Losing Medicaid? You might not have to!

Has the Department of Family and Children’s Services sent you a notice saying your Medicare Part B premium will no longer be paid under the Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary program? 

It could be because you are eligible for a better program that will pay more–the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary program (QMB).

But the DFCS notices are not giving out that information.

For more information, you can contact Georgia Legal Services Program’s Benefits Hotline at 1-888-632-6332. Be aware: You must appeal within 33 days of the notice to protect your rights. See the back of your notice!

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Georgia Schools Take a Stand Against Teen Dating Violence

One in three adolescent girls in the U.S. is a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and teens who experience violence are more likely to use drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, and carry patterns of abuse into future relationships. Because of this, Georgia Legal Services Attorney Tomieka Daniel is working with local domestic violence task forces, asking schools to take steps to end dating violence among teens and formally recognize February as Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. The cities of Dublin, Irwinton, Fort Valley, and Madison have already committed to signing the proclamation.

While Georgia law requires that the Board of Education develop curriculum on teen dating violence prevention for grades 8-12, it’s unclear if one has been developed and implemented by local school districts throughout the state.

“Teens face many of the same issues that adults face when dealing with dating violence, however there are not as many avenues available for teens to tap into when seeking help,” says Daniel, the attorney with Georgia Legal Services, pointing to the lack of resources for teens in violent relationships. The civil legal aid organization handles hundreds of domestic violence cases each year throughout the state, including for high school and college students.

The proclamation Daniel and others are asking school district officials to sign states that, by addressing violence and unhealthy relationship behavior early on, domestic violence later in life can be prevented. “…By providing young people with education about healthy relationships and changing their attitudes away from supporting violence to embracing mutual respect, we recognize that dating violence can be prevented,” it reads.

With an estimated one in three women having experienced physical violence in an intimate partner relationship in their lifetime, prevention of such violence is significant, and could be life-saving. Fifty percent of victims who die at the hands of their abuser started those relationships while they were young, between the ages of 13 and 24, according to a report from The Georgia Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project.

For teenagers involved in abusive relationships, there is help. Attorneys at Georgia Legal Services can assist in obtaining a stalking order, which orders the stalker to stop hitting, harassing, and contacting the victim. The attorneys can also work with school officials to educate them on violence prevention, and advocate class schedule changes for victims.

Only one-third of teens who are in an abusive relationship tell anyone. But seeking help–like the legal protections that Georgia Legal Services attorneys can offer–can effectively stop a problem that might otherwise negatively impact one’s life in the long-term.

“If I can reach you before it gets to that stage, I won’t have to represent you in court a few years from now,” says Daniel.

Georgia ranks among the worst in terms of states with high prevalence of teen dating violence.

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Circuit Riding Around Albany Increasing Residents’ Access to Justice

This article was originally published by the Albany Herald under the headline “Georgia Legal Services adds Westtown Library to ‘circuit’”. Read the article here.

Georgia Legal Services “circuit rider” Whitney Knox, one of seven lawyers in the Albany GLS offices on Oglethorpe Boulevard, is available to discuss very specific legal issues with Westtown patrons from 10 a.m. to noon on the second Tuesday of each month. The program is part of Georgia Legal Services’ efforts to make its staff available where there are specific needs in the community.

“We circuit ride in all 33 of the counties in our service area,” GLS Supervising Attorney Rhonda Bass said. “Our services are offered to usually low-income individuals who meet federal poverty guidelines, and we offer elder law services to people 60 and over with no income guidelines.

Read this Albany Herald article in full here.

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New Guidelines for Law Enforcement Broaden Access to Justice for Non-Native English Speakers and Persons with Hearing Disabilities

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.

Download the model language access plan here. (Appendices available here.)

Read the Vera Institute of Justice report Overcoming Language Barriers: Solutions for Law Enforcement here.

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GLSP’s Ira Foster On Rights at Youth and The Law Summit

The 2nd Annual Georgia Youth and The Law Summit was attended by over 100 youth and parents in Macon on Jan. 16. GLSP Managing Attorney Ira Foster helped organize the event and was joined by panelists such as judges, lawyers, police and correctional officers, and others in the legal community. Damon Elmore, former president of both the Young Lawyers Division and the Georgia Legal Services Board, moderated the event. One session was centered around “Think Before You Act” engaged students and sparked questions throughout the crowd (see photo below).

Youth and Law Summit (2)

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215 Georgians Served on Ask A Lawyer Day

More than 215 individuals with low-incomes received free legal help last Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015. Attorneys from Georgia Legal Services Program and the Georgia State Bar’s General Practice and Trial section teamed up to provide free legal services in 21 counties around the state, from Richmond to Tattnall, Dougherty to Whitfield.

Volunteer private attorneys and Georgia Legal Services Program attorneys worked together to provide legal help in areas related to family, probate, criminal, consumer, real estate, and housing law issues, among others. Below is a photo essay of the successful event.

Macon. Volunteer Attorney David Bury prepares for his next client.

Macon. Volunteer Attorney David Bury prepares for his next client.

 

Columbus. Attorney Ray Tillery and GLSP Attorney Chandra Wilson.

Columbus. Attorney Ray Tillery and GLSP Attorney Chandra Wilson.

Macon. Attorney Kevin Hicks and GLSP Pro Bono Coordinator Rachael Schell.

Macon. Attorney Kevin Hicks and GLSP Pro Bono Coordinator Rachael Schell.

Columbus. Attorney Ray Tillery and Rhudine Nelson, GLSP Pro Bono coordinator

Columbus. Attorney Ray Tillery and Rhudine Nelson, GLSP Pro Bono coordinator

Columbus. Attorney Paul Kauffmann and client.

Columbus. Attorney Paul Kauffmann and client.

Brunswick. Melissa Cruthirds, Casey Harris, and J. Wrix Mcilvaine.

Brunswick. Melissa Cruthirds, Casey Harris, and J. Wrix Mcilvaine.

Macon. Pro Bono Coordinator Rachael Schell is interviewed by a local television news station about Ask A Lawyer Day.

Macon. Pro Bono Coordinator Rachael Schell is interviewed by a local television news station about Ask A Lawyer Day.

Macon. Attorney David Bury (left) and client.

Macon. Attorney David Bury (left) and client.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Albany. Volunteer attorney Marshall Portivent and his client.

Albany. Volunteer attorney Marshall Portivent and his client.

Augusta. Volunteer Attorney Chade Franklin.

Augusta. GLSP Attorney Chastity Franklin.

Macon. Attorney Sharon Reeves (right) and client.

Macon. Attorney Sharon Reeves (right) and client.

 

Macon. Attorney David Bury, Attorney James Freeman, Judge Phillip Brown, Attorney Larry Brox, and Attorney Veronica Brinson.

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Former GLSP Managing Attorney Named Dean of the FAMU College of Law

This article was originally published on Capital Soup on Oct. 29, 2015. 

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) has named Angela Felecia Epps the new dean of the FAMU College of Law. Professor Epps will join the College of Law, located in Orlando, Fla., on January 4, 2016.

Angela Epps

Angela Felecia Epps, courtesy of Capital Records.

Epps currently serves as a professor of law at the William H. Bowen School of Law at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). She also served as associate dean for Academic Affairs and professor of law from 2008-2014. Epps joined the UALR in 1999. Her teaching and scholarly focus is on criminal law, criminal procedure, and legal counseling, a reflection of her distinguished career as a legal officer and judge advocate for the United States Marine Corps. She previously served as a managing attorney for the Georgia Legal Services Program in Albany.

Commenting on her appointment, Professor Epps said, “I am honored to be selected as the next dean of the FAMU College of Law. I am excited about becoming part of the legacy of ‘Excellence with Caring’ that is FAMU and I look forward to working with the College of Law community. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve in this important position.”

Epps was selected after a national search conducted in partnership with Greenwood/Asher & Associates, Inc.

Dean Michael Hunter Schwartz of the UALR William H. Bowen School praised Epps for her contributions to the legal community.

“Florida A&M University is getting a gem of an educator, colleague, administrator and, most of all, human being in selecting Felecia Epps as the dean of the Law School,” he said. “Her departure from UALR-Bowen is bittersweet for her colleagues here in Little Rock, but we all have known for a long time that she possesses a deep reservoir of skills and abilities that could be tapped.”

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Marcella David noted Epps’ extensive and significant practical experience as important to what she will bring to the FAMU deanship.

“Professor Epps’ ability to nurture connections with the legal community and local community will support FAMU’s continued growth and impact in the region and across the state. At the same time, she is an active and engaged scholar who will focus on the student experience and supporting faculty members’ scholarly, research, and service activities,” David said.

Professor Epps earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science from Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa in 1980, and her Juris Doctor (magna cum laude) from Creighton University School of Law in Omaha, Nebraska in 1983.

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Ask A Lawyer Day, Oct. 29: Lawyers Volunteering Throughout the State

Lawyers Volunteering Throughout the State, Offer Free Legal Services
“Ask A Lawyer Day” to be held in every Georgia county on October 29, 2015

The General Practice and Trial Section, in partnership with Georgia Legal Services, is hosting Ask-A-Lawyer Day on Thursday, October 29, 2015. The purpose of this event, where a volunteer lawyer is expected to be available for free legal services in every Georgia county, is to extend access to justice in rural and small cities throughout the state. Lawyers will be available to advise on issues pertaining to consumer law, family law, criminal law, wills and powers of attorney, and more.

To find out the time and location of the Ask-A-Lawyer event in your area, please call 1-800-498-9469.

The State Bar of Georgia exists to foster among the members of the Bar of this state the principles of duty and service to the public; to improve the administration of justice; and to advance the science of law. All persons authorized to practice law in this state are required to be members.

Georgia Legal Services Program’s mission is to provide access to justice and opportunities out of poverty for Georgians with low-incomes.

For more information, please call Mike Monahan, Pro Bono Director at The State Bar of Georgia, at 404-527-8762.

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Lawyers Honor Pro Bono Work at State Bar of Georgia Awards Reception

This press release was originally published by the State Bar of Georgia.


The State Bar of Georgia honored five advocates at its annual pro bono awards reception held Oct. 15 at the State Bar headquarters in Atlanta.

The ceremony was hosted by the Bar’s Access to Justice Committee and the Pro Bono Project. State Bar president Robert Kauffman welcomed guests and thanked the awards recipients for their professionalism and their service to low-income Georgians.

“All Georgia lawyers can draw inspiration from the exceptional records of pro bono service rendered by these honorees,” Kauffman said. “We appreciate their many contributions, which serve to promote the cause of justice and uphold the integrity of the legal profession in our state.”

Access to Justice Committee Vice Chairperson Angela Hinton and State Bar Pro Bono Director Mike Monahan presented the awards.

“When you hear the stories about the work of our award winners tonight, we hope you take them to heart and that you share them with others in your community,” Hinton noted in her remarks. “To our award winners tonight, we say ‘thank you,’ and we are honored to have you with us.” Savannah lawyer Elsie “Dolly” Robinson Chisholm was presented the H. Sol Clark Award for her lengthy pro bono service record and for her role in the Georgia Legal Services Program Foundation. Her law firm, Bouhan Falligant LLP, received praise for its support of Chisholm’s work and for its pro bono service in the Savannah community. The award is named for former Georgia Court of Appeals Judge H. Sol Clark of Savannah, who is known as the “father of legal aid in Georgia.” The prestigious award honors an individual lawyer who has excelled in one or more of a variety of activities that extend civil legal services to the poor.

Alpharetta lawyer Jay Fox received the William B. Spann Jr. Award for his pro bono involvement in Atlanta Legal Aid’s Durable Powers of Attorney Project of the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline. The Spann Award is given to a local bar association, law firm, or community organization in Georgia that has developed a civil pro bono program that has satisfied previously unmet legal needs or extended services to underserved segments of the population. The award is named for a former president of the American Bar Association and former executive director of the State Bar of Georgia.

The Bar presented Ira Foster, managing attorney of the Macon Regional Office of Georgia Legal Services Program Inc., with the Dan Bradley Legal Services Award for his legal work helping children with access to education and improper and excessive school discipline as well as for his lengthy career in public interest law. The award honors the memory of Georgia native and Mercer Law graduate Dan J. Bradley, who was president of the federal Legal Services Corporation from 1979 to 1982. He is credited by many
with having been instrumental in saving the Legal Services Corporation, which funds programs like Georgia Legal Services Program and the Atlanta Legal Aid Society, from elimination in the early 1980s.

The Bar also presented the A Business Commitment Award to the Atlanta office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, which has accepted hundreds of pro bono cases for nonprofits serving low-income and marginalized communities in Georgia. The firm has also been a long-term sponsor of the Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta, an agency that helps provide pro bono services to the nonprofit community.

The Law School Excellence in Access to Justice Individual Award was presented to Meagan M. Rafferty for the access to justice activities she undertook as a student at the Savannah Law School. Associate professor Andrew Wright praised Rafferty for her academic performance and the variety of ways she contributed to increasing access to justice through public interest law.

“Law students like Meagan demonstrate that the future of the practice of law — especially when it comes to pro bono — is in good hands. We were very impressed by her involvement in public interest initiatives and more so when we saw that she was also an academic standout,” said Monahan.

The Law School Excellence in Access to Justice Award specifically recognizes a law student who has excelled in participation in support of a civil pro bono or legal aid program or who has developed or has been instrumental in the development of a civil pro bono program satisfying previously unmet civil legal needs or extended services to underserved segments of the population.

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