Press release from Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy:
Charlotte, N.C. – The organizers of 335forNC.com have reopened the application process for Extra Credit Grants to support low-income families in North Carolina struggling to meet the demands of educating and caring for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic. Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and its partners, Robinson Bradshaw and Legal Aid of North Carolina, took successful legal action to reopen the application process for eligible families to apply for one $335 Extra Credit Grant per household. Eligible N.C. families who missed the original October deadline are encouraged to go to 335forNC.com as soon as possible to apply for a $335 Extra Credit Grant before the deadline, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, at 2 p.m.
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and its partners will host a virtual press conference to respond to media requests for information about the Extra Credit Grant program, Monday, Nov. 23, 2020, at 10 a.m.
Made possible by federal coronavirus relief funds, the NC Extra Credit Grant program provides substantial financial relief for families who desperately need it. For a parent living on minimum wage, $335 is more than he or she will earn in a week. For every 3,000 Extra Credit Grant applications received through 335forNC.com, $1M will directly support children living in poverty.
Eligible families who did not get the opportunity to apply for an Extra Credit Grant before the Oct. 15, 2020, deadline are encouraged to apply. People should plan to apply for an Extra Credit Grant if they did not file a 2019 state tax return solely because their gross income for the 2019 was below state requirements (generally $10,000 per year if single and $20,000 per year, if married). Eligible applicants need to have at least one qualifying child aged 16 or younger in 2019, and be a North Carolina resident for all of 2019.
Please note that if an individual applied through the NC Department of Revenue (NCDOR) application process before the Oct. 15 deadline, their Extra Credit Grant check will come directly from NCDOR later this year. Unfortunately, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy has no access to this system and cannot provide updates or support for those who are expecting checks but have not yet received them.
“Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy has advocated for those in need who were excluded from the Extra Credit Grant program,” said Executive Director Kenneth Schorr. “We are implementing this program statewide to ensure this help gets to parents and caregivers who need it most.”
In early September, the North Carolina legislature passed a coronavirus relief act providing for $335 Extra Credit Grant payments to North Carolina residents meant to offset the costs of virtual learning and childcare for their children during the pandemic. Eligible middle- and high-income families were set to receive grants automatically through N.C. tax filings; however, many low-income families with annual incomes of $20,000 or less could only receive an Extra Credit Grant if they submitted an application to the NCDOR by Oct. 15, 2020. At this time, only 15,000 families applied to receive a $335 check from the state, and the rest (tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of eligible low-income families) were set to receive nothing.
“Extra Credit Grants are lifelines for families struggling during the pandemic,” said Adam Doerr, an attorney with Robinson Bradshaw. “A $335 check can cover the cost of an inexpensive computer or the internet service required for remote learning. It can also help cover childcare for a parent trying to interview for a job after being out of work.”
Robinson Bradshaw, on behalf of Legal Aid of North Carolina, Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy and several low-income families, filed a complaint claiming the General Assembly chose a discriminatory, irrational and unconstitutional process for distributing these payments. Through this litigation, the Plaintiffs succeeded in obtaining a court 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 worked quickly to create a secure and easily accessible online application in two weeks. The application process located at 335forNC.com is now open and the deadline for enrollment is Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, at 2 p.m.
Robinson Bradshaw is a Carolinas-based corporate law firm celebrating 60 years of providing comprehensive legal services to clients. Robinson Bradshaw represents businesses across the country ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies. Learn more at robinsonbradshaw.com.
Legal Aid of North Carolina is a statewide, nonprofit law firm that provides free legal services in civil matters to low-income people in order to ensure equal access to justice and to remove legal barriers to economic opportunity. Learn more at legalaidnc.org.
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy can provide those in need with information, advice and advocacy in consumer protection, home preservation, health care access and public benefits, immigration, tax assistance and more. Our mission is to pursue justice for those in need. Our vision is to build a just community, where all people are treated fairly and have access to legal representation to meet their basic human needs of safety, economic security and stability. Learn more: charlottelegaladvocacy.org.