In June 2011, Edwin Mankinen, a resident of Orange County, California applied to the County for general assistance, a cash benefit that is offered by all California counties to indigent residents. General assistance is often the last resort and most basic aid for people who are jobless and homeless. During the application process Mankinen was asked for unnecessary paperwork, discouraged from applying, and given no assistance. Because investigations showed that other applicants had similar experiences, DREDF joined co-counsel Western Center on Law & Poverty and The Public Interest Law Project brought a class–action case to remedy systemic disability discrimination by the County.
After the case was filed in July 2012, the county entered into negotiations and worked with counsel to craft a settlement agreement. The reforms included in the court-approved Settlement Agreement provide easier transitions to the better–funded federal SSI program, and reasonable accommodations such as assistance with forms, home visits, and the provision of auxiliary aids. The settlement also increased the monthly benefit by $38 per month.