This program will review the two common types of disability programs, Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance, including eligibility criteria for both programs and their appeals process. The program will then take a closer look at different family and humanitarian based immigrant categories and determine how these particular groups can be categorically eligible for these disability-based programs.
Presented by Ernie Collette and Joel Perez-Romano, this program will benefit attorneys and paralegals who work with immigrant clients seeking to become eligible for either needs-based disability benefits or disability benefits based on prior work.
Ernie Collette is the Supervising Attorney in MFJ’s Immigration Law Project, which assists immigrant families and children to obtain residency and citizenship through humanitarian-based immigration categories such as Adjustment of Status, Citizenship, Green Card Replacement, U-visa, T-visa, Temporary Protected Status, and Asylum before the United States Immigration and Citizenship Services and the Executive Office of Immigration Review
Prior to becoming a Supervising Attorney, Mr. Collette was a Staff Attorney in the Government Benefits Project at MFJ where he represented clients in a range of public benefits matters, including Public Assistance, SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security benefits, including representation in Federal Court.
He has provided numerous trainings to nonprofit organizations, law schools, and to Immigration Judges and Asylum Officers, on immigrant eligibility for public benefits, and is committed to improving the quality of life of marginalized individuals and families through litigation and policy work.
He is the co-author of “Barring Survivors of Domestic Violence from Food Security: The Unintended Consequences of 1996 Welfare and Immigration Reform” published in the Drexel University Law Review, and “Unaccompanied and Excluded From Food Security: A Call for the Inclusion of Immigrant Youth Twenty Years After Welfare Reform” in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal.
Mr. Collette is a 2013 graduate of Seattle University School of Law.
Joel Perez-Romano is a paralegal at Mobilization for Justice. Joel assists clients in a wide range of immigration matters including adjustment of status, asylum, naturalization, among other forms of relief. Prior to joining Mobilization for Justice, Joel assisted LGBTQ and HIV positive individuals to apply for asylum at Immigration Equality. He is passionate about family reunification policies and Asylum/Refugee Law. Joel is a native New Yorker born in Brooklyn and is a heritage Spanish speaker. He also casually communicates in Arabic and Hebrew. Joel is in the process of becoming a Department of Justice Accredited Representative, which would allow him to offer direct representation to individuals with immigration legal needs. In August 2020, Joel will begin pursuing a law degree at CUNY School of Law (part-time) and continue working at Mobilization for Justice.