2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Matthew Barnes

Matthew Barnes

Name of Host Organization: Pro Seniors
City, State: Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue area: Public Benefits/Welfare Reform
Sponsors: Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation

The Project

Matthew provided community education and legal assistance to seniors to maximize their independence and quality of life by identifying, obtaining, and maintaining public benefits for which they qualify.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Ohio seniors are facing severe financial constraints in a tough economy. In order to stay independent, seniors are being forced to make hard financial decisions that negatively impact their health and well-being. Many seniors are not aware of all the public benefits available to them or do not know how to obtain these benefits.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During his Fellowship, Matthew has:
• Provided brief service or advice to 59 seniors on 75 separate issues
• Undertaken full representation of 133 seniors on 216 separate cases relating to public benefits
• Assisted with impact litigation that affects 3,000 seniors and future beneficiaries of veterans benefits
• Obtained or maintained more than $1,000,000 in public benefits for seniors
• Educated nearly 200 seniors through eleven presentations on public benefits and related legal problems
• Trained more than 300 senior care providers on various aspects of public benefits and common legal issues that arise
• Advocated for legislation that supports seniors by drafting comments on proposed amendments
• Served on the Elder Law Committee for the Cincinnati Bar Association
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Matthew will work as a Staff Attorney for Pro Seniors with a focus on low-income senior veterans.

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