Duffy Fellowship Gets National Attention for Helping Low-Income Philadelphians

(Philadelphia) When the IRS lost stimulus payments for low-income Americans, an attorney working on behalf of the Duffy Fellowship took action, and in the process, garnered national attention for her work in the Washington Post.

Attorney Jennifer Burdick, the Duffy Fellow at Community Legal Services, was featured in the article which detailed the struggles of low-income Americans who qualified for stimulus relief but who never received the promised payments. Up to 450,000 Americans failed to receive the $500-per-child dependent checks even though the IRS had their information. Many of these included individuals with such low incomes that they are not required to file tax returns.

At issue was the requirement for recipients to go online to file a form within a 48-hour time frame. Burdick said that many of her clients had no idea there was a form and no access to a computer. She also noted that the form was difficult to navigate on a cell phone. Burdick is working to defend the rights of these Philadelphians and get them the payments they are due.

Burdick works at the Community Legal Services as part of the Duffy Fellowship program begun by Tom Duffy to address unmet legal needs for the poor and homeless in Philadelphia. “Tom Duffy saw a need and instead of volunteering to help one client or handle one case, or even make one donation to support the agency, he actually funds attorneys,” noted Burdick. “We are able to do more work for more people simply because of this fellowship.”

“We are so grateful to the Duffy firm for giving Jen the freedom to work on these vital advocacy issues and helping thousands upon thousands of people through this fellowship,” said Debby Freedman, Executive Director of CLS.

Established in 2012, the Duffy Fellowship underwrites salaries of attorneys at Philadelphia’s legal service nonprofit organizations, including Community Legal Services, The Legal Clinic for the Disabled and the Homeless Advocacy Project. Through this program, attorneys have helped poverty-level Philadelphians and veterans navigate public benefits, SSI disability, food stamps and health insurance. They have tackled problems from children’s health issues to income insecurity and unsafe housing and living conditions. The goal is to make a significant difference by working together for the common good.

Since 1988, Duffy + Fulginiti has advocated on behalf of victims of catastrophic injury and their families, obtaining results in the hundreds of millions for clients. Just two years ago, Tom Duffy negotiated the largest medical malpractice settlement in Pennsylvania history, while Ken Fulginiti secured the largest general liability settlement for a minor in Pennsylvania history.

To learn more about the firm, visit www.duffyfirm.com.