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Please help my daughter get her disability payments in full



Dear John: I am a single parent of three wonderful children with Down syndrome.

My oldest son, Nicky, is my natural-born child. My daughter, Maria, and my youngest son, Nico, are international adoptions from Bulgaria.

Both of these wonderful children were living in horrific conditions of abuse and neglect in institutions for the mentally insane in that country. Both had been in these institutions from birth.

Maria is now 18 and has been with me for six years. Nico is now 16 and has been with me for two years.

Through an amazing agency in the US, Reece’s Rainbow, I was connected to an adoption attorney in Bulgaria, who also happened to be physically disabled and who dedicated her life to trying to help these children.

Both of my adopted children were older and had little hope of being adopted. Years of exposure to this type of institutional neglect and abuse leaves these children with challenging “survival of the fittest” behaviors. Aggression, attachment disorders, rocking and other self-stimulating behaviors are common, and certainly present with my Maria and Nico.

I am writing to you today because I am having difficulty with Maria’s Social Security Disability Insurance payments.

Maria turned 18 in November, and we applied for her disability on Sept. 5, 2019. At the request of the Social Security office, we returned for a follow up on Dec. 5. During the visit, I had explained to the officer that Maria would be paying $325 a month for rent and an additional $145 for utility expenses.

The officer told me not to worry about the delay in receiving payments, and that the Social Security office would pay retroactively to October 2019.

Yesterday, I received an SSI check dated Dec. 27, 2019, for Maria for $514. I have tried to contact both the local office and the main Social Security office to find out why the payment is for the reduced amount and why there is no payment for October or November.

My understanding is that Maria was to be receiving $783 per month. I purposely applied for Maria’s disability payments in advance as permitted because I really needed to have those funds in place as soon as she was entitled.

I have taken on a large amount of debt to cover the cost of the two adoptions, which came to over $25,000.

I had really been counting on Maria’s payments to help us make ends meet. I am aware that you have been able to assist other people in challenges with the Social Security office, and I was hoping you might be able to help me get this situation straightened out.

On a different note, I wanted to also let you know that both Maria and Nico are doing really well.

Thank you in advance for your consideration. N.G.

Dear N.G.: That was a wonderful thing you did. I’m sure that hearing your story will brighten my readers’ day and maybe even make them do a good deed for someone. Good job!

I’ll keep this short because I didn’t want to cut your wonderful letter by much.

I contacted the nice people at your local Social Security office in Philadelphia, and they are now monitoring your daughter’s case. I’m certain she will now get everything that is coming to her.

I also took it upon myself to contact the National Down Syndrome Society and shared your letter with them. They’ve been in contact with you and will also help with your situation.

I hope all that helps. Best of luck.

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