MAY 2020
The latest news and updates
Did You Lose Your Medical Insurance When You Became Unemployed? If Yes, You May Be Able To Consider The Following Option
Written by Carolina Hernandez
If you have lost your job and your job-related health insurance, you may qualify for the Special Enrollment Period in the Health Insurance Marketplace. The Health Insurance Marketplace allows for individuals to see what health insurance they qualify best suited for their current financial situation. Those who have lost insurance through their job must apply within 60 days of their loss of coverage. Those applying must fall between 100%-400% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) to qualify. The current FPL incomes can be found by clicking here. If you fall within this range and would like to apply for this Enrollment period, you can click here to screen yourself if you qualify. Following this screening, follow the directions of the website to apply. The website of the Health Insurance Marketplace in Florida is https://www.healthcare.gov/
Designation of Health Care Surrogate for Minor Children
By Silvia McLain, Esq.
In Florida, parents can designate another adult to serve as a surrogate to make health care and mental health decisions for their minor children in the event that the parents are not able or reasonably available to provide consent for medical treatment, surgical and diagnostic procedures and mental health treatment for the minor children. Such designation must be made in writing and signed in presence of two witnesses. See Florida Statute 765.2035. A sample designation form is available on our website, click here to view . Our office can assist in the preparation this form and other advanced directives such as living wills, designation of health care surrogate for adults, and durable power of attorney for low income residents of Seminole County. Please call us at 407-834-1660.
Resources and Legal Help for the Unemployed
Written by Silvia McLain, Esq.
The unemployed can request state unemployment/reemployment benefits and federal pandemic unemployment by completing an application by clicking here. Governor Desantis issued an April 16 th executive order temporarily suspending the biweekly report requirement by claimants of “actively seeking work” requirement, click here to view Florida Executive Order 20-104.   You can also review the Reemployment Assistance Resource Guide - COVID 19 for additional assistance and answers to common questions.
If you do not have access to the internet or need help in completing the application or need a paper copy of the application or have questions, please call us at 407 834 1660 for free legal assistance.
Does COVID-19 Impact Parental Timesharing?
By Yvonne Alonso, Esq.
Many parents have contacted our office concerned about the potential exposure their children may have to COVID-19 should their children continue to spend time with both parents and in two homes. Per a local administrative order, court ordered visitation or timesharing schedules, should be followed, without interruption. Parents who refuse to follow the ordered timesharing may be subject to the contempt powers of the court, after the social distancing and resulting executive and administrative orders are lifted. However and given the public health concerns associated with the spread of COVID-19, parents who’ve tested positive or have a household member who’s tested positive for COVID-19, must immediately notify the other parent of the positive test. Additionally, all parents are required to comply with the social distancing and general protective measures recommended by the CDC and shall encourage their children to do the same.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding your timesharing schedule, please contact our office for a detailed explanation of the administrative order and the application it may have to your case.
CARES Act Relief Options for all
Federally Backed Mortgages
By Silvia McLain, Esq.
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A new federal law, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, puts in place two protections for homeowners with federally backed mortgages:

  • First, your lender or loan servicer may not foreclose on you for 60 days after March 18, 2020. Specifically, the CARES Act prohibits lenders and servicers from beginning a judicial foreclosure against you, or from finalizing a foreclosure judgment or sale, during this period of time. This prohibition is not extended to vacant or abandoned property.
  • Second, if you experience financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic, you have a right to request a forbearance for up to 180 days. You also have the right to request an extension for up to another 180 days. You must contact your loan servicer to request this forbearance. There will be no additional fees, penalties or additional interest (beyond scheduled amounts) added to your account. You do not need to submit additional documentation to qualify other than your claim to have a pandemic-related financial hardship. The grant of forbearance is not discretionary.
Forbearance does not mean your payments are forgiven or erased. You are still required to repay any missed or reduced payments in the future. Make sure you understand how the forbearance will be repaid.
Evictions And All Property Cases Are Suspended Until May 29, 2020
By Sue Selsky, Esq.
According to the 18 th Judicial Circuit's Administrative Order 20-15 2 ND Amended issued on April 6, 2020, all evictions, ejectment or writs of possession, and unlawful detainer cases will be suspended until MAY 29, 2020 or any other date provided by law. This Administrative Order applies to all of Seminole County and Brevard County, Florida.
 
This suspension also applies to initial paperwork for filing the eviction; time periods for service of documents; and scheduling hearings.
 
In addition, the Sheriff and all Process Servers must suspend or stop their attempts to serve Complaints for Evictions, Writs of Possession, or any other procedure relating to the initiation or enforcement of an eviction.
 
Finally, all foreclosure sales, hearings, and nonjury trials shall be suspended until May 29, 2020 or as provided by subsequent order.


Effects of Coronavirus on Student Loans
Written by Joanne Desile, Esq.
Effective March 13, 2020, federal student loan borrowers have been placed in administrative forbearance. What does this mean? It means that if you have student loans that are federally backed or owned by the Department of Education, you don’t have to make monthly payments on your student loans! Additionally, the Department of Education automatically adjusted the accounts of all federal student loan borrowers to reflect a 0% interest rate. This was done in an effort to provide relief to student loan borrowers during the Corona Virus Pandemic. This administrative forbearance and 0% interest rate will last until Sept. 30, 2020. 

Please note that the 0% interest applies to the following federal student loans: defaulted and non-defaulted Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), and Federal Perkins Loans. Some FFEL Program loans are owned by commercial lenders, and some Perkins Loans are owned by the institution you attended. These loans are not currently eligible to receive a 0% interest rate.

For a list of loan servicers for loans that are backed or owned by the Department of Education, click here . If your loan servicer is not listed, you can contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) at 1-800-433-3243 or click here .
If you do not know who your servicer is or how to contact them, you can call the Federal Student Aid Information Center or visit their website. This information is subject to change, so please refer to the website for the most updated information.
Stimulus Check Information
The IRS has recently launched a portal where individuals can monitor the process of their st imulus payment. Please click here to visit their website to answer any questions regarding eligibility, payment amounts, what to expect, when to expect it and more.
Seminole County Legal Aid COVID-19
Resource Web Page
Written by Carolina Hernandez
In an effort to relay important information concerning COVID-19 in a streamlined manner, Seminole County Legal Aid has created a webpage listing all COVID-19 updates as they arise. Included are updates of all types, from those concerning the courthouses and administrative orders to those concerning school closures and available helplines. All our office information and updates can we found there as well. We hope this brings some ease when looking for information. To view our new webpage and all it has to offer, please click here.
Thinking Critically about COVID-19
News and Potential Scams
As we continue to receive an overabundance of news updates, press releases, state and local orders, and more, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. When dealing with COVID-19, factual news releases and CDC precautions can vital for maintaining wellness. Beyond just the dissemination of news, there are a variety of scams that have arisen to take advantage of the current state of affairs. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services know that these situations are occurring and have developed a series of questions to ask yourself when reading a published article concerning COVID-19 developments.

  • "Who is the message from? Do I know them? Do I trust them? Am I positive they are who they say they are? Double-check: government impersonators are active right now.

  • What do they want me to do? Just know something — or are they trying to get me to act in some way? Do they want me to buy something, download something, or give up personal info?

  • What evidence supports the message? Use some independent sources to fact-check it — or debunk it. Maybe talk to someone you trust. But always verify, using a few additional sources. Once you've done that, does the message still seem accurate? We can't help slow the volume of information coming your way. But approaching information by asking and answering these questions can help you sort out what's helpful...and what's a scam. So, for example, if the message is about a treatment or cure, you know where to go: Coronavirus.gov."

To learn further on ways to catch scams and false information, please view the whole article by clicking here.
New COVID-19 Testing Center at
Seminole Towne Center
If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 such as high fever or coughing, you can now get tested at the new drive-thru testing and screening location at the Seminole Towne Center Mall. You will need to sign up in advance and select an appointment time. You should bring a driver’s license and your insurance card if you have one. Your test results will be available to you within 48 hours. You do not need a doctor’s approval to be tested. To learn more information about testing and to sign up for a testing appointment, please click here .   
Where to Find Masks
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals wear face masks when leaving the house. To view other preventative measures recommended by the CDC, please click here. Wearing a face mask could protect those around you. The CDC writes:
  • You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
  • Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public, for example to the grocery store or to pick up other necessities.
  • Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
  • The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected.
  • Do NOT use a facemask meant for a healthcare worker.
  • Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing.
Cloth face masks can be made at home or purchased. THE CDC has posted tutorials on how to create different kinds of cloth face mask on their website, please click here to view. If you wish to purchase a mask, you may visit sites such as Etsy to view their selections. Other options include Facebook Marketplace, which sells masks locally and can be found by search for "face covers."
We Wish all the Mothers a Happy Mother's Day!
New Administrative Orders

In Re: Continuation Of Operations Based Upon Covid-19 Concerns
Changes Highlighted.

In Re: Appointment of Circuit Judges to handle County Court cases in Certain Situations.
Changes Highlighted.

In Re:  Domestic Relations – Covid-19 Visitation & Timesharing Guidelines

In Re: Bail For Covid-19 Violation

In Re: Criminal – Initial Appearance Determination of Indigent Status, Appointment of Public Defender, Office of Criminal Conflict and Civil Regional Counsel, and Private Conflict Counsel.

In Re: Comprehensive Covid-19 Emergency Measures For The Florida State Courts

Emergency Temporary Action Related to Unemployment Compensation- COVID-19
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL FREE 1-800-435-7352, WITHIN THE STATE OR ONLINE AT WWW.FRESHFROMFLORIDA.COM. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL, OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. OUR REGISTRATION NUMBER IS 1944.