Here’s a story that will tug at the heartstrings of readers in Douglasville: a 56-year-old mother and grandmother, whose $910 per month Social Security disability benefits cover half of her family’s income, is fighting to keep her eligibility status. Social Security cancelled the woman’s disability benefits, claiming a court judgment pushed the woman over the benefits’ income limit.
The woman was diagnosed with a terminal illness three years ago. With an adult daughter, a teenage son and three young grandchildren, she is unable to follow a doctor’s orders to rest her severely swollen legs. Her cardiac condition includes hypertension that can lead to congestive heart failure.
Although her 26-year-old daughter works part time, the bulk of support for the six member family has been drawn from the grandmother’s disability checks. Those checks stopped coming recently because of a $5,000 court award the grandmother won in a wage dispute with a former employer.
SSA saw the labor settlement as work earnings that sent the grandmother’s earnings over the allowed benefits’ limit and dropped her eligibility. The ill woman requested an “expedited reinstatement” and was allowed to continue to receive government disability benefits temporarily while her case was reconsidered.
The government contacted the grandmother once to request that her medical condition be evaluated by a state-contracted “travelling” doctor. The appointment was held in the doctor’s car in a department store parking lot. The doctor was a psychiatrist.
The six-month limit on the provisional disability checks ran out this month. Local SSA officials say they cannot extend the benefits, although did promise that the woman’s case would be decided soon. The grandmother is concerned that “soon” won’t be soon enough to prevent her family from being evicted from their home.
Source: San Jose Mercurcy News, “Terminally-ill Richmond woman booted from welfare for winning back-pay judgment,” Karl Fischer, Aug. 8, 2011