2025 Design-Your-Own Fellowship Applications are Open

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Headshot of Hannah Eichner

Hannah Eichner

  • Hosted by Bread for the City
  • Sponsored by Northrop Grumman and Covington & Burling
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Yale Law School
  • Issue area Medical-Legal Partnership, Public Benefits/Welfare Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2024
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Hannah’s (she/her) medical-legal partnership will help District of Columbia residents access vital public benefits, like Medicaid and SNAP (food stamps), through the provision of direct representation, city-wide assistance to case managers, and systemic advocacy.

After changes to a computer system that processes benefits eligibility, the District government’s timely and accurate processing of public benefits applications has fallen dramatically. For example, in fiscal year 2022 DC processed just 43% of SNAP applications within federally mandated timeframes, by far the worst rate in the nation. This has profound consequences for the more than 300,000 DC residents who rely on public benefits, who are disproportionately Black and other people of color. With so many residents not receiving the benefits they are entitled to, legal service providers cannot begin to represent everyone whose rights have been violated.

Hannah’s lived experience with a complex medical condition, and the experiences of her friends and clients, fuel her commitment to ensuring that people can easily access the benefits and services they need to thrive.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Hannah will work through a medical-legal partnership to represent patients of Bread for the City’s medical clinic to appeal erroneous or delayed public benefits decisions. She will also work with non-attorney case managers to build their capacity to appeal public benefits decisions to the Office of Administrative Hearings (OAH). Additionally, she will seek relief on a system-wide basis in select OAH cases, and pursue other systemic strategies to improve the processing of public benefits applications in DC.

I went to law school because I saw low-income friends with disabilities struggle to access public benefits, like Medicaid, that they really needed and were legally entitled to. I am honored to get to work with DC residents facing similar issues.

Hannah Eichner /
2024 Equal Justice Works Fellow

Meet Other Fellows Like Hannah

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Leah E. Weston

Host: University of Miami School of Law - Health Rights Clinic

Ambika Panday

Host: Greater Boston Legal Services

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

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Megan Harkins

Host: Legal Council for Health Justice

Sponsor: Dentons

Current Fellow

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Abbey Lent

Host: Inner City Law Center

Sponsor: Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Raytheon Technologies