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LAWO SERVICES

Public Benefits

For many people, public benefits from county, state or federal government programs are often the only source of household income. Reduction or loss of these benefits can have a devastating impact. LAWO assists clients with benefits issues through representation in administrative hearings, and in court if necessary, when benefits have been denied, terminated, or reduced.

Legal Aid's staff of attorneys and paralegals provides assistance with public benefits issues through legal advice, providing referrals, document preparation and full representation in limited cases.

We can help you with:

  • Problems with Department of Job and Family Services benefits, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), State Disability Assistance, and Food Stamps
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits
  • Veterans benefits
  • Health Insurance (Medicaid, Medicare, VA, private
  • Programs that can assist you in paying your rent
  • Programs that can help you pay certain kinds of emergency expenses

LAWO's Benefits Planning Project staff also can work with disabled clients who are currently employed or who are considering employment. LAWO will advise clients about the ways that different types of employment may affect their benefits, including detailed explanations of how wages will affect the client’s total income and health benefits. The analysis can be customized to address variations in employment preferences (full-time, part-time, self-employment) and is accompanied by a benefits and earnings comparison chart tailored to meet the client’s needs.


Securing benefits for Sabrina

Sabrina was notified that her Medicaid benefits were terminated because she did not inform Social Security of an increase in her income. Sabrina relied on her Medicaid, so she contacted legal aid when she was asked for proof of expenses to verify how a car settlement award had been spent. As a result of a brain tumor, she was not cognitively able to gather the documentation on her own.

Legal aid worked with Sabrina to gather the documents and provide a timeline that included when the awards were received along with dates and locations of purchases and expenses.

Sabrina and her legal aid advocate attended a meeting with Social Security, where it was determined that she had only exceeded resources two out of ten months. Sabrina's SSI benefits were prevented from being terminated as a result of the meeting and the documentation.

Sabrina and Public Benefits