Fighting for Children with Disabilities
Jim was a seven-year-old boy in second grade receiving special education services due to learning disabilities caused by neurofibromotosis. Neurofibromatosis is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form on nerve tissue. The tumors can develop anywhere in a person’s nervous system; Jim’s tumors had developed in his brain.
Because of concerns with his development, Jim had received therapy services and an Individualized Education Plan to provide specialized education services when he started school. Jim’s mother was unable to work to support Jim because of her own medical issues. Because of that, Jim’s mother applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for him. Social Security denied disability status for Jim twice, asserting that his medical conditions were not severe enough to be disabling.
That’s when Legal Council for Health Justice stepped in. A Legal Council attorney requested a hearing with a Social Security Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), obtained medical and school evidence, as well as statements from Jim’s neurologist at Comer Children’s Hospital about his medical condition, and his special education teacher about his levels of functioning in school.
Based on this evidence, Jim was finally found disabled and eligible for SSI benefits. Access to legal aid helped Jim’s mother keep a roof over their heads and food on the table and most importantly, let her focus on his health.