Judge William Session III

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Judge upholds cut to Reach Up program

MONTPELIER — A federal judge has upheld cuts to the State’s Reach Up assistance program, squashing a class action lawsuit filed by Vermont Legal Aid in July. Vermont Legal Aid filed the class-action lawsuit against the Agency of Human Services, asserting the plan to reduce benefits for households who include a disabled adult that also receives Supplemental Security Income was unconstitutional. Christopher Curtis, an attorney with Vermont Legal Aid, filed the suit in U.S. District Court in Burlington, saying the cut amounted to discrimination and a “poor tax.”

The Reach Up program, offered through the Department for Children and Families, provides cash assistance to families with children for basic needs and services. Eligibility depends on income, resources, living expenses, family members in the household and the length of time a household has already received benefits. Judge Willliam K. Sessions III dismissed the suit Monday, allowing the cut passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Peter Shumlin earlier this year. Continue Reading →

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