A series of trainings for legal, social and health services, and community advocates who assist low and moderate-income individuals and families.
MCLE and the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute (MLRI) are collaborating to make annual basic public benefits advocacy training more accessible to the many public and private sector individuals and lawyers who assist Massachusetts residents in qualifying for and receiving public benefits. Detailed materials are distributed for each training.
Note: All programs will be available online only until further notice.
Utilities—Advocacy for Low-Income Households in Massachusetts
Recorded Webcast, 2220089RB1 Register
This training covers the broad range of topics that arise when low-income households are trying to initiate or protect their utility service, as well as pay their non-utility energy bills (oil, propane). Topics include: how to start service and protect service from termination, how to restore terminated service, how to get on the low-income discount rate, payment plans and arrearage management programs, funding sources that help pay utility bills, avoiding overpriced energy supply contracts, helping victims of domestic violence and crimes, and advocating for clients at the Department of Public Utilities.
SNAP/Food Stamps Advocacy 101
Recorded Webcast, 2220088RBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220088RB1 Register
The federally funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly called Food Stamps) remains the first line of defense against hunger for more than 1 in 8 Massachusetts residents (over half a million households). Families and individuals often struggle with getting their SNAP applications and recertifications approved. Collecting all the required proofs and getting through the application process can be overwhelming for an unrepresented household. Some of the most challenging cases involve the rules for immigrant-headed households. Special rules also apply to households with older adults and persons with disabilities.
Health Care Access Programs
Live Webcast, 2220090WBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220090RBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220090RB1 Register
his training is designed to help attendees understand Medicaid and other subsidized health programs available to people under age 65 in Massachusetts. The program provides an overview of the eligibility requirements for MassHealth, ConnectorCare and other programs and the process for applying and enrolling in coverage. It also provides an update on any significant changes to health access programs in the prior year. Trainers also supply troubleshooting tips for resolving common eligibility and access to service problems in MassHealth and the Connector.
Live Webcast, 2220087WBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220087RBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220087RB1 Register
This training is for community and lay advocates, mediators, housing and legal advocates, and others interested in having a better understanding of tenants' rights in Massachusetts. The training focuses on evictions, getting repairs made, rents, and housing discrimination. While the eviction process part of the program applies to all tenants, the training focuses primarily on rights of tenants in private housing. Materials include Legal Tactics: Tenants' Rights in Massachusetts.
Income Maximization for the Working Poor
Live Webcast, 2220091WBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220091RBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220091RB1 Register
This session is an overview focusing on various supplemental benefits and assistance programs which help working families and individuals to maximize their income and reduce their expenses. This training is designed as an overview of benefits. The subject areas are quite broad. This is not an in-depth analysis of any particular program. This training is for new and experienced legal services advocates, lawyers in private practice, social and health services workers, and community activists who want to learn about or get an update on this subject in order to help their clients.
Live Webcast, 2220092WBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220092RBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220092RB1 Register
Unemployment insurance (UI) is a critical safety net during periods of joblessness. This seminar provides you with the expertise you need to understand the UI system and to help your clients get the UI benefits to which they are legally entitled. Our expert panel guides you through the entire UI system from eligibility criteria to the appeals process. Unemployed workers often cannot afford to retain professional services in pursuing their claims, so if you are a non-legal services attorney, you can register to assist someone in need of help, and in doing so, qualify for reduced tuition.
Immigrants & Public Benefits
Live Webcast, 2220093WBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220093RBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220093RB1 Register
This all-day training offers the nuts-and-bolts on how immigration status affects eligibility for state and federal public benefits.
State & Federal Veterans' Benefits
Live Webcast, 2220094WBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220094RBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220094RB1 Register
This training is for legal services advocates, lawyers in private practice, social and health services workers, veterans, lay advocates, legislative aides, and anyone else who wants to learn about the basics of state and federal veterans' benefits. The training covers state veterans' benefits under M.G.L. c. 115 (administered by the Massachusetts Department of Veterans' Services), and federal benefits for healthcare, service-connected disability compensation, and non-service-connected pensions (administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs). The session covers the basic application process, eligibility rules for veterans (military discharge status, financial eligibility, disqualifying conditions, refund status), and the disability requirements for benefits. It also covers the basics of filing an appeal and upgrading a less than honorable discharge.
Elder Benefits Programs
Live Webcast, 2220095WBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220095RBC Register
Recorded Webcast, 2220095RB1 Register
Due in part to the high cost of living, older adults in Massachusetts have the second lowest levels of economic security in the nation. This training provides an overview of the key public benefits programs to help older adults meet their basic needs. Experts review the basic eligibility rules for cash benefit programs like SSI and Social Security Insurance benefits, home-based care services from the Office of Elder Affairs, and health care programs like Medicare and MassHealth. It also provides a brief summary of other public benefits.
Assisting Families Experiencing Homelessness
Available On Demand
This program focuses on strategies to assist families experiencing homelessness in accessing and retaining shelter, short-term housing, and services from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Trainers provide an overview of the Emergency Assistance (EA) shelter and services program, including current restrictions on access to EA shelter. The training also includes advocacy tips regarding the range of issues facing families at-risk or experiencing homelessness as they seek access to EA shelter and the HomeBASE program. The training includes an overview of the system, the application process, denials, terminations, shelter placements, and program requirements. This training is for legal services advocates, lawyers in private practice, social and health services workers, and community activists who want to learn about the nuts-and-bolts of the EA system and the HomeBASE program.
CORI: Basics of the Criminal Justice Reform Law
Available On Demand
This seminar provides an overview of criminal offender record information (CORI) laws as related to employment, driver licenses, housing, and other collateral consequences. Topics include: how to get CORI reports; sealing and expungement of adult and juvenile cases; chapter 151B anti-discrimination provisions; negligent hiring protections for employers and landlords, and other provisions.
SSI & SSDI Basics
Available On Demand
Social Security disability programs continue to be a major source of cash and health benefits for individuals with disabilities. However, dealing with a large federal agency can be daunting and overwhelming, especially for an unrepresented claimant. The program begins with an overview of the two disability programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA), with emphasis on eligibility requirements and procedures, including online procedures and any remaining COVID-19 related procedures, basic disability eligibility standards and non-disability issues such as income, resources, and non-citizen criteria. An explanation of the recently revised evidence submission and analysis rules begins with the afternoon session followed by overview of the appeals process for disability applications. Concluding the program is a review of certain post-entitlement issues, with special emphasis on continuing disability reviews, work incentives rules, and benefits overpayments. The training is for legal services advocates, lawyers in private practice who are thinking of representing clients before SSA, social and health workers, and community activists.
Overview of the TAFDC Program, Massachusetts’ Cash Assistance Program for Families
Available On Demand
This training is for legal services advocates, lawyers in private practice, social and health services workers, and community activists who want to learn about TAFDC (Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children)—the cash assistance program for families. The training provides an overview of program rules and eligibility, as well as information about recent policy and practice changes. The training will also cover applying for and keeping TAFDC benefits, and protections for specific populations including people with disabilities, people dealing with domestic violence, and people with limited English proficiency. In the afternoon, there will be breakout sessions on child care and non-citizen eligibility/public charge.