Obstacles for mother of gravely-ill children after social security error
HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Someone speaking on behalf of the Social Security Administration tells FOX 26 News that what Kimberly Hamilton had to endure is inexcusable and is an enormous failure on the agency's part.
The SSA reaction was almost immediate after FOX 26 informed representatives about what a Houston-based social security board made one grieving mother do.
“I didn’t even know this disease existed,” said Hamilton. “There’s no way I would have had three babies knowing that illness was in the family.” The symptoms of the rare genetic disease passed on to them by their father started to show in three of Hamilton’s children when they each reached the age of 12.
“They were walking and went from wheelchairs to the bed to ventilators,” described Hamilton. She made a vow to Danny, Danielle and Deandra that she would always be there.
“I assured them, I’m going to do everything I possibly can, even if I’ve got to crawl out of bed every morning to come see about you, I’m going to take care of you,” said Hamilton. “I made a promise to the children.”
Danny Jr. died from the rare disease in December 2016 at the age of 26, but when Hamilton reported his death to the Social Security Administration, the agency also stopped 27-year-old Danielle’s benefits even though she’s alive.
“I freaked out,” said Hamilton. "I said, 'No ma'am!' There’s no way possible I could still be here and sane If I had lost two children the same day in the same month.”
First, Hamilton said she was told to bring a letter from Danielle’s doctor confirming she’s still alive. Hamilton did that but says she was told that wasn’t good enough.
The still-grieving mother had to physically bring Danielle to the Social Security Administration office. To facilitate that effort, Hamilton had to pay for a private ambulance to bring Danielle since her daughter's insurance was canceled by SSA.
Even though her daughter was on a ventilator, oxygen and accompanied by paramedics, Hamilton said she was told to take a number and wait like everybody else.
“We waited in the waiting room for almost 40 minutes,” explained Hamilton.
You would think that would clear up the confusion but no.
Hamilton said she was then asked if she had a form of photo identification to prove that the woman on the stretcher was indeed her daughter. Hamilton was initially told it could take weeks to recover Danielle’s benefits. But the day after FOX 26 contacted the SSA, Danielle's benefits were reinstated.
An agency spokeswoman told FOX 26 that it does require people claiming to be alive to physically appear before the social security board, but added that this should have never happened to Hamilton and the agency is sorry for its inexcusable mistake.