Public Benefits Litigation

Legal Aid is counsel in many cases seeking to ensure that public benefits are provided according to law for eligible clients. Our landmark Jiggetts case requires New York State to set the public assistance shelter allowance for families with children in New York City at levels that have a real connection to actual rents. In Khrapunskiy (now on appeal), the trial judge held that disabled immigrants who cannot receive SSI because of their immigration status must still get the same amount of cash assistance as disabled citizens who receive SSI. Our Reynolds case stopped City welfare workers from turning applicants for public assistance at Job Centers. It continues to ensure that emergency Food Stamps and cash assistance for immediate needs are provided on time.

In a sweeping victory in our M.K.B. case, the court recently prohibited the City and State from wrongly denying cash public assistance, Food Stamps, and Medicaid to immigrants. The court ordered the City and State welfare agencies to fix their computer systems, change their procedures, and retrain their workers. A new settlement in M.K.B. will give retroactive benefits to thousands of immigrants who were wrongly denied assistance. A hearing on the settlement will be held on May 24.