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On the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic the need for pro bono assistance with administrative hearings has never been higher. Cash aid, food benefits, unemployment insurance, health benefits and housing subsidies are the lifelines that are allowing millions to put food on the table, keep a roof over their families, and meet basic needs.
Clients who have been denied or are at risk of losing unemployment insurance, cash aid, food benefits, health benefits and/or housing subsidies are often unrepresented in what can be a confusing and adversarial process. On the unemployment insurance front, people continue to need benefits because of job instability and issues from the federal pandemic-related insurance provisions have complicated an already complex landscape. Recent changes to key public benefits programs, including Social Security, CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal and In-Home Support Services, continue to cause issues for applicants and recipients. Further, Housing Authorities frequently seek to deny and revoke housing subsidies for a number of reasons, including providing misinformation, failure to report changes in income, failure to pay rent or utilities, etc.
Meanwhile, legal aid services continue to be unable to meet the unprecedented demand to represent clients in these cases. Unfortunately, there are many individuals who have been unlawfully deprived of critical benefits by denials of unemployment insurance, discontinuances from public benefits, or revocations of a housing subsidy. This vulnerable population cannot navigate the administrative hearing process on their own. As a result, low-income families find themselves on the brink of economic instability, hunger, and homelessness.
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
After completing this program, participants will be able to:
- Represent clients in the types of administrative hearings facing low-income clients including:
- 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;
- Apply 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.
- Recognize when to request rehearings and judicial review.
- Understand how to apply California law and practice specifics in administrative hearings.
All attorneys interested in or currently assisting pro bono clients with administrative matters through representation or in clinical settings; law firm pro bono coordinators, managers and partners; legal clinic faculty and law students; and public interest and nonprofit legal services attorneys and staff would benefit from attending this program.
Special Feature(s): Scholarships are available to attend this program.
Program Level: All Levels
Prerequisites: An interest in building your administrative hearing advocacy skills.
Advanced Preparation: None