public benefits unit
We are skilled poverty law advocates and our focus is on supporting the integrity, safety and well being of low income families by maintain economic stability. With over 168,000 (6.6% of the population) of Long Islanders living in poverty according to the 2010 census, and more than 75,000 struggling on incomes under half of the federal poverty limit, the Welfare Unit opened almost 1500 new cases in 2016 alone.
The Unit provides legal assistance to persons who experience problems with public benefits programs which are administered by the local Departments of Social Services, including welfare (TANF and Safety Net), Medicaid, Food Stamps, Child Care Assistance, HEAP, emergency shelter for the homeless and other emergency assistance programs.
We also assist low-income households in establishing Supplemental Needs Trusts to eliminate the Medicaid spend-down and assist homeless families to obtain rent supplements from DSS to enable families to leave the shelters or retain permanent housing.