Some Portland residents could lose their disability benefits

Disadvantaged people can often use social service agencies to get the help they need. For many Portland residents, help with paying bills and managing their money is vital for their very survival. However, some of these people could be at risk of losing the help they so desperately need.

The federal government is investigating an organization called Safety Net. The agency works as a social security benefits payee. They receive benefit checks for people who are mentally disabled, homeless or have other issues. Safety Net then pays its client's bills and gives the clients the remaining funds. According to the federal government, the agency is being investigated for mismanagement of funds.

The agency posted a sign on their door alerting the public that they would close for good on April 1. This is problematic for clients because many are homeless, live in shelters or live with friends and may not be notified that the agency is closing. These clients have to select a new payee. If they do not, they could lose their benefits.

Disability Rights Oregon has filed a class-action lawsuit in the hopes of protecting Safety Net clients who are not aware that the agency is closing. The organization wants to ensure that these people do not lose their benefits and as a result, lose their homes, access to medications and other material items they need.

For those who need assistance but have mental or other barriers, payees are a welcome form of assistance. This civil litigation being brought by Disability Rights Oregon is meant to protect the people who need the help. Experienced legal representatives can provide advice to anyone who has an issue and wants to avail themselves of the legal system to receive the relief to which they feel they might be entitled.

Source: KGW News Channel 8, "Lawsuit: Disabled should keep SS benefits" No author given, Mar. 24, 2014

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