COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on our world. Even if the virus has spared the lives of our friends and family members, life as we know it will never, ever, be the same. The world is changing—probably forever. Even if taking the health issues aside, for those of us older millennials who were around for the 2008 financial crisis, this may very well be the second economic crisis of our professional careers. While some of us chose careers which are more adaptable to “working from home”, many, especially those in the food and hospitality industry, have been laid off and are out of work entirely. The economic stimulus bill, though helpful, won't go very far to help those who find themselves unemployed with little, to no end in sight.
Though we attorneys at Schauermann Thayer focus our practice on personal injury and insurance law—not exactly the legal areas needed during a crisis like this—and though our blog posts typically focus on what our firm can do for “you”, I wanted to share some resources that could help—even if the help you need is a referral to another competitor law firm. Desperate times call for desperate measures and right now, Americans are coming together like never before (from six feet away!!!).
Last week there were 3,000,000 applications for unemployment benefits in the United States. That is more than ten times the number from the week prior. Ten times! If you have found yourself unemployed, the Washington State Employment Security Department or the Oregon Employment Department should be your first stop. Each of these government websites offer resources and the forms necessary to apply for unemployment benefits. You may also have a case that could benefit from the assistance of an employment lawyer. Again, this isn't our area of practice but we'd be more than willing to discuss your case with you and get you in touch with those who are more experienced in this area of the law.
Social Security Disability law is a broad area of the law that encompasses more than just the baby boomers who are no longer physically able to work. There are programs available for many people and you might be eligible for benefits if you recently got laid off or lost your job. You don't necessarily even need a strong work background to apply for disability and there are five different programs that encompass all sorts of scenarios. The bottom line is if you have a disability that keeps you from working—even if it's for something other than the coronavirus you may be eligible for disability. Though this isn't something we handle, if you have questions about disability, we can certainly point you in the right direction and get you the help you need.
To help alleviate some of the economic struggles we're all facing, both Governor Jay Inslee and Governor Kate Brown have put restrictions on what and when a Washington or Oregon landlord may evict a tenant. Times are tough for all of us right now. If you have questions about your rights as a tenant, the law probably has answers. As with above, while we probably couldn't do more than direct you to Washington's Residential Landlord Tenant Act, or Oregon's Residential Landlord and Tenant chapter of the Oregon Revised Code, we can absolutely connect you with those experienced in these matters.
Even if the legal issue in front of you is not one which I have discussed in this post, we're more than willing to discuss your matter with you. Though we're not in the office right now, we are all taking calls in our homes and helping to keep the wheels of justice running as smoothly as possible in these undeniably rocky times. Feel free to call.