CAPLAW Webinar: Spotlight on Immigrant Eligibility for Public Benefits
This webinar outlines the effect of immigration status on immigrant clients’ eligibility for benefits and services commonly provided by CAAs, such as Head Start, CSBG and LIHEAP. 


 

Immigrant Eligibility for Government Benefits
  • National Immigration Law Center (NILC) is the only national legal advocacy organization in the U.S. exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights of low-income immigrants and their families.  The NILC not only educates and trains on laws and policies affecting low-income immigrants and families but it also creates toolkits and other resources about important changes to immigration law, engages in policy analysis, offers pro bono technical assistance, and participates in high-impact litigation matters.
    • Overview of Immigrant Eligibility for Federal Programs offers a thorough discussion of which immigrants are eligible to receive benefits from federal assistance programs.  The Overview explains the most common programs for which eligibility is not required for participation.  Furthermore, it discusses the barriers that typically impede access to benefits, such as confusion about eligibility, inability to obtain an affidavit of support, linguistic and cultural barriers, and more.
    • Table Illustrating Immigrant Eligibility for Federal Programs provides information about which federal programs are available to the following immigrants groups: “qualified” immigrants who entered the U.S. before August 22, 1996, “qualified” immigrants who entered the U.S. after August 22, 1996, and those deemed “unqualified.”  Some of the programs examined are SSI, Food Stamps, TANF, Emergency Medicaid, CHIP, and more.

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Language Accessibility
  • Limited English Proficiency (LEP) is a federal interagency website that promotes a positive and cooperative understanding of the importance of language access to federally conducted and assisted programs.  This website discusses how various federally-funded services and programs might better provide for multi-lingual communities.  The site acts as a clearinghouse, providing and linking to information, tools, and technical assistance regarding LEP and language services for federal agencies, recipients of federal funds, users of federally assisted programs, and other stakeholders. Additional resources offered on LEP.gov include:
    • A brochure, What Federal Agencies and Federally Assisted Programs Should Know about Providing Services to LEP Individuals, outlining federal LEP laws and offering guidance to federal agencies and federally assisted programs on meeting their legal obligations.  The brochure gives details on how to create an effective LEP policy and offers some examples of effective language assistance services.
    • Guidance, Common Language Access Questions, Technical Assistance and Guidance for Federally Conducted and Federally Assisted Programs, issued by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice which provides resources that help entities keep their LEP services effective and up to date with current law. The Guidance provides innovative strategies for determining the LEP needs of a particular audience, especially which languages are being spoken and what documents and/or oral communication are most used and therefore in need of translation.
    • Assessment and Planning Tool, Language Access and Assessment Tool for Federally Conducted and Federally Assisted Programs, offering various approaches for determining LEP needs in the community and how those needs may best be addressed. The self-assessments evaluate an entity’s LEP interaction, the current quality of language assistance services, staff members who are LEP resources, and the effectiveness of LEP programs.  The Tool also presents three steps that an entity may take to create an effective LEP program.
    • Article, Choosing a Language Access Provider, setting forth resources for organizations looking to contract with a third-party to provide the most effective language services. The article aids an organization in choosing the right language access provider given its location and the services that it provides.  A sample questionnaire is available to help users determine a language provider’s “fit” with a particular organization.
  • Top 10 Best Practices for Multilingual Websites is an article that gives organizations tools to make their websites more easily accessible to people who are non-English speakers.  The article gives tips for addressing language preferences, cultural relevancy, accessibility, expectations and much more.
  • Automated Translations: Good Solution or Not? is an article that discusses the pros and cons of using machine translations, such as Google Translate, to make a website accessible to non-English speakers.  The article ultimately recommends not relying solely on machine translations because they are generally less accurate, invisible to search engines, and give the impression that an organization is not concerned about its LEP community.   
  • Short Outline on Rights of Limited English Proficiency People in Federally-Assisted Housing by the National Housing Law Project discusses the federal laws that prohibit discrimination against LEP populations in federally assisted housing units.  Specifically, it discusses the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, and Executive Order 13166. The outline also reminds organizations providing federally assisted housing of their legal obligations, such as offering appropriate language assistance to current and prospective recipients.
  • Language Portal from the National Center on Immigrant Integration Policy of the Migration Policy Institute offers practical resources that explain the importance of a Language Access Program (LAP) and how to keep such programs up to date and effective.  The Portal gives tips for preparing requests for proposals and contracts for language access services and also provides examples of successful LAP strategies in different U.S. jurisdictions, such as the “New York City Department of Education’s 5-Factor Analysis for Identifying Translation Needs.”
  • Language Access Webinars offered by the Migration Policy Institute discuss how an organization may properly develop and maintain effective Language Access Programs (LAPs).  Each Webinar is paired with “related documents” that given further details on the Webinar’s content.  An alert system for upcoming Webinars is also included on the webpage.
  • Employee Language Skills Self-Assessment Tool from Scan Health Plan helps providers of healthcare services identify the language skills of current employees and offers resources for training employees so that they are able to more fully participate in a provider’s language access program.  Learning tools for improving bilingual communications on an every-day basis are also provided.
  • HUD Translated Materials are U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) brochures, booklets, fact sheets, forms, posters and public service announcements that have been translated into multiple languages.  Examples of the documents offered include: “100 Q&A About Buying a Home” (brochure), “Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure” (booklet), Model Form of Notification of Rent Increase, “Are You a Victim of Housing Discrimination?” (brochure) and more.  Languages translated include, but are not limited to, Arabic, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.
  • Tools for Making Written Material Clear and Effective is an 11-part toolkit by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare services that aids in making written material for those who are eligible for or enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid, or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) easier to read, understand and use.   
  • Language Services Resource Guide for Health Care Providers put out by the National Health Law Program serves as a guide for providing better language programs in an increasingly diverse healthcare setting.  The Guide includes information on assessing needs for language access programs (LAP), training interpreters, using multi-lingual health care symbols, developing LAPs that best suit your audience and more.
  • Providing Language Services in Small Health Care Provider Settings: Examples from the Field is a study that showcases various LEP policies and practices that have been implemented in small healthcare settings that have limited funding and resources. These LEP policies were noted for their effectiveness after the National Health Law Program conducted 11 site visits and studied the various healthcare providers’ strategies.  The most promising LEP programs are detailed in the study.
  • Ensuring Linguistic Access in Health Care Settings:  An Overview of Current Legal Rights and Responsibilities  
    is an issue brief made available by the Kaiser Foundation which focuses on the language access responsibilities of federally funded recipients pursuant to the federal Civil Rights Act.  Federal fund recipients include hospitals, nursing homes, managed care organizations, state Medicaid agencies, home health agencies, health service providers, and social service organizations.  The Brief also discusses the work that individual states are doing to ensure that their LEP populations are receiving appropriate services.   
  • Language Access: Understanding Barriers and Challenges in Primary Care Settings is a report funded by the National Health Law Program which offers a glimpse into the language challenges identified by safety net providers – those health care clinicians that deliver a significant level of health care to uninsured, Medicaid, and other vulnerable patients — in primary health care clinics and the strategies they employ to meet the care needs of LEP patients. It provides constructive insights for interim measures that can be undertaken until the larger issue of limited resources available to safety net providers can be addressed. In addition, the report provides a foundation for the development of organizational policies and procedures to ensure access to care, further evaluation of language access strategies, and application of these tools in similar practice settings.

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Cultural Competency
  • Developing a Multicultural Competent Service System for an Organization or Program is a guide put out by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families that enables an organization to self-diagnose cultural competency issues. The guidelines in the assessment are designed to assist agencies in designing relevant and effective responses to the cultural, ethnic, linguistic, and other diversity concerns of clients utilizing services.  The guidelines offered are consistent with those being developed and implemented by organizations nationwide, as well as by accrediting and licensing bodies
  • The National Center for Cultural Competency at Georgetown University offers a variety of self-assessment tools that enable organizations to assess their cultural competency practices in a number of areas, including primary healthcare, LGBTQ matters, children and people with disabilities, and early childhood settings.  The Center also provides information regarding the rationale and importance for cultural competency.
  • Assessment of Organizational Cultural Competence is a tool developed by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) Multicultural Council to assist organizations in assessing their progress towards cultural competence, both at the organizational and individual level.  The instrument consists of three sections:  (1) Assessment of Organizational Cultural Competence, (2) Respondent Information, and (3) Assessment of Individual Cultural Competence.  
  • Administration on Aging Diversity/Cultural Competency Resource provides information that aids in improving programs for the diverse older American population that is emerging.  Resources include a toolkit that provides organizations serving older Americans with replicable and easy-to-use methods for providing respectful, inclusive, and sensitive services for any diverse community; documents about Alzheimer’s translated into other languages, including Arabic, Assyrian, Bosnian, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese; products designed to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and much more.
  • Inclusiveness at Work: How to Build Inclusive Nonprofit Organizations is a workbook offered as part of the Denver Foundation’s Inclusiveness Project which includes an assessment to help organization's determine their readiness to take on inclusiveness work; definitions of inclusiveness and of inclusive organizations; and information about the benefits of being inclusive with numerous worksheets to support an organization in articulating the benefits of being inclusive that are specific to that organization.
  • 27 Practical Suggestions to Make Your Organization More GLBT Friendly is an article offered by the Benchmark Institute that provides 27 specific suggestions tol aid an organization in creating a more friendly GLBT community.  Some suggestions include:  educating staff on GLBT needs, avoiding an assumption of heterosexuality, using gender-neutral terms, asking questions in a non-judgmental manner and much more.


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Individuals with Disabilities
  • Assets for Independence Resource Center includes information on increasing IDA use by people with disabilities. AFI grantees and their partner organizations report that some people with disabilities are having trouble accessing and using IDAs. Because they are disproportionately low-income, people with disabilities account for a large share of the AFI target population, but they are underrepresented among IDA participants.
  • Fact Sheet and webpage from the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights which explain that, pursuant to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, organizations receiving funds from any Federal department or agency, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, must not exclude or deny individuals with disabilities an equal opportunity to receive program benefits and services.  The fact sheet and webpage detail which individuals are covered by Section 504 and what actions a covered entity may or may not engage in to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities to participate in, and have access to, program benefits and services.
  • Policy Guidance by the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights on the prohibition against discriminating on the basis of a disability in the administration of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. The guidance is a response to a myriad of questions raised by state agencies, counties, service providers, and persons with disabilities regarding the obligations to adopt methods for administering welfare programs to ensure equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in all aspects of a TANF program, including applications, assessments, work program activities, sanctions, and time limits.  Even though this guidance is specifically geared towards welfare programs, it provides very useful information for social service providers, like CAAs, by offering approaches for determining the type of accommodations that may need to be offered and examples of practices that, if effectively implemented, would assist an organization in providing appropriate services to ensure equal access to individuals with disabilities.
  • At Your Service: Welcoming Customers with Disabilities is a self-paced webcourse for organizations and individuals interested in discovering best practices for working with customers who have disabilities.  Even though this webcourse was created as a training tool for Customer Service Representatives employed at Department of Labor One-Stop Centers and for Navigators in the Disability Program Navigator Initiative, anyone interested in learning more about interacting effectively with individuals who have a disability will benefit from this training.   The webcourse helps social service providers identify how to accommodate the needs of a customer with a disability while continuing to provide a high level of customer service; discusses basic etiquette for interacting with a customer who has a disability; and explains how to comply with statutes regarding service to people with disabilities.
  • AccessibleTech.org is a website that provides information and resources for organizations on how to make technology accessible to individuals with disabilities.  Even though the website specifically addresses accessibility in the workplace, it provides useful information regarding software applications, telecommunication products, video and multimedia products, and web-based information and applications that social service providers may use to ensure equal access to resources and services for individuals with disabilities. 
  • Section 504 Programs & Activities Accessibility Handbook is a collection of guidelines, information, and procedures to ensure that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is accessible to individuals with disabilities.  Even though the content of the handbook is designed to assist FCC personnel in their efforts to ensure accessibility, it offers CAAs examples of a wide variety of practical approaches, resources, and tools for maintaining compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
  • State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies is a list by the U.S. Department of Education of agencies and departments in each state that assist individuals with disabilities achieve self-sufficiency and work with organizations and businesses to help them better serve those with disabilities.  Many states offer funding opportunities for and partnerships with organizations, like CAAs, that offer programs and services beneficial to low-income individuals with disabilities.  These state agencies and departments also often advise organizations about disability management and workplace solutions.
  • State Protection and Advocacy Systems is a website which lists every state’s protection and advocacy agency, which are agencies aimed at protecting individuals with developmental disabilities by empowering them and advocating on their behalf.  Each website offers additional resources for understanding the disability laws that affect individuals with developmental disabilities and gives guidance on how to make benefits and services accessible to them.

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