If public benefit programs are to promote the welfare of those in need, they must be administered fairly and in accord with clear standards that comply with the law. Program applicants and recipients must be informed about their rights and obligations and must be able to seek review of agency decisions regarding their claims. Agencies must conduct hearings fairly, issue timely decisions, and ensure that agency staff comply promptly and fully with hearing decisions. These notions of fundamental fairness are at the heart of constitutional due process requirements.
NCLEJ works to make due process and fair treatment a reality for low-income individuals across the country and to hold government agencies accountable for complying with the law. Our advocacy today builds on a longstanding commitment from our early history – the Welfare Law Center helped bring the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Goldberg v. Kelly, which established that welfare recipients have a right to a hearing before their benefits are cut off.
We use an array of strategies tailored to the particular problem and situation. We devise remedies for agency failures and effective monitoring systems so that agencies can determine whether remedies are successfully implemented.
Throughout the country, states are modernizing public benefits administration and making greater use of technology to administer programs. This shift has profound implications for low-income people. NCLEJ works with colleagues across the country to ensure that modernization initiatives are implemented in an effective and accountable manner, guaranteeing that low-income individuals and families have access to the benefits, services, and opportunities to which they are legally entitled and that they need to achieve economic independence.
We welcome opportunities to work with advocates across the country. Feel free to contact us.