Photo of Katherine Holley

Katherine A. Holley

  • Hosted by Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
  • Sponsored by Ohio Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Law school Indiana University Maurer School of Law
  • Issue area Public Benefits/Welfare Reform
  • Fellowship class year 2013
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Katherine worked to ensure that income and work support benefits were delivered to eligible low-income individuals and families in a timely, efficient, and rule-based manner by providing direct legal services and investigating systemic issues that may be the cause of a decline in the number of eligible beneficiaries receiving Ohio Works First cash benefits.

In Ohio, the Department of Job and Family Services (JFS) administers public benefits such as Ohio Works First (OWF) case benefits, SNAP, Medicaid, and subsidized child care.  Each county has its own JFS office.  With the high volume of new SNAP recipients in Ohio and the significant cuts to the funding of JFS, many counties have experienced significant backlogs and delays in processing applications, higher than normal incidences of lost paperwork, improper recertification processes, and general misapplication of eligibility rules.  Individual applicants need legal representation to ensure they receive the benefits for which they are eligible and advocacy to address systemic issues that hinder the timely and accurate processing of applications.

Fellowship Highlights

During her Fellowship, Katherine:

  • Provided legal assistance to over 100 clients with public benefit issues
  • Represented AmeriCorps VISTA participants whose publicly funded child care benefits were terminated by JFS and received a favorable administrative decision regarding a more inclusive definition of what constitutes “work activity”
  • Worked with the Bureau of State Hearings to create a uniform policy for late appearances to state hearings
  • Worked with local JFS offices to create a uniform assessment for hardship and good cause extensions for OWF recipients

What’s Next

Katherine works as a staff attorney in the Public Benefits Project at Legal Services of Eastern Missouri.  She is passionate about alleviating food insecurity and works with state and national partners to increase access to SNAP benefits in Missouri.

Media

Legal Services of Eastern Missouri has three Advocates selected as 2021 National Race Equity Fellows for Racial Justice Institute

Food stamp applicants struggle to get through Missouri call center line

Messenger: In need of food stamps for first time, family struggles to navigate Missouri system

Food stamp need soars in Missouri as job losses mount during pandemic

The drop in children from Medicaid has raised alarms. What about other social programs?

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