HayleyHayley, a single mother expecting twins, was put on bed rest due to complications with her pregnancy. As a result, Hayley lost her job and fell behind in her rent. She was unexpectedly hospitalized and her twins were born at 22 weeks, requiring a lengthy hospital stay. Her four-year-old was left in the care of his grandmother while Hayley and the twins were in the hospital. Just when things couldn’t get any worse for Hayley, she was informed that her food stamps would be stopped because she had not immediately informed the Department of Jobs and Family Services that she was in the hospital or that she and her son were staying in another household. Uncertain where to turn for help, Hayley’s hospital social worker referred her to ABLE’s Medical-Legal Partnership for Children (MLPC). Hayley immediately was assigned an attorney who represented her in a state hearing to challenge the termination of her food assistance. The attorney showed that Hayley had advised DJFS of her circumstances within one day of hospitalization, and that the birth of the twins happened much sooner than expected. Additionally, Hayley and her son were out of her household for only 26 days—not long enough to justify termination of benefits under the law. The Hearing Officer reinstated Hayley’s benefits immediately, and with the help of her attorney, Hayley’s food stamps were loaded onto her benefits card within an hour.

MLPC advocacy mitigated the family’s food insecurity and reduced Hayley’s stress, improving her health and well-being while she cared for her newborn twins.