A homeless woman with chronic health problems and mental disabilities will receive about $13,000 in back Supplemental Security Income benefits and $733 each month after a judge ruled she is still disabled under adult rules.
Ms. Tara had been receiving SSI as a child. But when she turned 18, the Social Security Administration (which administers SSI) sent her a notice that she needed to be reevaluated under the adult disability rules.
“Ms. Tara did not receive the notice, so she did not respond,” said Michelle Salomon Madaio, her HPRP attorney. “One day, she did not receive her benefits and that’s when she knew something was not right. So she went into her SSA office. She learned that a notice had been sent to a former address she was no longer using.”
She immediately filed an appeal and requested that her benefits continue while she is waiting for a final decision. Her benefits were reinstated. A year went by and she never received a hearing notice. Her benefits were again terminated. She learned that the notice was sent to the wrong address and a judge dismissed her case when she did not attend the hearing.
Ms. Tara appealed again to the Appeals Council, which agreed with her that the hearing office sent the notice to the incorrect address and remanded her case back to an administrative law judge, where Michelle represented her.
“After five years of fighting this appeal, Ms. Tara finally received the judge’s decision that she is still disabled back to 2010, when the agency determined she was not disabled under the adult rules,” Michelle said. “Ms. Tara’s case highlights the lengthy appeals process so many homeless disabled clients must undergo. A lot happens in five years, and it has not been easy for her to wait this long without income to pay for food, shelter, transportation, and out-of-pocket medical expenses.”