Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sometimes it is as simple as helping them fill out forms

Tuesday, I was with an elderly veteran and his brother, guiding them through the process for applying for help. The veteran had to physically sign a form. He could hold a pen, but not control the movement of his arm. He was physically unable to make the signature he needed to make to get the help he had earned through service. He had no person with power of attorney present; his brother could not sign for him, nor the clerk who stood ready to receive the form, nor I nor anyone. But with his permission I could wrap my hand around his fist and guide it into making a signature.

I understand the need for rules and regulations barring clerks from advocacy; think of the problems that would arise were it otherwise. But persons seeking help (be it veterans in the case of my advocacy practice, or whoever it may be in yours) often need advocates to make the system work. Sometimes it is as simple as helping them fill out forms.

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