During April 2021, Legal Aid of North Carolina initiated a new statewide project, the Medicaid Appeals Technical Team (MATT), that is tasked with serving the legal needs of the 1.7 million Medicaid beneficiaries in North Carolina who have been enrolled into Prepaid Health Plans (PHPs) during the State’s transition from a fee-for-service model of healthcare delivery to a capitated managed care model.
MATT’s inaugural work during 2021-2022 was funded by grants from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. MATT works collaboratively with our legal and community partners in North Carolina and nationally to achieve our goals of enforcing Medicaid beneficiaries’ rights, monitoring systemic issues through our appeals work to insure that the interests of beneficiaries are centered in the State’s transition to managed care, educating community partners about beneficiary rights to insure that beneficiaries are connected to resources to address issues in a timely fashion, and bringing a health justice and equity lens to our legal advocacy work to address inequities in our healthcare system, particularly systemic barriers created by structural racism and other forms of oppression.
Advice and Consultation:
Medicaid eligibility issues;
Access to Medicaid services;
Beneficiary billing issues.
Representation in State Fair Hearings:
Denials of Medicaid eligibility and terminations of coverage;
Denials or reductions of medically necessary care and services;
The Fair Housing Project of Legal Aid of North Carolina works to eliminate housing discrimination and to ensure equal housing opportunity for all people in North Carolina through education, outreach, public policy initiatives, advocacy and enforcement.
The Farmworker Unit is a statewide project of Legal Aid of North Carolina that provides high-quality civil legal services to address the special legal needs of migrant and seasonal farmworkers in North Carolina.
Legal Aid of North Carolina is the leader of the NC Navigator Consortium, a group of health care, social service and legal aid organizations that provides free, in-person help to North Carolina consumers seeking to enroll in affordable health insurance plans on HealthCare.gov, the Health Insurance Marketplace established by the Affordable Care Act.
Navigators are trained to help consumers understand the details of plans available on the Health Insurance Marketplace, determine which plan will best meet their needs, determine eligibility and apply for financial assistance, and complete the enrollment process.
Navigators meet with consumers in free, in-person, one-on-one, confidential sessions at convenient locations throughout the state. Strict security and privacy standards are in place to ensure that consumers’ personally identifiable information is protected.
Thanks in large part to the efforts of the consortium, North Carolina has the third-highest number of enrollments out of the nearly 40 states that use the Health Insurance Marketplace. Only Florida and Texas, states with more than double the population of North Carolina, have more enrollments.
The NC Navigator Consortium is funded by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The Veterans Law Project is a special, statewide unit of Legal Aid of North Carolina that helps low-income veterans overcome service-related legal barriers that prevent them from living self-sufficiently and seeking economic opportunity.
Disability compensation: We appeal denials of service-connected benefits for injuries related to mental health or Military Sexual Trauma (MST) when the denial is due to character of service. A veteran may be entitled to monthly, tax-free compensation benefits and health care if he or she has an illness or disability that started during their service, was caused by their military service or was aggravated by a service injury.
Discharge upgrades: We seek to improve veterans’ military records, primarily when there is evidence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) or Military Sexual Trauma (MST) prior to separation of service. The nature and character of a discharge can be upgraded if it is less than honorable. A less-than-honorable discharge will generally affect your benefits. If it has been less than 15 years since your date of discharge, apply to your service branch’s Discharge Review Board. If it has been 15 or more years, apply to the Board of Correction for Military Records.
Pension benefits: We appeal denials and discontinuations of pension benefits. A veteran may qualify for tax-free benefits if he or she is:
Over 65, or under 65 and permanently disabled
In a nursing home receiving skilled care
And you served at least 90 days active duty and at least one day during a wartime period before 1980, or you served at least 24 months after Sept. 7, 1980.
You must be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines to be eligible for help. We prioritize clients who are homeless or facing homelessness. Facing homelessness can mean: couch surfing, being behind on rent and threatened with eviction, being behind on mortgage payments and facing foreclosure, and more. We do not handle criminal cases, traffic issues or personal-injury cases.
The Right to Education Project (REP) is a statewide project of Legal Aid of North Carolina that focuses on serving children in the public education system. REP cases involve: short-term suspension; long-term suspension; expulsion; involuntary transfers to alternative school; denial of enrollment; discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex or disability; mistreatment by school security personnel; special education; bullying; and academic failure.
In addition to providing direct legal services to clients, REP provides community education in the form of publications, presentations, trainings, and media outreach, and collaborates with other organizations and individuals working for education justice.
To request a presentation or training, contact REP Managing Attorney Jen Story by email or by phone at 919-226-5921.
To be eligible for services from REP, a child must live in a household with an income not more than 187 percent of the federal poverty level, or live in foster care. Legal Aid of North Carolina screens all applicants to determine if they meet financial and other requirements for service.
Education Advocacy in Action: A Toolkit for Parents, Students, Caregivers, and Youth Justice Stakeholders – This toolkit includes information about your student’s education rights. It also contains additional tips and tools you can use to ensure students get all the support they need and to which they are legally entitled. You can use this toolkit to assist in your advocacy efforts on behalf of your students, and/or you can share it directly with other families for them to use in advocating for their children. Specific topics covered in the toolkit include:
Intervention plans for struggling students, including MTSS and other regular education interventions as well as 504 Plans;
Options for exercising and enforcing students’ legal rights.
Education Advocacy Issue-Spotting Guide: It can be difficult to know what your education rights are or where to start when your student is struggling in school. We created this issue-spotting guide to help you determine when your student’s rights may have been violated and what steps you can take to learn more about those rights and how to advocate for them. This guide is a companion to, and is also included in, REP’s Education Advocacy in Action Toolkit.
Part 4: Understanding MTSS and How it Can Support Your Student
Part 5: Legal & Restorative Strategies to Address Bullying
Part 6: Creative Strategies to Combat School Discipline
County Fact Sheets
In these fact sheets for Wake, Durham and Guilford County Schools, we report on school district demographics and opportunity gaps for certain groups of students in the 2017-18 school year. The fact sheets highlight the disproportionality of how school districts serve and punish students in the areas of academic achievement, school discipline and policing, and court involvement. The fact sheets report on the opportunity gaps of students in these districts by looking at the factors of race, disability, economic disadvantage and language. We also spotlight the practice of Disciplinary Reassignment and dive into academic and discipline disproportionality data for “alternative” district schools. Data from the fact sheets was mostly drawn from NC Department of Public Instruction and county public record requests.
The Durham Eviction Diversion Program is a partnership of our Durham office, Duke Law’s Civil Justice Clinic and the Durham Department of Social Services. The program uses tenant education, legal advocacy and rental assistance to prevent evictions and increase housing security for low-income renters in Durham County.
Visit the Disaster Relief section of our website for help and free legal education.
About the Project
Legal Aid of North Carolina’s Disaster Relief Project provides legal assistance and education to survivors of natural disasters in North Carolina and supports community economic development and equitable long-term recovery and resiliency in disaster-impacted communities.
The Disaster Relief Project’s services include:
Providing disaster survivors with information about their rights following a natural disaster
Advocating for clients when they are applying for recovery fund assistance and appealing decisions, when needed
Standing up for disaster survivors who were victimized by fraudulent contractors or bad-actor landlords
Connecting clients to community resources
Clarifying title and property ownership, including providing wills and advanced directives for those who have been affected by a natural disaster
Supporting local long-term disaster recovery organizations by writing bylaws, providing document templates, and helping groups incorporate as 501(c)(3) nonprofit
Hosting disaster recovery education sessions and legal clinics
The Child’s Advocate is a project of Legal Aid of North Carolina that provides attorneys to children in highly contentious family court cases. We are appointed by judges in Wake County Family Court to represent children in cases which usually involve one or more of the following: chronic conflict between the parents, neglect, substance abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, continuing litigation, mental illness, or children with special needs.
Decisions relating to custody and visitation have a critical impact on the lives of the children we serve. Once appointed by the Court, we are attorneys for our child clients, protecting their interests and ensuring their voices are heard.
Attorneys at The Child’s Advocate work with private lawyers and mental health professionals in Wake County to represent every child identified by the Court as needing an independent and zealous advocate.
In the majority of our cases, the Child’s Advocate helps the parents to resolve the custody dispute without the need for a trial. This greatly reduces stress on both the child and the parents, and saves the court the time and expense of a custody trial.
When a trial is necessary, we give the child a strong and effective voice so that the child’s expressed wishes are considered by the court. We also increase the ability of the court to obtain timely and reliable information about the child, the parties and the facts of the case. This allows the court to make the best decision possible to safeguard the child’s interests.