This story comes courtesy of Lee Richardson, executive director with Legal Aid of Arkansas. All names and images have been changed to protect privacy.
Carol was struggling to support herself and her infant son. She and her son’s father had not married before his unexpected death, and trying to obtain survivor’s benefits was an uphill battle. The Social Security Administration could not provide a benefits package for her son because Carol could not provide any documents showing the father had claimed his child.
Carol was panicked because without a benefits package, she didn’t know how she could support her child. She was referred to a United Way partner agency specializing in providing legal assistance and she found the help she needed.
“Since her son’s father had died, it was important for Carol to complete the proper application for survivor’s benefits, with the proper supporting documents,” the agency counselor said. This process was quite complicated, and Carol needed professional assistance.
“We were able to obtain a copy of the Affidavit of Paternity signed by the child’s father from the Department of Vital Records and filed a Request for Reconsideration with the SSA,” the counselor said. With the proper paperwork in order, Carol’s son was able to receive support benefits – even the benefits which had been denied up to that point.
Thanks to your support of United Way, an agency was ready and able to help Carol and her son when she didn’t know what to do or where to turn. Thanks to the benefits her son now receives, they are able to enjoy a more financially secure life. $225 per month does not always cover all the costs of raising a child, but it is greatly appreciated by the family and makes a tremendous difference in their daily living.