There’s rarely ever a one-step solution. The first step in finding a solution becomes one of many. For Amalia*, the first step was taken months ago. Her oldest son was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. It was a difficult journey for Amalia and her family to find the proper care needed for her son. Overtime, she learned her son qualified for disability benefits.
This then became another journey of applying to these benefits while not being familiar with the application process and having a language barrier. Through the help of her family and friends, Amalia learned of the documents she needed to submit for her son and received assistance in filling out the required applications. Eventually, time finally came to visit the Department of Human Services, they needed to meet her son in person in order to determine if he would receive benefits.
“He doesn’t look disabled”.
This is what Amalia and her family were told when her son was denied benefits. Amalia learned about being able to contest this denial, which brought her to the Daley Center. The Daley Center informed her she needed a lawyer. Soon, the original journey of being able to find the proper care for her son turned into a legal case, which brought Amalia and her family to Taller de Jose. We sat down together and looked for different lawyers or legal agencies that took cases related to public benefits. Eventually, we found two. By this time, it was late in the evening, nearing our closing. Amalia, not being fluent in English, relied on her nephew, who agreed to call these locations the next day to set up an appointment.
The next day they soon learned it would not be easy to make an appointment, when both agencies’ voicemail boxes were full, and no one would answer the phone throughout the day. This process continued to repeat itself.
It becomes frustrating, seeing this theme of being unable to receive or get in contact with services. Unfortunately, Amalia is not the first client to have been unable to receive needed services or to be unable to get in touch with the services she has been referred to. It seems that there is an endless list of services to help others, but then once you start contacting these services, you quickly learn there are no services left to offer. When taking the initial first step to finding a solution, you learn there is more work to be done in order to get to that first step.
*client name and details changed to protect client privacy