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Legal Help Accessing Public Benefits
Solid Ground’s legal team ensures that people have equitable access to public benefits for housing and essential needs, cash, food, child care and health care.
Our Benefits Attorneys provide information, advice and legal representation to help people whose state public assistance benefits – including Basic Food (food stamps), Apple Health (Medicaid), TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), Working Connections Child Care and ABD (Aged, Blind and Disabled) – have been reduced, terminated or denied.
We advocate on behalf of clients with DSHS caseworkers, represent people in administrative hearings, and advise those choosing to represent themselves. We also provide training on state benefits to community service providers and do outreach through food banks, shelters and other direct service programs. The intake process includes telephone screenings and in-person interviews as needed.
Addressing Systemic Problems
A significant portion of our legal work focuses on helping people obtain rightful extensions on TANF benefits for disability and domestic violence. By tracking and understanding this trend, our attorneys succeeded in getting DSHS to rewrite its policy manual around the family violence time limit extension.
This level of systems advocacy work leverages the real experiences of people struggling with the system to improve it and create more equitable access to benefits.
Financial Skill Building
Because financial health is key to long-term stability for all of our program participants, we weave financial empowerment into our housing case management philosophy and best practices, emphasize food budgeting in our nutrition education classes, and look for other opportunities to connect program participants with financial skills resources, regardless of the issues that initially bring them to Solid Ground.
Financial empowerment focuses on giving people the skills and information to enable them learn to live within their means, budget, make informed decisions, build and save assets, understand credit, and improve other elements of personal finance.
Specific skills include: ⇒short- and long-term financial goal setting, ⇒starting savings accounts, ⇒understanding and improving credit and building credit scores, ⇒creating household budgets, ⇒managing debt and negotiating with debt collectors, and ⇒education on avoiding predatory loans and scams.
We also address concepts such as: ⇒how to live within your financial means, ⇒pay yourself first, and ⇒follow your money trail.
Finally, we connect people without bank accounts to resources to open them so they can start saving (e.g., HomeStreet Bank, Express Credit Union, as well as other banks listed on Bank On Seattle-King County’s Financial Partners list).
The Resource Wire delivers vetted, timely and relevant resources and information to individuals living on low incomes and agencies that serve them.
Weekly posts are sent via email, the Groundviews blog, Facebook and Twitter. This information is designed to provide opportunities for action, including: ⇒getting a job, ⇒securing housing, ⇒accessing health care and social services, and ⇒learning about community events and resources.
Anyone can sign up to receive the Resource Wire via email or text!