Welcome to Kate's Legal Beagle page
Your donation to the my team--the Legal Beagles-- goes to the Legal Council for Health Justice. We expanded in 2016. The AIDS Legal Council, one of our main programs, has been assisting people living with HIV for 25 years. Our new programs are the SSI Homeless Outreach Project and the Children's Medical Legal Partnership.
Last year the Council helped a record 1,800 clients in over 2,400 case matters—so your donation will have a tremendous impact on the community. I'll tell you about one of those clients. I'll call him Paul (not his real name). Paul came with a Thresholds case manager to our office in the spring of 2016 (for those of you who don't know about Thresholds, they are an amazing group of people providing community based mental health support). At the time, Paul was in his 50s, had been homeless for more than twenty years, was HIV + and was depressed. His sister had been diagnosed with HIV in 1990 and had died shortly thereafter. Nobody from their familiy went to the funeral--because they knew she was HIV+. Shortly after that, Paul found out tthat he was HIV+ and subsequently withdrew from all contact with his family. While he had some problems functioning before this, now all of his problems were exacerbated and once he'd been on the street for awhile he began to drink. Meanwhile, his depression wasn't the only untreated condition--his HIV remained untreated until last summer. By the time I'd met him, he'd been exposed to so much cold and violence on the street that he'd lost most of his toes to frostbite, had multiple skull fractures from beatings, and was experiencing profound symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. in June of 2016, Paul attended a rigourous substance abuse program, was housed and is sober through today. Paul also began mental health care and applied for Social Security benefits. Initially his case was denied and we appealed. It wasn't too surprising as he hadn't had a lot of time in care and thus there wasn't substantial evidence of his disablity. However, by the spring of 2017, we were surprised that his case was denied because there was very compelling evidence of Paul's disability. We continue to fight to obtain benefits for him--we are now waiting the standard 17 months for a hearing (these kinds of delays have become normal practice in an deliberatley underfunded adminstration of SSA). The good news for Paul is that he has housing and heatlh care; the bad news is it's a long time to wait to obtain income.
Paul is just one example of the more than 100 active cases I have right now. Join our team or throw us a bone with a donation--every dollar counts! With your generous support, we will help even more people this coming year. A huge thanks from me and everyone at LCHJ!
Running briskly towards October 1,
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