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2003 January - February

Representing the Whole Client

By Ellen Hemley

Whole client representation means looking at clients as whole people and not simply poor people with legal problems or as legal issues separate from the person affected. Representing the whole client effectively involves various skills and approaches.

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Have You Seen a Fleeing Felon? Social Security Administration Targets SSI Recipients with Outstanding Warrants

By Gerald A. McIntyre

A provision of the 1996 welfare reform law restricted the availability of several categories of public benefits to "fugitive felons." While the provision has had comparatively little impact on recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, food stamps, and housing assistance, it has led to loss of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits to some 78,000 people; most of them charged with offenses that are minor, remote in time, or both. The Social Security Administration is implementing the provision, and advocates can challenge its application to clients in danger of losing SSI benefits.

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Social Security Benefits' Antiassignment Protections Under Attack

By Louise M. Tarantino, Catherine M. Callery & Barbara Samuels

Federal law historically exempted social security benefits from attachment except in rare situations. However, two recent federal court decisions and other statutory changes may have altered social security benefits' antiassignment protections. The law in this area is key to protecting clients' scarce income and resources from often illegal attachments.

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An Introduction to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Program

By Wendy Pollack

Created as part of the 1996 welfare law, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is the federally funded assistance program for low-income children and their families. States have broad discretion to design programs, often at the expense of federal protections for clients and accountability to clients and the public. Advocates need to assist TANF recipients on various legal issues. They must also urge states to make TANF a safety net and an opportunity for a better life for clients.

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