Franklin, Virginia

Cori is a talented artist who spends most of her time perfecting her artistic skills. She’s learning about different types of butterflies and has started drawing them as well. Her mother works at a local church, and Cori hopes one day she’ll be able to do a painting for the parish house.

Cori also lights up when she talks about her five-year-old niece who lives nearby. They “love each other to death.” The family’s chihuahua, “Buddy,” is one of her best friends.

Cori has pervasive developmental disorder and autism, diagnosed when she was three years old. At that time, she began receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to help her hardworking mother provide for Cori’s special needs. But over the past seven years, her SSI was terminated twice, even though Cori’s condition and diagnosis was unchanged. Cori’s mother is a tireless advocate for her daughter and has struggled to provide for her special needs and accommodate her disability.

Fortunately, Cori and her mother contacted legal aid and obtained legal representation twice to help keep her desperately needed benefits. The first time was in an appeal of her SSI termination and the second time was during a continuing determination review. Both times, Cori won and was able to keep her SSI benefits and thus continue to get the assistance and services she needs to be a loved and valued member of her community. Without the dedication and perseverance of her mother and the free legal representation provided to her by legal aid, Cori could have easily been like countless others who fall through the cracks•of the social security system.