The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus has created many changes in the way Vermont courts are operating, changes to public benefits, new financial help, and more. Here we will keep a list of important changes to help Vermonters and community partners.
Topics on this page include:
- "7 ways to get help" flyer *translated information available
- Seniors legal clinic over the phone
- Online “town halls” about legal, benefits & health care issues
Housing & Utilities
- Rent, evictions, Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP) *translated information available
- General Assistance (GA) motel rooms
- Emergency housing
- Tenant rights
- Locked out by landlord
- Landlord entering or showing unit
- Mortgages, mortgage assistance, foreclosures
- Property taxes
- Utilities and help paying for utilities *translated information available
Work & Pay
Money & Food
- COVID-19 economic impact payments / stimulus checks
- Debt, loans and credit reports
- Social Security
- Taxes & property taxes
Health Care & Long-Term Care
- Health insurance & Medicaid
- COVID-19 vaccine
- Mental health and wellness supports
- Advance directives
- Long-term care & nursing homes
- Child custody & visitation
- Courts & hearings
- "Remote hearings" — Court hearings by video or phone
- Farmworkers legal help
- Translated COVID-19 coronavirus information
- Recent updates to this information
Vermont Legal Aid and Legal Services Vermont are here to help! Here are 7 ways to get help so you and your family remain stable. Read our list and download our two-page flyer to share. Translated flyers are also available at that link.
Free legal clinics for Vermont seniors 60+
Vermont Legal Aid is hosting virtual legal advice clinics by phone. Vermont seniors — age 60 or more — can ask legal questions about COVID-19 or any civil legal question. We can help with health care, social security, consumer debt, housing, unemployment and more. Learn how to schedule an appointment.
Virtual Town Halls: Join online or by phone, or watch past events
We have been hosting virtual town halls on legal issues during the coronavirus crisis. You can attend online or by telephone. Or, watch the video after the event has passed.
Schedule of upcoming town halls: TBD
Attend and ask questions online at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81805204368.
Listen by phone at 1-888-788-0099 (toll-free). Use this meeting ID when prompted: 818 0520 4368.
Attend and ask questions on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/VermontLegalAid/.
Thursday, July 1, 2021, at 12 p.m. Health insurance and financial help through Vermont Health Connect. Watch the video on Facebook. Join the Office of the Health Care Advocate as they discuss the increased financial help that is available through Vermont Health Connect, which can help you with your health insurance costs. They talk about who qualifies for this increased financial help, the extra benefits that are available to Vermonters who were on unemployment in 2021, and how you can sign up for health insurance. The Office of the Health Care Advocate is a resource to help you better understand your options.
Thursday, May 27, 2021, at 12 p.m. Unemployment and work search. Watch the video on Facebook. Vermont Legal Aid Staff Attorney Kelli Kazmarski talked about the return of the work-search requirement for unemployment benefit claimants. Kelli discussed who must now perform a work search and how to report it to the Vermont Department of Labor. She also answer questions about these recent changes and other aspect of the unemployment benefits programs in Vermont. Learn more about unemployment in Vermont.
Wednesday, August 26, 2020, at 10 a.m.: Fair housing protections. Watch the video on Facebook. Vermont Legal Aid attorney Erika Johnson and special guests United States Attorney Christina Nolan and Civil Rights Coordinator Jules Torti from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Vermont talked about topics in housing discrimination. Topics included sexual harassment in housing, emotional support animals, discrimination based on receipt of public assistance or disability, and more. Explore the fair housing section of our website.
- Follow this link to watch all of our town halls on these topics: special education, taxes, health care, long-term care, debt, unemployment, stimulus checks, rent help and mortgage help.
HOUSING & UTILITIES
- There is no rule, executive order or new law that says tenants don’t have to pay rent during the emergency period. The obligation to pay rent has not changed.
- If you have a very low income or are homeless, call 2-1-1.
Vermont Emergency Rental Assistance Program (VERAP) – Now available
Do you need help paying rent, need money to move, or help paying utilities? Learn about VERAP, a new rent and utilities assistance program.
Translated VERAP information: Our PDFs do not meet the requirements for fully accessible documents. For the most accessible experience, see the plain text on this page. Download the PDFs: Af Soomaali / Somali, العربية / Arabic, မြန်မာစာ / Burmese, Español / Spanish, Français / French, Ikirundi / Kirundi, Kiswahili / Swahili, नेपाली / Nepali
A note to Vermont landlords
Do you have questions about getting back rent from a tenant? You can get answers from the Vermont Landlord Association at 802-985-2764 or 1-888-569-7368. You do not need to be a member of the association to get information on the back-rent assistance program or other COVID-related rental issues including:
- landlord access
- tenant interactions
- health and safety requirements, and
- the current status of evictions.
Are you a tenant in a motel or hotel?
In Vermont, whether you have a written lease or not, a hotel / motel resident becomes a “tenant” when your stay is exempt from the VT rooms and meals tax. This happens when you have occupied a room for at least 30 consecutive days. (Note: You are not legally a tenant if the General Assistance program of the Department for Children and Families pays for your stay.)
If you are a tenant, you cannot be asked to leave right away. Normal legal steps for an eviction must be followed. If you think you are being sent away in error, contact us for help at 1-800-889-2047 or fill out our form. You can also send an e-mail to ACCD.Covid19@vermont.gov and describe your situation.
If you need help with emergency housing, call the Department of Children and Family's Benefits Service Center at 1-800-479-6151. Or you can call 2-1-1 or go online to Vermont211.org.
General Assistance (GA) motel rooms
GA EMERGENCY HOUSING UPDATE 10/19/2021
Governor Phil Scott announced that all people sheltered in a motel through the GA emergency housing program, or those seeking shelter in a motel who are found eligible, will get additional days of shelter that will not count toward their 84-day limit. This extension of emergency housing benefits will last until December 31, 2021. Check back for more details as they become available.
If you are living in a motel and have reached your 84-day limit, ask for an extension by calling the Economic Services Division (ESD) at 1-800-497-6151 or go into the district office and ask for that extension.
If you need help, call us at 1-800-889-2047. We will share updates as these program changes evolve.
- The Department of Children and Family's (DCF) Economic Services Division offers housing supports for homeless households. For more information or to apply, contact the Benefits Service Center at 1-800-479-6151. If it is after business hours or on a weekend or holiday, call 2-1-1.
- When you apply for shelter with DCF, they will let you know if a shelter has opened in your area. You can call 2-1-1 to find out if there is a warming shelter or other shelter in your area.
- If you are denied or terminated from a shelter or the state’s motel program, call us for help at 1-800-889-2047.
- If you stay in a shelter or motel, you need to participate in “coordinated entry.” Through coordinated entry, you will be assigned a housing case manager who will help you access subsidies and programs to help you get permanent housing. To learn more about coordinated entry, call 2-1-1. If you worked with your case manager to apply for a subsidy or other program and your application was denied, call us for help at 1-800-889-2047.
- Veterans can get housing help from the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program at 1-844-820-3232 (toll-free); the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-424-3838 (toll-free); or Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs at 1-888-666-9844 (toll-free).
Tenant rights during the pandemic
As a tenant, you have rights. Even during this pandemic, your landlord cannot take away these rights. This includes:
- your right to the quiet enjoyment of your residence
- your right to privacy
- your personal freedom to have visitors, and
- your right to come and go from your residence.
The Governor of Vermont issued executive orders to keep Vermonters safe from this pandemic. However, these orders do not allow owners/landlords of private residential units or complexes to unreasonably restrict their tenants’ rights. You may report these kinds of problems or concerns to the Office of the Vermont Attorney General.
Locked out by landlord
It is still illegal for your landlord to lock you out, get rid of your belongings, or interfere with your utilities without going through a court process. For more information, see our page about Lockouts, Utility Shutoffs and Your Belongings.
If your landlord tries to change your locks or turn off your utilities, contact us right away to ask for help.
Landlords entering your rental unit or showing it to other people
- The regular rules of landlord access to your home apply now during the pandemic. But the landlord and anyone the landlord brings into your home have to follow CDC and Vermont Department of Health guidelines.
- Learn more about the landlord access law.
- If you are worried about your landlord, realtor or repair people coming into your home, talk with your landlord about your concerns. Ask your landlord to keep a log of everyone they allow into your apartment.
- We advise people who have health issues that make them at extra risk of exposure to make a reasonable accommodation request. Send a letter to your landlord to ask them to make adjustments to how they access your home due to your health issues. These are some adjustments you can ask for:
- to do only virtual showings
- to do fewer showings
- don’t do showings several times a day (too much cleaning)
- ask that landlords and visitors wear both gloves and masks, and/or
- ask that landlords and visitors touch as little as possible (leave interior doors open so that those don’t need to be touched)
Mortgages and foreclosures
Heat / Water / Electricity / Phones / Internet / Utilities
- If you have no heat, water or electricity, contact us right away to ask for help.
- Learn about applying for VERAP, a rent and utilities assistance program. If you only need help with utilities, visit https://vtutilityhelp.com/ for details on the VERAP-U (Utilities only) payments.
- See our Energy Assistance page to learn about other ongoing programs that may help you get power, fuel and heat for your home at a lower cost.
- The Vermont Public Utility Commission directed the state’s regulated utilities to stop any disconnection of utility service due to nonpayment of electricity, natural gas and landline phone bills. This moratorium ended July 15, 2021. Charges accrued during this time. You will have to make up the payments you missed. Apply for financial help — see VERAP above. Consider asking your utility company for a long-term payment plan. Your local Vermont Community Action Agency can help you.
- Internet help from the state: The Temporary Broadband Subsidy. Starting June 15, 2021, Vermonters can apply for money for internet bills for March through December 2021. If you are eligible, you can receive a Temporary Broadband Subsidy of up to $40 per month for your broadband bill. To be eligible, you must have an active residential broadband account that is needed for remote work, distance learning or telehealth. You also need to have a COVID-related hardship. If you get help from the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit program, you can still apply for this state program, too. The federal benefit will be applied to your account first and the state award will be applied to the balance Follow this link for the online application. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-622-4496 with questions. If you applied for this program last year, the same login and password should be used to apply this year. Previous applicants can log in here. Password reset requests can be sent to email@example.com.
- Internet help from the FCC: The Emergency Broadband Benefit is a new FCC program to help families and households struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying Tribal lands. If you are eligible, you can also get a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers. You are eligible if you have an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or you participate in certain assistance programs or experienced a substantial loss of income due to job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020. To apply: Contact your preferred participating broadband provider directly to learn about their application process; or go to GetEmergencyBroadband.org to find participating providers near you and apply online; or call 1-833-511-0311 for a mail-in application. See this FCC web page for more details.
Translated information: ASL Arabic Amharic Burmese Chinese(Traditional) French Haitian Creole Korean Portuguese Russian Somali Spanish Tagalog and Vietnamese.
- The FCC also announced that the Lifeline program will suspend some rules to help keep low-income Vermonters connected by phone and internet. Lifeline is a federal program that gives a $9.25 monthly discount on phone or internet service to eligible households. Learn how to apply.
- Also, learn about a low-income internet program called Internet Essentials that offers two free months during this crisis. Follow this link for a list of other connectivity help.
- In addition, Vermont's Line Extension Customer Assistance Program (LECAP) provides up to $3,000 in assistance to qualifying Vermonters who want to extend telecommunications lines to their homes. Hundreds of Vermonters without 25/3 Mbps broadband service live just beyond the reach of current cable and other Internet Service Provider networks. Learn about LECAP and its requirements.
- Watch out for scams! On January 13, 2021, the Vermont Attorney General said scammers were contacting Vermonters to say they had to pay or their power would be shut off. Hang up! Don't give them information! You can call your power company after looking up their official phone number if you'd like. Learn more about the scam.
- The Consumer Affairs & Public Information (CAPI) Division of the Department of Public Service can help Vermonters with regulated utility concerns. This includes electric, telephone, natural gas and private water service. They also try to help with cell phone services and broadband matters. You can contact them:
WORK & PAY
- Learn about unemployment benefits in response to the coronavirus crisis.
- Learn how unemployment pay impacts other benefits.
- The Department of Labor says I have been overpaid unemployment benefits and I need to pay them back. What should I do?
Paid leave from work (sick leave & family and medical leave)
If you think your workplace is not safe, contact Vermont’s Occupational and Health Administration (VOSHA) to discuss your concerns. You may be asked to fill out a complaint form about the hazards.
Complaints are retyped and your name and personal information are removed. Employees are protected from discrimination for filing a complaint with VOSHA. If you are a victim of discrimination because you filed a complaint, contact VOSHA within 30 days. If you are discriminated against, you may also file a private action (law suit) against your employer.
Small business help
For information on help for businesses, see the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development website. Find some translated small business information on the New Americans in Vermont website and the US Small Business Administration (SBA) website.
MONEY & FOOD
COVID-19 economic impact payments / stimulus checks
Hunger Free Vermont is posting information about how to access food, including meals for school children and seniors, WIC, foodbanks and 3SquaresVT. You can also call 2-1-1 to ask about ways to get help with food.
3SquaresVT (known under federal law as the SNAP program and known commonly as “food stamps”) can help you meet your family’s food needs. Even if you have never received 3SquaresVT before, you should apply if your income has changed and your family is experiencing food insecurity.
Debt collection cases
If you got a notice of hearing, check the Vermont Judiciary website or call your courthouse ahead of time. You may get approved to attend your court hearing over the phone or by video instead of going to the courthouse.
If you have received a Summons and Complaint, you need to send a written Answer to the court by the deadline (21 days from the day you were served by the sheriff, or 30 days from when you got the small claims complaint in the mail). You may be able to send the court your answer by email; check the Vermont Judiciary website for ways to do this. If you can’t email, you can mail your Answer to the address of the court on your Summons. Or, you can take it to the courthouse and put it in a dropbox in the lobby.
- See the Debt / Debt Collection section of our website.
- Also see the National Consumer Law Center's Six Essential Rules for Surviving Debt.
Banks and loans
Some banks say that you should call them about your COVID-19 related hardships. Some are saying publicly that they will try to work with customers on loan payment, repossession or foreclosure. Here's a list of national banks and financial institutions that said they can help in some way. We don't have information on Vermont banks, so call your bank and ask how they can help you.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, everyone in the U.S. can get a free credit report each week from all three national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) at AnnualCreditReport.com. This is available through April 20, 2022.
Beware! Learn how scammers have devised ways to take money from people during this crisis.
- All local Social Security Administration (SSA) offices are closed to the public for in-person service unless you have an appointment.
- If you do have an in-person appointment, you will have to answer medical screening questions. You will not be allowed in the office if SSA field office staff decide there is a risk you could spread COVID-19. If you are sick, call to reschedule your appointment, or ask to meet by phone.
- See recent Social Security updates on the SSA website at https://www.ssa.gov/coronavirus/.
- If you do need an in-person appointment (for example, because your disability makes it harder for you to do business over the phone), you can call to ask for an appointment.
- Find the addresses and phone numbers for the Vermont Social Security offices on our Social Security page.
- Most hearings and interviews with SSA offices are happening over the phone. If you are waiting for an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing, you will be asked if you agree to have the hearing by phone. If you do not agree, and you wish to wait for a video or in-person hearing, you may have to wait longer.
- Did SSA tell you that you were overpaid? You may want to ask for a waiver. SSA says they will automatically waive overpayments that happened during the COVID-19 crisis if all three of these things are true:
- The overpayment happened between March 1 and September 30, 2020.
- SSA did not process information about changes in your life. For example: You get SSI, you started receiving unemployment benefits or other new income, and you reported this to SSA, but SSA kept paying you your full benefit anyway.
- You received the overpayment notice before December 31, 2020.
If these three things are true, SSA says you can ask for a waiver over the phone. However, our advice is to ask for the waiver both over the phone and in writing. Your written request can be simple. The letter only needs to state your name, the date on the notice, and the fact that you are asking for a waiver. Find the addresses, fax numbers and phone numbers for the Vermont Social Security offices on our Social Security page.
- Contact us for help with overpayments and other Social Security benefits problems.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other income (including unemployment)
In August 2021, the Social Security Administration decided that many pandemic-related payments, like stimulus checks and unemployment benefits paid since March 2020, will not be counted as income for SSI purposes. This money also does not count toward the resource limit for SSI for as long as you have the money. (You should still be sure to tell Social Security about the unemployment money.) If Social Security counted these payments when calculating your SSI benefit or deciding if you were eligible, they should contact you. Your benefits could be increased, and you could get benefits for months when you were underpaid. If you get a lump-sum payment for months when you were underpaid, that lump sum will not count as a resource for nine months. You should make sure that Social Security has your current address and respond to their requests for information. In most cases, Social Security will let you know about any payments by mail.
- Do you have children? If you have children, take advantage of the improved Child Tax Credit (CTC). This is money that could be in your pocket now! Learn more about the CTC.
- Follow this link to find out what you need to know about filing and paying your taxes this year.
- News: Don’t Miss Out on This Money!: The Property Tax Credit and the Renter Rebate
- Learn more about mortgage help and property tax help.
- News: Don’t miss out on the Property Tax Credit
HEALTH CARE & LONG-TERM CARE
Health insurance & Medicaid
New Financial Help for Health Insurance
Have you lost your health insurance?
If you have lost your job or health insurance, you may qualify for a special enrollment period which gives you 60 days to apply for a Vermont Health Connect plan. You don't have to wait until November. Learn more on our Vermont Health Connect pages.
You can apply for Medicaid at any time. If you are making less money or no money, it makes sense to see if you are now eligible for Medicaid. Learn more on our Medicaid pages.
To talk about health insurance options or problems, contact the Office of the Health Care Advocate (HCA). Call 1-800-917-7787 to speak with a health care advocate, or fill out our Help Request Form. The HCA is a free service for Vermonters.
- Anyone age 12 and older is eligible to be vaccinated, regardless of where you are a resident.
- Vermonters who are Black, Indigenous, or a person of color (BIPOC), including anyone with Abenaki or other First Nations heritage, can sign up a couple of ways. See the Vermont Department of Health website to learn how.
- English language learners and people in immigrant/refugee communities can sign up a couple of ways. This includes calling the Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) at 802-985-3106 or USCRI VT at 802-655-1963.
- Homebound Vermonters can call their home health agency, or call 802-863-7240 (toll-free 833-722-0860).
- Veterans of all ages who use VA Healthcare can call 802-296-5151. Veterans not enrolled in VA Healthcare can call 802-295-9363 extension 4004 or 5118.
The shots are free. You don’t need to have health insurance. See the Vermont Department of Health (DOH) website to sign up or call 1-855-722-7878 toll-free. Translated information is also found on the DOH website or call that number and press 1. Translations in नेपाली (Nepali), Soomaali (Somali), Español (Spanish), Swahili, Kirundi, မြန်မာစာ (Burmese), العربية (Arabic), Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese) and Français (French).
Free rides for vaccination: Vermonters who don't have access to their own transportation can get a free ride to their scheduled vaccine clinic. Find your local provider on the VPTA website and make a reservation in advance.
Booster shots: Booster shots are available in Vermont. Learn more on the Vermont Department of Health website.
Mental health and wellness supports
COVID Support VT is a grant-funded program offering mental health and wellness supports for Vermonters during the pandemic. Call 2-1-1 and talk to support counselors Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. for emotional support, connections to community resources and to have a listening ear. Join an online workshop to learn strategies for coping and relaxing. Download wellness resources in many languages. Services are confidential and free.
Signing an advance directive during COVID-19
Vermont law gives instructions on how to create an advance directive. Normally the law says you should be with your witnesses when you sign. Because this was a problem for many during the coronavirus emergency, Vermont passed a new law. It temporarily lets people sign advance directives even when their witnesses are only available by phone or video.
I want to create an advance directive during the coronavirus emergency:
If you want to create an advance directive between June 15, 2020, and June 30, 2022, but you cannot physically be with witnesses:
Create or fill out an advance directive document with your health care wishes.
Identify two adults willing to be your witnesses. You must know each other, but witnesses cannot be your agent or your immediate family members (spouse, parent, sibling, child, or grandchild). Have witnesses be on the phone or a video chat while you sign and date your document.
Tell your witnesses: “By being my remote witness, you are attesting to the fact that I, the principal, seem to understand the nature and effect of this advance directive and seem to be free from duress or undue influence.” Ask your witnesses if they agree. If they do, then follow step 4.
Write each witness’s name, contact information, and relationship to you on the document. In the witness signature line, write “witnessed by phone/video because of COVID-19 restrictions.”
If you follow these steps between June 15, 2020, and June 30, 2022, your advance directive will stay valid unless you change or revoke it.
I created an advance directive with remote witnesses before June 15, 2020:
Some people created advance directives during the emergency before the new law passed. If you created an advance directive with remote witnesses between February 15, 2020, and June 15, 2020, your document may be temporarily valid as long as you followed certain steps:
- If you and your witnesses knew each other. Your witnesses must also be adults and cannot be your agent or your immediate family member,
- If your witnesses were informed about the role of being a witness to an advance directive, and
- If you included your witnesses' names and contact information on the document.
If you followed these steps and created an advance directive between February 15 and June 15, 2020, your document is valid until June 30, 2022. You should sign a replacement advance directive as soon as you are able.Learn more about advance directives.
Immigrants, health care and the “public charge”
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that immigrants can use health care to get treatment or preventative services for the COVID-19 coronavirus without having it held against them for public charge purposes.
Long-term care / Nursing homes
Child custody and visitation during COVID-19 emergency
- What should Vermont parents know if they want to modify a custody or visitation order because they want to protect children from exposure to COVID-19?
- What about visitation (parent-child contact) travel and quarantine rules in Vermont?
Vermont court hearings and trials
If you have a court hearing, read your hearing notice carefully to see if it will be held in person or by phone or video. Call the court that is listed on your hearing notice if you have questions.
Check the Vermont Judicary website for updates on court operations and instructions. The website also includes where to find forms, how to file documents, and how to request records.
Tips for “Remote Hearings” — Court Hearings by Video or Phone
Do you have a remote hearing in Vermont? “Remote” hearings are hearings where some or all of the people participate by video or by phone. Read our tip sheet to know how to prepare for a remote court hearing.
Check the Vermont Judicary website for updates on court operations and instructions. The website also includes where to find forms, how to file documents, and how to request records.
Students and their internet connection
Do you have students at home who don't have access to the internet? The Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) has a website with resources for access from providers across the state. You can learn more on the DPS website or by calling 802-828-2811. You can also speak to your school or district if you are having internet connection problems that are making it harder for your student access to their education.
Rights of homeless students
The Vermont Agency of Education issued a guidance document on the rights of homeless students during the COVID-19 emergency. In short:
- School districts still need to find and enroll students experiencing homelessness.
- If a student becomes homeless during the COVID-19 emergency for any reason, all McKinney-Vento Act protections are still in effect.
- School districts still need to provide what homeless students need for full participation. This can include purchase of technology and connectivity in some cases.
Legal help for farmworkers
New videos by Legal Services Vermont and Pine Tree Legal Assistance give a quick overview of free, confidential legal help for farmworkers in Vermont and other New England States. In one video, two legal aid lawyers talk about workplace safety and legal protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. See our H2-A farmworkers page.
Translated COVID-19 coronavirus information
- On this website, check the language pages at the very bottom of this web page.
- New Americans in Vermont website with COVID-19 coronavirus information, housing and food information and more in a dozen languages
- University of Vermont Health Network information on the coronavirus in a dozen languages
- Vermont Department of Health COVID-19 translated information
Recent updates to this information
- People sheltered in a motel through the GA emergency housing program, or those seeking shelter in a motel who are found eligible, will get additional days of shelter that will not count toward their 84-day limit. This extension of emergency housing benefits will last until December 31, 2021.
- We updated our information on mortgage “forbearance.” That is the term used when a lender agrees to put off until later the payments due on your mortgage.
- New info on our VERAP page: Are you a defendant in an eviction case that has been filed in court? If you are, VERAP will expedite your application. That means they will process your application faster. This may help you stay in your rental unit. You need to scan and upload the court paperwork called “Summons and Complaint” into your VERAP application. In the online VERAP application, look for the section called “Documents.” Select “Summons and Complaint” as the type of document and upload it to your application. Learn more about scanning documents in section 2 of our VERAP Application Guide. Contact us for help.
- Do you get SSI benefits? In August 2021, the Social Security Administration (SSA) decided that many pandemic-related payments, like stimulus checks and unemployment benefits paid since March 2020, will not be counted as income for SSI purposes. This money also does not count toward the resource limit for SSI for as long as you have the money. (You should still be sure to tell Social Security about the unemployment money.) If SSA counted these payments when calculating your SSI benefit or deciding if you were eligible, they should contact you. Your benefits could be increased, and you could get benefits for months when you were underpaid. If you get a lump-sum payment for months when you were underpaid, that lump sum will not count as a resource for nine months. You should make sure that SSA has your current address and respond to their requests for information. In most cases, Social Security will let you know about any payments by mail. Learn how unemployment pay impacts other benefits.
- Starting this fall, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) will provide grants to homeowners who have experienced a COVID financial hardship. The grants may help pay delinquent mortgages, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance premiums, association fees, utilities and other expenses.