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The need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing vital benefits, housing subsidies, or are facing school discipline have a right to an administrative hearing, but are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. Significant changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services have occurred in recent years imposing new complex rules. On the unemployment insurance front, while the number of applications has overall declined, we have yet to see a reverse of the recession-based trend of employers challenging many unemployment insurance benefit applications. Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies often due to tenuous allegations of criminal activity. Meanwhile, low-wage workers are experiencing wage theft at unprecedented rates and relying on the Labor Commissioner more than ever before to recover their unpaid wages.
Legal aid services have also suffered funding problems and staffing cuts with reduced ability to meet the demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals, who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits, are at risk of losing a housing subsidy, have not been paid according to basic wage and hour laws, and who are discontinuances from public benefits. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families face hunger, homelessness, and economic instability.
This training is designed to help mitigate the crisis faced by low-income families everywhere by providing attorneys with a basic understanding of common issues and strategies in providing pro bono assistance with administrative hearings. The program will focus on California law, but will also cover many topics such as due process and other rights that apply nationwide; therefore, advocates from other forums would benefit from the information and attending the program.
What You Will Learn
- An overview of administrative hearings low-income clients most frequently need involving:
- State public benefits, including CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal;
- Federal public benefits, including Supplemental Security Income;
- Federally assisted housing programs, including public housing and Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP or "Section 8");
- Unemployment and state disability insurance claims and overpayments;
- Unpaid wages, and other wage and hour-related rights; and
- School discipline or expulsion.
- Best practices and common advocacy strategies, preparation, and procedures for administrative hearings, including:
- Obtaining evidence: informal and formal discovery;
- Drafting position statements/hearing briefs;
- Presenting your case at hearing;and
- Alternatives: Informal resolution.
- Rehearings and further appeals
- California law and practice specifics