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Georgia Legal Services Benefits Hotline May Be Able to Correct DFCS Mistake
Some seniors and people with disabilities who get help paying their Medicare premiums through Georgia Medicaid are getting erroneous notices that their assistance will be cut off because their incomes are suddenly too high. The notices are a result of Georgia Division of Family and Children’s Services’ (DFCS) failure to update their systems with the latest cost-of-living adjustments, updated at the beginning of each year. Losing the benefits that help pay their Medicare costs–all because of an error on the part of the state agency—is costly for people with already-meager incomes.
People who believe they are being wrongly terminated from the Medicare Savings Program or who want more information to see if they qualify should call Georgia Legal Services Program’s Benefits Hotline at 1 (888) 632-6332.
People with incomes low enough to qualify for the Medicare Savings Programs can get help with their Medicare premium. Individuals with incomes below $1,377 or couples below $1,847 can have their Medicare Part B premiums paid for and some can get Medicare deductibles and co-payments paid.
DFCS systems often do not recognize the changes in incomes as cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) made in the beginning of each year and instead issue false termination notices for those who were on the edge of eligibility. The result for some is that their Part B premiums start getting deducted from their Social Security checks. Others may be faced with copayments and deductibles they should not have to pay.
For more information, please contact:
Vicky Kimbrell, GLSP Benefits Hotline Project Director
email@example.com; 404-563-7710 ext. 1603
In Celebration of Transgender Awareness Week, Georgia Legal Services Program invites transgender Georgians with low incomes to contact GLSP for help with their civil legal needs. GLSP recognizes that transgender people, especially low-income and minority individuals, according to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, experience higher levels of discrimination and violence than other groups. Black transgender women experience the highest levels of discrimination and violence and are also more likely to live below the poverty line.
GLSP is concerned about the well-being, health, education, employment and other legal needs of transgender Georgians, especially those who also belong to other minority groups. GLSP provides free legal services to Georgians with low incomes in 154 counties in Georgia, all of the counties outside of the Metro Atlanta area. Low-income Georgians in the five metro Atlanta counties of DeKalb, Fulton, Clayton, Gwinnett and Cobb are served by the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.
GLSP has done the following things to help transgender Georgians:
- Trained all GLSP offices on LGBTQ and Racial Cultural Competency (on representing LGBTQ populations and racial minority populations)
- Provided education to attorneys and legal advocates on domestic violence issues in the LGBTQ community
- Started the process to join the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Legal Services Network
- Prepared to write in support of the transgender people who were denied a name change in the Augusta area. These individuals are represented by Lambda Legal and their cases are being reviewed by the Georgia Supreme Court
- Represented transgender clients in name change and public benefits cases
- Presented a transgender rights forum
GLSP also accepts feedback on what else the program can do to help transgender Georgians and their families. Please contact Currey Hitchens or Whitney Knox at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you have suggestions for more actions GLSP can take to help transgender Georgians.
Please feel free to call GLSP for possible representation in the following types of cases:
- Name change
- Health law, including refusal of Medicaid to provide services based on transgender status
- Public Housing
- Housing Discrimination
- Appeals of Unemployment Insurance Benefit denials
- Twelve Month Protective Order cases based on family violence
- Stalking Order cases
- Family law cases involving domestic violence or access to the courts
- Help with applying for crime victim compensation
- Public Benefit appeals if illegally denied
- School discrimination or school discipline cases
- Language access issues (to law enforcement, courts, or to state or federal agencies)
- Victims of Crime with civil legal needs related to their victimization in our Brunswick and Dalton office areas
There are financial and other eligibility requirements, but people are invited to contact GLSP for consideration for possible representation.
Call GLSP (outside of Metro Atlanta) toll free at 1-800-498-9469.
Call ALAS (in Metro Atlanta) toll free at (404) 524-5811.
Eliminating Barriers to Justice III: Language Access, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Georgia’s Criminal and Civil Justice Systems
October 20, 2016 · Georgia State University College of Law
10:00 am – 4:00 pm (Lunch Provided)
Please join access to justice experts and stakeholders for a FREE CLE seminar which will provide you with comprehensive, yet practical, information to ensure access to justice for limited English proficient (LEP) and Deaf/Hard of Hearing (DHH) persons in civil and criminal cases. Seminar highlights include:
- Access to Justice & the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Discussion of professionalism issues within the contexts of a court’s legal responsibility to provide auxiliary aids and services and other reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities (including and beyond interpretation services) involved in civil and criminal legal proceedings. This module will also include a discussion of Georgia’s ADA Handbook for Georgia courts currently under revision.
- Language Access & Criminal Law – Discussion of the importance of the use of qualified interpreters in criminal matters and the risk of reversible error on appeal when use of an unqualified or no interpreter occurs, as established by Supreme Court of Georgia precedent. This module will also discuss possible ethical implications for attorneys (including those working in District Attorney, Solicitor General and Public Defender offices) and judges when criminal litigants, witnesses or other court participants, particularly those who are LEP/ DHH, are not provided with meaningful access to the justice system.
- Judicial Roundtable – “ The Essence of Due Process is the Opportunity to Be Heard”
- Keith Blackwell, Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia (Chair, Supreme Court of Georgia Commission on Interpreters)
- Harold Melton, Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia (Immediate Past Chair, Supreme Court of Georgia Commission on Interpreters)
- Sara Doyle, Chief Judge, Georgia Court of Appeals ( Member, Judicial Council/ Administrative Office of the Courts Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee)
- Horace Johnson, Judge, Superior Court (Alcovy Circuit) (President, Council of Superior Court Judges)
- Kristina Hammer Blum, Chief Magistrate Judge, Gwinnett County Magistrate Court (President, Council of Magistrate Court Judges)
Questions? Contact Jana J. Edmondson-Cooper, CLE Co-Chair
Georgia Legal Services Program · A.B. Olmos & Associates, P.C.
Supreme Court of Georgia Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism
Georgia State University College of Law Center for Access to Justice
Southern Center for Human Rights
Supreme Court of Georgia Commission on Interpreters · State Bar of Georgia Pro Bono Resource Center · State Bar of Georgia Access to Justice Committee · Judicial Council of Georgia/Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) · Judicial Council of Georgia/AOC Access, Fairness, Public Trust and Confidence Committee
 4 hours of General including 1 hour of Ethics and 1 hour of Professionalism continuing education credits for attorneys and judges applied for. This CLE is self-reporting. Credits must be paid for by attendees seeking credit. Reporting forms will be provided on-site.
 Direct Link – https://www.georgiaadvocates.org/link.cfm?26059 (Paper copies of training materials may not be available to attendees who register after October 7, 2016; however, all materials will be made available on the internet.)
GLSP’s newly developed model language access plan offers practical suggestions and resources to assist Georgia law enforcement agencies with meeting its legal obligations to ensure that limited English proficient and deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals have meaningful access to the agency’s services. This model plan is adaptable to local needs and can assist in identifying those who need language assistance; notifying the public of language assistance services; developing procedures for interpretation services in interviews, interrogations, filing complaints, and document translation; outlining training for agency staff and required qualifications for interpreters; and more. As a recipient of federal funds, the failure to provide meaningful language access can result in the filing of a federal lawsuit and the possible loss of federal funding under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Safe Streets Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and their implementing regulations.
A Champion of Justice acts as an ambassador for GLSP with the Bar and/or state and federal policymakers and/or the public at large and is recognized for achievements, contributions, or other services to GLSP and continuing service to the legal profession and the cause of justice. Purchase your tickets now!
The relentless push to bleed Legal Services dry
June 6, 2012 — Ask people about the things that make America a “country of laws,” and one answer you will likely get is that everyone is entitled to be represented by a lawyer of his or her choice. But that promise has little meaning to more and more families at or near the poverty level. They’re among the millions of Americans for whom having a lawyer is a luxury beyond reach. Such families cannot afford a lawyer to defend them in an eviction proceeding, to fight a wrongful denial of veteran’s benefits, or to help get a restraining order to protect against an abusive spouse. Read more…
Thursday, April 26, 2012
By Phyllis J. Holmen, Special to the Daily Report
The phone call came during a board meeting. The president of the Legal Services Corp. urged that I leave the meeting and call back. “It’s important. We want you to come to the White House and talk about what you do,” he said.
Six of us were chosen from around the country, directors of legal aid and legal services organizations accustomed to toiling quietly in the hinterlands. We work on behalf of low-income folks with the kind of life-and-death legal problems that the poor face: the plague of domestic violence, the near impossibility of maintaining a family structure in the face of grinding poverty, the gut-wrenching choices that have to be made between paying medical bills or buying groceries.
Watch the video