One couple is facing destitution from a hospital room. After another fight with gangrene, a 61-year-old diabetic man underwent another amputation surgery on his left leg. He already lost his right leg below the knee in 2007.

Though his health problems are at the forefront of their minds right now, his 52-year-old wife has not weathered the years unscathed, either. A couple of strokes two years ago left her legally blind. Regardless, she is with him every step of the way, for worse or for better. But a crucial delay in approving the woman’s Social Security Disability benefits is preventing the couple from being able to make ends meet.

As a married couple, the pair receives $170 each month in food stamps. He receives $698 in Social Security each month and she supplements their income with a part-time job.

After a recent visit from a social worker, their living conditions were described as “squalor,” and the management and the couple is being forced to vacate the apartment. The property manager says that the couple needs to go to an assisted living facility.

Finding a new place to live will not be so easy. The man needs nine months of nursing care following his release from the hospital, but his wife will likely not be able to stay with him.

In the meantime, the woman is waiting on her appeal for disability benefits. Her appeal hearing is not scheduled until October. This is another tragic example of a broken government agency that needs to do more to try and help the country’s neediest citizens.

Source: Des Moines Register, “Reader’s Watchdog: Poverty-stricken disabled couple in housing crisis,” Lee Rood, Feb. 18, 2012