Ad

Supports an NSLS employee + Quarter Page Virtual Ad
631 232-2400 | 516 292-8100 | 631 369-1112