Zach is five and has a severe gastrointestinal disorder. He has had eight surgeries so far. “Natalie,” Zach’s mom, worked almost full time while also taking Zach to day-long treatments each week. Social Security benefits helped offset some of the costs. When Zach turned three, he celebrated a milestone—he could take food orally. That’s when Social Security terminated his benefits, despite his doctors’ protests that he was still seriously ill. Natalie tried to hire a lawyer to navigate the complicated bureaucracy, but she couldn’t pay for a lawyer and fees were not available. Legal aid stepped in and benefits were reinstated. Between work, benefits, scrimping, and saving, Natalie was able to relocate closer to a facility with more treatment options, giving Zach a better chance at an active life.

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