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Instruction of Finishing the Form Mloe 2 Instructions Maryland Attorney General Oag State Md

you.good afternoon we're thrilled to be.presenting a timely panel entitled.coronavirus protecting safety net.benefits during the pandemic sponsored.by the American Bar Association and.civil rights and social justices.economic justice committee this panel is.one of many in a series of rapid.response webinars on the Cova 19.pandemic we are actively planning.additional covered 19 programming on a.variety of issues so please visit.American Bar dot org slash CR SGA for.updates on these programs during today's.program we encourage you to ask.questions of our panelists as an.attendee you should see a control panel.with control control such as audio.options chat raise hand and Q&A for the.purpose of this webinar we ask that you.submit your questions through the Q&A.not the chat function if you do not see.these controls please make sure your.screen is not idle we will address.questions at the end of the panel we.will also be sharing a recording of the.program to everyone who is registered so.that you can share widely with your.networks please feel free to leave us.feedback or ask questions to follow up.and with that we're thrilled to present.bring to you today's program entitled.coronavirus protecting safety net public.benefits during the pandemic my name is.Jim Pearson I'm the chair of the.business programs at Chatham University.in Pittsburgh and also serve as the vice.chair of the economic justice committee.for an American Bar Association's.section of civil rights and social.justice our panelists that we'll be.presenting today in the order of.appearance.our first joy Fowler who's a public.assistant applicant who has previously.testified before Maryland legislature.joy will provide her own story but in.short she's a public recipient benefit.in the state of Maryland who is.tirelessly advocated for the rights and.respect of the applicants and recipients.of public benefits and the challenges.they face joy has previously testified.before the said Maryland legislature and.we are grateful to have her with us.today to share her perspective Thank You.joy our next speaker will be Elizabeth.Bauer bash this bethesda director of the.Center for Law and Social Policy clasp.by acronyms income and work supports.team in this role she leads a team of.experts focused on federal and state.cash assistance Medicaid snap and.refundable tax credits and how they.impact the lives of people with low.incomes Elizabeth has expertise above.federal policy development and an.effective and cross-cutting.implementation of federal policy she.also co-chairs to protecting immigrant.families advancing our future campaign.which is a multi organizational campaign.dedicated to protecting access to income.and work supports programs for.immigrants and their families from 1996.to 2006 mr. Bosch worked for the office.of the assistant secretary for planning.the evaluation at the US Department of.Health and Human Services in this.position she was a lead policy analyst.supporting legislative and regulatory.processes during April to implementation.of the temporary assistant since foods.for Needy Families TANF.the Block Grant and managing research.projects Elizabeth has a bachelor's.degree in history from Yale University.writing her thesis on Pro and anti.immigrant tendencies in the 19th century.American labor movement and a master's.degree in public policy from Harvard.University's Kennedy School of.Government Elizabeth thank you for.joining us today our next panelist is.Greg bass Greg is a senior attorney.focused on disability rights prior to.joining the National Center for lawn.economic justice Gregg served as a.litigation director at Greater Hartford.legal aid for more than 16 years he'll.it again without from NC Ellijay staff.Raymond versus Rowland a major class.action under the Americans with.Disabilities Act after several years of.negotiation and litigation a twenty five.million dollar settlement was achieved.which restructured welfare agency.policies regulations notices and staff.hiring and training to comply with a DEA.reg also has litigated a number of other.individual and class actions in state.and federal courts across a range of.legal areas including Medicaid housing.public benefits consumers employment.seniors civil rights and others Greg's.legal career of greater than 30 years.has been devoted to serving as an.attorney and managing attorney with.legal services programs throughout the.United States and Alabama Washington.California and Connecticut he's a.graduate of American University.Washington College of Law and we're.happy to have Gregg with us here today.and importantly we have Michele Salomon.Madeo who's a senior attorney with the.economic justice project at the homeless.persons representation project in.Baltimore Maryland Michele joined HPRP.in 2013 to provide representation.advocacy and education to clients on.public benefit matters Michele is.co-chair of Maryland Maryland's legal.aid statewide public benefits task force.prior to joining HPRP Michele worked as.a clinical law fellow with the.University of Maryland's carry school.loss clinical law program where she.taught into healthcare delivery and.hiv/aids clinic as well as the.International Human Rights clinic in.Gambia sub-saharan Africa.Michele received her BA from American.University and her JD from the.University of Maryland Carey School of.Law from 2005 to 2006 Michele is a.Fulbright Scholar in Spain where she.research the country's experience with.since injuries over the past ten years.with the co-author of Spain's 1995 jury.law with that we're grateful for Michele.and all our panelists to join us today.and share their expertise.and what we'd like to do is begin by.asking joy to share her perspective joy.turned over to you at this point hi.everyone I just wanted to talk today.about this I've been using snap benefits.about seven years on and off I've always.kept a job it's just usually hasn't been.enough to be stable enough independently.I do want to speak today about who this.is really affecting could I have the.next slide please sorry next slide I'm.sorry um so basically I feel like it's.the children who are really being.affected um there's a lot of kids who.their only meal was at school there has.been many people who I've reached out to.who are receiving SNAP benefits and they.haven't gotten anything additionally for.their kids or anything additionally at.all there has been there has been even.with some families like families don't.even know how to get access to certain.resources the parents even if they even.care enough to reach out to to find more.resources for their kids to eat and you.know these kids and another bit of.people I think it's really affecting is.the ones who are not very computer savvy.um you know even my mother she she has a.very hard time getting into certain.things online and that's like the only.way people can apply right now is online.they're not doing anything in person so.me personally I have applied for SNAP.benefits NT CA and I haven't even heard.back from them yet.the people also who are experiencing.homelessness I heard they were putting.some people in hotels but even then kids.still need food and especially like the.people with disabilities you know they.need help getting their groceries and.and the people struggling you know with.mental illness you know that this could.really be affecting them and I also read.about that fifty percent of the country.doesn't have therapy and like.psychiatrist because there's a shortage.next slide please.and I think that's the biggest thing is.the resources for people even I've.actually was homeless back in 2019 and I.had multiple case managers and the case.managers didn't even really have a.resources like I ended up having to try.to find these resources online by myself.so I really believe like that's a big.problem too with the communication.between these these places that are.supposed to help people in poverty and.that's another thing you know not.everybody can afford a computer and have.access to get on I really feel like they.should try to find another way to.communicate okay and right now me I I am.actually not receiving unemployment I'm.not a law I had two jobs before this hit.I've lost both I haven't got any snap I.tried to apply even with the stimulus.checks like they I got online I had.applied online and they just kept giving.technical difficulties I couldn't get.through I actually have a picture of.that on the last slide.the messages I was getting and for the.unemployment insurance you can only you.have to have had less than three jobs.within 18 months or you have to apply.online.I mean or you have to apply through.phone which that has been terrible for.me I've been calling up to two hours.three hours is calling back-to-back just.busy tone and I've had up to five jobs.in 18 months so they I haven't been able.to get through for that as well.so I I think there's a big communication.problem with all these benefits.another big thing is I have been.applying for other jobs I have a four.year old son and that's been really hard.because his daycare is out so that's.kind of been another thing.thank you that.thank you joy do you have and your last.slide there was the difficulty you had.getting in with the IRS in the IRS.website as well for the stimulus check.payment is that correct yes okay very.good.at this time and what we'll do is we'll.come back to joy at the backend and get.some additional perspective after we.have some dialogue with our panelists at.this point in time let me turn it over.to you please hi thank you for having me.let me say if hopefully you're seeing my.screen now I'm just gonna very briefly.go over the bills that have been passed.by Congress and the new provisions that.they have that have impacted the public.benefits as Jason definitely this is.what's supposed to be available and we.absolutely recognize that there is far.too much of a gap between what's.promised and what people have been able.to receive but it's helpful as context.to start of at least once it offered.there have been three bills passed by.Congress the two that really matter for.the benefits side are families first.which was passed on March 13th and then.the cares Act which was passed on March.27th as I think everyone probably knows.there's widespread recognition now that.these are not gonna be enough and.discussion about what more is needed so.although in this slides I go and talk.about what we think is still needed I'm.certainly happy to share that if people.have questions so the first thing the.families first had is that it provided.increased federal funds for Medicaid a.temporary boost in the matching rate.that states can receive during the.public health emergency and that's.actually worth lifting up because it.will only last while the emergency loss.the health emergency and we know there's.going to be an economic crisis last.thing far beyond when the public.health emergency may end but the really.strong thing about this is that it's.conditional on what is called.maintenance of effort or OAE and that.really means that states can't kick.people off of Medicaid while this is in.wet under way which is incredibly.important the only exceptions are if.people are voluntary asking to be.disenrolled or they're known not to be a.state resident and that does include if.people and have passed away but states.can't do what they sometimes do which is.when they send you a letter and if you.don't get it back in ten years they say.well this must be proof that you've.moved and therefore we're gonna cut you.off so some really important protections.states can't change their eligibility.rules to make it harder to get on.Medicaid or create new or increased.premiums and no cost-sharing for covin.19 testing or treatment people can't.have to pay co-pays or deductibles for.it under Medicaid so these are really.important protections for people who are.receiving Medicaid I will flag it still.there's still gaps in who is eligible.for Medicaid but this is still a very.important protection on the snap side.Supplemental Nutrition Assistance.Program nutrition benefits came through.an EBT card the family the law suspended.implementation of the three-month time.limit for unemployed workers without.children so a lot of people otherwise.would have lost their SNAP benefits.because they couldn't work which is.always an incredibly perverse.requirement but particularly in a moment.when people are being told to stay home.and not work would have been incredibly.counterproductive and it authorized.states to issue emergency supplemental.benefits to top people off FNS is.currently approving this for up to two.months but the only two months isn't in.the statute and at this point we're.expecting that that will be extended and.almost all states have adopted this so.if you were getting snap and you were.getting less than the full benefit.Saints are lifting you up to the full.benefit for your family sighs one.problem with this is if you are already.receiving the maximum benefit you don't.get anything more in the way at FNS has.interpreted this um the legislation also.gave States just don't great deal more.flexibility in snap recognizing that.many offices are in fact closed for.in-person visits and those increased.mean the bill gave States drawn.flexibility to extend certification.periods adapt their telephonic signature.so you can apply without signing.something and mailing it in usually if.you say you've lost your job they either.need something saying you've lost your.job or they'll call your employer and.get them to say yes they lost their job.no one's answering their phones they.answer those questions now so FNS has.send states can treat a stay in home.order as the evidence that they need so.things like that but again it doesn't go.as far as we think it should.there is no disaster snap which is an.option that would allow it to reach.people who were not otherwise eligible.for snap in some circumstances no waiver.of the student eligibility requirements.if you're a college student at least.half time place and you have to be.working as well to get SNAP benefits or.caring for children or some other.requirements again lots of people who.are working and going to school have.lost their jobs in some cases they may.be losing their SNAP benefits as well.child nutrition programs the families.first had waivers that allow for online.our phone applications for WIC which has.never been allowed this is the special.supplemental nutrition for women infants.and children usually you have to go in.person you have to be have a health.examination to qualify they're allowing.for people to apply by phone just to say.yeah.I can weigh my kid and tell you how much.they weigh instead of coming into an.office when people again are being told.to stay home schools are offering.grab-and-go meal options for school.meals childcare providers can also do.that if they have the capacity but we.know that only a tiny share of the kids.who would have been in school are.actually receiving the grab-and-go meals.there's an option called pandemic EBT.that lets States actually put more money.on people snap cards to replace the.school meals it's a really great option.because again if you can't go if you're.still working or if you don't have a car.you might not be able to do a.grab-and-go meal but you can if you can.pay for food on an EBT card but even.though this was in the bill that was.passed over a month ago now only six.states have been approved so far as to I.said Maryland is not one of them so it's.rolling out more slowly but it can be a.really important way and also families.who are not receiving SNAP who are only.receiving school meals can get it as.well everyone turned about the economic.impact rebate which is the IRS is.official term for what most people are.calling the stimulus payments it is.$1200 per qualifying adult $500 for a.child under 17 there are restrictions.you have to have a social security.number to qualify and if one spouse has.a social security number and the other.has an ITIN unless they're in the.military and i-10 is one immigrants who.don't have a social security number can.use to file their taxes the whole family.will lose the benefit you're not.eligible if you can be claimed as a.dependent by someone else so students.and other adult attendants mostly people.with disabilities they don't count for.the child benefit and they also can't.claim their own benefit so they get.caught in between it is based on your.2019 tax return if you filed it.based on the 2018 return if the 2019.hasn't been filed and if you don't need.to file your taxes because your income.is too low you have to fill out a.special form to get it this is the IRS.website joined in show some of the error.messages that lots and lots of people.have been getting I've also been told.that this is not well designed to be.navigated on your phone then it has.pop-up windows which mobile devices.don't handle well so again it's lots of.implementation challenges just flagging.that they have said that if you get.Social Security SSI or some veterans.benefits recipients will get it.automatically others do need to either.file taxes or fill out the form.it is important than it's not counted as.income for other benefit programs or.assets for twelve months so you.shouldn't lose your snap bring your.Medicaid or anything else because you.get it.it can't be intercepted for most debts.but it can be intercepted for child.support payments owed which we know will.affect a lot of people and also we've.been hearing some disturbing stories.about banks claiming and after it's been.deposited to pay for previous debts or.other obligations and that's really not.what this was intended for it was.intended to put money in people's.pockets right away I will flag that.immigrant families are one group in.particular that was left out from a lot.of the services there is some relief for.immigrant families immigrants who have.social security numbers including daca.recipients and CVS holders are able to.get the stimulus payment and in many.cases unemployment insurance pandemic.EBT and the WIC provisions can help.immigrants and their children but manna.cane and snap both have underlying.restrictions than even many lawfully.press.and immigrants are denied access for.five years after arrival which has and.folks who are undocumented do not have.access to them and that has serious.implications for access in spite of the.legislation that's been passed and also.the administration has been working for.three years to frighten immigrants away.from receiving these programs with.what's known as the public charge.regulation and the result is there's.just a lot of fear and confusion and.people don't know what they can and.can't safely receive and again as I.mentioned the stimulus payment economic.impact payment if you don't have a.social security number.you're not eligible for it and this will.result in an estimated two million u.s..citizens spouses and 4.1 million u.s..citizen children in mixed status.families being denied the benefits in.addition to the individuals themselves.who are not citizens.so half empty half full some important.provisions but there's definitely a lot.more that means to be done and I know.Greg's going to talk a lot more about.the unemployment insurance and paying.family leave provisions again really.good intentions the first national paid.leave legislation we've ever had but.really complicated kind of hard to.figure out which program you should be.eligible for when and how to get it so.with that I will pass it out back to.Greg and then happy to answer questions.at the end and I need to figure out how.to do this.great Thank You Elizabeth and at this.time Greg weed if you'd like to share.with you with us your material that'd be.great move up to the start hi everyone.thanks to the ABA and thanks to everyone.who's attending a webinar we really.appreciate it I'm going to touch on a.few topics first focusing on.unemployment compensation benefits and.then I'm going to do a pivot the basic.access issues that run across the board.for public benefits programs and provide.some outright obstacles to as Joyce.already illuminated very well to public.benefits eligibility and access during.Kovach nineteen part what happened under.the cares Act which was signed on March.26 nearly a two trillion dollar economic.stimulus package was the enactment of.three basic new unemployment insurance.programs to meet the pandemic the cares.Act creates the pandemic unemployment.compensation program which is an.additional $600 per week on top of.regular benefits to all UI recipients it.also creates the pandemic emergency.unemployment compensation act which is.an additional 13 weeks of UI benefits.beyond the usual regular 26 weeks that.folks typically get and finally creates.the pandemic unemployment assistance.program for individuals who have.traditionally been ineligible for UI.benefits who have been carved out of.those programs state by state.now the pandemic unemployment.compensation program it temporarily.supplements UI benefit amounts and.extends the duration of those benefits.to July 31st 20.all regular unemployment insurance.pandemic emergency unemployment.insurance and pandemic unemployment.assistance program claimants will.receive their usual calculated benefit.plus an additional $600 per week and.compensation this is a flat amount paid.on a weekly basis and it's not income.for purposes of Medicaid or chip.children's health insurance program.benefits one problem with that is that.the federal legislation does not mention.snap food stamp benefits so there may be.some issues with income county for the.purposes of eligibility for snap if.you're already receiving unemployment.insurance to get your 600 dollars a week.you don't have to do anything you don't.have to make an additional application.it'll already be automatically added to.your regular benefits it will not reduce.your ongoing unemployment benefits.now the pandemic emergency unemployment.compensation program is an additional 13.weeks of state unemployment insurance.benefits most states offered 26 weeks.typically to receive the EUC you have to.be actively engaged in searching for.work but the cares Act does specify that.the state must provide flexibility in.meeting work search requirements in case.of individuals who are unable to search.for work because of Kovan 19 conditions.there's also something called a non.reduction rule that's coupled with PE.you see as long as states are.participating in this program and the.other unemployment insurance programs.enacted under the pandemic states may.not decrease the maximum number of weeks.of UI that are typically afforded under.their program or the weekly benefits.that are available in terms of a waiting.week mostly it's have a statutory.one-week waiting period for people to.receive UI benefits but under the cares.Act states that waive the 1 week waiting.period will be fully reimbursed by the.federal government.so what that's meaningless the states.are basically waiving this one-week.waiting period even if you've exhausted.your UI benefits a while ago you're.still eligible for PE you see anyone who.exhausted their benefits after July 1st.2019 last year you can still get your 13.additional weeks and on top of that you.will still get your $600 a week direct.payment now the pandemic unemployment.assistance program this is a new program.that provides Amer.it's a PE way are available to workers.who are immediately eligible the program.will expire on December 31st of 2020 a.fundamental feature of this program is.that it gives income support to many.workers who are usually shut out this.can involve self-employed workers.including independent contractors.freelancers workers seeking part-time.work or workers who do not have a long.enough work history they can be eligible.for PUA benefits workers are not.eligible for PA pre UA if they either.telework with pay where they're.receiving paid sick days of paid leave.this program will run from January 27th.it's already in effect it can be.retroactive through December 31st of.this year.now the PUA benefits have calculated the.same way as IR for the federal disaster.unemployment assistance program which is.this this is basically modeled on it'll.have a minimum benefit that's calculated.according to a formula and it will have.the additional $600 a week direct check.there is no week-long wait period now.PUA has some attached covered conditions.the good news is the applicants for PA.only needs self-certifying and in most.circumstances that they meet these.conditions.to be partially or fully unemployed or.unable and unavailable to work because.of these various conditions and I.apologize there's a lot of riding on.this slide a lot of small print but it.can be used as sort of a checklist if.you meet basically one of these kovat 19.related conditions then you may be.eligible for PA access conditions I'm.attached to unemployment insurance of a.very specific set of ways under the.families first coronavirus response act.of FF CRA this took effect on April 3rd.and it provides 1 billion dollars in.federal funding to the states it's.divided into two 500 million dollar.tranches of funding basically has met.meant to meet the challenge of.processing huge numbers of UI claims and.you're all seeing the reporting about.this resulting from the economic.downturn that's precipitated by code of.19 it advances a high emergency priority.this is according to the US Department.of Labor of emergency of emergency.administrative funding to the states to.staff up to meet the massive increases.in workload that are anticipated and.that are in fact actually happening.under code 19 and the emergency response.and the economic downturn states are.already at historic low levels of.administrative funding so this is at.least facially very well welcome to meet.this historic low and administrative.funding each state share of the 1.billion dollar distribution is.determined by federal funding formula.based on taxes collected it ranges from.a high of 118 million for California to.a low of 1.77 million for Wyoming the.federal law does not require state.legislators to do anything they do not.have to enact legislative appropriations.the money will automatically be.activated.significantly for our purposes here.today the federal funding is conditioned.on compliance with some basic standards.some states are already meeting these.standards but some are not.the idea is to ensure the benefits are.fairly administered and certain minimum.steps are taken by the states to expand.access to benefits this is the basic.access cook under FF CRA there are.certain specific conditions the first.phase of the law this first $500,000,000.tranche talks in terms of employer.notification alternative filing options.and state notification employer.notification the law requires States to.have in place a requirement that.employers notify individuals of the.availability the UI benefits at the time.they separate from their job DOL is.provided a model notice but advocates.may want to try to have some input on.this to tailor it specifically to cover.19 these notices should reference the.availability of UI these expanded.programs when somebody separates from.employment these programs that are in.response to Kovan 19 and any guidance.that the state has developed and those.programs alternative filing options this.is key for some of the horrendous access.conditions that you're seeing across the.board in virtually every state the state.has to ensure again as a condition of.getting this first 500 million dollars.that applications for benefits and.assistance that the application process.are accessible in at least two of the.following mediums in-person phone or.online many states have shifted to.online filing over the years in some.states have limited access through phone.claims systems phone based most states.no longer provide in-person filing.options Department of Labor has said.just recently that the person is unable.to access.or use a web-based system the state must.offer an alternative option for.processing information of benefits such.as in-person or by telephone equal.access has to be ensured states have to.have staff that are properly trained to.provide this linkage which will do.facilitate routine acceptance of.information so this funding is key to.ensuring that workers no matter their.computer literacy level their English.proficiency their disability or other.disadvantages can readily access their.benefits for example if the state only.provides online processing and benefits.in application but refers individuals to.a separate phone number for help with.online filing that may not meet the.federal standard that's required by the.law and in fact that's a lot of states.you're doing and that's a partial reason.for why you're seeing such backups.now the third condition state.notification the state has to notify.workers filing for UI benefits when the.application is received by the state and.it's being processed that there's a.holdup to the processing the state has.to provide information and tell the.worker about that explain why the claim.is not being processed and what can be.done to speed it up with Kovac 19.related claims workers may have trouble.tracking down necessary information from.employers who may no longer be in.business or otherwise they're.unavailable.some states processing Kovan 19 claims.may require individuals to provide proof.that they're caring for a dependent.child whose school is closed getting.information to verify that from the.school can obviously be very difficult.advocacy can help focus on getting.states to streamline this sort of.process and limit the additional proof.that's absolutely necessary to process.kovat 19 related claims for benefits now.briefly the second phase of emergency.administrative funding the second.$500,000,000 states have to certify a.couple of things they have to certify.that their unemployment.has increased by at least 10% that's a.trigger that they have to use to then.qualify for the money the state has to.express a commitment to maintain and.strengthen access basically to show that.they're improving their state recipient.rate of unemployment benefits you have.to demonstrate specific steps that.they've taken where they will take to.ease eligibility requirements and access.now this can involve several things.waiving work search requirements for.code 19 claims waiving the waiting week.and again many states are doing this.you're leaving employers from being.charged for Coe mid-nineteen claims.which would increase the UI tax rate now.the employment training administration.of the United States Department of Labor.talks about actively seeking work as a.requirement that the most states have.for maintaining eligibility for benefits.states have to be flexible for this in.the koban 19 environment there are also.state laws that provide that you have to.have good cause for things like when you.voluntarily have quit your job or you.find trying to find suitable work or.you're able and available to work states.have to be flexible on that this is the.US Department of Labor talking good cost.can include leaving work due to a.reasonable risk of exposure or infection.or self quarantine or to care for a.family member.affected by the virus now this slide is.from the New York State Department of.Labor that's it's a nice flowchart very.simple and very basic that shows basic.eligibility processes and patterns where.the various programs created by the.cares Act one a handy tool you may.encourage your states to use something.like this now Elizabeth reference paid.leave very briefly the families first.coronavirus response Act requires.certain employers to provide employees.with pH sick leave or expanded family.and medical leave for specified reasons.that are related to total of 19 these.permissions will apply through December.31st.this year under the law an employee.qualifies for paid sick time if the.employee is unable to work or unable to.telework due to an equally because the.employee is subject to quarantine has.been advised by a health care provider.the quarantine is experiencing co19.symptoms and seeking a medical diagnosis.and related sorts of kovat 19 scenarios.the Act provides that employees of.covered employers are eligible for two.weeks of paid sick leave at a regular.rate of pay or quarantine situations or.experiencing symptoms you can get two.weeks of paid sick leave at two-thirds.the regular rate of pay because of a.bona fide need to care for someone.subject to quarantine.care for a child whose school is closed.and up to an additional ten weeks of.free expanded family and medical leave.by Muslim the Family Medical Leave Act a.2/3 the rate of pay if someone has been.employed at least 30 calendar days and.unable to work for qualified legal care.for a child whose school is closed.covered employers basically private.employers with fewer than 500 employees.are covered but small businesses with.fewer than 50 employees may qualify for.exemptions from their requirement to.care for a child whose school is closed.now using the example of snap I'm going.to talk real briefly about some basic.access issues that are affecting not.only snap know the programs the Food and.Nutrition Service of the Department of.Agriculture has this interesting.document called the snap pandemic.planning guidelines it talks about how.the states need to plan for something.like pandemic it provides direction on.necessary preparation for the emergency.situation and it also gives on the flip.side what are going to be inevitable.access issues some of which Elizabeth.already mentioned and certainly joy has.talked about now you're seeing the.reported numbers of course of UI.applications the system's being flooded.this is happening for TANF cash.assistance monies this is happening.could snap as well in California Vermont.and Washington applications but more.than doubled since the beginning of.March in Connecticut as of March 30th.applications for food stamps rose from.one hundred and forty seven to four.hundred and fifty three a day so the.pandemic and the emergency response is.going to have to meet this flooding this.pandemic planning guidelines document.tells the states that first you have to.have a pandemic plan to try to inquire.whether or not your state has one.capacity state agencies have to assess.their business processes their.technology to ensure the systems are.capable of functioning at the kind of.levels they're already seeing and this.is real nuts and bolts for example is.your mailed application system mail room.mail distribution entry of application.data can that accommodate the.anticipated volume of paper applications.call sentence many states have regional.or state like call centers what's the.maximum volume of incoming and outgoing.calls that your system can accommodate.what happens when the system is.overloaded do you have interactive voice.response functionality that allows.clients to get general and case specific.information from workers who can talk to.those issues.what about outreach does the state use.robo calls to to let people know about.information about changes in policy or.conditions of office closures for.example is their general outreach.besides robo calls how will agencies get.the word out generally about changes.that are instituted either officially or.de-facto to meet the pandemic for.example in New York City the human.resources administration has developed a.downloadable.application called skip the trip a.social media toolkit that allows.organizations to develop tailored.responses to outreach to get the word.out systems in tech does the state have.a web-based online application is this.through a mobile application or a mobile.enabled website again in New York City.they're encouraging increased use of.their mobile application access HRA does.your state have something comparable do.you have online case management systems.that allow households to do a number of.routine tasks related to their snap case.for example through a web-based portal.the web-based portal viewing case.information viewing notices reporting.change in household factors to your.servers your state servers have the.capacity to handle increased sometimes.dramatically increased web traffic.staffing can you estimate what percent.of your workforce will be absent from.work during various stages of the.pandemic again do you have a plan to.meet those staffing conditions you have.case banking or electronic case files so.you can move work from some offices to.may need to close to other offices or to.staff who are working remotely.do you have telework policies and.systems that allow authority occurred.these questions and instructions and.mandates for agency planning as I said.they anticipate on the flip side access.issues that are inevitably going to come.up States need to be considering a range.of options allowing clients to file.applications by mail or telephone online.develop mobile applications substitute.telephone interviews for face-to-face.interviews and some of this Elizabeth.has already touched on maximize use of.verification through online databases.considered document imaging technology.replace something as fundamental as.replace aspects of EBT card issuance.that are currently only available by.distribution over the counter replace.that for example if card issue.by mail some states don't have that and.they need to start considering that in.New York the office of temporary and.disability assistance has sent out.general transmittals to offices around.the state officer districts local.districts each have to have staff.available during core business hours.according to this transmittal from OTD a.districts are not allowed to limit the.days of the week or times of the day.that a person can apply for assistance.use of external secured drop boxes can.be okay but there has to be a way for.someone to get a receipt when they drop.off documents verification eligibility.documents in these drop boxes an.individual has a right to file an.application with the district at any.time during business hours basically.accommodations have to be developed to.make these processes work that's what.New York State has instructed each of.its County local districts so what is.your state doing now processing delays.as folks know federal law for snap.requires that after the date of.application regular food stamps be.provided within 30 calendar days if you.are destitute household or an individual.that's seven calendar days after.application Kovan 19 who is going to.dramatically increase snap enrollments.that are not timely processed for a.number of years since the Great.Recession of 2008 we at NC Ellijay have.litigated a number of lawsuits that have.challenged States failure to timely.process food stamp benefits you're going.to see that again it's inevitable in two.kovat 19 untimely processing of SNAP.benefits has resulted typically from a.number of factors increased enrollments.you're certainly going to see that now.loss of staff loss of funding to various.agencies around the country and.dysfunctional modernization efforts many.states have upgraded their computer.eligibility systems to private con.tractors problems have inevitably.resulted they've installed call centers.they've developed new business models.about hello eligibility workers through.their job compound all of those factors.were covered 19 you're going to see.delays so hopefully advocates can.monitor other state is doing will.briefly worry about fair hearings and.due process again the example of New.York.they've taken specific steps they've.issued a guidance in the form of a.six-month demonstration project the otba.Office of Administrative Hearings.they're going to try to ascertain the.viability of doing fair hearings by.telephone video or other means of.communication obviously in the context.of covin 19 this is to facilitate social.distancing so the current health crisis.provides a platform for them using this.demonstration project in-person hearings.will still be an option you have to.request it OAH or hearing officers can.exercise the discretionary judgment to.do it in person or there may be other.circumstances where due process requires.that you know density problems and.social distancing problems aside the.hearing has to be done in person this.raises a number of nuts-and-bolts issues.that if your state is trying to do.something similar to reduce social.distancing for in-person hearings you.might want to take a look at again the.advocates in New York deserve a great.amount of credit for putting these.issues to the forefront for example if.the if the hearing is going through a.process of figuring out whether it.should be in person or not in person and.the client does not appear default.should not automatically be taken the.hearing should be administratively.adjourned until the process is sorted.out well administrative law judges the.fair hearing officers have the ability.to conference in several numbers with.the representative or appellant needs to.have a witness testify.given the fact that staff are working.remotely ALJ severe hearing officers are.working remotely to greater.stand you know all of these issues come.to the forefront notices have to explain.what the options are that are available.to both unrepresented appellant sin2.representatives submitting documents for.hearings that are not conducted in.person there are a lot of issues they.have to be sorted out to the use a.dedicated fax number to introduce.documents what's the timeline for.getting an evidence packet from the the.agency so that you can prepare and know.what the agency's case is that they're.going to present how do you submit those.documents yourself by fax by electronic.submission how do unrepresented.appellant do that if they're directed to.use it by mail to submit any documents.they may have time delays are inevitable.there and that can create confusion the.administrative law judges and fair.hearing officers should also be directed.to keep the not keeping record open what.submission of documents after the.hearing is concluded.there are a number of due process issues.that that advocates may want to take a.look at real briefly this is a case.study from a state that shall remain.nameless this came from a conference.call that I participated in last week in.context of monitoring the enforcement of.a settlement decree he needed to get.informed as the duty clevedon 18 staff.and tuition rates and their offices were.causing them to invoke an emergency code.that would give them sort of a safe.haven from timely processing the food.stamp benefits you've already closed.five offices they have skeletal staff.and the remaining offices and they're.trying to get staff out of those offices.they're expanding expanding telework for.staff but they have finite amounts of.equipment the less staff of state issued.phones are uncomfortable doing things.like interviews on their personal cell.phones fewer staff and central locations.are available to bail out documents.we're trying to relax verification.requirements to their credit they said.their call center is also functioning.remotely but it's hard to tell whether.they're keeping track of things letting.wait times or abandonment rates.documents cannot be brought in in person.by clients for verification purposes.that you have drop boxes but it's it's.unclear excuse me where the clients will.get receipts but they drop those.documents our outreach is a little.unclear whether or not they're informing.the public about all of these change.circumstances online or mail or the only.ways that you can apply for snap and not.allowing applications by phone so their.takeaway was that they're optimistic.that they're maintaining timeliness they.don't appear to have a pandemic plan.which the feds have told them they need.to have so you might want to compare.this sort of case study with what's.happening in your state and then finally.one word about applicants and recipients.with disabilities I wanted to end with a.quick pitch for keeping in mind the.needs of these folks who have to rely on.subsistence level benefits and they have.disability Cerveny muris studies since.the 90s reporting significant.percentages of cash assistance and snap.recipients who have barriers employer of.impairments disabling conditions title.to the Americans with Disabilities Act.it governs what public entities like.public benefits agencies have to do to.comply with mandates that have to do.with applicants and recipients for.benefits who have disabling conditions.basically one one crux of that law is.that these look these state agencies.have to provide reasonable.accommodations for persons with.disabilities they have to reasonably.modify policies practices and procedures.if necessary to avoid discrimination.this is changes and program rules of.policy changes in the ways that agencies.do things or changes in the ways that.persons with disabilities can be allowed.to do things these are very.fundamental everyday street-level things.like rescheduling deployments help.authorities helping clients gather.third-party verification providing.assistance explaining them filling out.complicated applications and other forms.home visits may be a reasonable.accommodation the lighting sign language.interpreters or converted documents of.alternate formats the persons who are.blind the track record of state agencies.without Cova 19 as a context is spotty.at best and providing reasonable.accommodations applicants and recipients.with disabilities it will be greatly.aggravated by covin 19 this is personal.interaction to make sure that people get.reasonable accommodations and there's a.very great fear among advocates around.the country that these folks will be.left out in the cold thank you very much.thank you Greg that's very very helpful.and I know you've got is your son out on.the west coast or not yes he's at.Portland Oregon.Oh excellent excellent well why you.should be proud of excellent.presentation so thank you so much at.this point let's go back to the East.Coast and talk to Michelle from Maryland.and Michelle Medina if you'd like to.share your screen and present we.appreciate that.thanks so much hi everyone thanks for.tuning in really appreciate it I'm.trying not to duplicate information.already presented by the other panelists.so I was gonna focus on what some some.things that advocates can do with regard.to the Temporary Assistance for Needy.Families benefit TANF might be known in.states as in Maryland it's temporary.cash assistance this you can calm please.go to the next slide so TANF was not.specifically there was nothing.additional no additional funding for.TANF in the families first or the cares.acts like there was with the recession.in 2008 but you know besides.reauthorizing it but even though there.wasn't additional funding the US.Department for Health and Human Services.HHS did.put out some guidance talking about some.things that states can do and so I'm.gonna use Maryland as an example of some.of the changes because there are things.I mean we do need more funding and I'll.talk about that later but there are some.things we we can do states can do with.TANF so in Maryland what some of the.changes that came about our our TANF.agency is called the Maryland Department.of Human Services I might say DHS or the.Department to refer to it our Department.issued a six-month extension and all.redeterminations so that way it aligns.with the redetermination extensions that.they also did with the snap benefit.there's a 90-day period where folks can.provide verifications that the.Department might need to support.eligibility so typically the Department.will give out it's supposed to give a.minimum of 10 days we often see it.giving out only a maximum of ten days so.something like 90 days is very helpful.right now as Greg mentioned with you.know employers not either existing.anymore or not responding to requests.for verification to show you're still or.you're no longer employed usually just.the culture in accessing some of these.benefits is that you know anything you.say oftentimes regardless of what the.regs say you in practice you might need.to provide a third-party verification.just to back up what you're saying so.it's a very verification heavy process.so there's extra time and the 90 days I.believe is from when you when you apply.or when they need the verification or.requested the there's a work activity.requirement with TANF so all eligible.adults in the household if they've been.assessed and there's no good cause or.exemptions will be required to work.as a requirement to receive the TANF.benefits so this requirement has.temporarily been suspended and in.Maryland.they've aligned the suspension up with.the closures of schools they've also.decided that they're not going to be.sanctioning for non-compliance which is.great and also makes sense if we're.suspending the work activity.requirements so typically if a person.who receives TANF does not comply with.some aspect of the program like child.support subsidy use work activity they.could be sanctioned for non-compliance.and the sanction would some states have.partial partial benefit reductions other.states have full family terminations.full family sanctions so you know not.not allowing any sanctions during this.time is a great step towards helping.families access the benefits in Maryland.sanction closures have always been the.number one reason that folks get their.TANF benefits terminated so prior.sanctions in Maryland are not going to.be we're not going to prohibit.new applications from getting approved.so if your benefits at some point in the.past closed out due to a sanction you.reapply this can't be the reason that.your application doesn't get approved.another change is you know granting the.hardship exemptions for anyone who's.already at the sixty in month time limit.so TANF there's a six-month time limit.you can apply for a hardship exemption.or the state can give a hardship.exemption so Maryland's granting those.they've also asked that they lost HHS.that anyone who's receiving TANF right.now that those months during coded that.folks are receiving that that it doesn't.count against the sixty months time.limit so we can send out the HHS.guidance after or a link to it after but.it basically just you know says.that states can grant some flexibility.in the ease of requirements it gives.some examples like telephonic.appointments to minimize the.face-to-face interactions.it does say granting good cause from the.work requirement you know either because.folks are ill don't have childcare work.closed so in Maryland they they did.grant it work a good cause for for.everyone you don't have to it's not on.the individual by individual basis and.so you know what the guidance says is.that while they don't have the authority.to just completely waive the work.activity requirement they're not going.to penalize States financially if the.state wasn't able to meet the work.activity or the work participation rate.due to kovat they're going to be.granting what's called reasonable cause.and that they'd be liberal in granting.it so you know in Maryland our work.participation rate is low so we'll.probably be fine even without it but.even if we didn't mean it.HHS has said it's gonna be granting.reasonable cause so no financial penalty.to States next slide so you know despite.a lot of these you know really great.policy changes we still have been seeing.a lot of issues in accessing benefits.and it changes from week to week what.we're seeing so so far we've seen these.are just some of them there's a lot a.lot of others but so you know incorrect.benefit amounts so if you've added a.household member or someone was born or.you lost your job and you had a change.in income you know not seeing a timely.timely change to your benefit amount.that would reflect that we have still.seen benefit terminations most of the.ones we've seen have been pre kovat.notices going out before Co bed saying.you know come well I should say not.before coded before the department's.close to the public so notices that went.out saying you know you must.come in person to do a redetermination.or to drop off this verification or.whatever it is and then the the benefit.you know person wasn't able to because.the offices closed benefit terminated.there were a number of benefit.terminations that you know kind of like.greg talked about with the automated.systems so we have that maryland where.you can code a case to close that out.and unless you actually go in and.manually undo the case closure the case.is just even without further action.gonna close out so out of those a lot of.issues with applications so folks.getting denied beforehand i'm having to.reapply and we have seen you know that.even though a lot of these verification.requirements are relaxed or you have.more time or the phone interviews.relaxed or not happening the the.processing of applications is still not.immediate even when all the information.that the agency should need is right.there in the application next slide.while i'm waiting for the next slide.there we did see an Inc increase in.applications in March there was I think.almost a 30 percent increase alone in.the applications received in March of.2020 as and asked for SNAP benefits as.received in 2019 and there was more than.twice as many new TANF household.applications approved for so far for a.specific period in February March of.this year as the same period in last.year so what that shows is no no I can't.see the slides on my screen not sure we.can pull them up but so we're seeing.families who never received TANF before.applying and and being found eligible.more than more than half a li can you.get the screams up please besides thank.you well I'll just keep talking while.we're having and I'll just keep looking.so the I had a slide about you know some.different ways that advocates can.connect with folks experiencing.homelessness right now and just sharing.some of the things we've been doing oh.I'm sorry this okay I'm pulling up my.own slides Ali can you let me know when.they're up I'm just gonna look at my.computer until they're up so just some.things that our local department has.done to try to connect with folks.experiencing homelessness they did.create a position I'm not sure exactly.what it's called but it's like an.ombudsman for folks experiencing.homelessness and so we've been able to.directly communicate with that person as.opposed to you know the long call the.long hold times that you experience when.you call so that's been really helpful.our department has also been in.communication with the continuum of care.leads and COC or continuum of care is.you know regional or local planning.bodies that coordinate housing and.services funding for homeless families.and individuals departments also had a.weekly call with advocates where we can.raise issues that we're seeing and try.to get some direct responses and answers.we've also asked them to do some data.searches to try to connect so you know.on the online application in Maryland I.think there's a box you can check that.either says homeless or.place to stay or if you enter that in a.field and so you can do a number of data.searches to try to pull the applications.that have where applicants have.self-identified as experiencing.homelessness on it you can also pull.like March and April benefit.terminations and try to reach out to.those families or look at processing.times for for emergency snap.applications you can pull applications.where families have been sanctioned in.the past so a number of different ideas.about just doing using data that the.department already has do searches to.try to connect with families.experiencing homelessness or that were.receiving TANF and we're sanctioned in.the last few months all right so just.some some lessons learned from all this.and you know like I said it's changing.from week to week but communication is.really important so if if you're working.with the Department that has made a.number of changes it's really helpful to.effectively communicate those changes.you know through a lot of folks do have.access to the Internet.paper notices signs okay.messaging is really important too so a.lot of times there's this culture of you.know different jurisdictions operating.as almost like you know your experience.in one County is different than the.other even though there's like a.statewide policy that applies to all.counties so right now it seems like it's.been helpful to frame all this as a.unified stage of state approach so you.know it's kind of all hands in we're.helping to connect as many folks to.benefits as possible regardless of you.know if one workers working in a County.remotely on an application another its.right now the focus is on ever getting.everyone in Maryland who is eligible and.applying for these benefits to be.approved as quickly as possible.something else that's been helpful has.been framing in terms of Public Health.so you know for verification rather than.requiring someone who says they have a.disability to get on the bus.go to the doctors get a piece of paper.confirming exactly what they already.said we don't want that we want folks to.be able to stay home stay healthy stay.safe so we don't need that verification.right now we can still go ahead and.approve without that similarly you know.when it comes to terminating benefits.and sanctioning that all requires a lot.of administrative work so to put a.sanction on a case then send a notice.out saying the person's determinate only.for them to reapply you know a month or.so later and then wait and get approved.that's a lot of administrative work so.the department is saving itself time by.not sanctioning and terminating folks by.just keeping folks on benefits so I.guess ok the slides are still not up I'm.just gonna keep going through so the.next slide I had was a slide that just.it's a visual of like arrows shifting.from a culture shift of one that relies.thank you all right I see them up so.we're on the culture shift slide Thanks.so yeah just it's before kovat 19 you.know the the focus a lot of times just.would feel like you know there's just a.heavy focus on the work participation.rate and states meeting that and so you.would see the focus result in a lot of.sanctions a lot of determinations and.we're seeing these you know obviously.for folks who are actually eligible who.should never been sanctioned or.terminated so unlawful improper.sanctioning and terminations very little.if any flexibility in program rules and.verification requirements.things like that and now we've seen a.lot of that kind of shift with you know.the department saying they're not.sanctioning they're not terminating that.they're going to grant flexibility and.and the focus really being on trying to.approve folks so it'll be interesting to.see eventually when offices reopen and.some of the flexibility is lifted if the.culture shifts back to how it was before.or what if anything stays the same you.know there is also that there's been.racial disparities in the TANF programs.and for a long time and still existing.historically as more black families.begin to receive the benefit public.perception and the media you know.perceived TANF recipients as undeserving.lazy unwilling to engage in paid work.and this contributes of course to the.stereotypes we still see today and if.you look at the states that have more.strict TANF requirements its states that.have a larger percentage of black.families receiving TANF.so there's definitely racism that exists.in the administration of these benefits.historically and still at present and.will just be interesting to see what.happens.next slide please what happens when you.know a lot of the requirements that are.relaxed are no longer just some things.you can do to connect as advocates with.folks experiencing homelessness you can.reach out to case managers at shelters.or where people experiencing.homelessness might still be connected or.spending time healthcare providers we.have a medical legal partnership with.healthcare for the homeless so we're in.contact with a lot of the health.providers their social media has been an.effective way connecting through email.word-of-mouth a lot of folks you know.that we we receive phone calls for.say that we're one of the only places.answering the phone right now and that.they heard that through a friend or a.client or former client so that's been.really great to be able to connect with.folks also you can connect with your.state anti-hunger organizations which I.posted the link on the frac website know.your rights videos there's a whole host.of different ways of connecting now that.we're all working remotely next slide so.I started the presentation by saying.that there was an additional funding in.in the legislation for an extra TANF.benefit like a one-time payment or an.emergency benefit the HHS guidance does.suggest that states can use their so.states are allowed to carry over federal.TANF dollars if it's not spent from year.to year and can build up reserves with.this money and use that to spend later.so the HHS guns does say that this is.one one use that states can do Maryland.has not done this but some states are.using their unspent reserves to provide.like a one-time or emergency benefit and.the usual requirements of data reporting.and child support work activity don't.don't apply usually to that so that's.nice the next slide please and this is.not related to TANF but I just wanted to.mention you know a lot of folks are.trying to avoid grocery stores right now.so it's great if you can to you know.order groceries online for delivery or.pickup but there's actually certain.restrictions that apply if you if you.receive or not restrictions the the.retailers have to be authorized to allow.someone to use their snap or EBT card to.make these purchases so at least in.Maryland there's only one retailer that.I know of that right now.you can order online using your EBT card.there's I put the website on here so you.can check depending on what state you.live in but some states are.participating in a pilot program.I think New York Washington Alabama Iowa.Oregon and Nebraska as recent as April.are participating that and there's a.number of states that have been approved.to move forward in upcoming months April.later this month and May so the FNS.website would have more information.about that so just in the interest of.time I'll stop it there but happy to.answer questions after thank you.Thank You Michelle it's very helpful and.what we'd like to do at this point is.I'm going to stop this chair here in a.second and what I'd like to do is go to.our question mode and enjoy look what we.start with from the perspective of many.of the audience members what are some.things we can do to make it make it.easier to do the administration if you.know based on the computer issues the.phone issues and so forth from your.perspective well I um I thought about it.first I saw question for people who.can't text and who can't have access to.like online maybe through the phone or.the mail system I'm like maybe if they.could hire some more people to do good.do paperwork like do it the.old-fashioned way mail in some of the.applications or just to keep in contact.because if you know they want you to.come in person that's that's completely.impossible so or even with maybe the.phone line I saw they were saying what.if people were running out of minutes so.but that's the only thing I could maybe.think of is going through the mail for.the people he absolutely have no other.way to contact these different places.okay great thank you and Elizabeth this.but can you know the information.relative to immigrants rights the.testing can you expand upon some of the.issues there in that regard sure so I.mean I think in all times.undocumented immigrants are eligible for.very restricted set of benefits someone.asked specifically one and it's really.emergency Medicaid so if you're in a.life-threatening situation and needing.to go to the hospital and then children.are available for nutrition programs.without regard to immigration status.some nutrition programs WIC and school.meals not snack but in many cases at.least the mixed honest families have.been able that the children can receive.benefits if there are citizens even if.their parents are not and I think so.with the stimulus payments really it is.quite you know egregious and challenging.that the children are not able to access.the benefit if even one of their parents.doesn't have a social security number so.and then I think a lot of it again is.because there's been concern you know.public charge is this new role that the.administration actually implemented just.before everything blew up where if.immigrants who are eligible for health.care or nutrition or cash benefits or.housing if they access them that can be.held against them for if they're.applying for a green card later very.very few people are eligible for those.benefits you don't have a green card at.least already but it's just created a.climate of fear and concern people don't.know what they can get people don't know.if it'll be held against them or maybe.they want to reunite with family in the.future who are abroad and people are.just deeply concerned that they'll be.penalized for getting what they need to.support themselves and their families.which is deeply concerning thank you.Elizabeth.Craig.and one of the audience members asked is.what if a low-income individual had two.jobs just to be able to pay bills at one.job is still working full-time but the.second job you know is not due to the.pandemic can they still get any.assistance with unemployment we don't.have a specific state but as a.generality if you're still working full.time on one job I acknowledge that.people are doubling up sometimes.tripling up just to make ends meet I.think if you're working full time you.may not qualify for unemployment.Michelle you see similar type of.activity in Maryland with some of your.applicants with regard to unemployment.insurance yes in multiple jobs and and.run into limitations you know the issue.that joy raised I've heard about as well.difficulties with the online application.where you go to apply and if you've had.more than three jobs in the last 18.months being prompted to call and then.just either getting cut off or hold.times not being able to actually file.and then having to start all over again.and not being able to system it the.application okay all right well thank.you and then just looking over we've got.a whole series of questions we won't be.able to get to all them but we will be.posting the slides for for all the.panelists as well as a copy of the.recording that will be provided after.the after our presentation today you.know what the one question I really have.for all these this generally overall is.now we're here and we know that we're.going to go through probably a staggered.reentry and whether other options or.what other policy issues would you.suggest advancing to really make a.difference going forward because we've.got a moment of opportunity now with the.pandemic to really see is just really.the type of safety net public better.a portfolio of options that we think.best fit society at this point in time.any thoughts on that and and we'll start.with you know just work Lisbeth we'll.start with you is this kind of good.Rhonda Rhonda horn here please I mean I.think it's an you know even if the.health impact is short-lived which we.hope it is the economic impact will be.lasting for many many people and so.making sure that our supports respond.appropriately and I think we need you.know through everything you know more.sneh more Medicaid coverage but yeah.people need cash assistance there was no.booster TANF the stimulus is a one-time.payment people are gonna need more money.in the near future thinking about that.and again just everything that we've.raised today about the implementation.side I think when Congress tries to get.you know really fine and make sure.they're only targeting the people who.exactly need it or if they think Nina.what you wind up is with these very.complicated systems where it's just.really hot you know literally I'm.looking at all these questions that we.got and half of them I can't answer you.know and I spend you know forty hours a.week trying to figure this stuff out and.if you're someone who's just lost their.job how you're supposed to figure it out.is just really hard to wrap your head.around absolutely well thank you.Michelle from your perspective yeah.thanks I think you know the culture and.accessing benefits for snap and TANF and.Medicaid it's it's very heavily reliant.on in-person face-to-face meetings even.if that's not a requirement in the.regulations to have that in person.contact that's just the culture so.anything that you know they need a.verification or a question you'll get at.a general notice that says please come.in on this date for your in-person.meeting might not even say what the.purpose of the meeting is and if you.miss that meeting in purpose in person.your benefits usually close out almost.immediately of course that's unlawful.and you can you know we can deal with.that as we do on appeal but just this.very heavy in-person face-to-face.meetings as being the only way of.communicating is I think what we're.learning now is that that you don't need.to meet with benefit recipients in.person in order to establish eligibility.you don't need necessarily always a.third party verification of everything.someone says to find someone eligible.you know just some flexibility with a.lot of these requirements what what.we're seeing now is will result in folks.getting access much quicker than having.to file an appeal wait several months.just to establish eligibility okay great.thank you enjoy how about you and that.will turn to Gregg to to close out our.session today what kind of what miss.Michelle was saying of how the.communication is really bad because even.before all this stuff hit it was like I.had a number they gave me to call them.the number didn't work I've called in.multiple times you can never get anybody.on you know on the phone and even the.mail system if you're a person who.doesn't have a set place to live like.even that you can't get them information.and they'll they'll shut it off because.you didn't receive that piece of mail so.I think communication is like something.they really need to work on thank you.joy and Greg any thoughts from your.perspective I would echo what folks have.already said a couple of additional.things occurred to me like I like I said.my last slide applicants and recipients.are benefits sorely needed benefits we.have disabilities are really going to be.left in the lurch.during this pandemic analogous to.situations of special education students.you may need that personal interaction.fulfill the goals of their IEP.applicants of the recipient disabilities.will often need some sort of personal.your action to make sure they get.reasonable accommodation so that they.can navigate their way through.complicated eligibility processes that's.going to be greatly aggravated here and.I think that the the fissures in the.eligibility systems that have been there.for generations are greatly exposed here.the needlessly complicated verification.requirements needlessly complicated.application documents let alone for.persons with disabilities for everyone.those are those are coming to the.forefront as real access barriers and.you know the lack of staffing the lack.of funding lack of resources for public.benefits agencies unemployment insurance.agencies State Department's of Labor.those are all coming to the surface that.have been long simmering problems and.they're gonna get worse thank you Greg.and at this point what I'd like to do is.thank our entire panel joy flower.Elizabeth Clare Bosch Greg bass and.Michelle Madeo for the for their great.presentations we hope you have enjoyed.the seminar we're out of time at this.point but please consider making a.donation to our section of the American.Bar at American Bar org donate a /.donate see our SGA.so that we can continue to bring you.these free rapid response programs thank.you to all our co-sponsors which are too.numerous to list at this time and thank.you to our panelists for sharing your.knowledge and for you the audience for.your participation and interest in.provided advocacy and support to those.applicants and recipients of public.benefits for more than five years the.section and its members have worked on.hundreds of issues addressing a broad.range of civil rights civil liberties.and international human rights join us.at American Bar dot org slash CRS GA.thank you for your participation today.and we wish you well stay safe.

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