Illnesses cause need for utility, housing aid

Two requests received this month at Lex-Care were for assistance for mortgage, utility and rent payments.

Melissa Lambert, a social worker at Central Baptist Hospital, is advising a single man who needs $750 to make his mortgage and electric bill payments.

He suffers from diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleep apnea and degenerative joint disease. Even so, he continued working until early January, when he suffered worsening chest pain that resulted in his undergoing cardiac catheterization. The procedure showed multivessel disease, which led to coronary artery bypass surgery. He will be unable to return to work as an electrician-maintenance man for at least several weeks.

He has applied for short-term disability benefits from his employer, which are not enough to meet his financial obligations. He hopes to be medically released to return to work. If that isn't possible he plans to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

A referral for $500 to pay rent came from Brenda Arnold, who also works at Central Baptist.

Her client is a single woman who works part time in addition to receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits. She suffered a heart attack while trying to put out a house fire. She escaped, but 80 percent of her house was destroyed and she lost all of her belongings. The prognosis for her recovery is excellent, but she will be unable to return to work until she receives a medical release.

Her job is being held for her so, when she returns to work, she will again be financially independent.