Case Priorities

2022 SCLS Case Priorities


CONSUMER/FINANCE
Secure and Retain Property for Low-Income Families and Enforce Consumer Protection Laws.

Cases

  1. Bankruptcy/Debtor Relief
  2. Bankruptcy/Debtor Relief-Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 where there is harassment by creditor affecting the mental or physical well-being of the debtor, to save a home, to save a car, to preserve medically necessary equipment, where debtor is referred by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court under the Pro Se/Public Service initiative, and where client is victim of foreclosure rescue scam or other scam that is substantial cause of filing bankruptcy.
  3. Collection (Including Repossession/Deficiency/Garnishment
  4. Where the client has been served with pleadings, where property is being repossessed and/or where the client disputes the debt or amount of the debt.
  5. Supplemental proceedings for judgment collection (execution against property and order for examination of assets).
  6. Contracts/Warranties on cars and appliance
  7. Collection Practices/Creditor Harassment – Including where client has been threatened with jail, threatened with loss of property, subjected to repeated telephone calls or collector coming to home or work.
  8. Predatory Lending Practices (Not Mortgages) – with emphasis on deceptive auto lending practices, live loan checks, multiple refinances of finance company loans, and lawsuits on credit card debt by debt buyers (not original creditor)
  9. Loans/Installment Purchase (Not Collections) including foreclosure rescue scams, insurance sales, and SBA loans (disaster relief)
  10. Public Utilities- including solar energy product sales and contracts.
  11. Unfair Sales Practices
  12. Other Consumer/Finance

EDUCATION
Ensure and maintain access to education.

Cases

  1. Discipline (Including Expulsion and Suspension)
  2. Special Education (Includes Section 504 Plans)
  3. Access (Including Bilingual, Residency, Testing and Enrollment)
  4. Vocational Rehabilitation
  5. Student Financial Aid
  6. Other Education (Includes School Fees and Bullying)

EMPLOYMENT
Ensure Stability of Low-Income Workers by Allowing Access to Employment Remedies.

Cases

  1. Employment Discrimination (Representation at administrative level (informal hearing with employer) and representation at court level where the administrative process has been exhausted and a Right to Sue Letter issued by EEOC)
  2. Wage Claims (Representation at administrative level (informal hearing with employer) and representation at court level where the administrative process has been exhausted)
  3. EITC (earned Income Tax Credit)
  4. Taxes (Not EITC)
  5. Employee Rights
  6. Agricultural Worker Issues (Not Wage Claims/FLSA)
  7. Other Employment (including wrongful termination)(Representation at administrative level (informal sharing with employer); Representation at court level where the administrative process has been exhausted provided it has been reasonably determined that damages or the amount in question is not sufficient for a private attorney to accept or if the applicant does not have the consultation fees required by private attorneys
  8. Cases to resolve problems preventing employment (e.g., driver’s license suspension)

FAMILY
Ensure Safety, Housing and Economic Stability of the Family Unit.

Cases

  1. Adoption
  2. Visitation
  3. Custody – defend already filed custody actions only when doing so is in the best                            interest of the child(ren).
  4. Custody – Initiate when doing so is in the best interest of the child(ren)
  5. Divorce/Separation/Annulment
  6. Divorce in situations of domestic abuse (we can file)
  7. One year separation divorces in instances where the client has diminished mental capacity that makes self-representation not feasible.
  8. Name changes, birth certificate amendments, and delayed birth certificates.
  9. Guardianship and conservatorship issues
  10. Domestic Abuse, where necessary, to include assistance in getting Orders of Protection
  11. Child Support Reductions – where the obligor is disabled and/or has a disability case pending with supporting medical documentation; the obligor is involuntarily unemployed and is actively looking for employment; the obligor is within the self-support reserve amount of monthly income and is not voluntarily underemployed
  12. Other Family
    Contempt – Rule to Show Cause

    1. Defend when defendant is not in willful contempt.
    2. File contempt action to enforce Family Court Orders which are not enforceable by the Clerk of Court.

HEALTH
Ensure the Access to Health Care to Low-Income Individuals.

Cases

  1. Medicaid
  2. Representation at the administrative level and in court regarding the                                               termination, overpayment, or denial of or other limitation of medical                                              services.
  3. Representation in collection actions regarding the Medicaid process
  4. Medicare
  5. Representation at the administrative level and in District Court regarding                                       the termination, overpayment, or denial of Medicare process.
  6. Representation in collection actions regarding the Medicare process.
  7. Home and Community Based Case
  8. Private Health Insurance
  9. Long Term Health Care Facilities
  10. State and Local Health
  11. Other Health
  12. Nursing home and home health care issues
  13. Mental health care issues
  14. Basic health care services to medically indigent

HOUSING
Ensure Sufficient Quality and Quantity of Affordable Housing for Low-Income Families.

Cases

  1. Federally Subsidized Housing Rights (Section 8)
    1. Evictions.
    2. Access to quality housing.
    3. Obtaining necessary repairs to rented housing.
    4. Resolving problems with subsidized housing providers.
    5. Utility cutoffs/ouster.
    6. Security deposit returns.
  2. Homeownership/Real Property (Not Foreclosures)
    1. Access to quality housing.
    2. Obtaining or maintaining ownership of homes or real property.
    3. Addressing clouds on real estate titles
    4. Resolving problems with rent-to-own transactions
  3. Private Landlord/Tenant
    1. Evictions.
    2. Access to quality housing.
    3. Obtaining necessary repairs to rented housing.
    4. Utility cutoffs/ouster.
    5. Security deposit returns.
  4. Public Housing
    1. Evictions.
    2. Access to quality housing.
    3. Obtaining necessary repairs to rented housing.
    4. Resolving problems with subsidized housing providers.
    5. Utility cutoffs/ouster.
    6. Security deposit returns.
  5. Mobile Homes
    1. Evictions
    2. Title issues
    3. Obtaining necessary repairs to rented mobile homes
    4. Utility cutoffs/ouster
    5. Security deposit returns
    6. Resolving problems with mobile home providers
  6. Housing Discrimination
  7. Mortgage Foreclosures (Not Predatory Lending Practices) to include loan modifications
  8. Mortgage Predatory Lending Practices
  9. Other Housing
    1. Access to quality housing.
    2. Resolving problems with subsidized housing providers.
    3. Resolving clouded titles where needed to retain homeownership or obtain repairs

INCOME MAINTENANCE/PUBLIC BENEFITS
Obtain and Maintain Economic Benefits for Low-Income Families.

Cases

  1. Social Security (Not SSDI)
  2. Food Stamps
  3. SSDI (overpayment and cessation cases; and other cases where efforts to refer to the private bar have not been successful) added clarification that 2 atty rule not applicable to overpayment and cessation cases.
    Initial disability claims (subject to 2 atty rule in non-rural counties)
  4. SSI (overpayment and cessation cases; and other cases where efforts to refer to the private bar have not been successful) added clarification that 2 atty rule not applicable to overpayment and cessation cases.
    Initial disability claims (subject to 2 atty rule in non-rural counties)
  5. Unemployment Compensation
  6. Veterans Benefits
    1. Pensions.
    2. Veteran’s Disability – initial filing and through first denial; second and subsequent denials if private attorney cannot be secured.
    3. Cases to prevent homelessness and secure employment.
  7. State and Local Income Maintenance to include Family Independence benefits
  8. Other Income Maintenance to include FEMA and other disaster benefits

INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

Cases

  1. U Visas- SCLS can assist crime victims by serving as Preparers in the application process. SCLS will not make an appearance as “Attorney” for purposes of U-Visa applications. VAWA self- petitions- SCLS can assist domestic abuse victims in the preparation and submission of VAWA self-petitions.
  2. T-Visas- SCLS can assist crime victims with filing and obtaining T-Visas
  3. Battered spouse waivers- SCLS can assist domestic abuse victims in the preparation of immigrant visa petitions under the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended by the Violence Against Women Act.
  4. Expungements, for the purpose of access to employment, housing, or public benefits

MISCELLANEOUS AND ELDER LAW

Cases

  1. Legal Assistance to Non-Profit Organizations or Group (Including Incorporation/Dissolution) where these clients need protection of assets, creation of entity, maintenance of entity and its programs
  2. Wills/Estates
    1. Drafting and Execution of Law Will & Testament
  3. Advance Directives
    1. Drafting and Execution of Power of Attorney
    2. Drafting and Execution of Health Care Power of Attorney
    3. Drafting and Execution of Living Will
  4. Probate
    1. Estates (to include deeds of distribution)
    2. Petitions to Determine Heirs
    3. Death Certificate Amendments (to preserve benefits)
    4. Will contests (to protect home)
    5. Common Law Marriage (to protect home and spousal share of estate)
    6. Guardianships
    7. Conservatorships
  5. Heirs’ Property Issues to include quiet title actions
  6. Other Miscellaneous
    1. Protection of Senior against abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
    2. Provide counsel and advice or brief services in any case not specifically             prohibited by LSC statute or regulations or other federal law
    3. Community Economic Development

EMERGENCIES

SCLS can represent clients in any emergency situation approved by the Executive Director or by a member of the management team, or if the Executive Director or a member of the management team is not available, by the Managing Attorney of the Office in which the emergency case arises, so long as such case or matter is not specifically prohibited by LSC statute or regulations or other federal law.

An emergency is any of the following situations:

Those non-priority cases or matters that require immediate legal action to:

  1. Secure or preserve the necessities of life;
  2. Protect against or eliminate a significant risk to the health or safety of the client or immediate family members; or,
  3. Address other significant legal issues that arise because of new and unforeseen circumstances.

Approved by the SCLS Board of Directors: December 17, 2021.