CLIENT-CONSUMER ASSISTANCE HISTORY: (Only a Brief Overview)
On 6/3/09 we wrote to ----- Binghamton, NY: "I met with ----- on 5/29/09, Friday, at 2pm. She is a person who is legally blind. She said that upon residency at ----- that a building personal person arrived in her apartment and turned off the electric power to the electric stove. With the above in mind, was this done pursuant to any State, Federal or Building regulation? If this action was done in error please restore the power to the electric stove. Or if this action was done pursuant to a State, Federal or Building regulation, we request and demand that a notice of action be sent to us; along with the properly cited Law along with the proper Regulation". Within 2 weeks we received a letter that the electric was turned back on.
Our first client came to us with health insurance problems. She had valid medical insurance, yet United Health Services did not bill them, in error. AHDU intervened by writing a letter to them, encouraging UHS to accept and bill our clients insurance accordingly. We received a letter from UHS stating, "We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused your client", they then billed the insurance company.
We had a severely physically challenged couple who received a 72-hour eviction notice. Legal Aid for Broome Co. would not help them. The problem was illness: if they end up on the streets their survival would be at risk. We contracted Craig Fritzsch, Esq. to act as attorney: Broome County Judge Mathews issued a stay of eviction, one day before the police were to put them on the streets. At court a week later Judge Mathews gave them another eight days. They found a new apartment in the time allotted. Our eviction delay of two weeks was essential.
We then had a cognitively and physically challenged client who applied for SSI/SSD. Although he has a valid disability, he wanted to continue working as long as he can. The problem is that he cannot get Medicaid because his income is above the threshold for a non-disabled person and he was not given disability determination status. The income eligibility level at that time for a disabled person was about $600, as opposed to a $300 limit for a non-disabled person. When he applied for SSI/SSD, he was turned down because he is able to work part time. That was acceptable to us, and we told the judge at the hearing what we wanted: Judge Daniel G. Heely, (Social Security Administration, Office of Hearings and Appeals, 108 West Jefferson St., 8th Floor, Syracuse, NY 13202-8908), gave us a stay, so we could complete the filing by acquiring additional information: that the NY State Office of Disability Determination failed to acquire. Interestingly, when we contacted the Office of Disability Determination for assessment, we were told by an employee that, "in 25 years, I have never heard of a judge letting anyone do what you are doing." To help this client we also applied to Press & Sun Bulletin newspaper Lend-A-Hand program, Binghamton, NY and they helped this person with $250 toward the mortgage on his home. Because of our efforts the Judge gave this person disability status
A lady came to us who has lived with sugar diabetes from the age of a child, she is now 40. Her health and cognitive abilities has been going down hill for a long time. She applied for SSI/SSD and was turned down. She did not fill out the SSI/SSD form correctly, due to her cognitive problems and degenerating health. We had her ask for a fair hearing. We attended court with her as her advocate. We were able to explain to the Judge her problems and why she could not work a full time job. On 9/17/03 we received a letter granting her SSI/SSD benefits.
A disabled black person living near Syracuse, requested our assistance who was subjected to both racism and disa-phobia by the State University of NY. The problem was, as a disabled person, he did not ask for accommodation under ADA. There exist a loophole in the ADA: the words "Known Disability". Persons whom by reason of fear and disaphobia, who do not ask for accommodation from either employers or schools can be terminated by reason of disability (Taylor v. Principal Financial Group, Inc. (93 F.3d 155)). We helped this person by identifying the problem as a case of discrimination, by stereotyping, which is against regulation (29 CFR 1630.5; 93 F.3d 155).
We helped a cognitively challenged female client who almost had her children taken away. Bridget O' Conner, Esq., of Broome and Chenango Legal Aid came to us for help. We were listed on the court order, as requested by Thomas P. Coulson, Esq. attorney for Broome County Social Services, by Judge Joseph P. Hester, Family Court that, " respondent . . . shall cooperate with American Handicapped Defense Union." We were in court as an advocate.
On 12/10/00 we began an ongoing battle for a disabled young mother. Her spouse was killed in a car accident, and upon having a breakdown and being hospitalized for 5 days her children were taken away. AHDU's caseworkers went to court numerous times over the next 2 years, and each time the client was blocked from obtaining custody, of her children, from both Social Services and family: which voiced concerns regarding her children. On 2/6/02 in Family Court our social worker worked with all parties and resolved the matter upon which she got back her children.
In January 2003 AHDU started helping a disabled single mother in an ongoing dispute with Broome County Department of Social Services (BCDSS). Her daughter is strong will, extremely intelligent, and a bit of a non-conformist. She missed school, to much, because she like going to the County Library more because school was boring and the school system does not like non-conformist. Because of this BCDSS removed her from her home several time in the next 2 years. BCDSS called her a trouble maker and a troubled child. We have been attending family court over the Strong Objection of BCDSS, County Attorney, and at time been refused entry to court. After a time we attended court and conferred with Attorneys, about needs. She has been released from Children Home and returned to her mother on 1/9/06.
We assisted a client on SSI who could not go down to the local Social Services office to apply for Food Stamps, by reason of mental illness. We contacted the case worker and we received a letter stating, "I've spoken with . . . and have sent him a Food Stamp SSI mail-in application package to be completed and returned to our office for processing."
A client, with cerebral palsy, was in need of a wheelchair. We arrange for a donated wheelchair and gave it to him at no cost.
We began a campaign to assist a physically and mentally challenge Native American mother with 2 children one disabled one not, who was prosecuted by BCDSS, who received child support checks from your agency. And as any person would, she cashed them. The checks were sent to her due to an error in BCDSS. Now by reason of these checks she was charged with a felony crime and convicted on 1/23/04. She is making restitution is $132 per month. Also her food stamps Benefit amount before action was $147 per month and after action is $29 per month. We are working to restore her benefit and reverse her conviction, based upon her being the victim of discrimination, racism, and a breach of duties by BCDSS. The problem is we do not have the money to help her.
A physically challenge person who owns their own home applied for HEAP (home energy assistance program) three times in error the rule is only two times. He worked out a repayment plan to replay the extra money back. So far no problem, then months later he was charged with welfare fraud a felony crime as prosecuted by BCDSS. When it came to court, the judge asked is there not an agreement between BCDSS and this person. They said yes. The Judge said case dismissed. The problem was this for the two months that this took the person was let go from work with no pay, he had to sell his home. More disability racism and hate by the system.
We had a chemically injured person whose health is continually compromised from MCS. He filed for Poor Person Status in county court. Although the client was able on his own to file for PPS, due to being cognitively challenged he was unable to follow through. The complaint was ended by the court. He appealed to the appellate division and AHDU provided the $50 needed to file, that action also was ended. The problem was we did not have the money. On 11/20/99 we wrote the following: "... In keeping with our purpose, we are investigating procedures used by the Broome County Clerk's Office, the Broome County Supreme Court, and the Appellate Division. (also) PLEASE TAKE NOTICE: We see a possible violation of civil rights by reason of disability and poor person status . . . "
Under NY Mental Hygiene Law 9.41 anyone can call the police and a mentally ill person can be arrested and confined-incarcerated to a mental institution for no reason. We have a client who was arrested under this law, because a racist social worker said all mentally ill persons are a danger to others and should be locked up. Then the client was latter sent a bill for his arrest confinement-incarceration. On 4/18/02 we paid $75 and filed a motion in Broome County Supreme Court, asking the court to order the county or state to pay the medical bill. On 3/6/03 we filed an AMICUS to the Broome County Supreme Court along with our attorney motions, and on 3/17/03 Judge Ferris D. Lebous reject the Civil Rights of a disabled person. As of this action we have spent almost $2000.00 on lawyers and court fees. We ran out of money and can not appeal.
One client, wheelchair bound, fell on the YMCA property and broke his glasses. He did not know how to get the glasses paid for. We contacted the YMCA, who put us in touch with their insurance carrier. We talked to them and our client received a check for the replacement: $180.00
We helped a hearing impaired client whose hearing aid stopped working. Medicaid will only pay for hearing aids every 4-5 years, we attempted to come up with the $900.00 ourselves. In the process we connected with Rehabilitation Services, Inc. Vestal, NY. We arranged for an appointment and she received a new hearing aid free through Rehabilitation Services.
We helped a person who had encountered problems receiving a disability insurance settlement. The client had been put off over a year and was in dire straights financially. We sent a letter to the insurance company and within 2 weeks she received her first check.
We helped a married couple, both cognitively challenged, with Social Services; They were having problems due to recent marriage: lost their food stamps and other benefits. We solved the problem by getting there benefits back. We also did a food referral to CHOW, a community food bank. Also due to payee account problems improper handling of money by Social Services, moneys were wrongfully paid out: We recovered: $795.00, $486.28, and $85.28 and turned the money over to them.
On 11/7/02 a disabled person on SSI was referred to us. Because he owned numerous cats, his apartment was condemned. After appearing in court, our case worker found him a place to stay. While in the shelter, our case worker found him a new apartment: Within 2 weeks he moved into his new place.
On 1/9/03 a wheel chair bound person on SSD was referred to us by one of our board members, Rev. Olivia Armstrong. He needed immediate financial help. He was in danger of LOSING his home and becoming HOMELESS. Our case worker helped him apply for and receive social services benefits: Food Stamps, Medicaid, Medicare Buy-in (NY is now paying his Medicare part B premium: $58 per month), and a $400 HEAP grant. We also wrote a check to BSB bank for $400 to pay for a back mortgage payment. At the same time, his van broke down, AHDU arranged for Bob Crowe Auto Service, 246 Washington St., Binghamton, NY 13901, 607-722-5595, to repair the van for $887.95 on credit. The money came from the following supportive agencies in our community as a result of the efforts of AHDU.
Lend-A-Hand*, Vestal, NY $280
Centenary United Methodist Church, Binghamton, NY $200
Name Withheld by request, Vestal, NY $100
First Presbyterian Church, Binghamton, NY $100
Tabernacle United Methodist Church, Binghamton, NY $100
Christ Episcopal Church, Binghamton, NY $100
* We have a Help Fund and have given money to help people. Also, We work closely with Press & Sun Bulletin, a local News Paper, Lend-A-Hand program (their help fund) www.pressconnects.com .
A disabled man who could only work part time had his car break down and could not pay for repair. On 9/12/98 we paid 311.50 to Firestone for the repair. Another disabled person who needs a car for work and who's income just covers his family need, on 12/20/01, we paid $654.04 for his car repairs.
Another client, a disabled single mother with three children, of which two are disabled, was being evicted and needed money for a new apartment. We helped her with $400 on 10/23/98.
On 11/30/01 we went to the Binghamton Sertoma Club www.sertoma.org fund raiser event, which raises funds for the Binghamton Boy's and Girl's Club www.bgca.org . We had a single mother, who is disabled, in need of a car. Her son was extremely sick, having almost died once had he not arrived at the hospital within 1 hour. She needed a car for two reasons: first, if needed, to get her son to the hospital and second to get to work and provide for him. At this event we purchased a vehicle for $725.00 and gave it to that mother.
Another disabled person who needed a car for work and whose income just covers her family need, we provided her with $654.04 for car repairs on 12/20/01, .
A wheel chair bound person wanted to work but need a car to do so. We paid for his down payment and $700 out of $900 for the hand controls need to drive. He is working 18 hours per week, good so far. But upon his working Social Security stopped completely his disability payments because he was gainful employed. We do not have to money to go to court.
We had a person who is wheel chair bound who needed a ramp for his apartment. We did not have the money to provide the ramp, our case worker called Lend-A-Hand; And arranged for the funding. On 11/10/02 Press & Sun Bulletin listed in their Tuesday News Paper the following, "Man gets new wheelchair ramp ... (AHDU) contacted Lend-A-Hand on his behalf and funds were provided to the First Ward Action Council to build a new ramp for Vince".
DIVORCE: 7/31/00 AHDU filed the necessary forms for an uncontested divorce requesting "Poor Person Status". On 10/31/00 our client received her divorce.
1/5/01 AHDU filed the necessary forms for an uncontested divorce requesting "Poor Person Status". On 4/20/01 our client received her divorce.
Craig Fritzsch, Esq. Attorney reviewed the forms prior to filing.
On 1/1/04 a single disabled mother, with 3 children, received a 3 day eviction notice, AHDU provided $200 to prevent this woman from becoming homeless.
DECLARATION OF TRUST: On October 15, 2002 AHDU signed the paperwork to become Trustee for a disabled person's "Needs Trust".
REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE ACCOUNT: AHDU accepts clients for payee disbursement of benefits. Persons who receive Social Security Monies can appoint AHDU as representative payee, we will then distribute these funds to the client ensuring a proper budget and improving there overall quality of life.
Our first payee was on 11/1/02 when we became the payee for a person on SSI. This person, we counseled and worked with did so well that we wrote a letter on 11/5/03: "We are currently Mr.---- payee. For almost the past year, we have observed a good level of responsibility in his handling of money and, for over a year, in other activities. Based upon our information and belief we believe Mr.----- is capable of handling his own financial affairs. Therefore, we are requesting that Mr.---- begin receiving his SSI/SSD benefits directly. To this date he is doing well with his money.
On 10/18/04 a person on SSI/SSD came to us with a need, for the last year he lived in another state for the purpose of helping family, now that he has moved back to Binghamton, and he needs a Representative Payee for Social Security. On 11/3/04 we received only $89.00 out of $671.00. This caused a big problem. The local Social Services office was not very sensitive or caring towards this person problem of homelessness, no medication, and no food. We resolved the problem with Social Services and gave him help fund money.