Welfare Law Unit Direct Client Services
Access to public benefits
The Welfare Law Unit seeks to help our clients maintain and sustain economic stability by ensuring access to the public benefits to which they are entitled, including the TAFDC cash assistance program for families with children, the EAEDC cash assistance program for disabled individuals and some others, the Food Stamp program, and related benefits such as child care and education and training programs. Without these benefits, many of our clients would become homeless, would not be able to feed their families, and would not be able to meet their most basic of needs.
Cash and nutritional assistance
We represent clients when the welfare agency wrongfully denies applications for cash and/or nutritional assistance, or lowers or stops all assistance, or provides less than the client is entitled to. When our advocacy reveals a period of erroneous deprivation of benefits, we seek retroactive benefits for our clients whenever possible.
Child care and other benefits
We represent clients when the welfare or child care agency wrongfully denies or stops child care assistance needed for employment, job search, or education and training.
We represent clients when the welfare agency or other state agency wrongfully denies or interferes with access to education and training programs.
Protecting the rights of marginalized populations
Individuals with disabilities
We represent clients who, because of disability, have difficulty accessing benefits, and need assistance to navigate the welfare agency’s systems. We also represent clients who need help requesting reasonable accommodations. In 2007, we filed a federal class action lawsuit against the welfare agency, bringing claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act. To read more about our lawsuit, click here.
We also help parents receiving cash assistance assert protections to which they may be entitled due to a child’s disabilities, including protection from time limits and work requirements, when needed.
We advise clients about the welfare agency’s complex eligibility rules for immigrants, and represent clients who have been wrongfully denied benefits for themselves and/or family members due to their status as immigrants. In some cases, immigrants are erroneously denied even the right to apply for benefits.
Persons with limited English proficiency
We represent clients with limited English proficiency who have been denied the right to an interpreter. The lack of an interpreter often leads to errors in the amount of benefits, which are fixed through our representation of individual clients.
Domestic violence survivors
We advise survivors of domestic violence about protections and waivers under the welfare agency’s rules, and represent clients who wish to assert their eligibility for the protections or waivers. For example, survivors of domestic violence receiving financial assistance for their family are eligible for “good cause” to be excused from the requirement that they assign the right to collect child support to the state if doing so would place the family at risk due to domestic violence.