Making Justice Real

The Official Blog of the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia

Feb 01

2016

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Legal Aid Calls for Greater Employment Protections for DV Survivors

Last week, Legal Aid testified at the D.C. Council in support of the “Employment Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence Amendment Act of 2015” in a joint committee hearing hosted by Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie and Councilmember Vincent Orange.

The proposed bill amends the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act to provide DV survivors greater protections against discrimination in the workplace. Specifically, the bill prohibits an employer from terminating or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of domestic violence and takes time off to obtain medical or legal services related to the violence. The bill also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations for DV survivors in order to ensure a safe workplace. At the hearing, there was a broad consensus among Councilmembers, advocates and government officials that the D.C. Office of Human Rights, rather than the Department of Employment Services should be the enforcing agency. Read more →

Jan 15

2016

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Legal Aid Supports Litigation To Improve Access To Medicaid Benefits

Legal Aid lawyers provided compelling evidence of the District’s failure to properly administer its Medicaid program in support of a recent motion for a preliminary injunction filed by Terris, Pravlik & Millian, LLP in Salazar v. District of Columbia. The lawsuit, which has a complicated procedural history dating back to 1993, seeks to enforce the rights of Medicaid recipients and applicants in the District.

The preliminary injunction motion seeks to address the District’s failure to timely and accurately process Medicaid applications and renewals, leaving thousands of households without needed Medicaid coverage. According to the District’s own data, more than 4,000 applications have been pending in the District’s electronic eligibility system beyond the 45-day deadline imposed by federal regulations– some for nine months or longer. Additionally, many Medicaid recipients have lost Medicaid coverage due to the District’s failure to timely process their renewal paperwork.
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Jan 12

2016

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Chinh Le in the New York Times

Legal Director Chinh Le, who frequently blogs for us here at Making Justice Real, crafted an interesting piece for the New York Times Motherlode blog. We thought readers of our blog might be interested.

Jan 07

2016

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Registration Open for 2015 Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll

Did you provide 50 hours or more of pro bono service in 2015? 100 hours or more? If so, the DC Courts want to recognize your contribution!

The D.C. Court of Appeals and the D.C. Superior Court, in conjunction with the D.C. Access to Justice Commission and the D.C. Bar Pro Bono Center, are calling for applications for the fifth annual Capital Pro Bono Honor Roll, which recognizes attorneys who have provided 50 hours or more of pro bono service during the calendar year. Attorneys providing 100 hours or more of pro bono service will be recognized on the “High Honor Roll.” Participating attorneys are recognized on the D.C. Courts’ website and elsewhere. Read more →

Dec 29

2015

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Unbanked Clients: The Bigger Picture on Financial Health

Earlier this month, Susie Cambria, who regularly blogs on DC budget and policy issues, wrote about how DC’s unbanked population is twice the regional rate, at 11.8% versus 4.3% regionally. This figure is staggering. More than 1 in 10 residents of the District of Columbia, are not utilizing (or unable to utilize) banks, compared to the national average of 7.7%.

What does this mean and why is it important? Many articles and blogs point not only why banking can be so elusive to some, but also to the high cost of being unbanked. They are absolutely right. It is very expensive to be unbanked. Even assuming relatively low fees, an unbanked worker making $20,000 a year spends roughly $430 of her salary in fees – $400 in check-cashing fees (assuming 2% per check) and $30 in money order fees (assuming two money orders a month at $1.25 each). That amounts to more than half of one of her biweekly paychecks. And that is important, because it makes it that much harder to build up a savings if you have to spend money to use your own money.

But I want to zoom out a little farther on why unbanked clients face so many more obstacles than banked clients.
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