We want to hear from YOU. How has Brain Injury affected YOUR life? We hope you will share YOUR story.

Andy's Story.

When I first started working with BIAWA and met Julie, I was feeling kind of destitute and helpless. I wasn’t sure which way to turn. I was also trying to get myself out of the homeless lifestyle and not give into temptations of drugs and alcohol as a temporary solution. Here are some of the steps Julie and I took to progressively get my life back together:

Julie and I set appointments, and they were written on paper or I was reminded over the phone that I had appointments and I was more able to get to appointments. I lived a more organized lifestyle with the use of the phone, pen and paper and calendar to remind me of what I had to look forward to and remind me of where I was going.

I set doctor’s appointments, and Julie accompanied me to make sure I didn’t miss anything, take my medications, get the prescriptions filled, and get to the doctor on the timeline allowed in an organized fashion. She was like someone who helps me along the way with my memory and my organizational skills.

In order to get medical services from the hospital Julie went to the doctor a few times with me and helped me prove that I needed assistance and I was helped with DSHS (medical, food and cash). (She actually went to the DSHS office with me.)

I also had Unemployment checks to look forward to each week for approximately 4 months after I applied for Unemployment and was accepted. Julie was like a coach to help me understand how it works. I lost a notebook with my job searches [at the homeless shelter where I was living]. Then the employment office wanted to review my job searches and I didn’t have any to show so Julie helped me explain this to the hearing we had in front of the judge. The ending result was clear communication with the judge and no charges filed against me.

And, with Julie’s help I also connected with DVR and NVSU (Neurological Vocational Services Unit) to help evaluate me, my strengths and weaknesses at work, my memory and my organizational skills by having me work for 90 days at Habitat for Humanity as an understudy to be assessed for work.

Julie also helped me find a new place to live. We had to go to appointments and prove to Home and Community Services that I had a disability. And Julie helped me along the way to help my memory and guide me into getting assistance from the state of Washington to get a place to live, in order to live a normal lifestyle even with a disability and/or memory problems because of my disability.

If I had tried to get SSI or SSDI on my own without help I never would have gotten as far as I am now. But thanks to the help I am receiving from Julie, I have been able to move forward and be approved for SSDI (Andy recently received 17 months of SSDI back payments) and am living in an Assisted Living Facility. If I had done it on my own I’d still be paddling upstream.

Thank you sincerely, Andy Hett

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Hearing from survivors and family members is an important part of BIAWA. We look forward to hearing from YOU.

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