When Legal Assistance Can Improve Health

Civil legal aid organizations have long demonstrated expertise in identifying and rectifying the environmental factors that adversely impact the health and safety of vulnerable and underserved communities.

Blog Post (NATIONAL)

Lonnie A. Powers
Huffington Post
June 1, 2016

Tags: Health Care, Medical-Legal Partnerships

Organizations mentioned/involved: National Center for Medical-Legal Partnership (NCMLP), California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. (CRLA), Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS)


More recently in Massachusetts, Greater Boston Legal Services (GBLS) won two victories that enhance the health, safety, and independence of disabled people. First, GBLS settled a federal class action lawsuit against the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) for disability discrimination, based on claims that DTA didn’t have adequate systems to provide disabled clients with reasonable accommodations and that it routinely screened out disabled people from food stamp and cash assistance programs in violation of federal law.

In a second class action lawsuit, GBLS took on the MBTA, Boston’s regional public transportation system, reaching a settlement requiring the MBTA to improve accessibility to bus and subway services. As a result, the MBTA has made nearly all of its stations fully accessible and has trained staff to respond to the needs of differently abled people using public transportation.