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Client Focus: Jane

Being a 12 year old girl isn’t always easy. For Jane, being 12 is more complicated than most. When she suffered from a mental health crisis in the middle of the school year, Jane was struggling not only with her health but with bullying at her school. Any child would find it hard to cope with this combination, and Jane was no exception. For months, she was not well enough to go to school. Even once she mentally recovered, she refused to go to school for fear of being bullied. When her mother tried to get the school to help transfer Jane to a more appropriate setting, the school insisted Jane wasn’t currently enrolled because she had missed too many days. Unenrollment due to absences is in direct violation of school policy, but Jane’s mother couldn’t get any help...

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Client Focus: Shaneea

A young mother with a 4-month-old baby, Shaneea had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and marijuana abuse when her treating psychiatrist at an outreach partner, Fantus Clinic, referred her to the Homeless Project of the Legal Council for Health Justice. Like many of our clients, Shaneea suffered severe neglect and abuse as a young child, which triggered her entry into the child welfare system. She left the system as a teenager after her foster father punched her in the face.   Although a victim of significant childhood trauma, Shaneea succeeded in getting her GED and obtaining a job. Unfortunately, she was often agitated at work, and was observed responding to the voices in her head, which led to her dismissal and, ultimately, homelessness. Shaneea applied for disability benefits, but her previous educational and job success blocked her case and she...

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Trauma-informed legal care

A young mother with a 4-month-old baby, Shania had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and marijuana abuse when her treating psychiatrist at an outreach partner, Fantus Clinic, referred her to the Homeless Outreach Project of the Legal Council for Health Justice. Like many of our clients, Shania suffered severe neglect and abuse as a young child, which triggered her entry into the child welfare system

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Our New Hero

We’re adding a new member to the AIDS Legal Council’s Honor Roll of Really Groovy Attorneys We Love a Whole Bunch. Today we’re singing the praises of Ian Ackerman, an attorney in the corporate practice group of Kirkland & Ellis (a law firm we’ve adored for a heck of a long time). I’m sure you too will love him a whole bunch after reading about the way he handled a particularly messy case for one of our clients. Not long ago Anthony (not his real name) received a notice from Social Security informing him that his earnings records showed he had been working in 2008 and 2009, to the tune of nearly $10,000 a year. And since Anthony was receiving SSI during that time, Social Security believed it had overpaid him and wanted a big pile of money back,...

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Link Card Follies

The best thing about the Illinois Department of Human Services is its highly developed sense of farce. Consider Jeff’s story. Recently Jeff went to his local IDHS office and applied for Food Stamps (also known as a Link Card … also known as SNAP … and no, that’s not really the farcical part of our tale). Not long thereafter, he received two letters from IDHS. Both letters were dated September 18. Both were sent from the same local IDHS office. The first said his application for food stamps was approved. The second said his application for food stamps was denied. The farce gets a tiny bit better. The next day Jeff received a third IDHS letter, from the same wacky local office, saying he would receive a Link Card with $93 on it. The card never showed up; clearly...

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Our New Hero

So we’re all swooning over our new legal idol, attorney Seth M. Lloyd, with the law firm Dykema Gossett PLLC. He took on one heck of a confused, complicated, messy insurance case for a client with end-stage cancer and fixed everything — in about a week. And he did all the work for free! Back in April, our client Luis received his regular payment coupon from his health insurance company. It was a rather confusing document, listing “total due” and a “past due” amount, with no indication whether the past due amount was included in the total due amount. The statement also showed a “due date” of May 1 and a “grace date” of June 1, with no indication of which amounts were due when. Did the grace period apply only to the amount currently due? Did it also...

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