Paralegal (Public Benefits)
For over 50 years, Legal Aid Chicago has provided free civil legal assistance to people living in poverty in metropolitan Chicago. Each year our attorneys, volunteers, and staff help resolve civil legal problems, including domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. Legal Aid Chicago was founded on the philosophy that all individuals are entitled to quality civil legal representation, regardless of their income. We work to ensure that poverty is not an impediment to justice by dismantling the legal barriers that perpetuate inequality. Legal Aid Chicago staff live our mission through our core values of equity, excellence, inclusion, kindness, and respect.
Position: Legal Aid Chicago seeks a full-time paralegal within our Public Benefits Practice Group. The paralegal will focus on Social Security/ SSI Outreach, Advocacy and Recovery (SOAR) work, will report to a Supervisory Attorney, and is responsible for the following tasks:
- Use a trauma-informed approach to perform intake of Individuals needing assistance applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Use a trauma-informed approach to assist individuals with chronic health conditions, including HIV, who are homeless or at risk of homelessness to apply for disability benefits from SSA including: Interview individuals to learn about their background and functional limitations; Help individuals complete and submit SSA forms; Obtain and review medical, vocational, and other relevant records; Write narrative medical summary reports (MSR); Submit MSR to medical providers for signature; Establish contact with and advocate for clients
- Use a trauma-informed approach to assist individuals whose initial disability applications have been denied in submitting Requests for Reconsideration and supporting documentation to SSA
- Maintain contact with SSA and the Disability Determination Service
- Complete the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) online SOAR training and participate in periodic SOAR follow-up training;
- Engage with community to increase referrals and educate clients and social service and medical professionals about the SSA disability determination process;
- Establish and maintain partnerships with organizations serving people with chronic health conditions who are homeless or at risk of homelessness; and
- Assist with grant reporting
- Maintain up-to-date knowledge on relevant issues
- Make appropriate referrals inside Legal Aid Chicago and to external partners
- Track data related to grant and assist on related reporting
- Assist with outreach and trainings
- Maintain case files and accurate timekeeping in electronic case management system
- Support attorneys in all stages of litigation
- Assist attorneys with administrative tasks; and,
- Other duties as determined by the Supervising Attorneys and Director
Salary: Commensurate with experience. Legal Aid Chicago offers a comprehensive benefits package, including low-cost employer-paid health plan options, employer-provided group life and long-term disability insurance, fitness center access, generous paid time off, and much more.
Undergraduate degree strongly preferred. Applicants must have excellent oral and written skills. Spanish fluency strongly preferred, as well as a demonstrated interest or experience working with Legal Aid Chicago’s client populations. The applicant’s personal background, experience, or professional background should reflect an ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations with clients, co-workers and the community we serve. Good organizational and information-gathering skills as well as strong and versatile computer skills are essential. Ability to work collaboratively with others and to draft documents including letters and basic pleadings is essential. Valid Driver’s License required; Knowledge of and experience with the Social Security disability process preferred; Knowledge of and experience with medical, social and vocational issues affecting people with chronic medical conditions and experience reviewing medical records preferred.
Click here to apply. Cover letter, resume, and the contact information of two professional references, one of which must be a current or former employer, are required to apply. We will consider applications on a rolling basis beginning immediately. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Legal Aid Chicago is firmly committed to creating a diverse workplace and is proud to provide equal employment opportunities to all applicants and therefore does not discriminate on the basis of creed, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age religion, marital or parental status, alienage, disability, political affiliation or belief, military or military discharge status, or ex-offender status. Applicants who have experiences with our client communities are encouraged to apply.