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One Chronically Sick Father’s Wish

By Erick Pineda

My client JD was a 32-year-old single dad who wanted nothing more than to give his daughter a Christmas gift. Unfortunately, his health was failing.

JD suffered three heart attacks, was on dialysis three times a week for four hours a day and walked with several missing toes. Despite his desire to work, JD’s condition immobilized him, and he fell behind on his rent.

NYLAG’s LegalHealth Division staff, complement medical care with legal care by working alongside medical professionals in 37 New York hospitals and medical facilities. As a paralegal in LegalHealth, I met JD at one of our NYC Health and Hospital sites. Even though disability benefits are more likely to be denied for younger applicants like JD, I knew he really needed help, and I was determined to fight for him.

After filing JD’s disability application, I connected with his disability analyst at the Social Security Administration. She told us JD’s case was randomly selected for a “quality check” to ensure his disability analyst was making good decisions, a process that can last anywhere from a few days to well over a month. At this point, I wasn’t sure if we could get him the help he needed before the Holidays.

On Christmas Eve, I received a voicemail from JD saying, “Erick, we did it!”

Christmas was fast approaching, and JD didn’t know if he would receive benefits to pay for his rent or to give his daughter a present. He became even more diligent and involved in his case, consistently calling me with updates and making sure all of his documents were ready.

It was a Christmas Miracle! I called him back, and a very tearful and thankful JD said that he received the Notice of Approval and his back-pay was automatically deposited into his account. Now, JD could focus on improving his health and spending Christmas with his daughter.

And he was able to buy her that present!

A disruption in benefits can be catastrophic for those who rely on government benefits to access food, health care, and housing. Thankfully, we helped JD and his daughter, but many other families need our help, especially during this holiday season.

Send your gift today and help restore hope for many this holiday season.

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