“I worked hard my whole life. It was hard to say out loud that I had a disability,” recalls Tammy Shepard when her Rheumatoid Arthritis progressed to the point she was no longer able to work outside of the home.
For Tammy, she was forced to look into Social Security Income, or SSI. Obtaining SSI is an intensive, time-consuming processes that can prove highly discouraging if denied; which is exactly what happened when Tammy first applied for SSI in 2012. “It is so complicated to apply for SSI, and then it came back denied. I did all the work,” says Tammy.
"I couldn’t believe there was a free service to help me get the paperwork done..."Tammy Shepard
After the denial, Tammy sought job assistance from the Mesa County Workforce Center and there was told that the Center for Independence helps people everyday apply and get approved for SSI and SSDI, at no cost. Tammy contacted CFI for help. She was teamed up with the Disability Benefits team of Valerie Castle and Marilyn Kelly to help her through the 60-80 hours of paperwork required for each application. “I couldn’t believe there was a free service to help me get the paperwork done,” says Tammy, as tears of gratitude fill her brown eyes. “It was good that I didn’t have to talk to a lot of different people. I felt comfortable having a dedicated CFI staff person to help. It was wonderful.” Last month Tammy’s case was approved and her first check arrived.
“The experience has enriched my life, the staff at CFI are very supportive and have helped me feel like a stronger “ME” now,” tells Tammy.