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Legal Services Journal - Summer 2009 Issue


Articles in this Issue

Empire Justice Center Welcomes New Board Members
August 13, 2009
The Board of Directors of the Empire Justice Center welcomes new members: Read More

Integrating Information Sharing: The LSJ and the Web
August 13, 2009
Like many publications across the country the Legal Services Journal has tried to respond to the ways that people take in information. For the last several years we have posted the Journal on our website and made it available to download in its entirety or read online. Read More

LSJ Returns - New Empire Justice Center Website Launches
August 13, 2009
We are pleased to be able to offer the first Legal Services Journal of 2009. Read More

New Website Supports Self-Help
August 13, 2009
In the website’s first week, I had the pleasure of seeing how useful a tool it can be when I received a call from a gentleman who had found materials on our website and had questions. Read More

Focus on Leadership
“Good to Great and the Social Sectors”
August 14, 2009
A small monograph by Jim Collins, author of Built to Last and Good to Great, seminal works about why and how some companies not only make it through hard times, but actually make the leap to become even better, recently caught my attention. Read More

Better Choices Made in New York State
August 13, 2009
New York State was facing a massive state budget deficit of some $15 billion for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. I suppose we should have taken comfort in the fact that we were not alone in this situation. Under the heading of “misery loves company”, 46 other states were also facing glaring budget deficits this year. Read More

Child Care Update
August 13, 2009
This year, the New York State budget allocated $736,036,409 to local social services districts for the provision of child care assistance for the period of April 1, 2009 through March 31, 2010. Read More

Governor Signs Legislation that Repeals Child Support Cooperation Requirements for Child Care Assistance
August 13, 2009
Empire Justice and child care advocates from across the state worked hard to support this bill, which has now become law. The new law removes what had been a substantial barrier to child care assistance, causing custodial parents to miss work, or even avoid applying for assistance. Read More

New Law Provides Uniform Standards for Assessing Medical Child Support and Protections for Low-Income Parents
August 13, 2009
On July 15, Governor Paterson signed a bill, sponsored by Judiciary Chairs, Assemblymember Helene Weinstein and Senator John Sampson, into law that will make significant changes to sections 413 of the Family Court Act and 240 of the Domestic Relations Law. Read More

Medicaid Reimbursement of Interpretation Services
A.0733 (Gottfried) /S.3740-A (Duane)
August 13, 2009
This session, the Empire Justice Center and its partners New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) and the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) and a statewide coalition of health professionals, immigrants and limited English proficient (LEP) New Yorkers rallied support for the Medicaid reimbursement of interpreters bill A.0733 (Gottfried)/S.3740-A(Duane).1 Read More

New York’s First Cross Agency Language Access Policy
August 13, 2009
In April 2007, Empire Justice Center sent a memorandum to the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) which described how many states have a cross agency language access policy to serve their limited English proficient (LEP) applicants and beneficiaries. The memorandum outlined the components of an effective policy and recommended the creation of a cross agency LEP workgroup. Read More

Meaningful Web Access for LEP Clients Examples from the Net
August 13, 2009
This article discusses the obligation to translate website content and highlights emerging and distinctive ways that programs are using web technology to help ensure essential resources and information are accessible to LEP clients. Read More

Prohibition Against Aide-Transportation to Non-Medical Destinations Lifted
August 13, 2009
As a result of advocacy efforts by persons with disabilities and their representatives from across the State, the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), has reversed a policy decision forbidding persons participating in the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) from being transported outside the home by their CDPAP aides. Read More

Debt Settlement Scams
August 13, 2009
Debt Settlement companies promise to help consumers escape from mounting credit card debt, while paying only a fraction of the money owed. These companies promise to help consumers by negotiating directly with creditors. Some of them even promise that a lawyer will help with the negotiations Read More

Fair Hearing Bank
An Excellent Resource for Advocates
August 13, 2009
The Fair Hearing Bank, part of the Online Resource Center maintained by Western New York Law Center and Empire Justice Center, is a helpful destination for advocates seeking to stay informed of the most recent fair hearings concerning public benefits in New York State. Read More

A Public Assistance Grant Increase - Finally!
August 13, 2009
In the course of the budget process, the Legislature adopted – and Governor Paterson then approved – an increase in the basic allowance portion of the public assistance grant for the first time in nearly twenty years. Read More

Final Regulations Enhance Public Assistance Recipients Access to Education Activities
August 13, 2009
In late January, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) proposed amendments to state regulations relating to public assistance recipient participation in educational and training activities. Read More

Foreclosure Prevention: State and Federal Update
August 13, 2009
It’s not like anyone needs to read another article these days about foreclosures and what they are doing to our economy. New York State, however, has taken unprecedented steps to address the problem, as has President Obama’s administration. Read More

SSA Issues Guidance for SSI Refugee Extension
July 1, 2009
On September 30, 2008, then President Bush signed the “SSI Extension for Elderly and Disabled Refugees Act” (“Extension Act,” Public Law 110-328). The legislation temporarily extends the eligibility of elderly and disabled refugees, asylees and various other groups of humanitarian based immigrants for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from seven years to nine years. Read More

Direct Express Cards Available
July 1, 2009
Many Social Security and SSI recipients have encountered problems with receiving their monthly benefits in the mail or even by direct deposit into their bank accounts. Problems with lost or stolen paper checks are not uncommon, and of course, exempt Social Security and SSI checks supposedly protected in claimant’s bank accounts have nonetheless been subject to seizure by creditors. Read More

Resource Manual for Advocates Working with Immigrants
August 13, 2009
Resources for Advocates Working with Immigrants in Need of Medical Assistance--a manual describing the immigrant eligibility rules of New York’s several medical assistance programs authored by Barbara Weiner, senior staff attorney at the Empire Justice Center, and published by the Community Health Care Association of New York State is available on the Empire Justice Center website. The manual covers program eligibility rules as well as addressing other issues of concern to immigrants, including confidentiality, public charge consequences of using public benefits and immigrant sponsor liability. Read More

Settlement Reached in Fleeing Felon Case
May 1, 2009
Fleeing felon issues continue to burden claimants and confound advocates. The SSI “fugitive felon” provisions in the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), 42 U.S.C. §1382(e)(4)(A) & (B), were extended to the Title II program in 2004. Read More

New York State Court of Appeals - Legal Aliens Not Entitled to State Benefits at Level Given U.S. Citizens
August 13, 2009
On May 12, 2009, the New York State Court of Appeals issued a decision in Khrapunskiy v. Doar, 12 N.Y.3d 478 (2009), a class action case addressing the level of assistance the state is obligated to provide to elderly, blind and disabled legal immigrants who have been rendered ineligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because of their immigration status. Read More

New York's Prescription Drug Safety Net Survives Another Tough Budget Year
August 13, 2009
Medicare is now the nation’s largest public payor of prescription drugs, due to the implementation of the Part D prescription drug benefit in 2006. Read More

New Law Provides Temporary Automatic Orders Protecting Unpublished Name Change Applicants
August 13, 2009
For 15 years, Civil Rights Law §64-a has provided victims of domestic violence, stalking, and other crimes the ability to forego mandatory publication of their intent to change their names and allows for sealing of their name change-related court records where their personal safety would be placed at risk due to release of this information. Read More

The Nuts & Bolts of Hospital Charity Care Rules
August 13, 2009
Charity care refers to free or low cost care provided by hospitals to uninsured or underinsured patients. New York State has provided significant state funding to hospitals for charity care since 1983, but it wasn't until 2007 that hospitals were actually required to provide charity care to uninsured patients under the Hospital Financial Assistance Law (HFAL). Read More

2009 Changes to Medicaid Eligibility
August 13, 2009
A year ago we took stock of significant gains in the advocacy campaign to expand access to Medicaid coverage in New York State. This year, we would be remiss if we didn’t once again catalogue legislative action that promises to streamline, simplify and expand eligibility even further. Read More

Exempt Income Protection Act Update: Government Entities Excluded and Compliance
August 13, 2009
The Exempt Income Protection Act (“EIPA”), which went into effect January 1, 2009, ensures safety-net income is available in bank accounts after a restraining notice for the collection of a judgment debt reaches the account. Read More

Special Education Compliance Within Rochester City School District
August 13, 2009
The quest to comply with both state and federal special education standards has been an ongoing challenge for the Rochester City School District. Read More

Overview of State Legislation Addressing Language Access Issues
August 13, 2009
This legislative session included many bills focused on improving access to benefits and public services for limited English proficient (LEP) New Yorkers. Read More

The Community Reinvestment Act and Promoting Responsible Lending to Lower Income Communities and Communities of Color
August 13, 2009
A report released this past spring by a multi-state collaboration of regional research, policy, and advocacy organizations, including Empire Justice Center, underlines the critical role that the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) plays in promoting safe, affordable lending to lower-income borrowers and communities. It also points out how the expansion of CRA would promote responsible lending to even more borrowers and communities. Read More