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Government Halts Benefits For Butler Co. Woman Paralyzed In Accident

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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CBS Pittsburgh (con't)

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BUTLER (KDKA) — If you met Casey Galbreath you would assume she’s handicapped.

But under the circumstances we had to ask.

KDKA’s Marty Griffin: “I’m not trying to be rude, but you are disabled right?”

Galbreath: “Yes, I use a wheelchair every day.”

Every day since 1994.

Galbreath: “I was in a car accident, it involved a drunk driver.”

Griffin: “Paralysis from where?”

Galbreath: “From the chest down.”

Griffin: “And nothing’s changed since then?”

Galbreath: “No.”

Because of her disability, Galbreath receives a little over $1,000 a month from Social Security, as well as Medicare.

In fact, she just received a 1.5 percent cost of living increase.

That’s why Galbreath was shocked when she received a letter from the Social Security Administration a few weeks ago.

The agency states: “Your benefits should have been terminated beginning August 2007 because of your disability cessation.”

In other words, the government says she’s not paralyzed anymore.

Griffin: “You didn’t cease to be disabled?”

Galbreath: “No, not at all.”

Griffin: “In fact, you’ve had some pretty serious surgeries as a result of your disabilities recently.”

Galbreath: “Right.”

Griffin: “So for them to suggest that you have a disability cessation, are they nuts?”

Galbreath: “That’s crazy.”

There’s more, the letter states: “Since you received benefits after August 2007, you have developed an overpayment of $74,140. You should refund this overpayment within 30 days.”

Griffin: “So, in January they gave you a 1.5 percent increase?”

Galbreath: “Right.”

Griffin: “And in February they sent you a letter saying you owe them $74,000 and that you’re not disabled?”

Galbreath: “Right.”

The letter also says: “Since you are no longer entitled to monthly Social Security benefits, we are stopping your hospital insurance coverage.”

She hasn’t had any health care coverage since the end of January.

“I lost all of my health insurance, my medication coverage, all of it at the end of January,” said Galbreath.

That left her to pay any medical bills in cash.

Griffin: “How do you pay?”

Galbreath: “Out of pocket… cash.”

Griffin: “Hundreds of dollars?”

Galbreath: “Yeah.”

Griffin: “Possibly thousands?”

Galbreath: “Yeah.”

She started her fight online, and got nowhere. She filed an appeal, and heard nothing. She’s also called several times, but no one calls her back. And that’s when she came to us.

“I don’t know if my name just came up and they looked at it and said, ‘She’s not disabled anymore, she doesn’t qualify,’” said Galbreath. “If that’s a mistake then I hope they want to fix it.”

If you’d like Marty to help you solve your problem, email him at GetMarty@kdka.com.

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