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Sarah, 24, first came to CLS as a child. She was diagnosed with a severe case of sickle cell anemia at a young age. Sarah qualified for SSI (Supplementary Security Income), and her CLS attorney helped win her case when she was three years old. The SSI support helped Sarah get the medical attention she needed to stay healthy throughout her childhood.
By the time Sarah turned 18, her condition had improved, so she dropped her SSI case. She was even able to pursue a nursing degree while working part time. However, her health suddenly worsened, and she was often in and out of the emergency room. She could not afford the expensive treatments and medicine to help her properly manage her sickle cell anemia, so her flare-ups always became critical.
“At the time I didn’t have health insurance, I was going to the hospital, and sometimes they couldn’t see me. I couldn’t have a primary care doctor. I couldn’t even go to my hematology appointments,” Sarah described. “It really impacted my life tremendously, not being able to see the specialists I needed to see or get my medications.
After being denied three times, Sarah came to CLS for help filing a new disability case. She worked with the same attorney who helped win her SSI case when she was a child. Sarah’s attorney knew it would be difficult to prove the intensity of her sickness; despite being extremely ill, Sarah fought through the pain and completed her degree, which would work against her in demonstrating that her case of sickle cell was severely impacting her life. Sarah’s CLS attorney, who was familiar with her history and knew how much she had suffered, was certain that she should qualify for SSI.
Sarah’s attorney pored over her medical records and discovered—and successfully proved—that she was eligible under an esoteric Listing of Impairments. “I don’t think the average person could get approved without an expert,” Sarah noted. “When [my attorney] presented my case with all the facts and all my records, they looked at it differently.”
Sarah was able to get her benefits reinstated and was thrilled to find out that her work history also qualified her for Social Security Disability. Even more importantly, Sarah is now covered by Medicaid and Medicare, which means she can get the costly treatments she needs to avoid the emergency room.
Having stable and reliable health insurance has made all the difference in Sarah’s life. “I don’t get many sickle cell crises because I’m able to control it. I have a better grip on my sickle cell, and now it’s well managed,” she said. “Before I was feeling about a 2, and now I’m feeling like a 9.”