Hello, my name is Jazmine Smith, and my mother, Vera Williams, is legally blind and was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she was 25 years old. She is now 56 years old and recently diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome. This has been a challenging two years for mother and myself.
My grandmother was my mother's advocate from the time my mother became ill at age 25. Sorrowfully, she lost her mother/caregiver in October 2011. Subsequently, I had to stop working to serve as her caregiver.
In December 2010, we applied for my mother to receive benefits/services from the PA State - independent waiver program. This program ensures that those who meet the requirements will receive day programs, respite care, caregiver compensation, transportation,and a host of other benefits. However, it took an entire year for her to be approved due to Governor Tom Corbett's budget cuts. The applications for my mother to receive services got lost 3 times, was finally discovered sitting on a desk after two months of consistent follow up. At this time we started to work with Senator Daylin Leach’s office. They began the process to trace and track her application only to find out the results I just shared. We contacted every agency and department to help, but we were forwarded to another department each time.
Finally, in January 2012 my mother was approved for services from PA state. However, our preferred agency was no longer accepting consumers based upon PA budget cuts. Subsequently, we choose another agency, "Tri-State Home Health Care". We chose this agency because of the convenience of its two locations, however we quickly realized that there was only one agency location, while the agency consistenty claimed two. This is when the red flags went off.
Once my mother became a client with the Tri-State Home Health Care agency, I was told that I could become an employee with their company as primary care-giver, with salary. At that time, I began filling out time sheets, etc. to collect pay for rendering care for my mother. After April 2012, I became concerned because my mother had not received any benefits of care and I, as care giver, had not received pay under the program. Throughout this whole period Tri-State Home Health Care never complied with trying to rectify the situation. Instead they opened an investigation on the misappropriation state and federal funds. Senator Leach himself tried to call Tri-State Home Health Care to no avail; they did not return his call.
A flood of phone calls and emails from family, friends were made on my mother’s behalf to the PA Department of Long Term living to resolve this matter, and nothing happened. At that time we found out the agency was charging more hours than the original hours on my time sheets. Next we learned that I was supposed to be compensated from PA State, directly – Not through the agency.
Not one time did the Department of Long-Term Living put in for this company to be investigated. From March 2012 until now, this company has withheld thousands of dollars from my mother’s case, has not provided any type of care for my mother, and I have not received over 10 months of pay to take care of mother from the State of Pennsylvania.
We have contacted every department in the State of Pennsylvania to begin an investigation of some sort, but each department has failed to resolve the matter. Federal Congress Patrick Meehan has now opened up a Federal Investigation about the misappropriation of federal funds, however I am growing concerned that, within all of the outreach for assistance, PA State is not understanding how dire this situation really is, and they are not making prompt attempts to comply.
Recently, my mother & I had a meeting with the PA Attorney General’s office in which we discovered that the Department of Welfare never submitted our claim of fraud, nor did any other departments. A case was opened up on August 16th 2012. I then contacted the Governor’s office in which a meeting was held August 24, 2012 with Governor Tom Corbett and all the departments that are involved in my mother’s case due to the possibility that her story may get out to the press. Two weeks ago the Inspector General’s Office came to our house with two agents to begin their investigation process.
My mother is extremely depressed and is suffering financially, spiritually and emotionally, all because a system has failed her for 2 long years. Last week, due to the high stress level of this case, she sufferred seizures and had to be hospitalized for several days.
The primary reason why I am fighting so diligently is because I promised my grandmother, on her death bed, that I care for my mother, with the same high level of care, conviction, compassion, and integrity, as she so willfully did. My grandmother was a champion, and was triumphant in her ability to raise, along with my grandfather, a proud family unit with strong values. The will to fight for "what is right" directly stems from her legacy.
Additionally, I never want anyone to go through we have emotionally, financially and spiritually, ever again. Far too many elderly and disabled people are being brushed under the rug because they have no voice and no one cares. With all the doors shut in my face I come from a legacy of people who kick doors down for the whole. No one from any department will answer our phone calls, and this has been going on for a week. We are down to nothing and want answers.
Thank you for taking the time in reading this. It is quite long and in depth, but I hope this helps to clearly articulate how this is affecting my mother, myself, as a caregiver, as well as the millions of voiceless people, in need of assistance, and no one to speak up for them. It's time for a change!
Please spread the word and help Victory for Vera!
VERA WILLIAMS STORY
OFFICES CONTACTED FOR ASSISTANCE – WITHIN THE PAST 2-YEARS:
Barack Obama campaign
Senator Daylin Leach
Congressman Patrick Meehan
Renee Amore, President of the Republican Party of Pennsylvania
PA Governor’s Office
PA Department of Aging
PA Department Of Welfare
PA Department of Long Term Living
PA Attorney General Office*
PA Inspector General office
The City of Philadelphia
* They have uncovered one case of misappropriation of state funds. They are still investigating additional cases.
The Multiple Sclerosis Society
Disability Works Network
The Urban League
The Congressional Black Caucus
Good Morning America
The Philadelphia Daily Times(Newspaper)**
Mainline Times (Newspaper)
** They are currently researching and working on this story with Senator Leach office
Saints Memorial Baptist Church
Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church
How to help-
Please go on change org.com and sign this petion to help my mother and others who are need of services. Just click on the link below.
Also you can call any of the names, departments and etc listed and make complaints about the treatment of Vera's case and others you may know about. If you do know of anyone else who may be going through some of the same challenges please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post on this page as well as on her page on change org.com.
Thank you for helping Vera!
Vera Williams started this petition with a single signature, and now has 402 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.