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2002 March - April

A Tribute to Hanna S. Cohn

The Art of Possibility

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The Safe and Humane Jails Project

By Michael S. Hamden

Offering legal assistance to persons incarcerated in the state, North Carolina Prisoner Legal Services operates the Safe and Humane Jails Project, which works with county officials to improve substandard jail conditions.

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Work Incentives for Persons with Disabilities Under the Social Security and SSI Programs

By James R. Sheldon Jr.

Social security disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries may choose not to work because they fear loss of cash benefits and health care coverage; they also face difficulty in reinstating benefits if a work attempt fails. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 and several key regulatory changes address some of these concerns. With knowledge about these changes, advocates can help beneficiaries make informed decisions about work activity.

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Presence and Partnerships

Delivering Pro Bono Legal Services in Rural Communities

By Claire L. Parins

The legal needs of low-income clients in rural areas are often overlooked, even when the needs are greater than in urban areas. Pro bono programs can leverage existing resources to help meet the challenges of rural poverty law advocacy.

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Can Technology Transform Legal Services from a 100-Pound Weakling into a Comprehensive and Integrated 3,000-Attorney Force for the Poor?"

By Hugh Calkins, Gwendelyn A. Daniels & Richard Zorza

A legal services technology group recently developed the National Subject Matter Index for legal services. The index and its basic structure, use extensible markup language, or XML, allow for content sharing among legal services organizations as never before.

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Cost-Related Community Integration Barriers in Medicaid

A Review of the EPSDT Program and Home and Community-Based Waivers

By Sarah Jane Somers

Both a home and community-based waiver program and the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment program can be used to create a package of services to enable a child to live in the community rather than in an institution. However, advocates should be wary about potential conflicts between the two programs. Under a waiver program states may try to limit services to those that fall under a cost cap, but states may not cap the cost of EPSDT services. Advocates may need to assess any limitations on services by sorting through the interplay between the programs and considering the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

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Housing Discrimination Against Victims of Domestic Violence

By Wendy R. Weiser & Geoff Boehm

Women often face the risk of losing secure housing once their landlord becomes aware of an incident of domestic violence. But women can use effective strategies to prevent public and private landlords from engaging in housing discrimination against victims of domestic violence.

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Tax Hurdles for Low-Income Workers

By Christina L. Cook

Many low-income clients are unaware of federal tax credits that can generate sizable refunds and, in some cases, may offer clients an alternative to welfare. Those who claim the credits are audited disproportionately and may have trouble proving their claims without an advocate's assistance. Unresolved tax disputes can needlessly drain a family's scarce resources. Legal services organizations may be able to find solutions to their clients' problems by incorporating tax law into traditional areas of practice.

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Finding a Place for Low-Income Family Farmers in the Legal Services Equation

By Carl Flink

Family farmers still make up the core of rural communities and economies in many regions of the United States. Many of these farmers have very low incomes and share with their rural and urban neighbors the same poverty-related social service needs. Frequently they need legal assistance to address threats to their ability to maintain their livelihoods and keep their families housed and fed. By putting low-income family farmers into their service equation, legal services offices can add them among the constituents who can rely on their invaluable help.

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