Half of Public Assistance Goes to Working Families

It is a common misconception that individuals who receive public benefits don’t work and solely rely on the government to support them and their families. At LAF, we know this is not the case. According to new research from The UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education, which you can read more about in this New York Times piece, more than half of funding from public programs goes to working families who still do not make enough money to independently support themselves.

welfareThis report studied the cost of public benefits in all 50 states, for the four major areas of benefits, which include Medicaid, Cash Assistance, Earned Income Tax Credits, and Food Stamps. They discovered that in every one of these areas of benefits, at least 56% funding went to working families.

Even with the improving economy, wages and benefits have been at a standstill for most American workers. This is not only a problem for these individuals who cannot support their families, but also for the federal and state governments, whose budgets are strained with the responsibility to care for their citizens, and the taxpayers who must support these costly and necessary programs. This vicious cycle will continue to occur as low-wage workers continue to struggle to make ends meet. The truth is, most people who receive benefits are working, they’re just not making enough to survive in our economy.

LAF’s Public Benefits Practice Group is familiar with these issues and the stigma that goes along with them. At LAF, our attorneys help their clients receive the benefits they are entitled to, including Food Stamps, cash assistance, Medicaid, Social Security benefits, Crime Victims compensations, and Veterans Benefits. Our clients often come to us in desperation, feeling like they have used up all other options and are relying on our help for survival.

Sponsor in the Spotlight: Veritext Legal Solutions

As we planned out this sponsor highlight series for Justice is Served 2015, we asked our YPB members to tell us the most memorable thing they’ve done with LAF.  Today’s sponsor in the spotlight, Veritext Legal Solutions, is represented by one of our best – and most humble – YPB members. Elizabeth Lewis, a National Account Manager with Veritext, is the heart, soul and brains behind our party planning operations on the YPB.

Simply put, events like Justice is Served would never be as polished or as fun as they are, if Elizabeth wasn’t helping to plan them.  And yet, ever unwilling to claim the credit she deserves, Elizabeth wrote us back: “I support LAF because everyone is entitled to equal justice and access to legal representation to protect their rights.  As far as the most memorable thing, though, I don’t really have anything good here because I can’t do any of the lawyerly stuff (pro bono cases, etc.)…all I do is help throw parties and go golfing.”

To which we say, the parties and the golfing make the lawyerly stuff happen.  Thank you Elizabeth for all of your terrific work on our behalf, and a big thank you to Veritext for supporting us, and all of the wonderful things Elizabeth makes possible as a leader on our YPB.

elizabeth

Elizabeth Lewis with LAF Governing Board member and Justice is Served Guest Emcee Flip Corboy.

Sponsor in the Spotlight: The Claro Group

LAF has been really fortunate in the past few years to meet new supporters working in fields outside of law firms who have become some of our best ambassadors.  In the case of The Claro Group, LAF lucked out a few years ago when Joe Pedota and Zack Kelsey both joined the YPB.

Joe, a Director in The Claro Group’s Government Contract Consulting practice, is serving as a Co-Chair of the 2015 LAF Annual Golf Outing.  “I support LAF because the services they provide have a significant impact on the lives of the people they serve,” he recently told us.

Zack, a Manager in The Claro Group’s Disputes, Claims and Investigations practice, noted the exposure being on the YPB has given him to connect with others supporting LAF:  “The YPB has given me an opportunity to work with great people dedicated to finding ways to provide justice to those most in need,” he said.

Pedota and KelseyMembers like Joe and Zack are raising visibility for LAF with new audiences in the Chicago business community, and bringing new financial support into the fold for our work, both with their own firms and with others.  We are very grateful for all their terrific work on our behalf, as well as to The Claro Group for the generous support they have provided to them and their advocacy on our behalf.

Justice is Served 2015 will be held on April 10 at The Tortoise Club, featuring live entertainment from John Wade Jazz and a silent auction.  Tickets for the evening are $150 and can be purchased here.  All proceeds from the evening benefit LAF in its mission to provide free legal services to people living in poverty across the Chicagoland area.  Learn more about LAF at www.lafchicago.org.

Sponsor in the Spotlight: Tabet DiVito & Rothstein LLC

LAF is extremely grateful for the generous support Tabet DiVito & Rothstein has extended to LAF over the past few years.  Our YPB member Brian Haussmann, a partner in the commercial litigation practice at the firm, has been a driving force behind planning for Justice is Served 2015, and a key member of the YPB leadership team. B Haussmann PhotoAs you can see in the photo, Brian is always happy to roll up his sleeves and jump into any endeavor where we need ambassadors for our agency helping us spread the good word about the work our advocates at LAF are doing every day to help the most vulnerable people in our community. “I am proud to work with LAF because I know in my heart of hearts that they are performing extraordinary feats every day with limited resources for ordinary people who, without LAF, would never even get the chance to state their legal rights to their landlord, or their abusive spouse, or a court, much less to have those rights vindicated.  And I know from experience that LAF’s attorneys are some of the best.  From my interactions with LAF attorneys at CLE events to my chance encounters with (Executive Director) Diana White in the halls, I always leave gratified and energized by the extraordinary talent and presence of LAF’s staff.  This is why I’m involved.” We are just as grateful for Brian and the leadership he brings to the YPB; and of course, to Tabet DiVito & Rothstein for supporting Brian’s work on our behalf. Justice is Served 2015 will be held on April 10 at The Tortoise Club, featuring live entertainment from John Wade Jazz and a silent auction.  Tickets for the evening are $150 and can be purchased here.  All proceeds from the evening benefit LAF in its mission to provide free legal services to people living in poverty across the Chicagoland area.  Learn more about LAF at www.lafchicago.org.

Sponsor in the Spotlight: Foley & Lardner LLP

In today’s continuing Sponsor in the Spotlight series, LAF would like to thank Foley & Lardner LLP for their continued generous support of our work.

The YPB was lucky to pick up a great member last year in Lori Taylor.  Lori is an associate in the business litigation and dispute resolution practice group at Foley, and has been a terrific member on the YPB, attending events, bringing friends, and being an ambassador with her firm for LAF.  We are excited to have Lori in our ranks, and extremely grateful for the support Foley has extended to LAF.

lori taylorJustice is Served 2015 will be held on April 10 at The Tortoise Club, featuring live entertainment from John Wade Jazz and a silent auction.  Tickets for the evening are $150 and can be purchased here.  All proceeds from the evening benefit LAF in its mission to provide free legal services to people living in poverty across the Chicagoland area.  Learn more about LAF at www.lafchicago.org.

Sponsor in the Spotlight: Dentons

Today, LAF would like to highlight Dentons for their generous sponsorship support of Justice is Served 2015.  LAF is fortunate to have two outstanding YPB members from Dentons in Anne Sutton and Samina Kapadia.

A Sutton and S Kapadia

Anne is an associate in Dentons’ Intellectual Property and Technology group and Samina is an associate in Dentons’ Litigation Group.  Both Anne and Samina have been involved with LAF and the YPB for some time, Samina worked as a paralegal at LAF before going to law school and Anne – a founding member of the YPB – is currently serving as the 2015/16 Co-Chair of the YPB.  “We are proud that Dentons has chosen to support such a great cause,” Anne recently told us.  “And, we’re really proud to be on the YPB.”  Thank you Anne and Samina!

Justice is Served 2015 will be held on April 10 at The Tortoise Club, featuring live entertainment from John Wade Jazz and a silent auction.  Tickets for the evening are $150 and can be purchased here.  All proceeds from the evening benefit LAF in its mission to provide free legal services to people living in poverty across the Chicagoland area.  Learn more about LAF at www.lafchicago.org.