Holding on to Affordable Housing
A single father who was out of work fell behind on rent payments for a lot in a mobile home park where he lived with his teenage son. The park owner hired a lawyer and pursued eviction. A legal
aid lawyer helped the father file for bankruptcy, which stopped the eviction, and a plan was set up to pay off his debts in a set period of time. The father obtained a new job and paid his back rent, allowing the family to stay in their home.
Protecting Social Security Benefits
An 80-year-old woman, suffering from dementia and living in an assisted care facility, was notified in 2006 that, 10 years earlier, she had been overpaid $4,266 in Social Security benefits. The government said if she didn't refund the amount in 30 days, her monthly benefits would be withheld. After a request to waive the payment was denied, the woman's guardian turned for help to a legal advice line for senior citizens. A
legal aid paralegal successfully argued that the mistake was not the
woman's fault and that repayment would be a hardship for her. The
paralegal also showed that Social Security's own rules prohibited
collecting an overpayment more than 10 years old. An administrative law
judge agreed and waived the payment.
Ending a family cycle of violence
A legal aid lawyer helped a divorced mother of two young girls obtain a protective order against her
abusive ex-husband who was arrested after he knocked her against a car, hit her and shoved her away during a parenting-exchange. The judge in the case required the husband
have supervised visitations and attend a batterers counseling program.
Counseling was particularly important since the couple's families each have a history of domestic
violence and the mother doesn't want this cycle of violence to continue with their daughters.
Help for a Veteran
A veteran living in a homeless shelter suffering from depression, uncontrolled diabetes and chronic pain from a back injury
had no income and was unable to work. The Social Security Administration had
concluded that he was not disabled and denied him benefits. A legal
aid paralegal who specializes in disabilities law looked at the man's medical records, and the Social Security standard for diabetes and determined the man should have been awarded benefits when he first applied.
After presenting this information at a hearing, an administrative law judge agreed and
awarded the man Social Security benefits. The man now lives in subsidized housing, his diabetes is stable and he is meeting his child support obligation.
Protecting the Unemployed
A single mother was laid off from her job managing a retail store but was told she could
transfer to a sales position in another city for lower pay. She turned down the new job because the longer commute would interfere with her
child care and because of the significant pay cut. Her employer terminated her and
challenged her claim for unemployment insurance compensation. A legal aid lawyer helped the woman argue successfully that she had good cause to refuse the transfer and
she was found eligible to collect her benefits which gave her the support
she needed while looking for another job.
These stories were included in the December 2007 and
January 2008 semi-annual reports prepared by New Hampshire Legal Assistance.
Click here to read the full reports.