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2001 May - June

Legal Services Corporation v. Velazquez

By Burt Neuborne & David S. Udell

In Legal Services Corporation v. Velazquez the U.S. Supreme Court held that Congress violated the First Amendment and the separation-of-powers doctrine when it barred from challenging welfare reform laws the LSC-funded lawyers representing individual clients seeking benefits. The implications of this decision for subsidized speech generally and for that of lawyers for the poor specifically are promising.

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New Child Support Remedies

Administrative Complaint Procedures and Options for Low-Income Obligors

By Margaret Stapleton

Parents may receive better treatment and more fair results from the state child support enforcement program that serves them as a result of two recent developments. The Office of Child Support Enforcement has issued final rules on administrative complaint procedures for parents and has clarified the various options available to low-income obligors who face significant obstacles in paying child support.

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New Rules, Same Standard

The Social Security Administration Adopts New Rules for Evaluating SSI Childhood Disability

By Thomas Yates

The Social Security Administration's final regulations on the childhood Supplemental Security Income disability standard, effective January 2, 2001, restate and reinforce general guidelines that apply to all childhood disability determination and rework the functional equivalence process to delink it completely from the Listing of Impairments. The final regulations do not, however, change the standard for showing disability.

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"There Oughta Be a Law"

A Survey of Legislative Responses to Elder Abuse

By Gail Chirnoff Conway

Because of the vulnerabilities associated with growing older, seniors often fall victim to physical, emotional, and financial abuse. Many states are trying to address this problem through new laws that focus on the specific forms elder abuse takes and that tailor remedies to the needs of older people. Review of these new laws reveals wide variety in the approaches the states take. Although an appraisal of the relative efficacy of the various laws is too early, a survey of these statutory efforts offers a measure of steps taken so far and ideas for further development.

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Family Violence and Military Policies and Procedures

By Vicky O. Kimbrell

Confronting family violence in a military context can present unique problems to legal services attorneys. Internal military policy and procedure can appear to impede the prosecution of abuse unless the lawyer is familiar with Department of Defense directives. For the adequate representation of the spouse or family member of military personnel in domestic violence situations, legal services attorneys must be knowledgeable about those directives of the armed forces.

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"The Shadow Epidemic"

Hepatitis C and the Law

By Linda S. Good

The hepatitis C virus infects approximately four million Americans. However, it has no sure cure and no vaccine, and the few available treatments are lengthy, costly, and often debilitating. The disease can have an impact on many legal issues—such as access to proper care and treatment, disability claims, employment discrimination, insurance benefits denials, and veterans' benefits—for low-income patients. Legal services advocates thus need to learn about the disease, its symptoms, and the debilitating effects of treatment.

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TANF and Domestic Violence

Elements of an Effective Welfare Department Intervention

By Ariella Hyman & Minouche Kandel

Research shows that significant proportions of welfare recipients are survivors of domestic violence. The authors' own experience in California suggests ten steps that welfare departments should take in implementing effective policies to assist domestic violence survivors applying for or receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Advocates need also consider domestic violence policies in the context of the coming TANF reauthorization.

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