HeLP assists eligible clients with the following types of legal problems that can threaten health improvement and access to care:
- Access to healthcare (e.g., Medicaid, PeachCare, private health insurance)
- Disability (SSI)
- Education (e.g., special education needs, school discipline problems)
- Employment (e.g., Family and Medical Leave Act benefits, employment discrimination)
- Family law (e.g., domestic violence, child custody)
- Housing (e.g., unsafe or unsanitary living conditions, evictions)
- Permanency planning and consent for care (e.g., wills, Advance Directives, guardianships)
- Public benefits (e.g., TANF, food stamp, WIC).
HeLP does not take cases involving medical malpractice, criminal charges, or situations where our office may be placed in conflict with the child’s best interest, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta Legal Aid Society, or Georgia State University College of Law.
Education: The mother of a young girl with insulin-dependent diabetes was told by her local school that she would need to home-school her child because the school would not accommodate the child’s need for insulin shots. Our lawyers negotiated the child’s re-entry into the school where she was legally entitled to be, including access to her needed insulin shots while at school.
Employment (Family and Medical Leave Act benefits): A 15-year-old patient with leukemia underwent chemotherapy treatments for two years. She then relapsed and required a bone marrow transplant. Her mother, who is divorced and does not regularly receive child support, had been taking time off from her job under the Family and Medical Leave Act as needed, but her employer began harassing her in an effort to get her to quit her job. If she lost her job, she would lose not only her income, but also her health insurance. HeLP attorneys provided her with advice concerning her rights under FMLA so that she could keep her job and maintain her health insurance.
Housing: A little boy with chronic asthma had to go to the emergency department multiple times because his family’s apartment was so infested with mold. The landlord refused to fix the problem. A HeLP lawyer working on the case visited the home, which was so contaminated that she also suffered an asthma attack. Fortunately, the attorney was able to negotiate to secure safe housing for the family.
Permanency Planning (Guardianship): A grandmother began caring for her three young grandchildren, one of whom was seriously ill, following her daughter’s death. She needed assistance establishing guardianship for the minor children so she could consent to medical care for her sick grandchild. Our lawyers were able to assist her with becoming the children’s guardian.
Public Benefits (Supplemental Security Income): A mother with five young children had a six-year-old son with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Despite the severity of this disease and the shortened life expectancy, her son was denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. HeLP lawyers appealed the denial, and an administrative law judge reviewed the claim and determined that the evidence supported a fully favorable decision. As a result, the child was entitled to the maximum level of SSI benefits as well as back benefits. These benefits ensure that the child’s Medicaid benefits will continue and that he will receive access to critical health services.
Public Benefits (Medicaid / PeachCare): A low-income mother relocated to Atlanta from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. During the relocation, the family lost all of their identification. The mother needed assistance with replacing her children’s identifying documents, such as birth certificates and social security cards, so that the children could be enrolled in Medicaid and PeachCare to receive health benefits. Our lawyers counseled the mother on how to obtain identifying documents and how to sign up for public benefits.