The essential mission of CHLP is to provide legal and advocacy services to New Jersey residents with disabilities. We serve consumers
of mental health services, people with physical disabilities, HIV/AIDS, developmental disabilities, and visual impairments. Our attorneys
and advocates represent clients in matters involving Social Security benefits, Welfare, food stamps, and other entitlements; housing
habitability and landlord-tenant disputes; foreclosure defense; consumer protection and debt collection; child support and domestic
violence; Medicaid, Medicare, and other health insurance issues. Each year, CHLP helps nearly 5,000 New Jersey residents with
disabilities through brief service and representation. In addition to these services, CHLP operates several unique programs:
Community Health Law Project Will Be Accepting New Clients Under
A Division Of Developmental Disability Contract
The Law Project is very pleased that once again its attorneys and advocates can provide legal and advocacy assistance to individuals and families in the community who are receiving services from the Division. The Law Project has provided representation to residents of New Jersey for forty years through its five regional offices and four satellite offices.
Attorneys and advocates will provide representation and brief service in many civil law issues and in entitlement cases. Assistance will be available in areas including:
- Housing advocacy such as landlord-tenant disputes
- Public entitlements, including eligibility for SSI, SSDI, public assistance, and food stamps
- Medicaid, Medicare, and other healthcare issues such as managed care disputes
- Child support, visitation, domestic violence
- Barrier-free accessibility, American with Disabilities Act and New Jersey Law Against Discrimination matters
- Surrogate decision making issues including wills, living wills, advance directives, powers of attorney, and uncontested guardianships (also limited guardianship and conservatorship)
Inquiries seeking assistance may call one of our local offices:
Essex - 973-680-5599
Union - 908-355-8282
Hudson - 201-630-6201
Monmouth - 732-380-1012
Ocean - 732-349-6714
Mercer - 609-392-5553
Burlington - 609-261-3453
Camden - 856-858-9500
Atlantic - 856-858-9500
Community Health Law Project Offers Low-Cost Fee-for-Service
Representation in Guardianship Matters
The Community Health Law Project (CHLP) is offering low cost Fee-for-Service representation in uncontested guardianship matters for clients who are seeking guardianship of individuals.
Clients in this program will be charged a flat fee of $1,800 for legal services and a $500 fee for incidental costs such as court filing fees, postage costs, photocopies, etc. Any portion of the $500 fee remaining at the end of the case will be returned to the client. Clients will be solely responsible for paying any fees required by court appointed attorneys, experts, or other potential costs.
The Fee-for-Service program has an income eligibility limit of 325% of the 2020 Federal Poverty Level which is $41,470 for a single person and increases by $14,560 for each additional household member. The individual household incomes of the proposed guardians are used to calculate eligibility for this program. There is also a household asset limit of $100,000 excluding the value of a home and certain other property.
Families of individuals who are registered with the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) may qualify for free service from CHLP in guardianship matters.
CHLP Awarded Grants
CHLP Receives Federal Grant to Aid Victims of Domestic Violence
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women awarded CHLP $600,000 over a three year period to provide legal assistance to victims of domestic violence in four southern New Jersey counties. CHLP has partnered with the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence (NJCEDV) on this important initiative.
The goal of the project is to provide holistic legal services to victims of domestic violence with mental health issues and/or substance use disorders in Atlantic, Burlington, Cumberland, and Gloucester Counties. Dedicated CHLP attorneys, based out of CHLP’s Collingswood office, will provide representation in civil law matters such as family, housing, consumer and entitlements. Domestic violence victims will be referred through NJCEDV’s statewide domestic violence hotline at 800-572-SAFE (7233).
The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey Funds Medical-Legal Partnership Between CHLP and the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris
The Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey has awarded CHLP and the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris a $150,000 grant to fund a medical-legal partnership demonstration program in Essex County, NJ. The goal of the project is to address the social determinants of health of vulnerable individuals experiencing severe and persistent mental illness, and to collect data and outcomes to better advocate for expanded funding for medical-legal partnerships with mental health and addiction agencies.
Medical-legal partnerships are being recognized nationwide as an effective and relatively low cost intervention to improve health outcomes. Research has shown that social determinants of health, such as housing, income, health insurance and family stability play a significant role in an individual’s health. Unlike the traditional referral model where the health care provider simply refers a patient-consumer to legal services, medical-legal partnerships embed lawyers and advocates into the health care team. The embedded attorney and advocate can proactively intervene before legal problems reach a crisis point, help health care staff recognize potential health-harming legal issues, navigate system and policy barriers to health, and break the cycle of treating patient-consumers only to have them come right back because their underlying barriers to health are not being addressed.
Are you having problems with a reverse mortgage, tax foreclosure or regular foreclosure? Are you having a loan modification issue? If you live in one of the following counties and have income under 250% of the poverty level, call the appropriate CHLP office:
Essex, Mercer, Union - call the Mercer office at 609-392-5553
Atlantic, Burlington, Canden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Ocean, or Salem - call the Camden office at 856-858-9500
CHLP offers free representation only to individuals whose income is no greater than 250% of the Federal Poverty Level (FLP). For example, in 2019 that means for an individual, CHLP's income limit is $31,225. For a family of two, the limit is $42,275; for a family of three, $53,325; and for a family of four, $64,375. The FPL figures increase slightly every year, and CHLP income limits are adjusted accordingly.
Health Insurance Enrollment Program
Open Enrollment for Individuals/Families
You can apply and enroll in health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace at HealthCare.gov. Through the Marketplace, you can apply, compare, and find out if you can get free or low-cost coverage. The Marketplace offers different types of health plans to meet a variety of needs and budgets. Many people using the Marketplace will qualify to save money.
If you are unsure which health insurance option is the best for your and your family after researching plans in the Marketplace, the Community Health Law Project’s trained assisters are available to speak by phone or meet in person to help you navigate the Marketplace. The first step is to create a Marketplace account at HealthCare.gov where you can find out if you are eligible for subsidies toward your healthcare costs. Gather the following information to create your account:
• Social Security numbers
• Birth dates
• Pay stubs, W-2 forms, or “Wage and Tax Statements”
• Policy numbers for any current health insurance
• Information about any health insurance you or your family could get from your jobs.
You can sign up for marketplace health insurance outside of open enrollment if you experience certain life events that give you a “special enrollment period.” If you experience one of these events, you have 60 days from the date of the event to enroll:
• Getting married or divorced.
• Permanently moving to a new area in the state or country that offers different health plans options.
• Losing other health coverage (due to job loss, divorce, loss of Medicaid, COBRA, decertification of current health plan, or loss of coverage under a parent’s plan).
• Gaining a dependent or becoming a dependent through birth, adoption, placement for adoption, or placement in foster care.
• Becoming a citizen, a national, or a lawfully present resident.
• Leaving prison, jail, or a correctional facility.
• No longer qualifying for an exemption from the penalty for not having insurance.
CHLP staff will provide assistance to individuals living with disabilities to apply for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act and New Jersey Family Care.
To schedule an appointment with a trained assister call:
North Jersey - 973-680-5599
East Jersey - 908-355-8282
Shore Area - 732-380-1012
Central Jersey - 609-392-5553
South Jersey - 856-858-9500
Or visit the federal healthcare enrollment website at: www.healthcare.gov
Civil Rights and Fair Housing Litigation
Community Health Law Project is a leader in the effort to enforce state and federal fair housing laws that govern barrier-free accessibility. Litigation initiated by CHLP has resulted in the construction of over 3,000 accessible apartments and condominium units in New Jersey and the repeal of numerous discriminatory municipal zoning ordinances. In 1996, one such lawsuit resulted in the repeal of exclusionary zoning ordinances that prevented community residences from operating in areas zoned for single-family dwellings. In 1998, a lawsuit was filed against a condominium development alleging violations of state architectural barrier laws. After being tried, in 2008 the judge ordered the developer to spend 1.5 million dollars for retrofits bringing them into compliance with the New Jersey Barrier-Free Subcode.
Public Policy Advocacy
The Community Health Law Project's staff continued to address systems-wide issues that affect our clients in a number of ways. For example, we participated in statewide coalitions such as the New Jersey Anti-Poverty Network; New Jersey Medicaid and Medicare Advocates Group; and various county professional advisory committees to local mental health planning boards. We took active roles in the government affairs committees and other activities of statewide organizations such as Disability Rights New Jersey; the New Jersey Association of Mental Health And Addiction Agencies and the Mental Health Association in New Jersey. CHLP's direct services staff attorneys and advocates participated in dozens of local advisory boards and task forces around the state addressing issues such as homelessness, mental illness, developmental disabilities, Social Security, HIV/AIDS services, prisoner reentry and human services. In addition, CHLP provided community education and training on a variety of topics, including Social Security Disability, landlord-tenant law and the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act of 2008. We also continued to train consumers and mental health professionals and advocates regarding the extinguishment of psychiatric hospital liens and debts.
Trainings and Workshops
CHLP offers a wide range of workshops for consumers and professionals. With the support of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation, it presents one to two Law & Disability Issues conferences a year at the New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. Subjects include general civil rights cases, fair housing rights, health care issues and new laws affecting people in institutional settings. CHLP’s branch offices also present trainings to consumers and professionals in their local service areas.
Student Internship Program
Since 1987, CHLP has been holding its annual Ann Klein Advocate Awards, the proceeds of which support its student internship program. Using these funds, as well as funding from Legal Services of New Jersey, CHLP has been able to hire several law students and graduate students every year to work in its branch offices on direct legal services, and in its South Orange Administrative office. In so doing, it helps to train and inspire the next generation of disabilities advocates and attorneys.