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No. 3

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HSLDA Sues Police over Daytime Curfew Citation

Case: County of Los Angeles v. S Family
Filed: 6/5/09

by Joshua Kamakawiwoole

The Nov./Dec. 2009 Court Report described Home School Legal Defense Association’s successful defense of homeschooled teenagers Tom and Abigail Spencer (names changed to protect privacy). When Tom and Abigail took the bus to their community college to sign up for classes on June 5, 2009, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) cited them for violating Los Angeles’s daytime curfew ordinance. HSLDA Senior Counsel James Mason filed a motion to dismiss the citation and explained that homeschoolers in California are not required to follow the public school schedule. The citation was dismissed.

HSLDA is now assisting the Spencer family in filing a lawsuit for damages for false imprisonment against the LAPD and the police officers who arrested the Spencer children.

As this issue went to press, this case settled out of court. Look for a detailed update in the next
Court Report.


Family Keeps Benefits and Insurance

Case: S Family v. Social Security Administration
Filed: 7/30/10

by Joshua Kamakawiwoole

The Satterwhite family (name changed to protect privacy) has been homeschooling for years. Even after the death of her husband, Mrs. Satterwhite continued to teach their children at home. Because she has a disability, Mrs. Satterwhite relies heavily on funds coming from the Social Security Administration (SSA) in order to make ends meet.

In July 2010, Mrs. Satterwhite received a letter from the SSA stating that her daughter, a high school senior battling a form of palsy, would not be receiving her benefits at the end of the month because she had turned 18. Mrs. Satterwhite immediately contacted HSLDA and requested help in restoring the benefits for her daughter’s final year of high school.

HSLDA has many years of experience in dealing with the SSA, and submitted a request for reconsideration on behalf of Mrs. Satterwhite. We explained the SSA regulations for the state of Connecticut and demonstrated how Mrs. Satterwhite’s daughter was a full-time homeschooled student who was eligible to receive benefits. After our intervention, the benefits were quickly restored.

Mrs. Satterwhite was delighted that the SSA would continue to provide funding for her daughter, but this celebration became bittersweet a few days later. For reasons unknown to HSLDA or to the family, the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) decided that the Satterwhites would no longer be eligible for the health insurance they had been receiving, saying that the daughter was no longer a student. HSLDA sent information for Mrs. Satterwhite to use in visiting the DSS office and presenting her case, and also prepared necessary documents in the event her request to retain the insurance was rejected. Thankfully, HSLDA’s arguments persuaded the DSS officer that the law was on Mrs. Satterwhite’s side, and the family’s insurance remained in place.


Judge Orders Benefits Restored

Case: T Family v. Social Security Administration
Filed: 12/15/09

by Joshua Kamakawiwoole

Mary Tallmon (name changed to protect privacy) received Social Security benefits from her father’s retirement until she reached the age of 18. Unfortunately, when she turned 18, the local Social Security Administration (SSA) office did not correctly understand that Mary was still eligible for benefits since she was still being homeschooled, and it terminated her benefits. The Tallmon family contacted HSLDA asking for our assistance in appealing the SSA decision.

About a year after we filed their appeal, the Tallmon family received a notice that their hearing was scheduled for February 8, 2011. HSLDA Staff Attorney Darren Jones flew to Georgia for the hearing and presented the Tallmons’ case.

In early March, the judge ruled that the family was clearly in compliance with SSA requirements and should be reimbursed for the benefits Mary had lost.

Mrs. Tallmon, expressing her gratitude for HSLDA’s help in returning the benefits, said, “Without you, this wouldn’t have happened.”

About the author

Joshua Kamakawiwoole is HSLDA’s litigation assistant.

Pending Cases

AL B Family v. Social Security Administration

AZ Loudermilk Family v. Administration for Children, Youth and Families

CA In re: RH

CA L Family v. Social Security Administration

CA M Family v. County of San Bernardino

DC In re: DP

FL R Family v. Department of Veterans Affairs

IN S Family v. Social Security Administration

MA Attleboro Public Schools v. S Family

NM In re: BW

NY In re: MS

PA Newborn v. Franklin Regional School District

TX K Family v. Social Security Administration

WA F Family v. Department of Veterans Affairs