RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A stroke victim and dialysis patient is getting life-altering therapy after months of waiting and getting the run-around from the Social Security Administration.
She and her husband broke down in tears over the difficulty getting a Medicare card.
No one would take responsibility for moving her paperwork along. It took persistence and repeated calls and emails. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it in the end to see Sheila and Claude Goodwin’s anguish turn to joy.
Sheila needs physical and occupational therapy to rewire her brain and reconnect mind to muscle after suffering a stroke in April 2017. She applied for Medicare and said the Social Security Administration said she would have a card in the mail in four to six weeks.
Five months later, there was still no card in the mailbox.
“We worked. We never asked nobody for nothing and it’s hurtful," Claude said.
They did, however, get a letter saying Sheila was approved and in the system.
“If you need medical care before you receive the card, use this letter as proof that you have Medicare,” the letter said.
"Does it work? No. It doesn’t work,” the Goodwins said
They say the letter doesn’t open any doors except in dire situations.
“The only thing my wife gets right now is dialysis," Claude said.
Agencies that had provided services have not been paid and Sheila hasn’t been able to schedule the therapy she once had.
“They just took it away. Just stopped," Shelia said. “I want to walk. I do. I want to walk. I don’t want to be in this chair, and it’s so hard because we never know. We wait for the mail to come every day thinking that we’re going to get that card and it doesn’t come.”
Claude called the Social Security Administration many times and even went to the office in person to request a card number to use until the actual Medicare card arrived. But even that was turned down.
Social Security said the reason for the hold-up was Claude’s former employer. Then, after a little more back and forth, a phone call came and that card number was given over the phone, lifting the burden the Goodwins had been carrying for months.
"That door had been closed to us since May 1 and as of yesterday with that number they opened the door right up again and she’ll start her therapy the 26th,” Claude said.
The card still hasn’t arrived, but the number is accepted for medical treatment and is already paying off.
“I feel good," Sheila said. “I felt good even getting the Cortisone shot yesterday.”
That’s one of things she needed that without that number she would have been denied.