Cooperative Programs Remove Barriers to Sight



In February 2020, a Flagler County resident came to Flagler Cares to get an ID through the IDAssist program. She had been struggling with mental illness for years and had no income while she applied to Social Security Disability. Her quality of life was further impacted by her declining eyesight due to cataracts in both eyes.

She had come to Flagler to live with her sister and was working hard to regain her health. She had gone to the county’s indigent health program to get funds to get her cataracts removed but needed proof she was a Flagler County resident. She was referred to Flagler Cares by the County Human Services office. She first needed her out of state birth certificate.

DeAnna OFlaherty, Project Director, worked with her to request her birth certificate online and then met her at the tag office just days before the shutdown to assist her in getting her ID. The total investment by Flagler Cares was $89.50 and an hour of staff time.

In March, she was able to get the go ahead for the cataract surgery on both eyes. Flagler County Human Services provided the funding to Tomoka Eye to remove her cataracts in two separate procedures. Even with the Covid-19 restrictions, both surgeries had been accomplished by July of 2020. The total cost of the surgery was estimated at around $3,000 per eye. Without the ID assist program and with no income, she would have never had access to this sight saving procedure.

What an amazing rate of return on $89.50 investment. The basic right to have proper identification is protected by United Way funding. United Way provides hope and removes barriers to accessing other benefit programs though their innovative Social Determinants of Health programs.