A few weeks into beginning my internship at Taller de José, a client came in for a walk-in appointment. I had recently begun seeing clients on my own two weeks before. My client came in after being referred from a partnering agency. He was tired, stressed and unsure of what to do. His wallet was stolen. His ID, social security card, license, and insurance card were all gone. It had been two months since the incident, he was not able to report anything because of the language barrier.
We decided to call a DMV first and ask about getting a license and state ID. What we found though is that they could not help him without his social security card or a police report. I called CPD’s non-emergency number. They were not receptive of making a police report for his stolen items. When I mentioned my client could only speak Spanish and I was serving as his translator, the call went dead. They ended the call. I could see the sad understanding in his eyes, he confirmed my thoughts when he said he was not surprised about the call ending. We decided to then call the Social Security Administration, who gave us a similar answer as the DMV did. We called CPD two more times. Each time the call went dead. With no identification, no social security card, and no Medicare card, he was stuck.
As I looked for information on the nearest Social Security Administration Office, he shared with me about his life. The struggles he had been through since being in the U.S. He told me he was grateful for everything I had done for him, even though all I did was made a few phone calls. I did not want to end our appointment with nothing. I asked him if he would still like to visit a Social Security Administration Office, to try to see if they would be more receptive in person. He wanted to make the trip and see if he could make it work. An accompaniment was scheduled for the next week.
Despite the dead-end phone calls, he was determined to keep trying. There was no plan when he originally came in. He just wanted to make something work. Giving clients options, bridging gaps between them and community resources, providing space for them to share their feelings- in the end it’s all about making things work.
The next week, he was approved for a new social security and Medicare card.
*client details and image changed to protect privacy.