“Marriage and Public Benefits: A Buyer’s Guide” sessions begin June 13

With the long overdue, never-should-have-been-enacted end of DOMA, we look forward to the sounds of wedding planning throughout Pennsylvania.

While the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania remains ecstatic about the end of DOMA, the right to marry brings with it an array of issues that need to be considered.

We are eager to help you navigate the new terrain.

Starting June 13, we will be offering “Marriage and Public Benefits: A Buyer’s Guide” sessions every Friday morning, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Appointments are appreciated, but not required. Sessions will be in person or over the phone, at 215-587-9377.

Couples who choose to marry, or those whose marriages in other states are now recognized in Pennsylvania, must make wise, educated decisions to secure their futures and avoid potential pitfalls.

How will marriage affect your income? Can you still receive food stamps, disability benefits or medical assistance?  What benefits are now legally available to your spouse?

Couples, or case managers who assist them, will need to consider how marriage will impact eligibility for means-tested benefits.

Other programs that a married couple’s combined income may affect include subsidized housing, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Women, Children and Infants program and Social Security Income benefits.


Hershey Case Reaches Morehouse College

Recently we learned that our victory in the Milton Hershey School case was used to help Morehouse College, a prestigious institution in Atlanta, revise its approach to dealing with students with HIV.

The college’s practice had been that if the school learned a student had HIV, everyone from teachers to residence hall staff would be notified “so they could protect themselves,” said John Warchol, senior staff attorney with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society.

Morehouse had requested trainings on a variety of aspects of HIV and AIDS. In the session on legal issues, Warchol used two video clips on the Hershey case from CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 – including an interview with Executive Director Ronda B. Goldfein.

AIDS Law Project staff members talked to Warchol at the American Bar Association AIDS Coordinating Committee conference Feb. 28 to March 1, which they attended to participate in panels and accept the Alexander D. Forger Award for Excellence in HIV Legal Services and Advocacy.

“I said, ‘You’re not alone in this, but what you’re doing is wrong,’” Warchol said, describing the training as non-confrontational and positive.

We are gratified to hear that the Hershey victory helped advance the rights of HIV positive young people well beyond the borders of Pennsylvania.


AIDS Law Project Wins National Award

We are thrilled to have won the Alexander D. Forger Award for Excellence in HIV Legal Services and Advocacy from the American Bar Association AIDS Coordinating Committee.

The committee recognized us for our “record of commitment and effectiveness in the fight against HIV and AIDS.”

The award, established in 2012, was presented at the ABA HIV/AIDS Law & Practice Conference on February 28th in Atlanta.



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