United Way Picks Legal Aid Program for $80,000 Grant

By 
Molly Ashford
The Daily Record

Legal Aid of Nebraska’s Health, Education & Law Project was selected recently by United Way of the Midlands to receive a $80,000 grant from the Karnett Family Trust.

HELP is a medical-legal partnership operating in hospitals across Nebraska. For 11 years, the partnership has stationed attorneys in hospitals alongside health care staff to meet client’s unmet legal needs. These needs range from issues of food insecurity to education to family stability.

Attorneys working with HELP tackle these issues through direct legal assistance, trainings for parents and medical providers and “system-wide advocacy.”

“It’s better for the hospitals and for the patients, because ultimately, you’re dealing with the issues that are keeping patients sick,” HELP Managing Attorney Ann Mangiameli told The Daily Record in August.

The Karnett Trust provides grants for nonprofit agencies in Douglas, Sarpy and Pottawattamie counties serving children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Though HELP is not an organization that specifically deals with children, attorneys represent parents and guardians in issues of education rights and families who are wrongfully denied government assistance.

HELP will provide representation in 140 cases over two years to “any child or young adult diagnosed with an intellectual or developmental disability with an identified need for legal assistance to remediate a barrier to education, income, healthcare, housing or additional legal needs,” Legal Aid said in a new release announcing the grant.

Milo Mumgaard, the executive director of Legal Aid, illustrated a recent example of HELP’s work with children and families.

“HELP’s work was able to keep a young adult from being terminated from his Social Security Disability and Medicaid benefits while allowing him to maintain a job with the support of a job coach and a supportive employer,” Mumgaard said. “He is now able to seek an apartment to live independently from his parents for the first time in his life.”

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