The New Hampshire Access to Justice Commission
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connecting people with the tools they need to participate effectively in the court system

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Success Stories

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




Disclaimer: The Access to Justice Commission does not provide legal services or referrals for lawyers.