Action Alert: Supreme Court Upholds ACA Once Again

Today the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in favor of upholding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for the third time.

This decision is wonderful news for Charlotte Center of Legal Advocacy and the people it serves as the ACA has helped make health care accessible to millions of uninsured Americans since 2010. 

More than 31 million Americans rely on the ACA for affordable coverage that provides free preventive care, protection for pre-existing conditions and a ban on lifetime caps for insurance benefits, along with the peace of mind that comes with being insured.  

Access to health care is essential for all people as efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic continue. This decision ensures that access without disrupting our healthcare system at a time when care is needed most.  

For those who have coverage through the ACA, this decision does not change current plans. Those who are uninsured or interested in changing their health plan can still sign up for 2021 coverage through August 15 using the Special Open Enrollment Period. Financial assistance to pay for coverage is still available.  

The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s health insurance navigators provide free, unbiased assistance to anyone who needs help signing up for coverage or understanding their options. For more information, visit charlottelegaladvocacy.org/getcovered

Action Alert: Support the 2040 Plan Today for a Better Charlotte Tomorrow

Revised draft of Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan charts a sure path toward a more just, equitable community.

The statement below is from the local group Neighbors for More Neighbors CLT, of which Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is a founding member. Learn more about our coalition and join our campaign for a equitable, inclusive and prosperous community for all Charlotte residents.

The Neighbors For More Neighbors CLT is a growing coalition of non-profit organizations and neighborhood leaders and individual citizens guided by a vision for a more diverse and inclusive city. Our coalition remains steadfast in our support of the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan and urges the Charlotte City Council to adopt it at the June 21 City Council meeting as currently revised.

The revision to the plan includes the important addition of an Anti-Displacement Stakeholder group composed of neighborhood leaders and housing advocates, as well as residents threatened by displacement.  This is an important addition to ensure the Plan fulfills its promise of an equitable growth framework. In addition, we are in support of the revision to Policy 2.1, which retains largely intact a key element of the plan to increase diversity of housing types on single-family lots. We are encouraged by the City Council taking a bold action to ensure that our espoused values, expressed vision becomes our lived experience. We appreciate your recognition that we must continue to press forward for change.

Why This Matters:

  • Equity is a key goal of the Charlotte 2040 Plan.  In the second draft plan’s own words, “Equity is, in a sense, what we owe to each other: a fundamental part of our social contract that recognizes the inherent value of every Charlotte resident, actively works for justice and equality of opportunity in our City, and treats every person with dignity.” 
  • Charlotte is hyper-segregated racially and economically.  A group of well-funded private interests that benefit from the status quo are working hard to discredit this plan and mislead the public.
  • The revision to the plan includes the important addition of an Anti-Displacement Stakeholder group composed of neighborhood leaders and housing advocates, as well as residents threatened by displacement.  This is an important addition to ensure the plan fulfills its promise of an equitable growth framework. In addition, we are in support of the revision to Policy 2.1, which retains largely intact a key element of the plan to increase diversity of housing types on single-family lots. We are encouraged by the City Council taking a bold action to ensure that our espoused values, expressed vision becomes our lived experience.

Learn, Support, Speak Up for the 2040 Comprehensive Plan

Action Alert: Don’t We All Deserve a More Just, Equitable Community? Read our last statement on the 2040 Plan

Myths and Facts About the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan 

How to get involved:

Join Neighbors for More Neighbors CLT in calling on broad, public adoption of the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan with approval by all City Council members at the June 21, 2021 business meeting.  

Action Alert: Don’t We All Deserve A More Just, Equitable Community?

Charlotte’s future is in our hands. We have an incredible opportunity to put Charlotte on the path toward equitable, long-term social and economic development. 

The Charlotte City Council is considering adoption of the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan, a guiding document that will inform how our city grows over the next 20 years. 

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy applauds the critical importance the plan places on dismantling the intentional and systemic mechanisms used to segregate Charlotte by race and economic status since World War II.    

The plan is rooted in an equitable growth framework that strives to create a dynamic, just, and inclusive city.     

But a potential decision to significantly delay the vote on the Charlotte 2040 Comprehensive Plan has concrete consequences: maintaining the unacceptable status quo as last in the nation for upward mobility.  

Charlotte did not get here by accident, but rather through decades of deliberate decisions by powerful policy makers and political leaders, as well as refusals to act.   

We can’t expect true, meaningful change to happen without action. We must take affirmative steps to undo the generations of systemically racist policies that currently shape our community.    

Our city, our citizens cannot afford to wait.  

As a founding member of Neighbors 4 More Neighbors CLT, we urge the Charlotte City Council to adopt the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan in June. 

Without action, segregated development will continue; displacement and limited housing supply will continue, and only those who benefit most from the status quo will continue to benefit. 

Myths and Facts About the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan 

Though some opposition from builders and developers mistakenly suggests the aspirational goals and proposals made in the plan are “illegal,” the plan is not a regulation, but a guiding outline of Charlotte’s long-term vision for itself.  

This broad, equity-based vision lifts up Charlotte’s future. 

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s priorities include protecting financial security and family stability; preserving and expanding affordable housing options; and addressing systemic racism by advocating for removal of barriers and harmful practices that negatively impact communities of color and lower-income Charlotteans.    

We work with homeowners and neighborhood associations to identify problematic practices, educate homeowners about options, and use litigation and advocacy tools as necessary to stop abusive practices.    

Having the City and City Council working with us toward these goals is critical to slowing forced displacement, misleading practices, and unwanted gentrification.  

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy supports the plan’s objectives set out in:  

  • Goal 2 (Neighborhood Diversity and Inclusion),  
  • Goal 3 (Access to Housing for All), and  
  • Goal 5 (Safe and Equitable Mobility).   

These goals can be further developed as we move forward, but it is important to have them in place now.  

The Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan is a cohesive, thoughtful framework needed to guide Charlotte’s development, priorities and legislative advocacy over the next 20 years and is the first since 1975—almost 50 years ago.    

Now is the time for action. We need courage and leadership from our elected officials to make bold, visionary decisions now. Doing so is what’s right for all Charlotteans.  

With your help, we can build the kind of community we deserve—one that is just and equitable for everyone. 

What You Can Do

Join Neighbors for More Neighbors CLT in calling on broad, public adoption of the Charlotte Future 2040 Comprehensive Plan with approval by all City Council members in a June 2021 vote.  

Justice Would Bring Them Home

Friends,

For the past month, many have followed the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin who killed George Floyd last May. We thank the prosecution and courageous witnesses who took the stand and recounted this traumatic event in the pursuit of justice and accountability for Floyd’s family. Yesterday, the jury unanimously convicted Chauvin on all charges—of second- and third-degree murder and manslaughter. 

This has been a pivotal year for the Black Lives Matter movement. We extend our gratitude to the organizers of protests, community discussions, and mutual aid efforts this year and beyond. Without your dedicated and persistent work, we would not have witnessed yesterday’s affirmation that Black lives do matter. You have our ongoing support and appreciation.  

The conviction of a single police officer cannot be the close to the protests of the past year and advocacy for and by marginalized communities of the last four hundred years. As Daunte Wright’s mother, Katie Wright proclaimed, “Everybody keeps saying ‘justice.’ But unfortunately, there is never going to be justice for us. Justice would bring our son home.” 

Many families of victims of police brutality and racialized violence still have not received this justice. Police and white supremacists have also unjustly killed Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner, Eric Reason, Atatiana Jefferson, Antwon Rose II, Botham Jean, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Emmett Till, Addie Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia Wesley, Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, Ma’Khia Bryant and thousands of others. 

We must reimagine what justice means for American society. Standalone convictions do not reduce the need for comprehensive policy change and genuine justice. 

True justice ensures no parent, child, sibling, or friend will fear police will target their loved ones. True justice guarantees everyone has an equal opportunity for success and happiness in this country. We will continue towards the pursuit of this true justice, following those who have come before, partnering with the community on the ground, and calling in all who wish to walk with us.  

In solidarity, 

The staff at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy 

Our Call to the Biden Administration on Inauguration Day

In his speech “The Other America,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. condemns consequences of a divided and inequitable society built from a long, tiring, and terrifying history of white supremacy and calls us to make “America one nation, Indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” We have been given a precious and urgent moment to do so, which begins today, Inauguration Day. Time cannot resolve the divides in our nation, action must be taken now. The staff at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy urges the Biden Administration and our congressional leaders to pass and enforce legislation that brings us closer to “justice for all.” 

President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have organized one of the most diverse executive cabinets that this country has had the privilege to know. We applaud their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and hope that this commitment influences and follows throughout the administration’s programs.  

Promises made in the campaign, such as upholding Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), preserving family unity at the border, upholding the Affordable Care Act, reinvigorating consumer financial protections, providing support for families, and enhancing our pandemic relief efforts must become a reality. We acknowledge President Biden’s American Rescue Plan as a noble step toward combatting the current health and economic crises our country faces. However, we are far from the end of the COVID-19 pandemic and even further from a united, equitable, and just country.  

Focusing on these issues at the local, state and federal level will enable us to capture King’s and our own vision of “one America.” Through our work, we will continue to fight for the very things King advocated for in his speech: economic justice, the right to safe and affordable housing, quality education, access to healthcare, and racial equity. May today be the start of a stark shift in American politics and a continuance of our country’s reckoning with its past and steps toward true, genuine equality. 

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s Anti-Racist Reading List

At Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy, we believe that ALL people should have access to legal assistance and resources that ensure stability and promote opportunity. We fight for equal justice under the law every day. Racial justice and equity are inherent to this work. 

During the Black Lives Matter protests over last summer, The Advocacy Center staff compiled a list of books, articles, and podcast that had contributed to our own learning of anti-racism, racial oppression, and inequities in the United States. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr., we would like to share that list with you so that as a community we can continue our own education. Today is a day of reflection on how far we have come and how much further we have to go to reach true equality in our nation.

Articles:

Maintaining Professionalism In The Age of Black Death Is….A Lot”  by Shenequa Golding 

The 1619 Project (New York Times) 

Lynch Law in All its Phases” by Ida B. Wells

The Master’s Tools will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” by Audre Lord

The Combahee River Collective Statement

Performative Allyship Is Deadly (Here’s What to Do Instead)” by Holiday Phillips 

Books

“White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism” by Robin DiAngelo 

“How to Be an Antiracist” by Ibram X. Kendi 

“Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do” by Jennifer L. Eberhardt  

“Raising White Kids” by Jennifer Harvey  

“So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo  

“The Black and the Blue: A Cop Reveals the Crimes, Racism, and Injustice in America’s Law Enforcement” by Matthew Horace and Ron Harris  

“Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson 

“The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin 

“Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race” by Reni Eddo-Lodge 

“They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, And A New Era In America’s Racial Justice Movement” by Wesley Lowery 

“Hood Feminism: Notes From The Women That The Movement Forgot” by Mikki Kendall 

“Ain’t I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism” by bell hooks 

“Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People” by Ben Crump 

“From Slavery To Freedom: A History of African Americans” by John Hope Franklin  

“The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear” by Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and William Barber II 

“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates 

“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi 

“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander 

“Woman, Race and Class” by Angela Davis  

Are Prisons Obsolete?” by Angela Davis 

“The Color of Law: The Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein 

“Scenes of Subjection” by Saidiya Hartman 

“When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele 

“Closer to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Every Day Resistance in the Plantation south” by Stephanie Camp

“Counting Descent” by Clint Smith

For kids: 

“The Colors of Us” by Karen Katz 

“Let’s Talk About Race” by Julius Lester 

“The Skin I’m In: A First Look at Racism” by Pat Thomas 

Sesame Street’s “We’re Different, We’re the Same” by Bobbi Jane Kates 

“Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice” by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard 

“I Am Enough” by Grace Byers 

“Happy in Our Skin” by Fran Manushkin and Lauren Tobia 

“Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement” by Carole Boston Weatherford and Ekua Holmes 

“Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children in a Racially Unjust America” by Jennifer Harvey 

“Daddy Why Am I Brown?: A healthy conversation about skin color and family” by Bedford F. Palmer 

“A Terrible Thing Happened” by Margaret Holmes 

“Antiracist Baby” by Ibram X. Kendi 

For teens:  

“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas 

“Harbor Me” by Jacqueline Woodson 

“This Book Is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work” by Tiffany Jewell and Aurelia Durand 

“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson 

“Dear White People” by Justin Simien 

The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead 

Statement on Wednesday’s Insurrection at the Capitol

From our executive director, Ken Schorr:

Politics profoundly affects our work and our ability to receive fair treatment, adequate income, and needed services for our clients. While I usually avoid discussing partisan politics in my role in our organization, it is imperative to talk about politics in times like these. We have seen an extraordinary display of American politics this week.

The Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is, as its name says, a legal advocacy organization. We use our training and skills as lawyers and legal advocates to get our clients what they are due according to the law. We believe to our core in the Rule of Law. Justice lives here, for everyone.

On Wednesday, a violent mob assaulted and vandalized the Capitol Building, during Congressional proceedings, for the purpose of disrupting the counting of electoral college votes to certify the results of the Presidential election. This is a horrifying event that fundamentally contradicts the Rule of Law.

Law enforcement met this crowd of mostly white extremists in a civil manner compared to recent police treatment of thousands of diverse, peaceful protestors calling for racial justice and fair treatment. The stark contrast shows deep institutional racism in our society and illustrates the importance of our work for racial equity and justice.

There must be consequences for this mob and its instigators to reinforce the principle that this is a nation of laws, that apply to everyone, to our clients who are often disfavored but for the law, and to the powerful and favored, who are often excused from compliance or consequences.

The effort to subvert the electoral college count was based on the unsupported assertion that there was widespread election fraud which was repeatedly exposed as untrue in the results of scores of lawsuits filed to overturn election results. This follows the persistent lie that there is widespread voter fraud, as an argument to support extensive and relentless voter suppression efforts, most of which is racially focused, as one court said, to “target African-Americans with almost surgical precision.” We must continue to work to expose and root out these acts of racism as we elect our leaders.

Last, but not least, the State of Georgia, once in the core of the Confederacy, elected two US Senators on Tuesday. One is Raphael Warnock, a Black minister from the Church formerly pastored by Martin Luther King. The other is Jon Ossoff, a young Jewish journalist, the youngest person elected to the Senate in 40 years. I share this result not as a comment on the party they represent, but as an embrace of diversity and inclusion that is a hopeful sign of change.

Welcome to 2021, a new year.

How to Claim the Recovery Rebate Credit: FAQs

In late December, lawmakers passed a coronavirus relief package that provides essential economic relief for millions of workers and people with low incomes. One component of the package is a second round of economic stimulus payments. Additionally, we have general FAQs regarding the payment, “Mixed-Immigration Status Families and the Stimulus Payment,” and “Distribution of the Second Stimulus Payment.”

What is the Recovery Rebate Credit?

If you are eligible and don’t receive your first or second stimulus payment or the full amount of your payment, you can claim it when you file your 2020 tax return in early 2021. The IRS usually begins to accept returns in late January. This year, the tax form will include a section for filers to claim missed stimulus payments as a Recovery Rebate Credit.

Eligible individuals can claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 Form 1040 or 1040-SR. These forms can also be used by people who are not normally required to file tax returns but are eligible for the credit.

How do I find the stimulus payment amount I received? Refer to your Notice 1444 for the payment amount you were issued, before any offsets. You’ll need to this information to determine the amount to include on the worksheet that will be included in the 2020 Instructions for Form 1040 and 1040-SR and when completing the Form 1040 or Form 1040-SR.

Who Qualifies for the Recovery Rebate Credit? The Recovery Rebate Credit is figured like the first and second stimulus payments, except that the credit eligibility and the credit amount are based on the tax year 2020 information shown on the 2020 tax return filed in 2021.

Generally, you are eligible to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit, if you were a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien in 2020, are not a dependent of another taxpayer for tax year 2020 and have a Social Security number valid for employment that is issued before the due date of your 2020 tax return (including extensions).

You can take the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return for any recovery rebate amount that is more than the stimulus payment you received in 2020 and early 2021.

Distribution of the Second Stimulus Payment: FAQs

In late December, lawmakers passed a coronavirus relief package that provides essential economic relief for millions of workers and people with low incomes. One component of the package is a second round of economic stimulus payments. See below for FAQs regarding distribution of the second stimulus payment. Additionally, we have general FAQs regarding the payment, “Mixed-Immigration Status Families and the Stimulus Payment,” and “How to Claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.”

When will the IRS make the second stimulus payments?

The IRS will send the second stimulus payments to taxpayers through January 15th.

Will I receive a letter or notice from the IRS about my second stimulus payment?

Yes, the IRS will issue a notice, or letter, about the second stimulus payment. Please keep your notice, formally called Notice 1444-B, with your tax records. You will need it when you file your 2020 tax return.

How can I check on the status of my second stimulus payment?

You can use the IRS’ Get My Payment tool to check on the status of your second stimulus payment.

Will the IRS’ Get My Payment tool give me the status of my second stimulus payment?

You will be able to check the status of your first and second stimulus payments using the Get My Payment tool. The status includes the date of the payment and the method (direct deposit or mailed payment date). Mailed payments will require more processing and mailing time. As more information becomes available, the IRS will provide updates.

Some people received their first stimulus payment in multiple payments. If you received more than one payment for your first stimulus payment, the Get My Payment tool will show you only the most recent payment information.

I’m having trouble accessing the Get My Payment tool.

Some people visiting the site may get a “please wait” or error message due to the high volumes coming in. The “please wait” message is a normal part of the site’s operation. The IRS encourages people to check back later. Also, there is a limit to the number of times people can access Get My Payment each day. When people reach the maximum number of accesses, Get My Payment will inform them they will need to check back the following day.

I didn’t receive a direct deposit yet. Will I get a second Economic Impact Payment?

Maybe. IRS updated Get My Payment tool (GMP) for individuals who are receiving the second stimulus payment on January 5, 2021. If you checked GMP on or after January 5 then:

  • If GMP reflects a direct deposit date and partial account information, then your payment is deposited there.
  • If GMP reflects a date your payment was mailed, it may take up to 3 – 4 weeks for you to receive the payment. Watch your mail carefully for a check or debit card.
  • If GMP shows “Payment Status #2 – Not Available,” then you will not receive a second Economic Impact Payment and instead you need to claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 Tax Return.

Because of the speed at which the law required the IRS to issue the second round of stimulus payments, some payments may have been sent to an account that may be closed or, is or no longer active, or unfamiliar. By law, the financial institution must return the payment to the IRS; they cannot hold and issue the payment to an individual when the account is no longer active. If Get My Payment shows “Payment Status #2 – Not Available” you will not receive a second EIP. (You will need to claim it on your 2020 tax return if you are eligible.)   

What if I have a different bank account than I had on my 2019 tax return? What should I do?

If the second stimulus payment was sent to an account that is closed or is no longer active the financial institution must, by law, return the payment to the IRS, they cannot hold and issue the payment to an individual when the account is no longer active. The IRS advises people that if they don’t receive the full amount of their stimulus payment, they should file their 2020 tax return electronically and claim the Recovery Rebate Credit on their tax return to get their payment and any refund as quickly as possible.

Why can’t the IRS reissue the second stimulus payment to me?

The IRS is working to deliver the second stimulus payment quickly, as required by law, while still preparing for the upcoming 2021 tax filing season. Due to the compressed timeline, the IRS is unable to reissue and mail checks and instead encourages people to file their 2020 tax return electronically to claim and receive the Recovery Rebate Credit quickly as possible.

Can I call the IRS, software company or bank to resolve issues with my Economic Impact Payment?

People should visit IRS.gov for the most current information on the second round of stimulus payments rather than calling the agency or their financial institutions or tax software providers. IRS phone assistors do not have additional information beyond what’s available on IRS.gov.

Mixed-Immigration Status Families and the Stimulus Payment: FAQs

In late December, lawmakers passed a coronavirus relief package that provides essential economic relief for millions of workers and people with low incomes. One component of the package is a second round of economic stimulus payments. See below for FAQs regarding distribution of the second stimulus payment. Additionally, we have general FAQs regarding the payment, “Distribution of the Second Stimulus Payment,” and “How to Claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.

I filed my 2019 tax return as married filing jointly and I have a Social Security number valid for employment while my spouse has an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), am I eligible for the second stimulus payment?

You are eligible for a second stimulus payment for yourself and any dependents you claimed who also have Social Security numbers valid for employment, but not for your spouse. (Mixed-status families who did not receive the first stimulus payment due to the previous restrictions on spouses of people filing with ITINs will now be eligible to get that payment retroactively when they file their 2020 tax return. See discussion below.)

I filed my 2019 tax return as married filing jointly and both my spouse and I have ITINs, am I eligible for the second stimulus payment for my dependents who have Social Security numbers valid for employment?

No, you are not eligible for a second stimulus payment for yourself, your spouse, or your dependents. 

I have an ITIN and filed my 2019 tax return as single, am I eligible for the second stimulus payment?

No, you are not eligible for the second stimulus payment.

I have an ITIN and filed my 2019 tax return as Head of Household, am I eligible for the second stimulus payment?

No, you are not eligible for the second stimulus payment. Nor are you eligible for the second stimulus payment for any dependents you claimed, even those dependents with Social Security numbers valid for employment.

Do I qualify for the payment if I’m a resident alien?

A person who’s a qualifying resident alien with a Social Security number valid for employment is eligible for the second stimulus payment only if he or she is a qualifying resident alien in 2020 and may not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer.  A nonresident alien in 2020 isn’t eligible for the second stimulus payment. An alien who received a payment but isn’t a qualifying resident alien for 2020 should return the payment to the IRS.

Questions about Mixed Status families and the Economic Impact Payments? Contact a tax advocate at 980-202-7329.