Low Income Orange County Residents Reach Settlement to Increase General Relief Benefits and Eliminate Application Barriers

After eighteen months of investigation and negotiations with the County, Orange County General Assistance recipients and applicants reached a comprehensive settlement improving almost every aspect of Orange County’s General Relief Program, including:

  • Increasing the benefit level by $38 per month, which is 14%;
  • Providing retroactive relief for persons improperly denied or underpaid GR benefits at any time after August 24, 2010;
  • Removing application barriers and streamlining the application process;
  • Improving good cause standards for failing to meet program requirements; and
  • Providing reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.

Co-counsel with PILP are the Western Center for Law and Policy, and Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund.  The Superior Court has preliminarily approved the terms of the settlement and certification of a class.  If the Court finally approves the settlement at its hearing on October 10, 2012, the County will issue regulations and policies to implement the settlement and establish a claims procedure to provide both prospective and retroactive relief for the class members.  The settlement and pleadings are available here.

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