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Web News - April 2017

April 28, 2017

Guidance For Same Sex Couples Seeking SSA Benefits

On March 1, 2017, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced that it would reopen its decisions to deny spousal or survivor’s benefits to individuals who had been married to someone of the same sex, and whose marriage wasn’t recognized because of a discriminatory state or federal ban on marriage. This ruling and policy applies not only to individuals who were denied benefits after the Supreme Court struck down federal discrimination against same-sex spouses (in United States v. Windsor in 2013) and state discrimination (in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015), but also to individuals who applied for and did not receive benefits before these Supreme Court decisions because of the discriminatory laws in effect at the time they applied. 

Justice in Aging has developed a new Fact Sheet that includes more detailed information about who is affected by the new guidance and what advocates and their clients should do to get their cases reopened.

New Website for Veterans and Volunteer Attorneys Available

Pro Bono Net and the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program have collaborated to create a new website to support and engage both veterans and volunteer attorneys.  The new site leverages the technology platform, which is used to support broad-based networks of legal aid, civil rights, and pro bono lawyers across the country.

The new web platform makes it easier for veterans to file federal court appeals, more efficient for attorneys to volunteer and ask for cases to represent veterans in need, and more effective for The Veterans Consortium (TVC) staff attorneys to carefully match the right client with the best volunteer.

Benefits Checklist for Older Adults in NYS Updated

The Brookdale center has updated its Benefits Checklist for Older Adults, an essential resource for anyone who advises or assists older adults in New York State – from lawyers, accountants and financial advisers to social workers, nurses, and doctors. Professionals involved in shaping elder care law and policy or overseeing services for the elderly will also find the Benefits Checklist useful.

NY Attorney General Issues Tenant Rights Information

Every New Yorker who rents a home or an apartment has the legal right to live there in peace.  State law prohibits landlords and their employees from harassing or threatening tenants, and these protections apply regardless of a tenant’s immigration status. All tenants have rights that are protected by a variety of federal, state, and local housing laws. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office has set up a know-your-rights website and hotline outlining immigration based protections for NY tenants.


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