Accessing Benefits: continued

As I mentioned in a previous post, the important thing to keep in mind is that this is not an easy or a quick process a help a homeless person obtain financial benefits. Without a mailing address or a telephone, the homeless are not usually equipped to navigate this process or provide the timely responses to communications requesting updated information. In Aaron’s case, he had a social worker help him apply for benefits while he was in the hospital during November of 2017. As a result, he received $50.00 a month on a card that he could use to pay for expenses. It was supposed to be for incidental expenses because he was hospitalized. Three years later, I have found out that he was supposed to contact Social Security to let them know he was out of the hospital and this amount should have been increased to pay for increased housing, food and routine expenses.

During November of this year, I received a letter for him stating that his benefits were being stopped until they could obtain updated information about his status. It is now January 2021 and his small benefit has been stopped. There have been three telephone meetings with Social Security because the offices are closed to the public and his case is still not settled. The hardest part is to keep Aaron focused of controlling what he can control and remain as calm as he can. With all of the disappointments and bad decision making, keeping him calm and focused on what can be is a major task. The pandemic makes it even more difficult because everything is virtual and has an extended time frame.

He is in a program that is providing him with a motel room, medical and counseling services, but basic needs of food, clothing, laundry services and etc. are uncertain. In this case, he has family to help him. but it is not an easy process. He isn’t able to handle the process of communicating effectively with Social Security, and even though the agree that he needs a Representative Payee to help him handle his affairs and the money that he may eventually get, it is now more than a month since my application was submitted to become his Representative Payee. It has not been approved and I can’t officially act on his behalf and they can’t totally resolve the issues to settle his claim. I spent another three hours on the telephone yesterday to try and move this forward, but they have to approve my application. It is a good thing that I don’t give up easily and I don’t get angry and start yelling and screaming. To be continued.

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I have a BA in Psychology and a teaching certificate as a Special Education teacher. I have a MA in Student Personnel Services and I recently retired from my position as a Guidance Counselor. I have been active on advisory boards concerning disability issues for over 25 years. I also have over 25 years of business experience in Human Resources and Operations Management.

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