A collection of stories from our old website.
Rebecca & Brian
ABC met Rebecca and Brian in the hospital after their newborn son was admitted into a Madison Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit. Shortly thereafter, their son was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, a diagnosis they had now received for each of their four children. Both Rebecca and Brian worked full-time in their home town of Jefferson, WI, but the health insurance offered through Rebecca’s job didn’t cover the extensive medical services the children required. Brian’s insurance came with a $10,000 deductible, which was the cost of one month’s worth of medication for the children. The family applied for Medicaid coverage through the State, but received a denial.
ABC successfully challenged the insurance denial by proving the state had incorrectly calculated the household income and misapplied the Medicaid deductible rule. ABC then collaborated with the family’s doctor, durable medical equipment provider and pharmacy to ensure the children received the care, breathing devices, pharmaceuticals and enzymes prescribed by their doctor.
Brian wrote an email to the staff attorney that stated “you will never know what your help means to us. You saved our family. We are forever indebted to you.”
For the past ten years, Greg suffered from a host of medical and mental ailments. He was unemployed, uninsured, and homeless. Other agencies had attempted to help him in the past, but his health and living arrangements presented too many barriers. Prior to meeting with legal aid staff at ABC for Health, Greg felt completely helpless and had attempted three times to take his own life.
ABC started by enrolling Greg in SafeLink, which provides a free cell phone to low-income individuals. This simple act proved priceless as ABC attorneys and advocates were able to stay in close contact with Greg as they pieced together his relevant medical, employment, and financial information. ABC was able to help Greg overcome multiple processing errors by the county human service office, administrative hurdles at his local Social Security office, and a wrongful denial of public benefits. Greg was ultimately approved for disability benefits that allow him to obtain the medical treatment and prescriptions he needs. His disability benefits helped him pay for an apartment in town. Now, Greg is back working part time and is enjoying, as Greg puts it, “his new chance at life.”
Protecting the Elderly
Darlene was 91 years old and illiterate when she came to Legal Action of Wisconsin for help with a foreclosure case. She had been the victim of predatory lending involving a mortgage broker who fraudulently inflated both her income and the value of her home. Legal Action filed an answer on her behalf and sought to have the note and mortgage declared void due to the mortgage broker’s fraud. The bank agreed to settle the case and dismiss the foreclosure. Darlene entered into a reverse mortgage, and the bank reduced her $92,000 debt to $17,000 saving her $75,000 and helping her keep her home.
Julio is a young father of three. When he came to Centro Legal, he and the mother of his children had separated after a long, stormy relationship. The mother moved the children out of Wisconsin. Julio had grave concerns about the welfare of the children and his ability to continue as a strong father figure in their lives. Centro Legal helped Julio request a modification of child placement in court. After multiple hearings over the course of nearly a year, the court held a trial. After the first day of trial, the parties were able to agree that both parents should have substantial periods of placement with the children. Julio’s concerns about his children’s’ education and development were also addressed. He became the primary caretaker of the children, established a new home for them and was well situated to start the next phase of his life.
Helping the Disabled
Rosa is a 45-year-old, single, Hispanic mother of two minor children. She has a ninth-grade education and her ability to read and write English is limited. When her health after several surgeries prevented her from performing her work, she lost her job, which led to foreclosure of her family home. Rosa applied for SSI disability benefits on her own but her original claim was denied. Her request for reconsideration was also denied. Rosa heard about the work of the Legal Aid Society and asked for help. A staff attorney represented her to appeal the SSI denials and won. Rosa was awarded social security disability benefits, plus a retroactive award dating back to her first surgery. In addition, the Legal Aid Society was able to obtain medical assistance benefits for her current and future medical care. With a stable income and health insurance, Rosa hopes to return to the work force when she recovers.
Torrance” is a deaf African American man with a wife and two young children. The family’s landlord filed an eviction action after the building went into foreclosure. A Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee. staff attorney Rachel Arfa, who is both profoundly deaf and fluent in American Sign Language, represented Torrance and his family. She obtained an interpreter under the Americans with Disabilities Act to assist Torrance in his court appearances. She also helped him assert his rights under the Federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act, which resulted in the court granting Torrance and his family a 90-day extension of time to seek, and eventually find, acceptable new housing. Attorney Arfa then obtained a dismissal of the eviction proceeding to clear Torrance’s credit record.
Ruth worked on a machine line for a manufacturing company for 23 years. She obtained the job as part of special education services she received for her intellectual disabilities during the transition from high school. As part of cut-backs, the company decided to test employees on their machines to have them, in essence, reapply for their jobs.
Ruth asked for reasonable accommodations in taking the test, including extra time and having someone read the questions to her and write down her answers. She was denied any accommodations, failed the test and was fired. Ruth’s cognitive disability left her unable to represent herself, so she and her family came to Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) for help.
DRW advised Ruth that she should file a complaint with Wisconsin’s Equal Rights Division. DRW then worked with Ruth and her family to prove her case. When the case was certified for a hearing by the Equal Rights Division, the company agreed to settle, providing Ruth with back pay of $9,000, and a favorable letter of reference.