A 50-year old woman had just achieved stability and obtained permanent housing after years of chronic homelessness due to mental illness when she received a notice of overpayment of her Food Support and Medical Assistance benefits for over $12,000. The social service agency that alleged an overpayment claimed that she had been living in another state while receiving Medical Assistance benefits in Minnesota. The overpayment caused the client tremendous stress and threatened to disrupt the stability that she had recently achieved. The client denied the allegations, as she had been homeless and living in a van in Minnesota during the time period in question. The local housing authority referred the client to her local civil legal aid office for help.
Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota attorney Heidi Uecker agreed to represent the client and requested a copy of the evidence used against her. Upon learning that a civil legal aid attorney was representing the client, the social service agency immediately rescinded the overpayment. The client was overjoyed, and has since reported that her quality of life has greatly improved since the appeal was dismissed.