Help at Last
Jun 30, 2019 | by Nancy Newbrough
On June 19 two years ago, I received a distress call from my younger brother. He was crying and explained that our mom had died that day following a simple surgery to unclog some veins in her leg. I was out of town and would not be able to get to him for another couple of days. And I had no idea my mother was even having surgery since we were never close.
However, I did realize instantly that my (severe special needs) brother would now be dependent on me and my family. He has lived with our mom most of his life. Though only completing 9th grade in high school, he had learned a trade – welding. Somehow he managed to hold short-term jobs between the ages of 20 - 50. After that, with increased hearing loss, extremely slow processing ability, coordination challenges and failing eyesight, he was unable to work. From what I could tell, he would be viewed more as a liability on a job site rather than an asset.
Because my brother had been in special education classes in school, I now realized my first and most important priority was to get him the help he had always needed but never received since leaving the classroom. Now at 60 with his failing health, he might only have a few years left!
I began this journey by praying diligently for wisdom and guidance as well as asking my LIFE Group to join me in praying weekly for my brother’s needs to be met! This included openness to my help, for him to cooperate with the task of seeking disability status, and for the “system” to work in his favor. The prayers, encouragement and advice from others has meant so much to me!
I want to also say that my husband and both my sons have truly been the men I am most proud of. My husband has on many occasions helped my brother fix something when he was unable to even think through the problem. Both my sons have helped him with truck and motorcycle repairs when he could not figure out how to do the work himself -- which is often.
My brother, with my assistance, filed for disability in September of 2017. He continually told me the claim would be denied and there was no use trying to do this. I just kept asking him to stick it out with me! “Let us see what we can do,” I told him. “I am praying about this, and many others are also.” Unfortunately, he has a defeatist attitude, and this made dealing with the agencies and him even that much harder! By December of 2018, we had received two denials!
A month later, at the urging of a friend, I talked my brother into handing his case over to a disability lawyer. We braced ourselves for another long wait while the attorney’s staff gathered all the information they could. In the meantime, another friend, who is also a counselor, offered to do testing on my brother to see if this would help determine that he is unable to work.
In short, the extensive testing results determined that he has the aptitude of about a 12- to 14-year-old and that basically, it was a miracle that he ever was able to learn a trade such as welding or hold even short-terms jobs! I never actually showed him the results of this testing! But this was a breakthrough, both for him and the attorney!
A hearing in court with a disability judge was arranged by the attorney for May 14. This was about 3-6 months earlier than we had been told to expect it! We went to that hearing covered in prayer from many loving and caring friends!
My brother had been in the judge’s chambers for 45 minutes when the attorney came out to get me. He explained that the judge was awarding my brother full disability! It would process within a couple of months. This was a major answer to prayer – prayers that started the night when I realized we would need every ounce of help from God that He could allow us to have!
How thankful we are for this new beginning for my brother, though he will still need my help to manage the monthly funds that will be coming. All praise to the Lord for hearing our heartfelt petitions on behalf of my brother!
I lift up my eyes to the mountains;
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker