Beth Ann, 28, grew up in a home where being a female was of little value. Her father and brother spent years telling her she was insignificant. To keep her in her place, Beth Ann’s father would often beat her. One time he beat her in the backyard where a neighbor saw what was happening and called the police. The police came and took Beth Ann to a domestic violence shelter. Beth Ann was taken to shelters repeatedly as a result of her father’s abuse. With nowhere else to go, she would end up back at her father’s house.

Beth Ann suffered from major anxiety and bipolar disorder and was unable to keep a job. Feeling helpless and depressed, she tried to take her own life. After her suicide attempt, Beth Ann set two goals: 1) to secure an income to live on her own; and 2) to continue therapy so that she could take care of herself and get healthy.

Beth Ann applied for and was denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. She came to Legal Aid for help with her SSI appeal. Beth Ann met with a Mental Healthcare Access attorney who explained her rights and how Legal Aid could help her appeal the denial of benefits. Her attorney also worked with Beth Ann’s medical caseworker to make sure Beth Ann attended her appointments and stayed medically compliant.

Beth Ann’s Legal Aid attorney gathered all available medical records about her mental health issues and met with Beth Ann to prepare her for the SSI appeal hearing. The Legal Aid attorney presented evidence at the appeal hearing and the administrative law judge ruled in Beth Ann’s favor, finding her to be disabled and eligible for SSI benefits. Her attorney was also able to secure retroactive income to the date of Beth Ann’s original application.

Beth Ann now has a steady source of income that will allow her to manage her mental illness and move out of her father’s home and on with her life.

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