NEWS, UPCOMING EVENTS and SERVICES
SPECIAL ELECTION FEB. 23: DC 37 members are making calls together live on Zoom! There’s a lot at stake for us in 2021 and we need to make sure we have representatives on the New York City Council who will have our backs when we need them to. Please join us for a virtual phone bank to urge our DC 37 sisters and brothers to vote for Selvena Brooks-Powers for City Council in the 31st Council District. You can sign up for one of the phone banking shifts taking place today through Thursday, Feb. 18 and on Special Election Day, Tuesday, Feb. 23. Even if you’ve never volunteered with us before, using the virtual phone bank is easy and convenient. The time you spend volunteering can make a big difference in improving the lives of DC 37 members. Please sign up now for a phone banking shift at: https://www.mobilize.us/afscmedc37/event/374983/
DC 37 HEALTH & SECURITY PLAN
Update Your H&S Plan information. The new year brings new changes. The DC 37 Health & Security Plan makes sure you and your family are covered, healthy, and safe through 2021.
It’s vital that your information is up-to-date. If you’ve recently experienced a major life change, such as a move, a change in single/marital status, a new child, or retirement, be sure to update your information and submit the necessary forms and supporting documentation to the DC 37 Eligibility & Enrollment Unit. All H&S Plan forms, including the Change of Status Form, are atwww.dc37.net/benefits/health/hs_forms.
BENEFITS of BECOMING a U.S. CITIZEN, MARCH 3, 6 P.M.
The Building Service 32BJ Legal Services Fund (Legal Fund), Municipal Employees Legal Services (MELS) and CUNY’s Citizenship Now are jointly presenting a seminar on how to become a U.S. citizen and the benefits of citizenship. This seminar will answer:
- How and when to file to become a USC?
- What are the benefits of being a USC?
- What are the requirements to become a USC?
- What is the test to become a USC and how to prepare?
- Whom can I petition for as a USC?
- How can the Legal Fund or MELS help me?
Join us for the Benefits of Becoming a U.S. Citizen Seminar on Wed. March 3, at 6PM. REGISTER HERE: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMvdOmpqTgvE9DDAGtjb9wRPpJBmc_XYvTY
MELS HOUSING WEBINAR MARCH 16, 5:30 PM
Learn how NYC Rent Freeze Programs will affect you as MELS housing experts and lawyers explain rent law changes and programs such as Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption, Disability Rent Increase Exemption, the online application process, updates for NYC Tenants COVID-19 Eviction Restrictions, filing a Tenant Declaration, and more.
Register at www.dc37mels.com to get a Meeting ID by e-mail 24 hours before the event on TUES., MARCH 16, 5:30 to P.M. For more information, call the MELS Screening Unit at (212) 815-1111 or email MELSscreeningunit@dc37.net
FREE TAX PREP: The Food Bank for NYC offers free, contactless tax preparation services for low income New Yorkers to help them get the refunds and credits they are entitled to, including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that can be worth up to $8,852 for some families. For free tax prep visit here: https://www.foodbanknyc.org/taxhelp/
The MELS Tax Tips 2020 Webinar video and PowerPoint slide show are now online:http://bit.ly/3a4JtVC. MELS Tax Tips webinar slides: http://bit.ly/3qXdvkT
The IRS income tax filing deadline is April 15.
STUDENT LOAN FORBEARANCE thru SEPT. 30: President Joe Biden extended the student loan payment forbearance created under the CARES Act through Sept. 30. Borrowers with direct federal student loans in repayment continue to be excused from making their regular month payments. No interest and no penalties will accrue. Collection activity is also suspended. Borrowers can opt to make voluntary principal balance payments. For more information, call the MELS Screening Unit at 212 815-1111 or email: MELSscreeningunit@dc37.net.
NYS EVICTION MORATORIUM thru MAY 1: A sweeping eviction ban gives relief to qualifying tenants fearful of losing their homes during the pandemic through May 1. To qualify for protection from eviction, tenants must file a “hardship declaration.” The law does not absolve the financial obligations of renters who file declarations, leaving them subject to eviction after May 1. Click onhttps://bit.ly/3nj8O2u to view a sample “hardship declaration” that you can print and submit to your landlord. To speak with a MELS attorney about the eviction ban or any other housing matter, and to access your free legal service benefits, call the MELS Screening Unit at 212 815-1111 or email MELSscreeningunit@dc37.net.
PAID FAMILY LEAVE BENEFIT: The Paid Family Leave benefit is 12 weeks. The maximum weekly paid benefit is $971.61, or $1,943 bi-weekly. This union negotiated New York State benefit is available to nearly all DC 37 members, including those in the six nonprofit and private sector locals. PFL provides a salary and job security while you bond with your newborn or adopted child, care for a sick parent, and more. For details please read the DC 37 PFL blog. To acess the 2021 PFL calculator, visit: http://on.ny.gov/2LsklQ8
COVID-19 WORKERS’ COMP and SHORT-TERM DISABILITY: DC 37 members who believe they have contracted coronavirus in the line of duty can apply for New York State Workers’ Compensation. Additionally, DC 37 Health & Security short-term disability benefits may be available for members who have filed Workers’ Comp claims. For more information click here: http://bit.ly/3ptCdt0
AFSCME Free 4-Year College: The free 4-year college program has been extended for good. This can be combined with the Free College program, under which AFSCME members and their immediate family can earn associate degrees for free. This means members of the AFSCME family can go to college for free from anywhere in the country. All they need is a computer and an internet connection. For more information visit: https://freecollege.afscme.org/
DC 37 ED FUND
TUITION REIMBURSEMENT: As DC 37 resumes its Tuition Reimbursement program, the streamlined application process may be longer than usual processing time required; thank you for your patience. Members should mail in their completed reimbursement applications and supporting documents to: DC 37 Education Fund Attn: Tuition Refund, 75 Broad Street, Suite 2204 New York, NY 10004
CONFUSED ABOUT CUNY? SIGN UP FOR A FREE PERSONAL ADVISEMENT SESSION: Are you interested in CUNY but feeling confused or overwhelmed by all the options? Let Worker Education at the CUNY School of Labor & Urban Studies (SLU) help guide you through the process. SLU’s experienced advisors are available for free, 1-to-1 virtual pre-admissions sessions to discuss: Academic requirements for specific jobs; special programs at SLU for union members; choosing a CUNY campus and major; applying to and financing a CUNY degree; certificate and non-credit options at CUNY and SLU; transferring previous credits, and more. Each session is free and catered to your specific goals and needs. View the calendar and schedule your CUNY advisement session atCUNYDays.eventbrite.com. Can’t find a date/time that works for you? Please contact: WorkerEd@slu.cuny.edu
YOU CAN GET YOUR HIGH SCHOOL EQUIVALENCY DIPLOMA. LET THE ED FUND HELP! Do you need your High School Equivalency Diploma? You may be eligible for the TASC test waiver in effect through June 30, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The test for the High School Equivalency Diploma is now called the TASC Test. The TASC, Test Assessing Secondary Completion, replaces the GED exam. If you took and passed at least three subtests on the TASC and/or the GED exam you may qualify for the COVID-19 waiver. For more details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.