Aaron’s SSI benefits of $50.00 a month were started in October 2017 as a result of the good intentions of a case worker while he was in the hospital for an extended stay. As a patient in an extended stay, the $50.00 would cover his incidental costs, but once he was out of the hospital, he was actually eligible for an increase in those benefits to assist him with housing and food expenses. Since that stay in the hospital and through August 2020, he has been admitted to the hospital an additional 18 times. When he was released, he was released to the streets of Camden because he didn’t have anywhere else to go.
Yesterday, Aaron and I had a phone meeting with Social Security to discuss the stoppage of his benefit and to complete an application for me to become his Representative Payee: someone that will receive his money, account for its distribution and provide the money to him or to pay his bills. They did take my application to be his Representative Payee, explain what information I need to document and set another phone conference during January. I need to obtain information concerning any housing cost that were paid by him since October 2017 which is $0.00 because he had no money and document any place that he stayed during that almost three year period. Recently, he has been provided with a renewable two week stay in a motel in Cherry Hill as long as he makes his appointments and abides by the programs requirements.
The rest of the time he lived on the streets of Camden wherever he could find a safe place, parks, abandoned buildings and even a port a potty. I am not sure that there is any way to actually document all of that and I hope they will accept homeless on the streets of Camden as an answer. Because he didn’t have an actual address or a phone, his benefits are actually being cut off for failure to respond to Social Security’s requests for a timely reporting of changes in his living status. The real world is not set up to deal with the reality of being homeless. What can the homeless actually do to meet the structured needs and requirements of an orderly system of expectations?