Sweet Home Chicago 

Pregnant mother of six kids secures access to benefits and settles into new home

March 07, 2012

This is the last installment of a six-part series spotlighting the work the CPS Children and Family Benefits Unit (CFBU) Liaisons do in helping students and their families gain access to the assistance available to them. Following is a story of a real-life person that CFBU was able to help. For more information about the CFBU click here or call 3-KIDS (773-553-5437).Read the previous stories in the series here.  


Story written by Tiffany Posey, CFBU Liaison at the Princeton Elementary Vision Clinic; with CFBU since March 2011. For a full list of CFBU Liaisons, please click PDF icon. here.


Here at the vision clinic a pregnant mom walked in with her six children whose ages ranged from 17 to 3 years old. Having just moved to Chicago from a southern state, the mother needed updates on all of her children’s health physicals in order for them to enroll in and register with the Chicago Public schools.


The vision clinic staff referred the mom to me right away upon when they found out that neither the pregnant mom nor her children had any medical coverage due to her recent move. The mom stated that she was receiving food stamps and medical benefits in her previous state, and closed her case there before moving. She told me that she and her children were living only on the unearned income she receives on behalf of her two oldest children. She also stated that she was working part-time before moving to Chicago and was eager to look for work here  after her baby was born.


The mother explained that the last three weeks had been very difficult for her since moving to Chicago as she tried to get care for herself and her children at various clinics. She added that she wasn’t sure how far along she was because no doctor would see her without medical benefits despite the fact that she was clearly pregnant. 


Prior to coming to my office to get application assistance, I gave her a list of documents that are needed to get health insurance and SNAP/food stamps, which she brought upon her visit. Because of the relationship that we at the Children and Family Benefits Unit have with the local Illinois Department Health and Human Services (IDHS), the application was successfully submitted.


The only document that she didn’t have was the proof of pregnancy because no doctor had been willing to see her without proof of health insurance. To assist her with that matter, I sent her off with a signed, detailed letter confirming that an application had been submitted for medical benefits for the client and her six children. The letter included the date the application was completed as well as my contact information in case there were any questions. I also gave the mother several handouts with information about other resources she could access to help her settle into her new place.


About a week later, the client called because she received a letter asking for two things: proof of pregnancy and proof that her last case was closed in the previous state she moved from. She explained that, thanks to the letter I provided her, a doctor saw her right away and provided her with the proof of pregnancy document. I told her that she should take the document into her local office right away.


However, the mother stated that she asked the Department of Human Services in her previous state to send proof that her case was closed via fax several times with no success. I was able to get the contact information for her caseworker in her previous state.  Within five minutes of my speaking with the caseworker, a form explaining that this family’s case had been closed was faxed to my office. Both needed documents were provided to the local IDHS office.


After about two weeks, the mother called to let me know that she had received her LINK (i.e., food stamps) card and was now able to buy sufficient groceries for her children. In fact, she told me that she received her benefits without having to go into the local IDHS office to be interviewed because her application was considered urgent. She was so relieved that she wouldn’t have to spend a whole day with her younger children sitting in an IDHS local office waiting to be interviewed. 


The mother called me again to tell me that all her children received their school physicals and were excited to start their new schools. She also mentioned that she was relieved to be receiving prenatal care. She said that all the assistance I provided made a big difference in her family’s ability to settle down in their new home.