My story is too horrific to be less than 350 words. Read it and you will understand.
My son was 16 years old and involved in a tragic car accident where he broke every bone in his arms, legs, pelvic and sustained a traumatic brain injury. This was back in 2002. While he was in rehab a social worker came to me and suggested I apply for disability for him. Which I did and it took me having to hire a lawyer to get him approved. Imagine that? All of those injuries and they question his disability. He was 16 with a mentality of a 5 year old. I pursued and had my day in court and the Administrative Judge thought it was a joke that I even had to take it that far to court. After being awarded it I still had problems in the Bloomingdale IL office where I had to contact my Congressman to get that settled. The woman I had to deal with asked my son what 1+1 was and after he answered she said he didn’t need me as a representative payee. So I had to get another attorney for that as my son was making reckless decisions with money and having people take advantage of him. Time goes on and a few years ago SSI sent me a letter during Christmas Time and I did not receive it until January. Well their letter had stated that I needed to update them with Anthony’s progress and if I didn’t his benefits would cease. So I called as soon as I read the letter and they told me sorry too late I would need to reapply. First I was told to just do certain paperwork and it would go through. Wrong! Once again I need to hire an attorney representative to start a whole new claim which we did. In the meantime they decided to audit my son’s account and find out over the last 20 years he had a few overages on his part time employment pay. One year he was over around $1000 and a couple years over a few hundred and one year over $33. Because of this I had to get the attorney to appeal this and we had to go to court for it. Where we were fined $25000. Yes, that is correct. $25000! I offered to pay the $3300 they said we were over but they said the law is a $25000 fine. What disabled people have $25000 when they get about $800 a month in benefits? I believe the judge even thought it was ridiculous. So she is letting us make payments of $10 a month which I have done consistently the last few years. Fast forward to these last couple of years of being in court and appealing. We finally get approved in March of 2023. SO we should receive payment starting in April. In between all of this I receive a letter saying they actually made a mistake and owe my son a little over $13000. My lawyer rep and I called two weeks ago to see where the money is and they say our case was transferred to the Great Lakes division. Today I decided to call as my son’s online account with SSA. It says payments are suspended. Call and wait on hold forever and Debbie from SSA tells me they are keeping his payments until we pay off the $25000 fine!!
I am going to apply soon for my own disability payments as this agency has caused me nothing but anxiety and stress and PTSD as I have to relive my son’s accident almost daily dealing with them.
It is terrible that one agency can cause such turmoil. I have talked to congressmen who have tried to help. Laws need to be changed to protect the disabled people from stress like this. My son is lucky because he has me to advocate for him. So many people do not. Who makes up the fine for overages? And I am trying to make him a productive member of society and work part time. I guess the government does not want that. They would rather have all these disabled people homeless or sitting in their parents basement drinking and smoking all day. There is a bill I found out that is trying to get passed in Congress that will prevent things like this from happening. But I have heard that before. These people barely survive on what they get paid from SSI. And in the beginning of this all my son was awarded $12 in SNAP benefits. Now he is awarded $137 a month. When I die he will be homeless and starving as he won’t be able to afford a place to live or food.
Hoping you can bring light to the agency and advocate for changes in this system.
My name is Donna
My son’s name is Anthony
I look forward to hearing from you.
If I can help one more family by coming out with my horror story I would be happy.
Donna, this must be one of the most outrageous and heart-breaking stories I have seen!
Thank you for posting. Sharing your story helps others understand they are not alone. And it helps us pressure the Congress to fix these situations immediately. I don’t think anyone has ever gathered all these stories together in one place so people in power can see the impact of this cruel and inept Social Security bureaucracy.
Here’s what we are aiming for — as fast as possible!
Sharing YOUR story helps us help others! Thank you!