In Vermont, Frustrations Mount Over Affordable Care Act

“There’s a backlash against all things health care reform because Vermont Health Connect has been such a bad experience,” said Trinka Kerr, the chief health care advocate at Vermont Legal Aid, which gets several hundred calls a month from people who have encountered problems with the exchange, including billing errors and even delayed access to care.
"Sometimes they’ll say, ‘I’ll just go without insurance,’ and we try to convince them that’s not a good plan. They don’t like the way this is working and want to go back to the old way.”

Ankori-Karlinsky: Expelling our kids to prison

According to a 2015 report by Vermont Legal Aid, students with disabilities are nearly three times as likely as others to be suspended. African-American and Native American students are two to three times as likely to be suspended as white students.

Affordable Care Act: Implementation Issues Impacting Individuals and Families was developed and presented by attorneys from Vermont Legal Aid, the IRS Taxpayer Advocate Service, and IRS Office of Chief Counsel, and by the Director of IRS Wage & Investment’s Office of Program Coordination & Integration for the American Bar Association Section of Taxation, Individual and Family Taxation Committee.

House advances rent-to-own, other consumer protections

Chris Curtis, an attorney with Vermont Legal Aid who had worked on the bill, called it "a big win for Vermont consumers."

Vermont House advances rent-to-own

Chris Curtis, an attorney with Vermont Legal Aid who had worked on the bill, called it a "big win for Vermont consumers."

Vermont hospital treated mental patients as criminals, public records show

The shortage [of beds available for patients who need inpatient psychiatric treatment] has led to an increase in mental health patients who may remain in emergency departments for long periods, said Jack McCullough, the director of Vermont Legal Aid’s Mental Health Law Project.... 

“Patients are not really receiving any treatment when they’re there,” he said. He added that patients are essentially “just locked up in a tiny room,” sometimes for as long as several weeks.

Shumlin bans criminal background question on state job applications

Chris Curtis, of Vermont Legal Aid, said after the press conference that he hopes lawmakers follow through with legislation that would eliminate the question for job applications in the private sector. Several large retailers, like Target and Walmart, have already removed the box from their applications.

Penalty Relief and Premium Tax Credit Reconciliation

As a guest blogger for Procedurally Taxing, a blog about issues relating to tax procedure and tax administration, VLA staff attorney Christine Speidel writes about Notice 2015-09 which provides limited late-payment penalty relief (for 2014 only) for taxpayers who have a balance due because they received excess APTC. 

The post also describes several conditions that must be met for penalty relief to be granted and procedural hurdles that will be difficult for some taxpayers to overcome.

Leadership a theme at VT diversity conference

Local panelists and facilitators at the conference will include representatives from the Burlington Police Department, Vermont Legal Aid; offices of diversity from St. Michael's College, Champlain College and University of Vermont; and the Association of Africans Living in Vermont.

Health Connect Leaves Low-Income Vermonters Struggling

Trinka Kerr, chief health care advocate at Vermont Legal Aid, said her office hears complaints about high deductibles and co-pays for insurance obtained through the exchange. "When people compare it to Catamount, it falls short," she said.