Mr. J was gainfully employed until the age of 41, when he had major surgery on his lower back. After the surgery, he began to develop chronic back pain that made it difficult to stand, sit, or walk for even short periods of time. As the back pain persisted, he was forced to quit his job. Mr. J had saved some money from work, but eventually it began to run out. He applied for IDA and SSDI, but was not approved for SSDI until several years later. The income from IDA prevented him from becoming homeless. With his IDA, he was able to locate permanent supportive housing. Mr. J reports that “IDA made the difference between being destitute with no money and being able to maintain some dignity.”
Ms. I, a life-long District resident, spent decades cleaning offices, hospitals, and nursing homes. However, by 2008 she had AIDS, hypertension, and carpal tunnel syndrome. She was depressed and anxious, and suffered serious side effects from her medication. Ms. H applied for IDA and SSI February 2009. It took nearly two years, but Ms. H was approved for SSI and SSDI in January 2011. While waiting for her Social Security application to be approved, IDA helped her to stave off eviction, pay for a cell phone so she could communicate with her lawyer, and afford bus fare to her doctors and other appointments.
Mr. D worked as a painter, but his leg and abdomen were seriously injured when he was the victim of a crime. He could not stand or crouch for long periods of time, and the medicine he took to ward off blood clots made it dangerous for him to climb scaffolding. He spent two years living in a homeless shelter while he waited for a decision on his Social Security claim. While homeless, IDA helped him meet his basic needs like prescription co-pays, a bus pass, toiletries, and other necessities.
Ms. F worked as a janitor for a contract cleaning service, until undiagnosed chronic pain in her legs and back caused her to lose her job. Her pain was so severe that she could not walk, stand, or sit for even short periods of time. She applied for IDA and SSI in February of 2009, but her application was denied six months later due to insufficient medical evidence. With the help of a pro bono attorney, she was able to appeal and get an official diagnosis for her illness – spinal stenosis. Despite having more medical evidence, Ms. F’s case lost the initial appeal. After a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in July 2010, Ms. F finally won her case. Ms. F’s only source of income for 18 months was IDA. Eventually, Ms. F lost her apartment, but she was able to stay with family and use her IDA to help them pay for bills and meet some of her basic needs.
Ms. C was the head of a painting crew, then worked at a restaurant. Her mental illnesses have worsened and she developed a seizure disorder and arthritis, so she cannot continue working. Ms. C takes 10 different prescriptions and was hospitalized for a week when her medications were stolen. With IDA, she could afford the $1 co-pays for each replacement prescription, and she can get her refills each month. Having a steady income from IDA has kept Ms. C on her medications and out of the hospital during the more than two years she has waited for a decision on her SSI application.