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Bunnell Widow Uses IDASSIST/SOAR Program to Access Social Security Benefits

Ms. C came to Flagler Cares in October 2019, when she was referred by Flagler Habitat for Humanity. She was delinquent on a small equity line she had taken out on her Habitat for Humanity home and had no income. Her husband had died earlier in the year and she was struggling to access his widow’s benefits from Social Security.

She had contacted Social Security, but they simply told her she did not qualify. They did not tell her how to qualify, when she would qualify or why she did not qualify. Flagler Cares was able to assist Ms. C on a conference call to Social Security which revealed that she would qualify for widow’s benefits when she turned 60 years old. This was only 6 months away in July 2020. She was missing some of the documentation that she would need to apply. Ms. C is a smart lady but struggles to read and write. A Flagler Cares team member accompanied her on a trip to the courthouse to help her get documentation of their marriage and to Vital Statistics to get proof of her husband’s death and her birth certificate.

The IDASSIST program, funded by United Way invested $18.11 in Ms. C’s documentation, but it would pay great returns. We reached back out to her 90 days before her 60th birthday and connected her to a help line at Social Security where she could apply over the phone given that Social Security was closed to the public due to the COVID-19 virus and Ms. C would have difficulty completing the paperwork by hand.

On May 27th, 2020, Habitat for Humanity Executive Director Lindsay Elliott sent the following update via email.

Just wanted to update you, Ms. C had her call with SS today to complete the application over the phone. She is sending in her original marriage license with her bank account information and she will begin receiving Social Security after her 60th birthday so the 4th Wednesday in July she will receive her first $959.00 deposit.

Thank you for all of your help and making this happen. We would not have known when to apply, that she could apply or the process without your assistance!

Not a bad return of $18.11!

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