Who May Request Representation
PFCR represents children and young adults with disabilities from birth through age 21. In most cases parents or guardians retain PFCR to represent themselves and their child. In appropriate circumstances PFCR also provides representation to young adults without an acting parent or guardian, such as an unaccompanied homeless youth.
All PFCR clients must reside within the five boroughs of New York City.
To be eligible for assistance from PFCR, a family’s income must meet the following requirements:
| Family Size
||Total Annual Income May Not Exceed
| 4 or more
For purposes of PFCR’s income eligibility requirements, family income includes all income received by the following individuals:
- the child or young adult with a disability for whom representation is sought;
- the parent or guardian of the child who is requesting representation from PFCR;
- the second parent or guardian of the child, if that individual resides in the household with the child or has decision-making authority on behalf of the child; and
- the spouse or domestic partner of the parent or guardian who is requesting representation from PFCR, if such individual resides in the household with the child or has decision-making authority on behalf of the child.
Requesting Representation in a Special Education Case
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires school districts to provide each student with a disability a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment that meets the student’s educational needs. The school district must evaluate the student in all areas related to the disability and must prepare an appropriate Individualized Education Program for the student not less than annually. The Individualized Education Program must offer special education and related services that are reasonably calculated to enable the student to receive educational benefits.
If you believe that your disabled child has not been properly evaluated, is not making progress in school, is not placed in the appropriate class setting, or is not receiving the services needed to address his or her disability, you may contact PFCR for assistance.
The following are the steps to request representation in a special education matter:
- Call (212) 683-7999 and press #1 for intake. Leave a message with your name, your child’s name, and a brief description of the educational problem with which you are seeking assistance. Please speak clearly and state your telephone number two times to ensure that we have accurate contact information.
For Spanish-speaking assistance, call (212) 683-7999 x 236.
- A staff member will contact you to conduct a preliminary phone interview. You will be asked to provide additional information about your case as well as family income information.
- If you financially qualify for PFCR’s services and it appears that your case might be appropriate for legal representation, the case will be assigned to an attorney for further review. Once that review is complete, you will be notified as to whether your case is being accepted.
- If your case is accepted, you will be contacted by the individual attorney assigned. The attorney will schedule an intake meeting with you. You must bring to that meeting all of your child’s educational records, as well as any additional records or information the attorney requests and documentation of your family income. During the meeting you and the assigned attorney will decide on next steps for your case.
Requesting Representation in an SSI Case
If your child’s application for SSI benefits has been denied, or SSI received by your child has been discontinued, and you have lost your appeal after an Administrative Law Judge hearing or a further appeal to the Appeals Council, you may request PFCR’s assistance in pursuing the case further. PFCR does not currently accept cases for representation at Administrative Law Judge hearings, but you may contact us to get a complete and up-to-date list of all legal services offices that provide representation at that stage.
The following are the steps to request representation in an SSI appeal:
- Call (212) 683-7999 x 226 and leave a message providing your name, your child’s name, your phone number, and the date of the Administrative Law Judge or Appeals Council decision you would like to appeal. Please speak clearly and state your telephone number two times to ensure that we have accurate contact information.
- An attorney will contact you to conduct a preliminary phone interview to determine if your case is appropriate for representation by PFCR.
- If your case is accepted for further investigation, the attorney will schedule an appointment to meet with you. You must bring to that meeting all documents relevant to the SSI claim, including all of the child’s medical records and educational records, contact information for all of the child’s treating doctors and therapists, the Administrative Law Judge or Appeals Council decision you are seeking to appeal, and any other documents or notices you have received from the Social Security Administration regarding your child’s claim. During the meeting you and the attorney will decide on next steps for your case.