The outbreak of the COVID-19 coronavirus has created many changes in the way Vermont courts are operating, changes to public benefits, and more. Here we will keep a list of important changes to help Vermonters and community partners.
Topics on this page include:
Housing & Utilities
- Rent, Rental Housing Stabilization Program, evictions *translated information available
- Locked out by landlord
- Emergency housing
- Tenant rights
- Landlord entering or showing unit
- Mortgages, Mortgage Assistance Program, foreclosures
- Property taxes
Work & Pay
- Unemployment & paid leave *translated information available
- Unsafe workplace
- Hazard pay
- Small businesses
Money & Food
- COVID-19 economic impact payments / stimulus checks *translated information available
- Debt & loans
- Social Security
- Taxes & property taxes
Health Care & Long-Term Care
- Child custody & visitation
- Courts & hearings
- Legal help for farmworkers
- Translated COVID-19 coronavirus information
- Recent updates to this information
Free legal clinic for Vermont seniors 60+
Vermont Legal Aid is hosting a virtual legal advice clinic 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. Call and leave a message to book your free 20-minute appointment.
Date: Thursday, October 15, 2020
Time: 9 - 11:30 a.m.
To schedule an appointment: Call 802-318-4169
If you have an immediate legal problem, call our general phone number and ask for help: 1-800-889-2047.
Virtual Town Halls: Join online or by phone, or watch past eventsWe're hosting a series of virtual town halls on legal issues during the coronavirus crisis. You can attend online or by telephone.
Schedule of upcoming town halls:
Attend and ask questions online at https://zoom.us/j/92311866366.
Listen by phone at 1-888-788-0099 (toll-free). Use this meeting ID when prompted: 923-1186-6366.
Attend and ask questions on Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/VermontLegalAid/.
Thursday, September 24 at 10 a.m.: Eviction, rent assistance and mortgage assistance. Watch the video on Facebook. Vermont Legal Aid attorney Jean Murray will talk about the Vermont eviction moratorium compared to the CDC’s moratorium, the funding available for tenants for help with back rent and moving to a new rental unit, and the funding available for homeowners for mortgage and property tax help. Explore the Rental Housing Stabilization Program. Explore the COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.
Wednesday, August 26, 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.
Thursday, August 13, at 10 a.m.: Changes to unemployment benefits and eligibility as more Vermonters get offers to return to work. Watch the video on Facebook. Vermont Legal Aid attorney Kelli Kazmarski talked about changes such as: the ending of the $600/week in federal unemployment benefits; what happens to unemployment benefits when you are not able to return to work for reasons like dependent care or health/safety concerns; and issues with overpayments of benefits. Explore unemployment benefits.
Thursday, July 23, at 10 a.m.: New mortgage assistance for Vermonters. Watch the video on Facebook. Vermont Legal Aid Attorney Grace Pazdan talked about the new financial help homeowners can get to pay overdue mortgage payments and other programs for homeowners who may be facing foreclosure. She talked about who can get the new financial help, how it works and how to apply. Explore the Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program.
Thursday, July 16, at 10 a.m.: New rental assistance for Vermonters. Watch the video on Facebook or YouTube. Vermont Legal Aid attorney Jean Murray talked about the Rental Housing Stabilization Program, which is financial help that renters can get to pay past-due rent or help moving into an affordable rental. She discussed how it works and how you can apply. Explore the Rental Housing Stabilization Program.
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
If you have a very low income or are homeless, call 2-1-1. Otherwise, apply for the Rental Housing Stabilization Program.
New: Rental Housing Stabilization Program offers help with past-due rent
For help with past-due rent, Vermonters should apply for the Rental Housing Stabilization Program through the Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA). VSHA is accepting applications from landlords and tenants, and paying landlords directly to bring the tenant’s rent account current. Learn more about this help for paying past-due rent on our website.
This information is also available in: Af Soomaali / Somali, Ikirundi / Kirundi, العربية / Arabic, မြန်မာစာ / Burmese, Kiswahili / Swahili, नेपाली / Nepali, Français / French, Español / Spanish. And videos available in: Af Soomaali / Somali, العربية / Arabic, Kiswahili / Swahili, नेपाली / Nepali, Français / French, Español / Spanish, Tiếng Việt / Vietnamese, Chinese and English.
New: Rental Housing Stabilization Program offers first and last month's rent and security deposit if you have found a new landlord to rent to you
If you have found a landlord with a rental unit to move into, you may also be eligible to get help from the Rental Housing Stabilization Program’s Money to Move Program. The program can cover the money needed to move in (for example: first, last and security deposit). You and the landlord need to apply together. Learn more about this help on our website.
This information is also available in: Af Soomaali / Somali, Ikirundi / Kirundi, العربية / Arabic, မြန်မာစာ / Burmese, Kiswahili / Swahili, नेपाली / Nepali, Français / French, Español / Spanish
A note to Vermont landlords
Do you have questions about getting back rent from a tenant? You can get answers from the Vermont Landlords 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.
Hotel “evictions” due to governor's mandate
Have you been asked to leave a hotel or rental property because of the governor’s recent rules to restrict non-essential lodging? If you think you are being sent away in error, send an e-mail to ACCD.Covid19@vermont.gov and describe your situation. The Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) can address each instance based on the details.
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.
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.
- The Department of Children and Family's (DCF) Economic Services Division is extending 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. Follow this link for the program rules.
- Some shelters are reopening. When you apply for shelter with DCF, they will let you know if a shelter has opened 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.
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
New: Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program
Starting July 13, 2020, Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA) accepts applications for the Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program. The program is funded through the federal CARES Act. It will help Vermont homeowners facing economic hardship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This program is available to all Vermonters with mortgage payments on their primary residence who meet the income requirements — not just those with a VHFA mortgage. The program could help pay up to six missed monthly mortgage payments. Starting September 1, a revised application lets you apply for money to put toward past-due property taxes (for homeowners who pay taxes directly to their town). Learn more about the mortgage assistance and property tax assistance on our website.
Heat / Water / Electricity / Phones / Internet / Utilities
NEW: A new program at the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) can help you with past-due utility bills. The Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program will provide help for account holders with a past-due balance on:
- electric bills
- natural gas bills
- landline telephone bills
- or regulated private water bills (not municipal water bills).
- If you have no heat, water or electricity, contact us right away to ask for help.
- In March, after Vermont Legal Aid submitted a letter requesting action to prevent shutoffs, the Vermont Public Utility Commission ordered a temporary moratorium on involuntary natural gas, electric and telecommunications service disconnections. It has been extended through October 15. This means that if you are not able to make your payments for natural gas, electricity or landline telephones, you will not be shut off. However, charges will still accrue during this time. You will have to make up the payments at a later date.
- 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 resources.
- 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 the program and its requirements.
- 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
If you lost your job or had your hours cut due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, you probably can get some help. You can apply for benefits even if your employer says not to. If you are self-employed, an independent contractor or freelancer, you could be eligible if you meet the other criteria.
- Learn about unemployment benefits in response to the coronavirus crisis.
- This information is also available in: Af Soomaali / Somali, العربية / Arabic, မြန်မာစာ / Burmese, Ikirundi / Kirundi, Kiswahili / Swahili, नेपाली / Nepali, Français / French. Translations supported by the University of Vermont Medical Center.
- Find out how turning down a job offer can affect unemployment compensation.
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.
The State of Vermont has created a Front-Line Employees Hazard Pay Grant Program for certain groups of employees who worked between March 13 and May 15, 2020. These employees may be able to get $1,200 or $2,000 in hazard pay through their employer. Learn more about the hazard pay program.
Small business help
The federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act makes emergency funds available to small businesses. For more information on this and other help for businesses, see the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development website.
MONEY & FOOD
COVID-19 economic impact payments / stimulus checks
The federal coronavirus relief law (called the CARES Act) will give money to most adults in the United States. The IRS will send the money to your home or deposit it in your bank account. Some people who have not filed a tax return will need to fill out a form to get the money.
NEW: Attention Vermonters who get Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement benefits or Veterans Affairs Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefits. If you did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and have not already claimed the $500 payment per child, you have until September 30 to do so.
NEW: The IRS is trying to get the word out to people who have not yet received their Economic Impact (stimulus) Payments — especially if you did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019. This is because the IRS often does not have the information required to deliver stimulus payments to these individuals. So you must take action to get your payment for yourself and/or your dependent children. Take action by October 15. See our website for instructions for different situations and watch this IRS video.
This information is also available in: Español / Spanish, Af Soomaali / Somali, Ikirundi / Kirundi, العربية / Arabic, မြန်မာစာ / Burmese, Kiswahili / Swahili, नेपाली / Nepali, Français / French. Translations supported by the University of Vermont Medical Center.
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”) is available to 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. Learn more about how to apply, and the laws and procedures for the 3SquaresVT program that have changed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis.
Debt collection cases
If you received 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; see above or 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.
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 go in person, 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.
- 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 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 of this year.
- 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.
- Contact us for help with overpayments and other Social Security benefits problems.
SSI and other income (including unemployment)
Social Security Administration (SSA) is not processing or collecting overpayments at this time. But if you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and you have other income during the COVID-19 crisis, including unemployment payments:
- you may end up getting an overpayment notice, or
- your SSI benefits may stop later based on the income you get now.
Here is how you can prevent this:
- Report your unemployment payments or other income to Social Security. You should do this within 10 days of when you start getting income from any source or when your income changes. Note: You do not have to report your stimulus check from the federal government. But you do have to report other payments from the federal government or the state, as well as any wages you earn.
- Report changes to your income to Social Security in writing. We recommend sending the information about your income to your local Social Security office by fax, or using certified mail, return receipt requested. Both ways give you proof of when you sent information to Social Security. You will need this if there is a dispute later.
- Find the fax numbers and mailing addresses for the Vermont Social Security offices on our Social Security page.
- If the amount of income you get besides SSI would put you over the SSI maximum benefit amount for your household, ask Social Security in writing to "suspend", or pause, your SSI payments. This should stop Social Security from trying to collect an overpayment from you later on.
- When you no longer get the unemployment or other income, send Social Security a letter and proof that you no longer have the income. In the letter ask Social Security to start your SSI payments again.
Follow this link to find out what you need to know about filing and paying your taxes this year.
Help with past-due property taxes
Starting September 1, you can apply for money to put toward past-due property taxes (for homeowners who pay taxes directly to their town). You must have a mortgage to be eligible. Learn more about mortgage assistance and property tax assistance on our website.
Tax sale due to unpaid property taxes
If you've been told that your home or property is going through a tax sale, please let us know. In addition, contact your town. Find out if they are postponing the sale until after the coronavirus crisis is over.
HEALTH CARE & LONG-TERM CARE
Health insurance & Medicaid
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, please contact us at 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.
Signing an advance directive during COVID-19
Vermont law gives instructions on how to create an advance directive. Normally the law says that 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, 2021, 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, 2021, 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 and June 15, your document may be temporarily valid as long as you followed certain steps:
a. If you and your witnesses knew each other. Your witnesses must also be adults and cannot be your agent or your immediate family member,
b. If your witnesses were informed about the role of being a witness to an advance directive, and
c. 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, 2021. 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
Vermont courts are postponing many court hearings and trials
Many “non-emergency” court hearings were postponed until after May 31, 2020. The courts may do some hearings over the phone or by video. Jury trials will not be scheduled until later (September 1 at the earliest in criminal cases; January 1, 2021, in non-criminal cases). Follow this link to learn more about court hearings in Vermont.
New court filings
Filing by email
During this health crisis, if you need to file a document or motion with a Vermont court, you can do so by email. As a “signature” the court will accept:
the filer’s name typed in with "/s/" in front of it. Example: /s/ Joseph Smith
or an electronic signature
or a scanned signature.
Note: This does not apply to documents that need to be notarized. If you have a court form that requires a notary’s signature (for example, a family court motion form or an application to waive filing fees), but you cannot find a notary due to the health crisis, call your court clerk. Ask them how to proceed.
Use the email address for your specific court division. Attach your filing (motion, answer, etc.) to the email. The subject line of the email must state the court division where it is being filed and the case docket number.
Find your court's email address, mailing address and phone numbers on the Vermont Judiciary website.
Even if you are filing court papers by email, you still need to send the opposing party in your case a copy of what you sent to the court. And you need to send the court a Certificate of Service to prove that you did this.
Check the Vermont Judicary website for updates on court operations and instructions.
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 is asking Vermonters to do a quick survey online or on the phone. This information will be used to report on locations where students don't access to the internet or where consumers want service to be improved. Your responses, without identifying information, may be shared with internet service providers. Fill out the survey or call 1-800-622-4496.
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
A new video by Legal Services Vermont and Pine Tree Legal Assistance gives a quick overview of free, confidential legal help for farmworkers in Vermont and other New England States. Two attorneys talk about workplace safety and legal protections during the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch the farmworkers video on YouTube.
Translated COVID-19 coronavirus information
- On this website, COVID-19 unemployment, stimulus check and rent assistance information in eight languages. General legal topics and information are also discussed in our language pages at the very bottom of this web page.
- Vermont-based website with COVID-19 coronavirus information, food information and more in a dozen languages
- CVOEO website with translated information and audio
- University of Vermont Health Network information on the coronavirus in a dozen languages
Recent updates to this information
- Utility disconnection moratorium is extended through October 15
- Free legal clinic by phone for Vermont seniors 60+ on October 15
- Added links to translated videos from VT Landlords Association about the RHSP back-rent assistance program
- Updates to our COVID unemployment page, including information on the Lost Wage Assistance (LWA) Program
- New virtual town hall onThursday, September 24 at 10 a.m.: Eviction, rent assistance and mortgage assistance
- For help with past-due mortgage payments and property tax payments, homeowners can apply for the Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program through Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA). The application deadline has been extended until the funding is gone. Starting Monday, September 14, the income limits increase to $21,000 statewide and $24,000 in Chittenden County.
- Update to our eviction moratorium page to mention the CDC eviction moratorium. "On September 4, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a nationwide moratorium on non-payment evictions for all tenants through December 31, 2020. Vermonters already have protections against eviction — as described on this page — as well as a statewide rent assistance program. Our attorneys are exploring if the new order could be helpful. We’ll update this page with any important information."
- Clarifications on our page about mortgage assistance and property tax assistance, including: Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, USDA, FHA and VA have all extended their own bans on foreclosures to December 31, 2020. This means that if you have a federally backed mortgage, your lender cannot take any action to foreclose on your home until 2021.
Help with past-due property taxes: Starting September 1, you can apply for money to put toward past-due property taxes (for homeowners who pay taxes directly to their town). You must have a mortgage to be eligible. Learn more about mortgage assistance and property tax assistance on our website.
- Some updated text for this question about hazard pay: Will hazard pay affect my public benefits?
- The application deadline for the Vermont COVID Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program was set for August 31, 2020, but it has been extended indefinitely. The program could help pay up to six missed monthly mortgage payments. Starting September 1, a revised application will let you apply for money to put toward past-due property taxes (for homeowners whose property taxes are not escrowed). Learn more about the mortgage assistance and property tax assistance on our website.
- The IRS is trying to get the word out to people who have not yet received their Economic Impact (stimulus) Payments — especially if you did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019. This is because the IRS often does not have the information required to deliver stimulus payments to these individuals. So you must take action to get your payment for yourself and/or your dependent children. Take action by October 15. See our website for instructions for different situations and watch this IRS video.
- For Federal Direct Student Loans and federally held FFEL (Federal Family Education Loan Program) loans, payments will now be suspended until December 31, 2020. While payments are suspended, the interest rate on the covered loans will be 0%. More on our Student Loans page.
- Updated information about easing rules on visitation and congregate activities in Vermont's long-term care (LTC) facilities.
- Economic Impact Payments / stimulus checks news: Attention Vermonters who get Social Security retirement, survivor or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Railroad Retirement benefits or Veterans Affairs Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefits. If you did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019 and have not already claimed the $500 payment per child, you have until September 30 to do so. Learn more about the economic impact payments / stimulus checks.
- A new program at the Department of Public Services called the Vermont COVID-19 Arrearage Assistance Program can help you with past-due utility bills