The Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (state granting program) has released a 2011 Economic Benefit Statement. Key language:
The work of MLAC-funded legal aid programs substantially boosts the Commonwealth’s economy each year by bringing in tens of millions of federal dollars, improving the economic condition of low-income clients and other residents and saving the state millions in avoided benefits and social services. MLAC estimates its grantees’ individual casework and leadership in systemic advocacy in FY11 resulted in at least $27,730,837 million in new federal revenue coming into the Commonwealth over the course of one year and credits its grantees with winning an additional $25,486,914 in income and savings for clients and the Commonwealth, for a total of $53,217,751 million.
Here is the breakdown:
Through MLAC’s Medicare Advocacy Project (MAP), three programs, South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Community Legal Aid and Greater Boston Legal Services, represent Massachusetts elders and people with disabilities who have been wrongly denied Medicare coverage for medical services, equipment, hospitalizations, nursing home stays or prescription drugs. In FY11, MAP advocacy resulted in Massachusetts residents being approved for $558,527 of Medicare coverage for medical expenses.
The full paper also includes analyses of economic impact that is not quantifiable.
The important thing about this work is not such much the numbers (impressive as they are), but the sensitivity to documentation that they reveal.
I would encourage every state Commission to take the leadership in building an expanded database that shows the economic benefit of all access work.