Empowering People with Disability & Health Issues
We help New Yorkers obtain and maintain the benefits to which they are entitled and ensure that public programs are administered with the fairness and due process required by law.
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Every day, in courthouses and communities across the city, we advocate for the rights of all New Yorkers. Learn more about the services we provide.
Securing the Benefits Clients Need to Thrive in the Disability Advocacy Project
Aisha King is advocating for New Yorkers with disabilities. As a Paralegal case handler in our Government Benefits and Disability Advocacy Project, Aisha helps clients navigate the social security system so that they can secure the benefits they need.
NYS Mandates Medicaid Health Plans to Provide Coverage to Transgender, Gender Non-Conforming New Yorkers
Cruz v. Zucker, 14 Civ. 4456 (JSR), a class action lawsuit brought by The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), The Legal Aid Society, and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP challenged New York’s refusal to provide funding for sex reassignment operations and other medical treatments, such as hormone therapy, through its Medicaid program. In response to the filing, the New York State Department of Health amended a regulation that had banned Medicaid coverage of all transgender and gender non-conforming care in early 2015. As a result, in March 2015 the state began covering hormone therapy and gender-reassignment surgery for adults.
But the revised regulation still excluded coverage for certain treatments deemed “cosmetic procedures” such as facial feminization surgery, breast augmentation, and tracheal shaving, which experts in the case testified are medically necessary for some patients to reduce the acute distress and suicide risk associated with gender dysphoria. The judge ruled that the amended regulation violated the federal Medicaid Act, requiring state Medicaid programs to provide coverage for medically necessary treatment and prohibiting plans from selectively denying coverage on the basis of diagnosis.
By the Numbers
The efforts of our Health Law Unit, Disability Advocacy Project and +HIV/AIDs Representation Project ensure hardworking New Yorkers have access to the rights and benefits to which they’re entitled.
65% of individuals applying for federal disability benefits are denied—usually for failure to provide sufficient medical evidence.
1 million New Yorkers, roughly 11.2% of the city’s population, have disclosed living with a disability.
Of HIV+ New Yorkers were 50 or older.
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