How to Get Help:
LAFLA staff are available to assist clients via phone and our website. Applicants can access LAFLA services by calling us at 800-399-4529 Monday through Friday (9 a.m.–12 p.m; or 1–4:30 p.m. for intake only); or applying online 24/7.
- Self-Help Centers
Self-help centers are currently closed until further notice. Litigants with urgent issues can call our self-help staff at 213-235-0060, 8:30 a.m.–12 p.m., Monday–Friday, and 1–4:30 p.m., Monday–Thursday. For help with other issues, please call 800-399-4529 or browse our self-help resources.
- Domestic Violence Clinics
Our courthouse-based domestic violence clinics (Downtown LA, Long Beach, Santa Monica) are providing assistance with restraining orders on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–3 p.m. Call 800-399-4529 extension 8097 for help.
- Stay Housed LA
LAFLA is proud to serve tenants as part of Stay Housed LA, a new initiative to connect tenants with resources about their rights and legal assistance. Tenants who need help can visit www.stayhousedla.org or call (888) 694-0040.
State of California
(Updated June 29, 2021) There is a new bill, AB 832, that extends the date that COVID-19 related late rent is due.
This is not legal advice — do not rely on this without consulting an attorney. If there are changes in the law, we will update this information.
- You will have until September 30, 2021 to pay 25% of the rent that was owed from September 1, 2020, through September 30, 2021, to be protected from eviction for nonpayment of rent during that time period, if you haven’t paid because of COVID-19.
- If you have not been paying rent because you lost income due to COVID-19, your landlord shouldn’t file an eviction before October 1, 2021. However, if your landlord does file an eviction you still must answer!
- Landlords can start suing tenants (for example, in small claims court) for unpaid rent beginning on November 1, 2021.
- The state rental assistance program will cover 100% of rent from April 1, 2020. Both tenants and landlords can apply. If you already received some funds, you can still apply for any unpaid rent. You can also get future rent paid, up to 18 months of total past and future rent.
- From October 1, 2021, through March 31, 2022, landlords who want to evict a tenant for nonpayment (where a tenant has had COVID hardship) must show that they applied for rental assistance and it was denied. If the landlord can’t do that within 60 days the case should be dismissed.
- Starting October 1, 2021, if you are being evicted for nonpayment and you have been approved for rental assistance, you can ask the court to hold the case until the rental assistance is received. The case should then be dismissed if the rental assistance covers the same months the eviction covered.
For Los Angeles County Residents (Except Residents in Cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Clarita):
The CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Program program can help with past due rent and utilities. All LA County residents are eligible (except those living in the Cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Clarita, which have their own rent relief programs). To see if you qualify, visit HousingIskey.com or call 833-430-2122.
You can also review this fact sheet for tenants.
For Residents in Cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Clarita:
The Cities of Los Angeles, Long Beach, and Santa Clarita will be launching their own rental assistance programs (also using federal funds via the State of California).
City of Los Angeles Emergency Renters Assistance Program
Apply at hcidla.lacity.org.
Application Period: March 30, 2021, 8 a.m. through April 30, 2021, 11:59 p.m.
To verify you live in the City of Los Angeles, go to: neighborhoodinfo.lacity.org.
City of Long Beach
Apply at http://www.longbeach.gov/lbds/hn/emergency-rental-assistance-program.
Starts April 12, 2021.
City of Santa Clarita
Apply at https://www.santa-clarita.com/city-hall/departments/covid-19-rental-assistance-program.
Application Period: April 1, 2021 through April 30, 2021.
Los Angeles County
In addition to the state laws above, local protections may also apply to you. Each case is different and will need to be analyzed by an attorney, but generally, if you are a tenant in Unincorporated Los Angeles County, or live in a city that has not enacted its own emergency tenant protection ordinance, the following applies:
There are restrictions on:
- No-fault evictions, unless based on a nuisance that creates health and safety issues;
- Evictions for non-payment of rent for tenants who can’t afford to pay because of COVID-19; and
- Evictions based on unauthorized occupants, pets, or nuisance related to the pandemic (e.g. if a tenant has to take in a family member or pet and there is more noise as a result.)
Tenants facing eviction for these reasons have a defense in court. These restrictions took effect March 4, 2020 if you live in unincorporated LA and cities covered by the L.A. County ordinance.
- There is a rent freeze on residential housing and mobile homes covered by the Los Angeles County Rent Stabilization Ordinance, which applies to multi-family housing built before February 1995 in unincorporated areas of LA County. Any rent increase effective after March 4, 2020 is invalid. Landlords also may not impose new passthroughs (charging tenants to make up the cost of various fees or improvements.)
Most of the county protections were extended to September 30, 2021, but as of October 1, 2020, the County’s moratorium will no longer apply to residential tenants facing eviction for nonpayment of rent due to COVID-19 related financial hardship.
To be protected against eviction for not paying rent, you must notify to your landlord that you are experiencing COVID-19 related hardship and cannot pay your rent within 7 days of the rent being due. (We highly recommend you do so in writing to better protect yourself. Click here to download the required statement.) If possible, this should be accompanied by proof that supports your claim, but it is not required under the law.
The County encourages landlords and tenants to agree to a repayment plan, but we recommend you seek legal help before entering into any such plan. The order explicitly bans landlords and their agents from harassing or intimidating tenants based on these issues.
If you’ve received a notice from the court, or from your landlord, it’s important you immediately connect with a legal service provider who can confirm your rights based on where you live and help you respond to the court notice and keep you in your home.
Other Cities Within the County
You may have more protections depending on where you live.
There are 88 cities in the County of Los Angeles and approximately half have their own protections, including the City of Los Angeles and the City of Long Beach. For questions about your city’s protections, call us at 800-399-4529.
On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a federal order that prevents tenants from being evicted for not paying rent or without a valid reason (known as “just cause”) that is the fault of the tenant. The CDC Order is currently in effect until July 31, 2021.
Most tenants in Los Angeles County have equal or stronger protections under AB3088, the Los Angeles County protections described above or under their own city protections. Given how difficult it may be to meet the CDC requirements, before applying for protection under the CDC Order you should consult an attorney, as it may not be necessary.
If you’ve received a notice from the court, or from your landlord, it’s important you immediately connect with a legal service provider who can confirm your rights based on where you live and help you respond to the court notice and keep you in your home.
Stay Housed LA
Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles is proud to serve tenants as part of Stay Housed LA, a new initiative to connect tenants with resources about their rights and legal assistance. Tenants who need help can visit www.stayhousedla.org or call (888) 694-0040.
If your employer lays you off, puts you on leave, or cuts your hours due to the coronavirus outbreak: Apply for Unemployment Insurance.
Unemployment can replace up to $450 per week of your salary for up to 6 months.
State Disability Insurance
If you have to stay home from work because you have a coronavirus infection: Apply for State Disability Insurance.
State Disability can replace 60-70% of your salary for up to 1 year.
You may also be entitled to paid sick leave from your employer, in addition to State Disability.
Paid Family Leave
If you have to leave your job to take care of children who are home from school and/or a sick or quarantined family member: Apply for Paid Family Leave.
Paid Family Leave can replace 60-70% of your salary for 6-8 weeks.
You may also be entitled to paid family sick leave from your employer, in addition to Paid Family Leave.
COVID-19 and Your Benefits
In response to COVID 19, the Los Angeles Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) and Social Security Administration have closed their offices to the public but staff are still working to continue issuing benefits.
If you need to contact DPSS, you can access your account online at https://www.yourbenefits.laclrs.org/ybn/Index.html or call the Customer Service Center at (866) 613-3777.
If you need to contact Social Security, you can try to handle your business online by creating a my Social Security account at https://secure.ssa.gov/RIL/SiView.action or by phone at (800) 772-1213.
If you have problems contacting DPSS or the Social Security Administration about your benefits, please contact LAFLA at www.lafla.org or by phone at (800) 399-4529.
DPSS Benefits – CalWORKs, CalFresh, General Relief, Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI), Medi-Cal, and In Home Supportive Services (IHSS)
All DPSS benefits will continue through May 2020. If you have a QR-7 or SAR 7 due in March, April, or May, you do not need to submit it in order to receive your benefits. However, you are still required to report all mandatory mid-period reports, including receiving income over the Income Reporting Threshold (IRT) or leaving the county. If you have a change in circumstance that would lead to an increase in benefits, including a reduction in your income or an additional household member, you can report it by calling the Customer Service Center or uploading the information on YBN. If you have an annual redetermination or recertification, you do not need to submit it, unless it is for Medi-Cal. If you do not submit your Medi-Cal redetermination, your Medi-Cal will not be terminated in April or May but it could be in June.
For CalWORKs recipients, March-May do not count towards the 48-month time limit. You will be granted good cause if you cannot participate in your welfare to work activity. If you are currently sanctioned because of a failure to participate in welfare to work, you may be able to cure your sanction during this time. Call the Customer Service Center for further help with this.
For CalFresh, the work requirement rules, which were supposed to be implemented April 1, have been waived. In addition, CalFresh recipients will receive an Emergency Allotment (EA) up to the maximum benefit amount for the household size. The EA will be uploaded to the Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Card. There will be two EA’s issued; one on April 12 and one on May 10. The first EA will be for any household that received CalFresh in March and the second EA for any household that received CalFresh in April. Learn more.
If you are applying for benefits, your application should still be processed. All state administrative hearings regarding DPSS benefit issues except GRwill be changed from in-person to phone. If you do not consent to a phone hearing, your hearing will be postponed. There are no in-person hearings at this time. Stay up to date with information from DPSS here. If you cannot get the information you need through the Customer Service Center, you can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Social Security Benefits – Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance, Social Security Retirement or Survivors Benefits
Social Security benefits should also continue during the pandemic. Social Security has said they will not terminate benefits or initiate new overpayments while the offices are closed to the public but there is no specific end date for this policy. New applications can still be accepted, however, they are prioritizing disability applications for the most severe conditions.
If your application was already filed, Social Security will attempt to make a decision based on the information that already exists. Social Security is not sending people to doctor’s appointments right now. There is no word yet on how long that will last.
All SSA hearings will be changed from in-person to phone. If you do not consent to a phone hearing, your hearing will be postponed. There are no in person hearings at this time. Find more information from Social Security here.
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Funding Expanded
People who have been economically affected by the COVID-19 crisis and are pregnant, postpartum, or have a child under five years old can apply for WIC services by texting APPLY to 91997, calling WIC at 888-942-2229, or visiting www.phfewic.org/apply.
Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) Food Benefit Program
P-EBT benefits help families in California buy food when schools are closed because of the coronavirus emergency. Families will get up to $365 per eligible child on their P-EBT card to use on food and groceries.
Families with children who get CalFresh, Medi-Cal or Foster Care benefits do not need to apply. Most will get their P-EBT card in the mail during the month of May.
Families with children who are eligible for free or reduced-price meals and who do not get their P-EBT card in the mail, must apply online before July 15, 2020. The online application will launch in late May. See the California Department of Social Services’ P-EBT page for more information.
Federal Child Tax Credit
(Updated July 2021)
As a part of the Biden Administration’s economic relief legislation, Congress has approved the expanded 2021 child tax credit program which pays eligible families up to $300 per child starting mid-July 2021. The payments are part of next year’s tax credit that families would normally claim when they file 2022 taxes. The payments are being given out as a partial advance in order to help families cope with economic hardships following the pandemic.
Single filers with income under $75,000 can receive the full credit. Joint filers with income under $150,000 can also receive the full credit. “Head of household” filers (mostly unmarried single parents) earning under $112,500 can also receive the full credit. Parents who earn above those thresholds may be eligible for smaller amounts. Use the online “eligibility assistant” tool to check your eligibility.
The amount of the credit will depend on the family’s income, the number of children, and the children’s ages. The maximum credit will be up to $3,600 for each child under age 6 and up to $3000 for each child age 6 to 17. Payments will be made on the 15th of each month through December.
The vast majority of eligible families will start receiving half of the next year’s credit in automatic monthly payments starting mid-July. The payments will be automatically deposited into recipients’ bank accounts or mailed as checks. The payments will be based on tax returns from 2020 or 2019. If a family did not file taxes, their payment may be based on their registration with the IRS that was required to receive the federal stimulus payments. Low-income families who do not file tax returns need to sign up on a special website to get the payments. Families with $0 in reported income are eligible as well.
The IRS has already notified most eligible families by mail. A second notice with detailed specifics about the families’ total credit and how many monthly payments they will receive will go out in early July.
Families who do not want to get the credit early can disenroll from the advance payments through this website. The IRS has set up another special website called the “child tax credit update portal,” where recipients can disenroll from the advance payments. Some families may want to opt out of getting the child tax credit in advance if they know they will make more than previous years and that they will phase out of the income limits. They may want to disenroll to avoid tax liability.
For more information about the credit, the IRS has compiled a list of frequently asked questions.
State of California Stimulus Payment
(Updated March 2021)
California will provide the Golden Status Stimulus payment to families and people who qualify. This is a one-time $600 or $1,200 payment. You may receive this payment if you receive the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) or file with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Check if you qualify for the Golden State Stimulus
To qualify, you must:
- Have filed your 2020 taxes
- Be either:
- A CalEITC recipient
- An ITIN filer who made $75,000 or less (total CA AGI)
- Be a California resident on the date payment is issued
- Not be eligible to be claimed as a dependent
Qualify for CalEITC
To qualify for CalEITC, you must:
- Have taxable earned income up to $30,000
- Not use “married/RDP filing separately” if married or RDP
- Live in California for more than half the year
- Meet all other qualifications
Visit CalEITC for more qualifications and other information.
What you’ll receive
If you meet these qualifications, you may receive either:
- A one-time $600 payment
- A one-time $1,200 payment
The payment will be by direct deposit or check in the mail per tax return. See this website to determine the amount of your payment.
Typically, you’ll receive this payment using the refund option you selected on your tax return. If you received an advanced refund through your tax service provider, you’ll receive your payment by check in the mail.
When you’ll receive your payment
The State will issue stimulus payments monthly after eligible 2020 tax returns are processed.
- Direct deposits: Allow up to 45 days
- Paper checks: Allow up to 60 days
Payments are expected to begin in March 2021.
Stimulus payment deadline
The stimulus payment expires on November 15, 2021. To make sure you receive your payment, file your 2020 tax returns by October 15, 2021.
How to get your payment
If you qualify, or think you may qualify, for the Golden State stimulus payment you need to file your 2020 tax returns. If you qualify for CalEITC, make sure you claim it on your return. Use this website as a guide.
Check stimulus payment status
Refer to when you’ll receive your payment. Allow 45 days beyond mailing timeframes to allow for processing.
Federal Stimulus Payments
(Updated March 2021)
On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan which contains nearly $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief which includes:
- Another round of stimulus payments;
- Extension of unemployment benefits;
- Tax breaks to low- and moderate-income people, including generous tax credits for families with children.
The information below is excerpted from this New York Times article.
Who is eligible for the stimulus payments and how much will they be:
The stimulus payments will be $1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible will also receive an identical payment for each of their children.
To qualify for the full $1,400, a single person must have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or below. For heads of household, adjusted gross income must be $112,500 or below, and for married couples filing jointly that number has to be $150,000 or below.
To be eligible for a payment, a person must have a Social Security number.
Higher earners will receive a reduced payment that zeros out at $80,000 for single filers, $120,000 for heads of household, and $160,000 for joint filers. Payments for children in higher-earning households will decrease in the same way.
College students and older relatives claimed as dependents:
College students and older relatives who have been claimed as dependents by qualifying taxpayers are eligible, however, the payment goes to the qualifying taxpayer, not the child nor the older relative.
How is income eligibility determined for the stimulus payment?
Income eligibility is determined by the most recent year on record at the IRS. If you filed your 2020 taxes, it would be based on 2020 income. If you have not already filed for 2020, it will be based on 2019 income.
When might my payment arrive?
The first round of checks, approximately 90 million payments totaling about $242.2 billion, should be available by direct deposit to bank accounts Wednesday, March 17. An additional 150,000 payments sent in the form of paper checks will be sent out by mail shortly and more payments will roll out in the coming weeks. You can check the status of your payment by going using the I.R.S.’s Get My Payment tool.
Unemployment payments provided for in the stimulus package:
For those already receiving unemployment benefits, payments in most cases will be extended to September 6. The weekly supplemental benefit, in addition to the regular unemployment benefit, will remain $300 but will be extended for another 25 weeks until September 6. The new law provides that, for 2020 taxes only, the first $10,200 of unemployment benefits are tax-free for those with incomes of less than $150,000.
Changes in the stimulus packet regarding student loan debt:
People who qualify for loan forgiveness or cancellation of student loan debt will not have to pay income taxes on debt that is forgiven between January 1, 2021, and the end of 2025.
How will the stimulus package impact the earned-income tax credit?
The maximum earned-income tax credit amount will increase from $543 to $1,502 for childless people. The age range has also widened with childless people being able to claim the credit beginning at age 19, except for certain full-time students. People over 65 will also be able to qualify for the earn-income tax credit. These changes are only for 2021.
Big changes to the child tax credit:
For 2021, the child tax credit for low- and middle-income households will increase to as much as $3,000 per child, and $3,600 for ages 5 and under. The age limit for qualifying children rose to 17 from 16. The credit is fully refundable, which means the household can receive the money as a tax refund, even if the tax bill is reduced to zero. Half of the money can be paid in advance to households over the next six months based on their 2020 tax information or the 2019 tax information if 2020 taxes have not been filed. The periodic payments, presumed to be monthly, are expected to begin in July.
Here is an example of how the periodic payment may work for a couple earning $150,000 or less: With two children, ages 7 and 9, the family would be eligible for a $6,000 credit ($3,000 per child). If the payments were made monthly, the family would receive $500 per month starting in July and lasting through the end of the year. The remaining $3,000 would be claimed in 2021 on the family’s tax return. Although the changes to the child tax credit are effective currently only for 2021, some expect that efforts will be made to make it permanent.
Who is eligible for the child tax credit?
Married couples with modified adjusted gross income not exceeding $150,000, heads of household with income up to $112,500, and single filers with income up to $75,000 are eligible for the maximum benefit. Families with income more than those listed above will have the extra amount above the original $2,000 credit (either $1,000 or $1,600 per child) reduced by $50 for every $1,000 in modified adjusted gross income that exceeds those income levels.
What relief options are available for student loan borrowers?
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or the ‘‘CARES Act’’ includes broad debt relief for certain federal student loan borrowers that have federal Direct Loans (all loans disbursed after July 1, 2010) or Department-held Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL Loans). The CARES Act does not apply to private student loans, commercially-held FFEL Loans or Perkins Loans, but you may call your loan servicers for these loans and ask them for the same debt relief as provided under the CARES Act.
To find out what kind of federal loans you have, you may view your loan information at www.studentaid.gov. You will need a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID in order to log on. If you do not have an FSA ID, you can create an account at www.studentaid.gov. You can also call 1-800-4-FED-AID or contact your loan servicer to ask if your loans are covered by the CARES Act.
In general, if your federal loans are covered under the CARES Act, your federal loan payments will be automatically suspended until January 31, 2021. No interest will accrue on loans during this time. If your student loans are in default, the Education Department will stop collecting on your loans during this time, including through tax refund offsets, wage garnishment, and Social Security benefit offsets. These benefits are free and automatic if you are eligible.
There are additional important details regarding the CARES Act debt relief. We therefore strongly encourage you to check the following websites for more information, as well as for updates regarding new developments in this rapidly changing crisis:
If your school has closed, please also read this document: My school closed. What happens now?
Current College Students
Many college students are in limbo right now. Their classes have been suspended and they are not sure when or if the classes will resume. In addition, their schools may not be providing very helpful information.
If you are in this situation and are concerned about your school or your program possibly closing, here is how you can protect yourself:
- Gather Documentation: Make sure you gather key documents you may need later to establish your eligibility for federal student loan debt relief.
- You have a right to inspect your student files under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and may request a copy of any documents in your files.
- The most important documents to keep are:
- Your enrollment agreement;
- Your “student ledger”: This is a record of all loans, grants, cash, and other funds received by your school; how the school credited payments to your account; and how much the school charged you for tuition, books, fees, etc.;
- Your transcript;
- Your attendance record;
- If you withdrew, any documents in your file or emails/letters you submitted to inform the school that you were withdrawing;
- All emails, letters, or flyers sent to you regarding the suspension of your classes;
- All school communications re program suspension, promises to complete the teaching program at a later date, school closures, etc.; and
- All disclosures and written representations made to you by the school when you enrolled.
- Write Down Whatever Happens: Keep a diary about everything that happens. This could include the school giving you information, your teachers not showing up for class, and any problems you have. Be sure to include the dates and keep all relevant documents, emails, and texts.
- Was Your Program Moved Online? If so, keep a diary and proof of any problems logging into your educational program and participating in online classes or problems with the quality of instruction, etc.
- Make a Class Contact List: Create a list of all names and contact information for classmates and school faculty or staff who may later serve as witnesses and be helpful if you are applying for debt relief.
- File a Complaint: If you are having problems with your school and your school is approved by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education (you can check here: https://search-bppe.dca.ca.gov/), you may file a complaint about the school here: https://www.bppe.ca.gov/enforcement/complaint.shtml.
- Share Your Concerns: Share your concerns with your federal and California state representative and/or senator. It is important for them to hear about your experiences. To find your representative, visit http://findyourrep.legislature.ca.gov/.
What Are Your Federal Student Loan Rights?
- If You Withdraw from Your Program:
- The CARES Act provides that students who withdraw from their school as a result of the coronavirus crisis may apply for cancellation of the federal student loans they obtained to pay for the term they do not complete.
- If your school closes within 120 days of the date you withdrew, you should be eligible for the cancellation of the federal student loans you obtained to attend the school, as well as restoration of your Pell Grant eligibility. For more information see our flyer and https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/closed-school and https://www.studentloanborrowerassistance.org/loan-cancellation/federal-cancellation/school-related/closed-school/
- If Your School Closes Before You Complete Your Program
- You may be eligible for a full cancellation of your federal student loans. See our flyer. For more information, see the links below:
What Are Your Private Student Loan Rights if Your School Closes?
You may also be eligible for the cancellation of your private loan(s), but this depends on your state’s laws, whether your school originated your private loan(s), and the terms of your private student loan(s).