Volunteer Success Stories: March 2015

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Here's what our volunteers have been up to this month!


Leonard Malkin is a very experienced retired probate attorney who volunteers in our offices four days a week. Recently, he saw 75-year-old Annette, who cares for her 95-year-old mother and has her Power of Attorney.

Annette is having surgery soon, and all she wanted was to withdraw some money from her mom’s account to hire a temporary caretaker for her mom and herself after the surgery.

Annette’s POA was prepared by an attorney years ago, is in proper legal form and gives her access to the funds. The bank, however, refused to honor it and told her she needed a court order.

After Leonard got the story from the client during her intake meeting, he simply put on his coat and walked over to the bank with Annette, where, after quite a bit of discussion and a little lesson on the law from Leonard, he convinced the bank to comply with the Power of Attorney and release the funds.

Case over and done! 


JUF Clinic volunteer Jordan Silver was entirely new to the area of Social Security law when he agreed to handle the appeal of 89-year-old Russian immigrant Tatyana’s SSI Overpayment case. In addition to the challenges of navigating an unfamiliar legal discipline, Tatyana’s limited command of English meant Jordan needed to communicate primarily with his client’s daughter and granddaughter.  JUF Clinic volunteer Stacey Dembo, who exclusively handles Social Security cases, helped Jordan with the law and procedures.

Tatyana had received a notification of a $75/month Social Security Overpayment she could not afford, partially due to medical costs from a brief stay in a nursing home. Jordan filed the appeal, but Social Security did not respond.

Anxious, Tatyana’s daughter and granddaughter visited the Social Security office and were told that their overpayment rate would be decreased. However, without written documentation, Jordan could not confirm it. After substantial back-and-forth with Social Security, he appeared with Tatyana and her family before a Social Security hearing officer.

Jordan explained the case and noted previous assurances that the overpayment would be decreased. He counseled Tatyana’s daughter on how best to relate her story to the hearing officer, as well as on the importance of staying calm. His efforts were successful! Social Security agreed to lower Tatyana’s repayment rate from $75/month to $10/month.

Jordan’s success with Tatyana is all the more impressive given that it was on his first CVLS case!

(For more on the amazing work our JUF / JCLS Legal Clinic is doing, read our Clinic Spotlight HERE!)