Meeting Basic Needs

NCLEJ works to ensure that government policies and practices are accessible to households who receive critical cash assistance, food stamps, and Medicaid for which they are eligible. When government agencies fall short of their legal obligations – for example, by making it difficult for people to apply or access benefits, obstruct timely assistance or accommodation, or prematurely roll out a faulty computer system that denies subsistence benefits to thousands of eligible families, NCLEJ uses court challenges to redress the harm and hold public officials accountable.

Language Access Barries to Unemployment Insurance

Our report, Designed to Exclude: New York’s Failure to Provide Compensation and Language Access to Unemployed Workers, details the New York State Department of Labor’s failure during the COVID-19 pandemic to make unemployment insurance accessible to workers who have limited English proficiency. As unemployment skyrocketed, many were denied benefits, turned to food banks, resorted to homeless shelters, and went hungry. Community organizations became the only access point to unemployment benefits for New York’s 2.5 million workers with limited English proficiency. Read the report in English and Spanish.

Disaster Assistance

NCLEJ is national leader in ensuring that public benefits programs for low-income individuals are administered fairly and in compliance with the law. In the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, we sued FEMA when the agency failed to provide accessible temporary housing to displaced people with disabilities. The lawsuit was settled successfully, and thousands of people with disabilities obtained accessible trailers as a result. Since then, we have been working to ensure that FEMA has adequate temporary housing policies in place to meet the needs of people with disabilities and others in the future.

We welcome the opportunity to work with advocates on issues arising in their states. Feel free to contact us.