Making Justice Real

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

Oct 07


What does the end of the federal Public Health Emergency mean for DC residents’ access to health care?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) (the federal agency administering the Medicaid program) reports that approximately 10 million Americans enrolled in Medicaid during the COVID-19 public health emergency. This was a direct result of the provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the first COVID relief bill passed in March 2020), which increased federal Medicaid funding to states, allowed them to extend Medicaid eligibility to uninsured individuals and prohibited states from terminating Medicaid enrollment except for a narrow list of reasons. This stark growth in Medicaid enrollment demonstrates Medicaid’s critical role in our health system and the lives of millions of Americans, with over 75 million individuals now enrolled in Medicaid. Read more →

Oct 06


Domestic Violence affects the entire household

When a parent is experiencing domestic violence, it not only affects the parent experiencing the violence directly, but also the children in the household.

Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that one person in a relationship uses to control the other. The behavior may be verbally, emotionally, physically, financially, or sexually abusive.

Children do not need to be the subject of domestic abuse to be affected by it. When children see, hear, or know about abuse by one parent towards another, they are affected by it in different ways. Children may feel angry, guilty, insecure, alone, frightened, powerless, or confused. These feelings and thoughts can last into adulthood, long after they have left the abusive household.

Read more →

Oct 05


VAWA Reauthorization is Critical to Protecting and Supporting Domestic Violence Survivors

More than 10 million adults in the United States experience domestic violence every year.[1] The Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”), originally signed into law in 1994, authorized financial support for investigating and prosecuting violent crimes against women, established offices and grants to provide assistance, and created holistic programs to assist survivors and their communities, such as housing protections and rape crisis centers.[2] VAWA’s authorization lapsed in 2018. In March 2021, a reauthorization bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but it has stalled in the Senate. Legal Aid supports the passage of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 in order to sustain and improve upon protections for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. Read more →

Sep 29


DC Must Extend the Foreclosure Moratorium to Protect Homeowners Waiting on Life-Changing Federal Assistance Funds

The District’s foreclosure moratorium for owner-occupied homes is set to end on November 5, well before DC homeowners will be able to access millions of dollars of life-changing federal homeowner assistance funds. The DC Council must pass emergency legislation extending the foreclosure moratorium to prevent homeowners from needlessly and permanently losing their homes while DC waits on the federal funding. Read more →

Aug 19


A Historic Increase in Food Stamps

This week, the US Department of Agriculture revised the nutrition standards of the Food Stamps or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits program, which will result in the largest permanent increase to SNAP benefits in the program’s history.

SNAP benefits have been a lifeline for needy families and instrumental in the fight against food insecurity. Indeed, for many Legal Aid clients these benefits are their only source of income for food. However, the benefit amounts have been inadequate to meet the nutritional needs of recipients and, until this week, had not been updated since 1975. Therefore, in 2020 the average cost of a meal for a modest diet was 22% higher than the maximum SNAP amount. Approximately 23% of SNAP households exhausted their SNAP benefits by the middle of the month with, on average, households spending three-quarters of their benefits within 14 days of receiving them. Read more →