Posted by Elysse Nava

disabilitiesKathy* became a JF&CS Stabilization and Recovery Services client after suffering a stroke that left her with a traumatic brain injury and mobility issues, as well as depression in addition to other medical issues. At the time she was assigned her first JF&CS case manager, Kathy needed financial assistance, benefits assistance, and a safe place to live.

Working with her case manager, Kathy secured initial benefits including cash assistance, food assistance, and health insurance. In the time after these initial benefits were secured, Kathy, with the assistance of her case manager, applied and was approved for social security (SSDI) benefits, which afforded her a monthly income as she was unable to return to work following her stroke. With her SSDI benefits, Kathy became eligible for Medicare as her primary health insurance and MassHealth became her secondary insurance.

Kathy and her case manager also worked together to apply for affordable housing and she was granted a subsidized apartment in a building with on-site supports, including a social worker. After her stroke, Kathy also needed extra help with some daily activities, including grocery shopping, bathing, meal preparation, and housework. So with a safe and affordable place to live, Kathy and her case manager applied for the PCA program through MassHealth to secure a personal care attendant (PCA) who could help Kathy live an optimal life in her new apartment. Once approved, Kathy's case manager assisted her with the PCA hiring process and helped her learn how to manage her PCA. Now with many of her immediate needs met, Kathy and her case manager discussed financial literacy to ensure she did not run out of money before the end of each month.

Kathy's case manager continued to help connect Kathy with new resources as they became available to her, including the new OneCare program for Massachusetts residents who are eligible for both MassHealth and Medicare. Once enrolled, Kathy had access to a great amount of additional mental health and medical supports, including a nurse care manager/health outreach worker, an in-home therapist, a home health aide, and a long-term supports coordinator.

Thanks to the help of the JF&CS case manager, Kathy felt comfortable living on her own with her supported housing situation, benefits, and OneCare: "JF&CS had such a profound impact on my life and helped line up so many supports, I wanted to close my case so that the agency can assist additional clients who might be in the position I was in once." We are so proud of Kathy and were sure to let her know that should she ever feel that she needs assistance in the future, our door is always open.

*Named changed to protect privacy.

Elysse Nava, LICSW joined Jewish Family & Children's Service in April 2012 as a Clinical Case Manager in Stabilization and Recovery Services. In this capacity, she has assisted individuals living with mental illness in attaining their self-identified goals. Prior to JF&CS, her roles in the mental health field included providing community-based outpatient therapy as a staff therapist for South Bay Mental Health Center and as a guardianship social worker in New York City. Elysse graduated from New York University in 2009 with her MSW and from Skidmore College with her BSW.