Darnell* was born with multiple physical disabilities which didn’t stop him from living an independent life and becoming a successful engineer. At 53, the physical effects of his disabilities began to escalate. The pain, coupled with a rapid loss of mobility forced him to give up the career he’d loved. He applied for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and, to his surprise, he was turned down. He had savings but, without a regular source of income, Darnell feared he would be forced to give up his apartment and move away from a community in which he was a very active member. He attended a benefits workshop at ILRCSF, to find out if he should re-apply. He learned that ILRCSF had an attorney on staff who specialized in just this sort of issue. She advised him against reapplying, and had him gather up all the necessary documentation to file an appeal. With her support and legal counsel, Darnell’s application for SSDI was approved on appeal, and he was able to collect his benefits retroactively. He has been able to keep his apartment and, with the help of IHSS, he continues to live an independent, community-based life.
*This consumer’s name, and certain minor elements of his situation, have been changed to protect his privacy.
Playing a part in the personal triumphs of the consumers we serve is something everyone at ILRCSF is proud of, but Darnell’s story is just one example of the work made possible by the generous support of friends who support the disability advocacy movement, and believe in self-determination and independent, community-based living.
During the last 12 months, ILRCSF has provided in-depth, one-to-one services to over 175 individuals on-site, and over 200 consumers at outstations in the Chinatown, Mission and Sunset districts. We have provided Information and Referral services to over 700 people, facilitated over 65 workshops on Fair Housing, Benefits, Economic Empowerment, Assistive Technology, and Advocacy/Systems Change, helped over 35 consumers at risk of eviction access emergency financial assistance from the Season of Sharing Fund, and loaned out over 100 pieces of Assistive Technology to consumers via The Nick Feldman Device Lending Library. Our new, state-of-the-art conference and community room has hosted a wide range of community activities including movie and game nights for consumers and their families, public testing and demonstration of cutting-edge assistive technology, training events for advocates and service providers, empowerment workshops for children and young people with disabilities, weekly meetings of The Veterans’ Art Guild, and audition/rehearsal space for an inclusive theater company, just to name a few.
As 2015 comes to a close, and we at ILRCSF look to the year ahead, I hope I can count on you to make a year-end, tax-deductible donation to help ensure that we can provide vital services to even more members of the disability community.
For information on how to make donation online or via mail, see the donation section of our website.
On behalf of ILRCSF staff and Executive Board, I wish you a happy and healthy New Year, and look forward to all we can do together in 2016!
Jessie Lorenz, Executive Director