Expect long wait on public housing list
Question: I live with my parents but they're making me move (they don't like my boyfriend, who doesn't live with us). I have two young boys, and I've been looking for an apartment but everyone turns me down. I applied for public housing last July and got a notice putting my name on the waiting list last November. Can I get word on my status?
Answer: From Mike Callahan, Legal Aid housing attorney: There probably isn't anything you can do if you were just a guest living in your parents' home, but that's not to say they can call the police and have you arrested for trespassing if there's evidence you've been living there; they would likely have to seek an Ejectment Order. But if you've been paying rent, cash or in-kind, they'd have to give you notice under the landlord tenant code and seek a Writ of Possession from Court if you don't leave.
As for public housing, nothing's going to happen any time soon -- the waiting list is several years long. You can call Hawaii Public Housing Authority to find the month and year they are processing applications for, but they won't tell you where you are in the waiting list.
Q: My friend and I argued over the requirements for SSDI and what it stands for. What is SSDI, and do you need work experience to qualify?
A: From Stacia Silva, Legal Aid managing attorney: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is a program for disabled adults with work histories. SSDI is for people who are: 1) disabled, and have worked enough to qualify, or 2) eligible dependents of SSDI recipients. Social Security determines if you have worked enough to receive SSDI by looking at FICA taxes paid while working; if you have enough "quarters of coverage," you qualify. The quarters required depends on age, but generally if you worked for at least five of the last 10 years before becoming disabled, you qualify. To apply, go to the Social Security office, call SSA at (800) 772-1213 or go to www.socialsecurity.gov. Apply ASAP -- you might be able to receive benefits dating back before the date of your application.
Legal Aid Society of Hawaii operates statewide. Practice areas include housing, public benefits, consumer and family law but not criminal law. For information, call 536-4302. Submit questions by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
or by U.S. mail to Legal Aid Q&A, 924 Bethel St., Honolulu, HI 96813.