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Legal Services Journal - Winter 2009-2010 Issue


Articles in this Issue

Empire Justice Center Elects Officers and New Board Members
January 16, 2010
Empire Justice Center, a statewide leader working to achieve social and economic justice for people in New York State, is pleased to announce the election of three new members to its Board of Directors. Read More

Empire Justice Center's Legislative Agenda 2009-2011
January 16, 2010
The Summer issue of the Legal Services Journal highlighted many legislative initiatives for 2009-2011 and provided a “Legislative Scorecard” on those initiatives with detailed articles on a broad array of issue areas. This article will review those initiatives and add to the Legislative Scorecard as we move into the New Year. Read More

Empire Justice Training Center Highlights: Training of the Month
Standing Ovations and Special Recognition for 2009 Contributions
January 16, 2010
2009 ended in a blaze of training events, including the delivery and video-taping of 12 substantive law programs. We wish to give special recognition to advocates in our community who are working hard to make high quality training available to legal services advocates and pro bono volunteers in New York. Read More

Empire Justice Center Issues Report On Child Care Disparities
January 16, 2010
Quality subsidized child care benefits both children and working parents. The New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) administers a one billion dollar block grant program, consisting primarily of federal funding, which provides financial assistance to low income families who need child care. Read More

Public Assistance Budgeting and the New Child Support Distribution Rules
January 16, 2010
On October l, 2009, the rules regarding the distribution of child support arrears to families on public assistance changed. Families who apply for public assistance on or after that date will have child support arrears disbursed directly to them even though they receive assistance. The arrears of recipients of public assistance who assigned their child support rights to the local social services district before October 1, 2009, will continue to be collected and retained by the local social services district. Read More

New York State Human Rights Law Offers Few Protections Without Attorney's Fees
January 16, 2010
The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) has the potential to offer New Yorkers civil rights protections beyond federal law, but these rights cannot be realized without the provision of attorney’s fees. Read More

Addressing Credit Reporting Issues for Survivors of Domestic Violence
January 16, 2010
Once immediate safety concerns are addressed, long-term independence and security for survivors of domestic violence require reliable financial resources to sustain daily living and future planning. Read More

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Update
January 16, 2010
OTDA has taken advantage of a federal option to expand New York’s Transitional Benefits Alternative (TBA) program, which provides transitional food stamps to households with children who are leaving temporary assistance (TA). TBA is an enhanced food stamp benefit provided for 5 months after the date of the TA case closing. Read More

Court Holds that Doe v. Doar Class Members Entitled to Offset of Debt Owed the Agency
January 16, 2010
The case of Doe v, Doar, 26 AD2d 787 (2006), app dismissed 6 NY 3d 89, successfully challenged the illegal reduction of public assistance grants to individuals living in households with children where a family member was in receipt of Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The final judgment resulted in the restoration of tens of thousands illegally reduced public assistance grants, but the terms of the order limited the restoration of Doe underpayments to class members who were recipients of public assistance. Read More

The U Visa For Crime Victims
January 16, 2010
The U visa provides immigration status to certain victims of certain crimes. It was created in the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000, Pub. Law 106-386 § 1513, codified at 8 USCA §§ 1101(a)(15)(U), 1184(o) and 1255(l), and its implementing regulations are at 8 CFR § 214.14.1 Read More

Understanding Special Immigrant Juvenile Status
An Advocates Call to Action
January 16, 2010
There are few groups in the United States more vulnerable than undocumented and unaccompanied immigrant children. The circumstances of their arrival in the U.S. include fleeing dangers and natural disasters in their home countries, separation from family members, abuse, neglect, abandonment and being the victims of crimes such as human trafficking and child labor. Read More

United States Overturns Entry Ban on Immigrants with HIV
January 16, 2010
This past October, President Barack Obama announced that the twenty-two year travel and immigration ban on persons with HIV/AIDS would be overturned, effective this month. The ban was enacted in 1987 by the Department of Health and Human Services and resulted in the exclusion of thousands of students, tourists, and refugees. Read More

The Foreclosure Prevention, Tenant Protection and Property Maintenance Act of 2009
Chapter 507 of the Laws of New York, 2009
January 16, 2010
On December 15, 2009, Governor Paterson signed into law comprehensive legislation that the New York State Legislature had passed in November, referred to as the Foreclosure Prevention, Tenant Protection and Property Maintenance Act of 2009. The law extends protections previously in law for homeowners with subprime and nontraditional loans to all homeowners in danger of losing their homes. Read More

New Federal Loan Repayment Plan Provides Relief for Student Loan Borrowers
January 16, 2010
On July 1, 2009, the federal government made a new student loan repayment program, Income-Based Repayment, available to borrowers. This new repayment option makes student loan payments more affordable for many more people. Under the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program, a borrower’s monthly payment on federal student loans is capped based upon the borrower’s income and family size. Read More

Social Security Recipients Lose COLA Wars
January 15, 2010
Move over Coke and Pepsi. The COLA wars continue into 2010, and the big losers are recipients of benefits administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Of course we are talking about the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) that SSA has added to its benefit programs for every year of the programs’ existence. Read More

Survivor Stories
A Look into the Lives of Immigrant Clients
January 16, 2010
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed by Congress in 1994. Among many other protections, VAWA created special provisions in United States immigration law to protect immigrant victims of domestic violence. The VAWA Self-Petitioning process allows a battered spouse of a United States citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR) to break free from the sponsorship control that an abusive spouse may have over the undocumented immigrant and petition on their own (self-petition) to gain legal status in the United States. Read More

"Fair Access" to Civil Orders of Protection
A Progress Report One Year Later
January 16, 2010
To victims of intimate partner violence, civil orders of protection represent one of the most sought after and useful legal remedies available to help provide protection from abuse. Read More