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 

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.

COVID Relief Act $600 Stimulus Payments: General FAQs

*Originally posted on Dec. 30th, 2020. Updated Jan. 8th, 2021*

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 general FAQs regarding the payment. Additionally, we have FAQs regarding “Mixed-Immigration Status Families and the Stimulus Payment,” “Distribution of the Second Stimulus Payment,” and “How to Claim the Recovery Rebate Credit.”

Who is eligible for the second stimulus payment?

Generally, if you’re a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident alien, you may be eligible for $600 ($1,200 for a joint return), plus $600 for each qualifying child, if you (and your spouse if filing a joint return) aren’t a dependent of another taxpayer on a 2019 tax return, have a social security number (SSN) valid for employment (see exception when married filing joint) and your adjusted gross income (AGI) does not exceed:

  • $150,000 if married and filing a joint return or if filing as a qualifying widow or widower;
  • $112,500 if filing as head of household; or
  • $75,000 for eligible individuals using any other filing status
  • Your payment will be reduced by 5% of the amount by which your AGI exceeds the applicable threshold above.

You aren’t eligible for a payment if any of the following apply to you:

  • You were claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer’s 2019 tax return (for example, a child or student who may be claimed on a parent’s tax return or a dependent parent who may be claimed on an adult child’s tax return).
  • You don’t have a Social Security number that is valid for employment issued before the due date of your 2019 tax return (including any extensions).
  • You’re a nonresident alien.
  • People who died before 2020.
  • Are an estate or trust.

What is meant by a Social Security number that is valid for employment?

A valid Social Security number for the second stimulus payment is one that is valid for employment in the United States and is issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) before the due date of your 2019 tax return (including the filing deadline postponement to July 15 and an extension to October 15 if you requested it).

If you were a U.S. citizen when you received the Social Security number, then it’s valid for employment. If “Not Valid for Employment” is printed on your Social Security card and your immigration status has changed so that you are now a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, ask the SSA for a new Social Security card. However, if “Valid for Work Only With DHS Authorization” is printed on your Social Security card, you have the required Social Security number only if the Department of Homeland Security authorization is valid.

How much will the second stimulus payment be?

The second stimulus payment will be $600 per qualifying adult ($1,200 for married taxpayers filing a joint return) and $600 per child under 17 years old. Children who are 17 years old and older as well as other dependents are not eligible for the $600 second stimulus payment.

What do I need to do to get my payment?

No action is necessary. Your payment will be issued based on the information the IRS has on file for your 2019 tax return, the information provided by you to the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool, payment information entered on the Get My Payment tool, or information provided by a Federal Agency that issued benefits to you (Social Security Administration, Veteran Affairs, or Railroad Retirement Board). (If you don’t get a payment and you are eligible to receive one, it may be claimed as a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.)

Will the Non-Filers tool be available if I’m not required to file and didn’t use it before November 22, 2020?

No. The Non-Filers tool is no longer available. (If you are eligible for a second stimulus payment and don’t get one, the payment may be claimed as a Recovery Rebate Credit on your 2020 tax return.)

What tax year will the IRS look to in determining my eligibility for the second stimulus payment?

The IRS will look to the 2019 tax year to make eligibility determinations for the second stimulus payment.

Will I need to pay the second stimulus payment back to the IRS at some point and will the payment affect my eligibility for other tax credits?

You will not need to pay the second stimulus payment back to the IRS because the payments are an advance against a new credit for tax year 2020 and these payments will not affect your eligibility for other tax credits.

I’m a college student, can I receive the $600 second stimulus payment if I can be claimed as someone else’s dependent?

You can’t receive the $600 second stimulus payment if you can be claimed as someone else’s dependent. You can be claimed as someone else’s dependent based on your relationship to the filer, your age, whether you lived with your parents for more than half of the year, and whether you were financially independent for more than half of the year, among other factors. This will affect many full-time college students under age 24. However, it’s important to review the rules, since not all college students are dependents. (People who were dependents in 2019, but not 2020, can claim both stimulus payments as a Recovery Rebate Credit when they file their 2020 tax return.)

Do I need earned income to qualify for a second stimulus payment?

You don’t need to have earned income to qualify. The second stimulus payment is available to those with little to no income. Even if you are making $0, you can still receive the full payment. The second stimulus payments phase out at higher income levels, starting at $75,000 for single filers. The phase-out rates are the same between the first and second round of payments – $5 for every $100 that you made above the Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limit – but because the second stimulus payments are smaller, some people who received a partial payment in the first round won’t get one this time.

Will the second stimulus payment affect my eligibility for public benefits?

Like other tax refunds, the second stimulus payment will not count toward eligibility for means-tested programs and will be disregarded as an asset for 12 months. This means the second stimulus payment won’t jeopardize your participation in programs including Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and public housing.

Is the second stimulus payment treated as taxable income?

No, the second stimulus payment is not considered taxable income.

Is an incarcerated individual eligible for the second stimulus payment?

Yes, individuals will not be denied a second stimulus payment solely because they are incarcerated.  An incarcerated individual may be issued a payment if all eligibility requirements are met and the individual filed a 2019 tax return that was processed by the IRS or used the Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here tool prior to November 22, 2020. (Incarcerated individuals who don’t get a second stimulus payment and are eligible to receive one, may claim a Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax return. They can also claim the first stimulus payment as a Recovery Rebate Credit on their 2020 tax return.)

Can the second stimulus payment be intercepted?

The second stimulus payment can’t be intercepted for past-due taxes, student loans, Unemployment Insurance over-payments, or for child support that is owed (the first stimulus payment was subject to seizure for outstanding child support).

Where can I get more information?

For more information about Economic Impact Payments and the 2020 Recovery Rebate, key information will be posted on IRS.gov/eip. Later this week, you may check the status of your payment at IRS.gov/GetMyPayment. For other COVID-19-related tax relief, visit IRS.gov/Coronavirus.

New COVID-19 relief act signed. Aid extended to millions.

On December 22nd congress passed the most recent COVID-19 relief package. The act provides $908 billion dollars in aid to families, businesses, nonprofits, and states. As we learn more about the act and how the programs and funding will be implemented, we will update our website and social media accordingly. Please contact us at the appropriate numbers below if you or your family are struggling and need assistance.  

This list is not exhaustive, and the bill contains programs and funding not listed here.  

Here is what we know so far: 

Unemployment Insurance

This act extends the CARES Act’s unemployment insurance expansion through March 14th, 2021. Specifically, this act:  

  • Provides an additional $300 per week to supplement all state and federal unemployment benefits, starting after December 26, 2020 and ending March 14, 2021 through the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) program; 
  • Extends the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, which provides continued unemployment assistance to the self-employed, freelancers, gig workers, part-time workers and other individuals in non-traditional employment. It also increases the number of weeks of PUA benefits an individual may claim, from 39 to 50; 
  • Extends the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program, providing additional weeks of federally-funded benefits to workers who have exhausted their regular state unemployment benefits. It also increases the weeks of PEUC benefits an individual may claim, from 13 to 24 and; 
  • Provides full federal financing of state Shared Work programs, allowing employees who are working reduced hours to claim partial unemployment compensation, through March 14, 2021. 

For FAQs about unemployment insurance click here. Apply for unemployment at the Department of Employment Security website or call 1-888-737-0259. If you have questions regarding your application or how the new relief bill affects your unemployment benefits, call our hotline 980-256-3979 and leave a message to receive assistance in English or Spanish. 

Economic Impact Payments (Stimulus Checks) 

Critical financial support in the form of one-time direct payments of $600 is being made available for individuals making up to $75,000 and $1,200 for couples making up to $150,000, as well as an extra $600 per eligible child dependent. We do not know if this amount will be increased. This is the same eligibility as the original $1,200 stimulus payment, but also expands these direct payments to mixed-status households, ensuring that millions of immigrant families across the U.S. get access to this relief. 

These payments will likely be distributed in a similar way as the $1,200 payments through direct deposit or check. Stay up to date with this information on the IRS website

Those who did not previously receive the original $1,200 stimulus check or received the incorrect amount may be able to receive it through a Recovery Rebate Credit when filing you 2020 tax return. Learn more here. 

If you have questions about the $600 economic impact payments or the recovery rebate credit, contact a tax advocate at: 980-202-7329  

Emergency Rental and Utility Assistance 

This act extends the CDC Eviction Moratorium through January 31st, 2021. Read more on how you can use the moratorium to prevent eviction here. 

An additional $25 billion will be distributed to existing local housing agencies that can best distribute these funds on behalf of tenants. It is unclear what organizations or programs this funding will go toward but can be used to pay past due rent, future rent payments and utility and energy expenses.  

The act provides $638 million to assist low-income families with drinking water and wastewater utility bills. This money will also be distributed via state and tribal governments. You can apply for utility assistance through the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program or RAMP Charlotte. 

Nutritional and Food Assistance 

Millions of families across the country are struggling to put food on the table. This act addressed food insecurity by: 

  • Increasing monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for the next six months beginning January 1st, 2021 through June 30th, 2021. Unless there are other supplements, this increase will be added to the current maximum eligible monthly amount per family size;  
  • Excluding Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) from being counted as income for calculating eligibility and amount of SNAP benefits; 
  • Extending SNAP eligibility to college students who are eligible for a federal or state work study program or have an expected family contribution of $0 and; 
  • Improves the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (PEBT) program to school-age children and expands the program for children younger than six years old.  

If you need assistance with applying for SNAP, PEBT, or other public benefits, contact our Family Support and Healthcare Unit at 704-376-1600. 

Bankruptcy 

The act provides that consumers in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases will not be denied a discharge if they miss 3 or fewer mortgage payments because of a financial hardship due, directly or indirectly, to COVID–19. Consumers can have utility service maintained or restored after filing bankruptcy without paying a deposit. Also, consumers cannot be denied a mortgage forbearance under the CARES Act if they have filed bankruptcy or received a bankruptcy discharge. 

NAVIGATING OPEN ENROLLMENT: Top Four Mistakes To Avoid

Woman holds child while talking on the phone and taking notes

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s health insurance navigators help families and individuals choose plans that are best for them within the Health Insurance Marketplace implemented under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). During the Open Enrollment Period, navigators take appointments free of charge with residents of Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Union County who are concerned about making common errors that could jeopardize their ability to maximize coverage and minimize cost. 

Find FAQs and how to make an appointment and keep reading to learn the top four mistakes navigators see people make on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

1. Missing the Deadline 

The Open Enrollment Period is Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, 2020. During this timeframe, participants will be able to select a health insurance plan for coverage that will start on January 1, 2021. It is very difficult to qualify to sign up for health insurance on the Marketplace beyond the designated timeframe. Usually, adjustments or new enrollments are allowed only as a result of a major life event, such as marriage, divorce, job loss or a new child. 

2. Misunderstanding Costs 

During Open Enrollment, some people only look at the cost of premiums and don’t take into consideration the deductibles, copays, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximums. These are all important factors that will help determine your overall health care costs in 2021. 

3. Over- or Under-Insuring 

A basic high-deductible plan generally has the lowest monthly premium, but it requires the policy holder to spend more before full coverage kicks in. Some people mistakenly select this option because they think it will be cheapest, but they ultimately pay more out of pocket. Navigators suggest a quick assessment of your health care spending over the last couple of years. If you tend to undershoot your deductible, you might be better off moving to a high-deductible plan. If you usually hit your deductible before it resets, you could come out ahead by paying a higher premium for a heartier plan. Remember: The cost of many preventive measures, such as mammograms, colonoscopies and cholesterol screenings, are covered 100% before you meet your deductible and require no copay.  

4. Opting Out

A few years ago, not buying health insurance meant facing a potentially costly penalty. While that penalty no longer exists, forgoing coverage is a big mistake. A single illness or injury could total thousands of dollars out of pocket.

Still looking for the answer to your question or need additional guidance to get signed up on the Health Insurance Marketplace? Make an appointment with a navigator and sign up for additional information today.

NAVIGATING OPEN ENROLLMENT: Healthcare.gov Income Questions

The Open Enrollment Period is often the only opportunity for individuals and families to sign up for a health insurance plan for the following year. Until December 15, 2020, you can sign up for a 2021 plan.

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy’s health insurance navigators help families and individuals choose plans that are best for them within the Health Insurance Marketplace implemented under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). During this Open Enrollment Period, navigators have received calls and questions from Cabarrus, Mecklenburg and Union County residents about the household income section of the Healthcare.gov application. With this year’s pandemic and economic uncertainty, many have lost or changed employment and are struggling to estimate their income.

Listed below are some helpful tips and general guidelines. More of what to (and not to) include is available at charlottelegaladvocacy.org/getcovered.

Important points:

  • You must estimate your projected income for 2021.
    • If you are unemployed, it may be difficult to do this. Estimate how much you would make if you returned to your previous job.
    • If you don’t have a set salary or wages (for example, if you are a freelance worker, seasonal worker, or run your own business), it will be easier to estimate your income if you have a copy of your tax return from last year on hand.
    • If you are self-employed, you should input your net income. Click here for more help estimating your self-employment income.
    • If your income is very low or if you are unemployed, and you or a family member falls into one of the following groups, you may qualify to receive Medicaid: children under 21, pregnant women, women with breast or cervical cancer, individuals age 65 or older, blind or disabled individuals, people in need of long-term care, or people receiving Medicare.
  • You must report changes in income.
    • During the year, you must go back into your application to report if your income goes up or down. This will keep your monthly premium at a manageable price and help to reduce the amount of financial assistance you may have to pay back, if any at all.
  • You can receive financial assistance.
    • Estimating your income as accurately as possible allows the Marketplace to determine your eligibility for financial assistance.

Be sure to include:

  • Anticipated changes in income
    • Consider these questions: How might your income change in the coming year? Are you expecting business to improve or worsen? Will you be getting a raise? Work more hours? Get a seasonal job? Will another household member get a job? Will you gain or lose a dependent?
  • The anticipated income of all household members
    • If another person in your tax household has health coverage through a different plan or program, you still need to include their income on your application. Marketplace financial assistance is based on the income of all tax household members. You will be able to clarify on the application which household members do not need health coverage. Tax household members not applying for coverage are not required to provide any other information except income information (e.g. They do not have to provide a Social Security Number).
  • Some disability-related income
    • Only include Social Security disability payments when estimating your income for next year. Do not include Supplemental Security Income, only Social Security retirement or disability payments.
  • Income from investments
    • Things like stocks and bonds.
  • Alimony
    • Include only if your divorce or separation was finalized before January 1, 2019.

Do NOT include:

  • Self-employment expenses
    • Subtract any self-employment expenses from your estimated income.
  • Some disability-related income
    • Do not include Veterans’ disability income payments, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, and workers’ compensation payments when estimating your income for next year.
  • Social Security payments for applications that have not yet be approved
    • You can update your Marketplace application later next year if your application is approved.
  • Alimony
    • Do not include if your divorce or separation was finalized on or after January 1, 2019.
  • Child support

Free appointments with a local navigator can be made using the statewide appointment hotline at 1-855-733-3711, or online at www.ncnavigator.net. Appointments are filling quickly! Open Enrollment to sign up for a health insurance policy for 2021 will end Dec. 15, 2020!

More Resources:

More information on how to report your income: https://www.healthcare.gov/income-and-household-information/how-to-report/

And on what to include: https://www.healthcare.gov/income-and-household-information/income/

NC Extra Credit Grant Program

Dec. 7, 2020, Update:

On behalf of Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and our partners, thank you for your interest in the NC Extra Credit Grant program. The 335forNC application process has closed. 

However, if you are struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic there are several ways Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy may be able to help your family:

Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is committed to helping children and familiesSign up for our email newsletter to learn more.

Here’s more information on the NC Extra Credit Grant Program:

The North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) will mail checks to eligible applicants by Dec. 30, 2020. NCDOR call agents are unable to provide the status of application prior to December 29, 2020.

The grant amount is $335 total for each eligible individual, even if the individual has two or more qualifying children. The Dec. 7, 2020, application extension was only for individuals not required to file a 2019 state tax return. The Oct. 15, 2020, deadline for filing 2019 returns or amended returns was unchanged by the order (see Background below for more information).

Eligibility Requirements:

For those applicants who applied through the 335fornc.com website or toll free number during the extended application window, the applicant must have met the all requirements referenced in the law, including:

  • Not having already been issued an NC Extra Credit Grant payment.
  • Having been a North Carolina resident for all of 2019.
  • Not having filed a 2019 state tax return solely because the individual’s gross income for the 2019 taxable year did not exceed the state filing requirements for the individual’s filing status (generally $10,000 per year if single and $20,000 per year if married).
  • Having at least one qualifying child age 16 or under for the 2019 calendar year.

Background:

In September, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a statute to use federal coronavirus relief funds to send $335 checks to North Carolina families with children to help with remote learning and childcare costs during the pandemic. The law allows middle- and high-income families to automatically receive the relief funds, while requiring families with incomes so low that they did not file state income tax returns to submit an application for their share of the funds.

Many low-income families never learned of the program. The law also gave these low-income North Carolinians less than a month to submit an application. As a result, an estimated 200,000 families with incomes under $10,000 or $20,000 – the families most in need of help with remote learning and childcare expenses – were set to receive nothing.

On Oct. 20, 2020, Robinson Bradshaw filed a complaint challenging the exclusion of low-income families from coronavirus relief payments by the state of North Carolina. The firm represents Legal Aid of North Carolina, the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and several low-income residents pro bono in the suit.

As a result of this litigation, a court entered an order on Nov. 5, 2020, that reopened and extended the application period for eligible North Carolina individuals to apply for the $335 Extra Credit Grant. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and Legal Aid of North Carolina created a secure online application that accepted 24,946 applications before the Dec. 7, 2020, deadline.

Press Coverage:

Thanks to the following media organizations and all our outreach partners who spread the word about the application reopening for NC Extra Credit Grant program.

12/7/20

CBS 17 – Raleigh 

Univision – Raleigh
Hoy es el último día para pedir la ayuda de $335 para gastos escolares en Carolina del Norte

Fox 46 – Charlotte
Remote learning grant for low-income families extended

The Charlotte Observer
NC parents have until 2 p.m. today to apply for a $335 COVID-19 relief payment. Here’s how.

WSOC – Charlotte
Today is the deadline for NC families to apply for $335 ‘extra credit’ grant

12/2/20

The Charlotte Observer
NC parents have until Monday to apply for a $335 COVID-19 relief payment. Here’s how.

11/30/20

Duplin Times – Greenville 
North Carolinians must apply for $335 grant before Dec. 7

11/28-29/20

Francene Marie Show – Beasley Media Group (Charlotte) 

11/26/20

Salisbury Post
Few applications received for state’s child care, remote learning assistance grant

11/25/20

Port City Daily – Wilmington
335 for NC grant deadline extended for families

11/24/20

Greensboro News & Record
How parents can still claim their $335 checks

NC Policy Watch
Advocates: there’s still time for North Carolina families to get $335 “extra credit grants”

11/23/20

WSOC – Charlotte
Here’s what families need to know about NC’s $335 ‘extra credit’ grant

The Mountaineer – Western NC (Waynesville)
How parents can still claim their $335 checks

NewsBreak – NC
335 for NC accepting grant applications from families in need through Dec. 7

Progressive Pulse – NC
Advocates: there’s still time for North Carolina families to get $335 “extra credit grants”

WRAL – Raleigh
Parents: Didn’t get your $335 check? Here’s your second chance

Mountain Xpress – Asheville

335 for NC accepting grant applications from families in need through Dec. 7

11/21/20

LaNoticia – Charlotte
Familias de Carolina del Norte podrían tener otra oportunidad de obtener un cheque de $335 del estado

11/20/20

WFAE – Charlotte 
Judge Orders Applications To Reopen for $335 COVID-19 Grants

CBS 17 – Raleigh
Deadline extended for NC families to apply for one-time $335 grant

Voting in 2020

Have you made your plan to vote yet?

In a historic election year, your voice deserves to be heard. Vote for #accesstojustice this fall.  Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy encourages everyone who can to vote and let their voice be heard. 

Below you can find information on how to register to vote in North Carolina, ways that you can vote in North Carolina, resources for this information, and non-partisan election volunteer opportunities.  

How to Register to Vote: 

Regular voter registration ends on October 9th, 2020. Eligible voters can register to vote three ways: 

  • BMail: Fill out the voter registration form (English) (Spanish) and mail it to your local Board of Elections office or Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office. Click here to find your local Board of Elections office.  
  • Online: North Carolina residents who have a valid driver’s license can register to vote online on the DMV website. There is no fee associated with this service.   
  • In Person: You can register to vote in person at your local Board of Elections office, DMV, or during early voting.  

If you miss the regular voter registration deadline, you can register at your early voting polling precinct between October 15th and October 31st AND vote on the same day. You must have a document with your legal name and proof of address such as a valid NC driver’s license or other government issued identification, a recent utility bill, or a current college/university identification with proof of campus residency. Learn more about early voting registration here. Check your early voting site here.   

How to Vote: 

Registered voters in North Carolina can cast their ballot by mail (also known as absentee voting) or in-person:  

  • By Mail: You can request your absentee ballot online via the North Carolina absentee ballot request portal. You should request your ballot as soon as possible and at least two weeks prior to election day due to mail delays. After receipt of your ballot, cast your vote in the presence of a witness and return it to any of the following locations by 5pm on November 3rd: 
  • Mail it to or drop it off at your local Board of Elections office. Click here to find your local Board of Elections office. 
  • Drop it off at your early voting site between October 15th and October 31st. Find your early voting site here.   
  • In person: You can vote early in-person between October 15th and October 31st or on election day on November 3rd. Please note that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the locations of polling precincts and that in-person voters will be required to follow all COVID-19 state safety guidelines. Curbside voting is available for individuals who are unable to enter the polling precinct. Find your early voting site here. Find your election day voting site here.  

Get Involved 

There are several options to for interested volunteers to get involved in the 2020 election: 

  • Election officials and student assistant election officials direct voters during in-person voting days. Learn more and sign up on the NC Board of Elections website.  
  • Train and sign up to be a poll monitor with Election Protection, the nation’s largest non-partisan voter protection coalition.  
  • Register your friends and family to vote with the information provided in this email! (Or forward this email to them!)