Hernandez v. Barrios Paoli

In 1997, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani announced that all welfare recipients would be forced to undergo an “eligibility verification review” (EVR) prior to obtaining subsistence benefits. This onerous process required individuals living with AIDS to travel to Brooklyn for an interview and then to wait at home for an unscheduled inspection. Failure to comply would result in a denial or termination of benefits.

For clients unable to travel, and/or compelled to attend health care and other appointments, EVR was profoundly difficult or impossible to fulfill, part of the Mayor’s strategy to reduce the welfare rolls by making the application process as cumbersome and difficult as possible. Housing Works filed suit, and in 1999, as reported on the front page of the New York Times, a unanimous Court of Appeals ruled that the EVR was illegal and must be eliminated.

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