2013 – Ellyce Anapolsky
At the time she received the fellowship, Ellyce Anapolsky served as a staff attorney at Health & Disability Advocates (HDA), where she had worked since 2004. She is now a staff attorney at AIDS Legal Council of Chicago. She represents clients primarily in Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits cases, with a current interest in young adults transitioning from children’s benefits to adult benefits. Ellyce provides vital services to disabled individuals by protecting the modest benefits on which they depend and by helping them to understand and navigate a complicated and often frustrating system. In addition to providing direct client services, Ellyce plays a significant role in training benefit planners, health insurance counselors, and medical staff on issues involving Medicare, Social Security, and other benefits matters. As a result of her subject matter expertise as well as her technical background, Ellyce was afforded the unique opportunity to serve as one of nine SSI/SSDI attorneys across the nation who, since 2008, has assisted the Social Security Administration with the design and implementation of an electronic access platform designed to enable attorneys to access claimants’ files on the internet in preparation for hearings.
Ellyce’s dedication to public service began long before she changed careers to pursue legal aid work. Her previous accounting career spanned 30 years and included many years of pro bono activities and employment at nonprofit entities, including serving as a housing economist and later Director of Administration and Acting Controller at the National Association of Homebuilder’s National Research Center; Chief Financial Officer of the Lab School of Washington; Director of Administration of the National Senior Citizens Law Center; and finally Chief Administrative Officer of the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL). It was her work with attorneys at NCCUSL that ultimately prompted Ellyce to return to law school at the age of 53, seeking a career in which she would find more meaning and fulfillment.
Ellyce graduated cum laude from John Marshall Law School in 2004, where she received an Exemplary Public Service Award from Equal Justice Works as well as an Equal Justice America Fellowship. She also served as the School Representative of both the Cook County State’s Attorney Student Advisory Board and Equal Justice Works. Additionally, Ellyce did several public interest internships during law school, including one at Health & Disability Advocates, which set the stage for her current work.
As a result of her extraordinary efforts and accomplishments advocating for low-income individuals and families, Ellyce was awarded a CBF Sun-Times Public Interest Law Fellowship in 2013, a financial award that will help meet her law school loan obligations.