Our health justice and public benefits work centers on improving healthcare access and outcomes for Virginians experiencing poverty to promote health equity and reduce disparities. We know that achieving better healthcare access and outcomes requires improving many different systems that impact social determinants of health. Our work covers a broad range of issues including securing income support, improving health-promoting public benefits programs, expanding insurance coverage, fighting for mental health infrastructure, preventing medical debt/medical debt collection actions, and redressing disability-based discrimination.
Access to Health Care Insurance Coverage
Keeping low-income Virginians healthy
Our health insurance navigators enroll eligible community members in Medicaid and Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance programs. In addition, our team of attorneys is committed to assisting community members whose coverage has been wrongfully denied, interrupted, or terminated. We also work to redress national origin discrimination in the Medicaid enrollment process.
To connect with us about wrongful medicaid denials please visit the Get Help page to contact the LAJC office nearest you.
For more information about ACA or Medicaid enrollment click here:
Medical Legal Partnerships
Meeting clients in need where they are
Medical-Legal Partnerships (MLPs) seek to combat health-harming legal needs by making an attorney part of the care team within a health system. Much like a nurse or a doctor might screen for health concerns, the attorney screens for legal concerns. Attorneys who operate MLPs work in the clinical space in a health system to identify socio-legal concerns and how they can partner with community members and their clinical teams to work toward solutions. Importantly, MLPs meet community members where they are, often in moments of crisis. Services provided in MLPs are aimed to ensure that community members can get the legal aid services that they require, without the additional barrier of healthcare needs getting in the way. The Legal Aid Justice Center operates two MLPs, both of which provide direct legal services and broader systemic advocacy.
- Should you have questions about our partnership with UVA Health System, please contact Michaela Lieberman Martin
- Should you have questions about our partnership with VCU Health System Emergency Department (ED), please contact Majesta-Dore Legnini.
Fighting for fair and timely access to unemployment benefits
Legal Aid Justice Center’s advocacy on unemployment insurance begins with the experiences of individual Virginians. Working alongside them to navigate their benefit cases also allows us to glimpse gaps in Virginia’s limited safety net for unemployed workers. The COVID-19 pandemic, and Virginia’s deeply inadequate response to the crisis of unemployment, made those gaps into canyons of injustice and hurt.
Our work in the pandemic era has pushed for fixes to help people get questions answered, problems resolved, and benefits paid. At the same time, Legal Aid Justice Center is looking and working toward a future where Virginia’s unemployment system is fairer and works better for workers.
Social Security Income/Social Security Disability Income Appeals
Fighting for fair access to benefits
Our team handles children’s Social Security Income (SSI) cases in which a child who receives SSI is losing their benefits because they are being told by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that they are no longer disabled or because they have exceeded the financial limits. We also handle some overpayment cases for adults (age 18+).
Our team can accept Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) overpayment cases in which a person is alleged to have worked too much to qualify for benefits.
Protecting Electric Utility Access for those with Serious Medical Conditions
Customers who have a serious medical need for any utility (such as needing electricity for a ventilator), can submit a Serious Medical Condition Certification Form to the utility company to keep service from being shut off, even when the bill hasn’t been paid.
Learn more about how to submit the form, best practices, payment plans, and energy assistance programs here.
Need Help with a HEALTHCARE & PUBLIC BENEFITS issue?
Please visit our GET HELP page for information on how we may be able to provide assistance.
Explore the sections above for information on your rights and other self-help materials.