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Jan 19, 2008

Charities Help Alleviate Misery Caused By Delays At Social Security

From The Ledger of Lakeland, FL:
It was early October when the power company cut off Justin Barber for not paying his bills, plunging the Auburndale man ever deeper into despair over his worsening health.

A severe case of sleep apnea has prevented Barber from holding a job for the past few years, and his only means of income has been the charity of relatives, friends, his church and the occasional assistance of Polk County Social Services. ...

Now in its 39th year, the Heart program also helped Barber catch up on rent, keeping him from losing his modest apartment. The program is for people who have fallen on hard times because of sickness, injury or loss of job and have exhausted other forms of assistance.

The Heart program relies solely on donations an d the many resources of United Way of Central Florida, which screens applicants and assists in helping them complete applications that are forwarded to a committee of social services experts for consideration. ...

While applicants are considered on a case-by-case basis, the one constant is that they are people whose circumstances are temporary.

Such is the case with Barber, who has applied for Social Security disability benefits and is awaiting his second determination

His case is a good one, according to experts on Social Security eligibility, and Barber is optimistic of his chances. Meanwhile, however, he has only food stamps and the generosity of others to keep him from being put out onto the streets.

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