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Achievements

Recent Victories for Clients
6/13/2011

PSLS preserves Client’s utility services and child’s health. 

Our client, estranged from her husband due to domestic violence and subsequently divorced, found employment in a bank, but lost her job when an injury left her unable to work.  She supported herself and 4 children (including twins) on Social Security disability and SSI benefits, and a small amount of rental assistance from the city where she lived.  The client never received child support and was unlikely to ever receive it.  When she came to PSLS, ComEd and NICOR had dramatically increased her bills by unlawfully charging her for utility services used by her ex-husband for a separate residence after the divorce. When she could not pay these utility bills, the electric utility threatened disconnection.   One of client's children has asthma and needs a nebulizer, requiring electricity.  ComEd would not accept a doctor's note to keep the electricity on unless the client agreed to repayment plan of the entire billed amount within the next 30 days and paid $500 immediately.   PSLS filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge her debts, and prevented disconnection of her utilities.  

 

PSLS successfully increases Social Security benefits for client with disabilities.  

Our client, in her mid-40s, has been disabled, receiving Social Security disability benefits since her mid-20s due to schizophrenia.  However, the client was also entitled to additional dependent benefits based on her father's work history because her disability started before age 22.  Nevertheless, the Social Security Administration denied her request for these additional benefits.  PSLS represented the client at an administrative hearing at which it was necessary to prove that the client was disabled before age 22 and that client’s own limited work history soon after that did not disqualify her from getting dependent benefits on her father's account. At the hearing before an administrative law judge, PSLS put on evidence and convinced the judge, not only that she was disabled before age 22 but that client’s work was not more than a trial work period, so she was not disqualified from benefits.  We successfully qualified the client for dependent benefits.

 

PSLS prevents Client’s eviction by obtaining a Fair Housing Act reasonable accommodation,   

Our client was a long-time resident (for more than 20 years) of a section 8 project-based housing complex.  When acquiring an untreated bipolar condition, she began displaying bizarre and annoying conduct at the premises.  This led her landlord to file suit to evict her, threatening to make her homeless. We requested a reasonable accommodation for her condition of disability: to postpone the eviction proceeding while she went to an inpatient treatment facility to get her condition stabilized, to be followed up with medication and counseling.  After PSLS obtained the postponement on this basis, the landlord monitored client’s progress and later voluntarily dismissed the eviction case.

 

PSLS prevents termination of Senior Client’s Subsidized Housing Benefits. 

The local Housing Authority terminated the Housing Choice voucher of a 70 year old client.  The voucher enabled our client to live in affordable housing.  The client had surgery for throat cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy treatments when the Housing Authority terminated his voucher.  The Housing Authority took this action because Client had failed to report as income a small pension of $62 per month that he had received for the past 5 years, which affected the amount of rent he was charged. The client mistakenly believed that he had previously reported this income as part of his Social Security income.  However, the Housing Authority called it an intentional failure to report income.  PSLS represented the client at an administrative hearing on appeal.  PSLS successfully proved that this was a mistake and not intentional.  Based on client’s age and health challenges, we requested a reasonable accommodation that client receive assistance with reporting at future redeterminations of eligibility for the voucher.  The hearing decision was entirely in the Client’s favor, reversing the decision to terminate the voucher, and allowing client to pay the difference in rent through a repayment plan.  This enabled client to maintain his subsidized housing .