COVID-19 "Coronavirus" Updates
- Is Bay Area Legal Services open? Can I still get help?
- I am already a client. Can I come into the office to meet with my attorney?
- Are the Courts closed? What Clerk services are available?
- Prepare for Going to Court Online (Remote Hearings)
- Can I get evicted from my home?
- Can I get unemployment benefits?
- What can I do if a foreclosure is filed against me?
- Can I get extra SNAP benefits? What if I can't meet the work requirements?
- How can I protect myself from scams?
- Medicare, Social Security, and Florida Department of Children & Families
- Veterans Services
- Resources for Nonprofit Organizations and Small Businesses
- Has the tax filing deadline changed?
- Free consultation from Lawyer Referral Service
- More COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") resources and information
Is Bay Area Legal Services open? Can I still get help?
Yes, we are still open! But all offices closed to the public and no walk-ins.
No office appointments for new clients. Services will be provided by phone.
Apply by phone Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., or apply online anytime.
Language interpreters are available to you at no cost.
Legal Aid Line
Our service area includes Hillsborough, Pasco, Pinellas, Manatee, and Sarasota counties. To apply for services, call our Legal Aid Line, (800) 625-2257, Monday-Friday, 9.a.m.-4:30 p.m., or apply online anytime.
Senior Legal Helpline
Veterans Legal Helpline
I am already a client. Can I come into the office to meet with my attorney?
Some existing clients may come into the office if services cannot be provided by phone.
Before a client comes into the office, they must:
- Confirm their appointment with their attorney
- Meet health guidelines stated by their attorney
Are the Courts closed? What Clerk services are available?
All Tampa Bay area Courts are making changes in response to COVID-19. Please visit the Court’s website for more information.
- Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court (Hillsborough County)
- Hillsborough County Clerk of Courts
- Sixth Judicial Circuit Court (Pasco and Pinellas counties)
- Pasco County Clerk of Courts
- Pinellas County Clerk of Courts
- Twelfth Judicial Circuit Court (Manatee and Sarasota counties)
- Manatee County Clerk of Courts
- Sarasota County Clerk of Courts
Prepare for Going to Court Online (Remote Hearings)
Representing Yourself and Using Remote Appearance Technology with the Courts
Dos and don'ts for going to court online.
Management of Evidence in Remote Hearings in Civil and Family Cases
Best practices for remote evidentiary hearings, best practices for witnesses, civil and family essential and non-essential proceedings, and other resources.
Medicare, Social Security, and Florida Department of Children & Families
Medicare: Medicare covers the lab tests for COVID-19. You pay no out-of-pocket costs.
- Medicare covers all medically necessary hospitalizations. This includes if you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and might otherwise have been discharged from the hospital after an inpatient stay, but instead, you need to stay in the hospital under quarantine.
- At this time, there is no vaccine for COVID-19. However, if one becomes available, it will be covered by all Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (Part D).
- If you have a Medicare Advantage Plan, you have access to these same benefits. Medicare allows these plans to waive cost-sharing for COVID-19 lab tests. Many plans offer additional telehealth benefits. Check with your plan about your coverage and costs.
Social Security: Social Security offices are closed for in-person services. Social Security will remain open for business online and by telephone.
Department of Children & Families: DCF has closed its storefronts and lobbies and is asking people to seek services online or by phone. Customers may go online, where customers may check the statuses, make changes or apply for benefits. Customers who need to conduct an interview prior to receiving benefits may call (850) 300-4323, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
Do you have an appeal pending with the Board of Veterans’ Appeals (BVA)?
- Due to COVID-19, BVA has suspended all travel board, video, and Central Office hearings through at least May 1, 2020. Virtual hearings are still available. For more information, read the BVA Virtual Hearing Fact Sheet.
- If you have a pending appeal with BVA and you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, you can file for advancement on the docket (AOD). Supporting documentation is required.
- At this time, BVA will accept typed signatures on Notices of Disagreement (VA Form 10182), instead of signed ink signatures.
- If you are worried you will be late in filing a Notice of Disagreement or in submitting a substantive appeal, note that BVA will review requests for good cause to extend deadlines in individual cases. You will need to request your extension in writing.
This guidance is subject to change as additional guidance is received concerning the national state of emergency.
Did you know that you can connect with your VA care team for health appointments using video?
- You can use VA Video Connect to reach your care team without leaving your home. VA Video Connect works with your camera on your phone, computer, or tablet.
Resources for Nonprofit Organizations and Small Businesses
The Judge Don Castor Community Law Center cares about you, our local nonprofits, and small businesses. At this time of crisis, we want to help you find the trustworthy resources you need to help your business weather this storm. We will regularly update the information on this site by sharing local, regional, and national links covering a variety of COVID-19 issues. Read updates »
Has the tax filing deadline changed?
The tax filing deadline postponed from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Special Federal income tax return filing and payment relief in response to COVID-19 is available. FAQs and updates are available on the IRS website.
Free consultation from Lawyer Referral Service
The Hillsborough County Bar Association's (HCBA) Lawyer Referral & Information Service (LRIS) is waiving its standard $35 fee. Get a 30-minute legal consultation for free.
Contact HCBA LRIS: (813) 221-7780
More COVID-19 ("Coronavirus") resources and information
Visit the website links below for more help.
Health & Safety
- Coronavirus.gov (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- FloridaHealthCOVID19.gov (Florida Department of Health)
- Florida's COVID-19 Map & Data (Florida Department of Health)