River Imholt and Kaytlin Lucas

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is intended to provide basic necessities to disabled, sick, and aged low-income Americans. Jeff recognizes the program’s ability to enable those with difficult life battles to continue living their life to its fullest.

In December, Senator Merkley’s staff took action to assist Kaytlin Lucas and her daughter River Imholt on their journey to access Supplementary Security Income benefits. Ms. Lucas had recently stopped working in order to provide full time care for her disabled daughter and needed SSI benefits in order to maintain financial stability. While Ms. Lucas’s decision was right for her family, it left her and her daughter in a financial crisis. Unfortunately, the first time Ms. Lucas applied for SSI, she was found ineligible for the benefits due to the considerable donations from friends and family she had saved in her GoFund Me account. As those savings dwindled, Ms. Lucas reapplied for SSI but received no response from the Social Security office. Ultimately, Senator Merkley’s office was able to intervene and ensure that Ms. Lucas and her daughter’s application was approved and the family received the aid they needed. Furthermore, Jeff’s team was able to arrange for the family to receive retroactive benefits in order to alieve their immediate financial dilemma.

Jeff hopes that SSI can continue to be a realistic tool for families and individuals to financially sustain themselves in times of crisis. The necessity and regular use of SSI and other social programs remind Jeff who he’s fighting for – Americans in their pursuit of happiness.