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Oct 10, 2013 1:28 AM by Sam Salzwedel

Family struggles with disabilty claim because of shutdown

TUCSON - A woman is struggling to get disability benefits for her daughter because of the federal government shutdown.

In 1996, Rachel Lammers was 19 months old when she was injured by a drunk driver. The accident, in Indiana, killed her biological father. Lammers gets his Social Security benefits, but those expire soon. Her mom, Sonya Brinton, is trying to get her on disability.

"Heaven forbid, if something was to happen to me tomorrow," Brinton said. "Then who's going to take over trying to get all of her paperwork and everything done."

Lammers has permanent physical injuries and learns at a 4th or 5th grade level, according to Brinton. She scheduled an appointment with a psychologist as part of the disability process. That doctor called and cancelled, citing the government shutdown.

"I was like a lot of other people about, ‘Well, it's not going to affect me any. I'm working. I'm good,'" Brinton said.

She admits her family will be fine for now, but she worries about others who might be in similar situations.

"I couldn't imagine someone who's on their own in the mentality state like she's in," Brinton said. "Then all of the sudden be told, ‘Well, I'm sorry. Because the government is shutting down we can't give you your services.'"

She is not totally sure when the current benefits expire. She said she has gotten 3 different answers, but one person told her it might be the end of the month.

"I'm not going to bash anybody," Brinton said. "I don't do that. I just wish they would get it straightened out and just say, ‘Look. The wrong people are suffering. We need to look into this and see what we need to do to fix it."

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