April 2020 Newsletter

NEWSLETTER / April 2020

South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) is a non-profit law firm. We provide free legal services in a wide variety of civil (non-criminal) legal matters to eligible low income residents of South Carolina. Our mission is to provide legal services to protect the rights and represent the interests of low income South Carolinians.

To protect the health and safety of our clients, staff and visitors, all South Carolina Legal Services offices are temporarily not open to the public. You can apply for legal services by calling our intake office at 888-346-5592 or online.

Just a friendly reminder.  You and your clients may have heard that the court system is not processing evictions until May 1st.  Please make sure that you and your clients are aware that rent has not been cancelled.  It is still coming due and should be paid.  We are concerned about people who unnecessarily face eviction due to believing that rent has been cancelled.

In order to receive the full amount of Economic Impact Payment, Supplemental Security Income and Department of Veterans Affairs beneficiaries must act by May 5 if you have dependents and didn’t file a tax return in 2018 or 2019. Your $1,200 payments will be issued soon and, in order to add the $500 per eligible child amount to these payments, the IRS needs the dependent information before the payments are issued. Otherwise, your payment at this time will be $1,200 and, by law, the additional $500 per eligible child amount will be paid in association with a return filing for tax year 2020.  More.

We have free resources to help you navigate some of the most common legal issues during these difficult times. Information about court closings, eligibility and applying for benefits, economic stimulus payments and more here.


South Carolina allows for multiple charges to be expunged from a person’s criminal record, depending on the convictions. While the law is standard as to what can be expunged, the application process can differ based on the county where the conviction occurred.  We have put together a small checklist of considerations and documents to prepare during this time that will be useful in any county.

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April has been designated as the National Child Abuse Prevention month in the United States since 1983.  However, the Coronavirus has raised new concerns about child abuse.  Schools have been closed since mid-March. Many parents have been laid off or are working from home.  The added stress for parents is more likely to lead to reactions toward children that may be abusive.

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South Carolina’s rate of domestic violence ranks 5th in the nation. The stay-at-home orders and wide-spread job losses have added an extra layer of strain on the already fragile family relations. Domestic violence does not discriminate. Victims of domestic violence come from all faith group, races, age brackets and educational and socioeconomic classes. Although we may not be able to eliminate domestic violence completely, we can help make families safer. See information below on our self-help tool that allows victims to seek safety through an Order of Protection. Help us in delivering this tool to those in need. Together, we can make a difference.