Susan Carberry decided to throw a Hail Mary Pass. Justin was 10 years too old to file for Disabled Adult Child Benefits under current SSA rules (the limit is 22, and he filed at age 32). But there were extenuating circumstances. Miraculously, the judge allowed for the tardy application, and Justin was granted a disability benefit of $1,800 per month (plus immediate Medicare coverage). He will receive approximately $50,000 in retroactive benefits as well. Justin has a low IQ and was abandoned by his parents in his early teens. He grew up in foster homes and has no family support. His former neighbor took an interest in his plight and helped keep a roof over his head and food in his house while she helped shepherd him through the Social Security appeal process. He will now have enough income to be secure for life.
“This was the most gratifying win I have experienced in the decade I have been doing this job.” said Susan.
Terry Roth received a referral from the Sheriff’s Office that an elderly blind woman was having problems walking her service dog because a neighbor’s dog is left off leash and is aggressive. The neighbor even shoved the woman’s 83year-old husband. Law enforcement and animal control were called and a citation was given to the neighbor for having his dog off the leash. Officers advised the woman to wear a body camera while walking her dog. Terry located a body camera with audio for her and found a service to teach her how to use it.
Libby Snider received a referral for a 6-year-old boy who disclosed sexual assault to his case worker. Libby provided the family counseling and assisted them in understanding the criminal justice process. She attended the deposition and arranged for the minor to visit the courtroom before trial. She also translated for the state attorney victim advocate and the prosecutor as they explained to the minor and his parents next steps. The family was very appreciative and said the assistance put their minds at ease.
Michele Sanz (left) ran a peer support group on healthy relationships with Harbor Network. The group actively participated in the session, even staying for hours afterward to ask questions and have an in-depth discussion . The manager of the facility was pleased and said the participants found the experience very empowering.
A client was sharing with staff that she’s struggling financially and was afraid she couldn’t provide a birthday cake to her sons. Amber Lott used 2 gifts from our Christmas present surplus to give to the woman and she was overwhelmed with gratitude.
Amber Lott has made a connection with staff at the Lewis Center to ensure that a client won’t be living on the streets again after she was discharged from a domestic violence shelter.
Brianna Scerenscko assisted a family of a kindergartener to obtain consent for their daughter to be evaluated for a learning disability and/or speech and language impairment by the school district. Brianna explained to the family about the IEP and 504 plan evaluations and writing process for students in the k-12 public schools and also attended a meeting with them. As a result, the school psychologist finally agreed to evaluate the child for a possible learning disability and/or speech and language impairment. The consumer’s parents thanked Brianna for all her help and said they’ll continue to have her part of the girl’s team!
JB, 60, contacted Joe Anderson about her need to become more independent. JB has physical disabilities and seizures and recently suffered a serious fall. She can’t leave the house or get in or out of bed due to risers. Her elderly parents were helping her around the clock. Joe removed the bed risers the same day JB’s intake was completed so she could get in and out of bed on her own. CILO also assisted JB with signing up for Transportation Disadvantaged rides in Martin County so she can get out into the community.
With deaf services support from Irene Sirois, a consumer (right) received her certificate of completion after 12 weeks of The Hospitality Training Program of the Palm Beaches from Career Sources. Now she is working as a full-time housekeeper at Hyatt Place Hotel in Boca Raton.
During February, Darlene Williamson advocated for a boy at a School Based Team meeting and the student’s IEP meeting. The student then received language therapy to meet his educational needs.
Tanya Meade had several meetings with the senior community health nursing supervisor, the Division of School Health and Florida Department of Health Palm Beach County, resulting in the scheduling of multiple personal safety presentations at two public high schools. Every time Tanya delivers one of these presentations to students, dozens of victims are identified and she can refer them for services.
Ana Pacheco came in contact with J.H. and learned she had been a victim of a robbery and battery by two of her neighbors where she suffered a concussion and numerous contusions. Looking for a way to move on with her life, staff accompanied the woman to court appointments while providing information to help her start a seamstress business. In February, one of the subjects pled guilty and was sentenced. The victim spoke confidently in court and expressed forgiveness as she feels at peace to move forward with her life.
During February William Genem received a referral from Victim Services regarding a DUI car accident where O.R., a single father, was left paralyzed. Now his 12-year-old daughter has had to step up and take on a lot of the home responsibilities. Sadly, this type of case is common to our program. We have a few families in which the children have had to grow up very suddenly to pick up the slack created in the family's dynamic due to injuries related to victimization. William -- in partnership with advocates from Victim Services and MADD -- has been working diligently to assist O.R. in receiving medical, psychological and monetary assistance to regain normalcy. William will help O.R.'s daughter join an art therapy group with peers in similar situations.