Photo of Ian McCollum

Ian McCollum

  • Hosted by Uptown People’s Law Center
  • Sponsored by Deere & Co., Lane & Waterman LLP, Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila LLP
  • Service location Chicago, Illinois
  • Law school Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
  • Issue area Housing/Homelessness, Public Benefits/Welfare Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2022
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Ian (he/him/his) helps soon-to-be-released prisoners in Illinois access public benefits such as SSI/SSDI and Medicare/Medicaid with the goal of reducing post-release health decline, homelessness, and recidivism.

Around one-third of prisoners in the United States report having a disability. Unaddressed disabilities contribute directly to hardship after prison. Inability to secure income through employment can make accessing housing or healthcare virtually impossible. Ultimately, these hardships contribute to a cycle of homelessness and recriminalization for too many disabled persons.

The Pre-Release Enrollment Program is designed to interrupt this cycle at a critical juncture: reentry from prison. Helping incarcerated persons start their claims before release puts them in a better position to acquire benefits soon after release, narrowing the gap of support between prison and the community.

Fellowship Plans

Ian will work between the Illinois Department of Corrections, Disability Determination Services, and local Social Security Administration offices to facilitate applications for presently incarcerated persons. He will help prisoners produce the evidence and documentation necessary for successful benefits claims. In the long term, this project seeks to lay the foundation for an integrated, community-partnered reentry unit in Illinois.

I believe stable and healthy communities are an indispensable pillar of a just society. The Pre-Release Enrollment Program has the potential to help disabled and criminalized Illinoisians successfully reintegrate into communities and thrive there.

Ian McCollum /
2022 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Host: National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty

Sponsor: Individual Donors, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

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Jeremy Rosen

Host: National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty

Sponsor: Gandolfo DiBlasi, Hogan & Hartson L.L.P., Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Amy Mulzer

Host: The Legal Aid Society of New York

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Margarita Guzman

Host: Urban Justice Center

Sponsor: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, HSBC in the Community (USA) Inc.