Making Justice Real

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

Aug 28


Federal Court Permits Class Action Lawsuit Alleging Unlawful Food Stamps Processing Delays To Proceed

Last week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia denied, in large part, a motion to dismiss a class action lawsuit against the DC Department of Human Services (DHS). The lawsuit, Garnett et. al v. Zeilinger, filed by Legal Aid, NCLEJ, and Hogan Lovells on behalf of a group of DC residents and Bread for the City in August 2017, alleges that the District fails to timely process applications and recertifications for SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. The unlawful delays in processing applications have often resulted in low-income residents being left unable to afford the food they need. Read more →

Aug 27


Social Security Disability Forum on Electronic Medical Records Presents Hopeful Future But Fails to Address Grim Present

Think about your last doctor’s visit. Maybe it was an annual checkup, or perhaps you had a pervasive case of the Mondays. How did that conversation go? Were you able to bring up everything that ails you? Every symptom? Or were you interrupted in the first eleven seconds, handed a prescription or follow up appointment card, and sent on your way? If you’re in the latter group, don’t take it personally. You may be in the unfortunate company of 67% patients who were cut off by their doctor in the span of reading this sentence, according to a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Read more →

Aug 08


Long Lines Persist at DC Safety Net Program Centers

This post was written by 2018 Legal Aid summer interns Tracey Zhang, David Wasserstein, Jenny Jiao, and Shelby Ferguson

Among the most illuminating experiences we had during our internship this summer was the opportunity to make early morning visits to the Department of Human Services (DHS) Service Centers to gather data about the lines of residents waiting outside. The District’s most vulnerable residents wait in line at DHS Service Centers to secure access to vital safety net benefits such as food stamps, health insurance, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. Residents can be turned away once Service Centers reach capacity, and therefore often get in line long before sunrise. They must wait outside, even in the summer heat or bitter cold of winter. Many of the waiting customers are elderly, living with disabilities, or accompanied by young children, factors that make long waits even more difficult.

Read more →

Aug 02


Generous Associates Campaign Shatters Record, Raises $2.15 Million for Legal Aid

Back in May when we sat down with our Co-Chairs to set the goal for this year’s Campaign, and we decided on a cool $2 million, we did it with the understanding that it was ambitious, and that we were comfortable with the possibility that we were misjudging how much we could raise. Well, we did misjudge it:

Friends, you have gone beyond our wildest expectations and raised $2.150 million for Legal Aid!!! Read more →

Jul 25


New York Enacts Provision Akin to DC’s Custodial Power of Attorney Statute

While the separation of undocumented immigrant parents from their children at the border has received significant media attention, those same immigrant families are still at risk once they settle in the U.S. Families continue to live in fear of deportation and separation. Significantly, the District and several states have legal mechanisms to allow undocumented parents to appoint caregivers and avoid detention or foster care for their children, in case of an emergency separation.

Beginning June 27, 2018, New York now has a process that allows parents at risk of immigration enforcement to plan for the safety of their children by choosing caregivers in the event of the parent’s detention or deportation. Read more →