Sharon has spent her entire life taking care of other people. With a bright smile and a great attitude, she devoted 42 years to the nursing field, ensuring she did all she could to give her patients the best possible care. Her dedication to others includes her three daughters, the eldest of which experienced a severe asthma attack at the age of 10. After losing oxygen to her brain, her daughter was left with long term disabilities and requires 24-hour care. Now an adult, Sharon continues to oversee the care of her daughter and speaks proudly of the blessings all her daughters provide.
Sharon initially reached out to the Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy for tax assistance in 2017. Facing a mounting tax bill incurred by she and her husband, Sharon needed help navigating the complex tax laws and determining her payment options. Staff attorney, Soree Finley, was able to negotiate a payment plan with the IRS that allowed Sharon to repay her tax liabilities within the limits of her income. Sharon is quick to acknowledge the impact Finley’s work had on her life: “I cannot even begin to say how much of a blessing [Soree] has been in my life: her expertise, her knowledge, her hard work. Because of her service, because of knowing how to execute the law and how to help people in my position, I was able to break free [of my insurmountable tax bill].”
Sharon’s life was further upended when her husband left her to raise her daughters alone. “When he left, the bottom dropped out for us. I was a single mom taking care of a daughter in college, a daughter in middle school getting ready to go to high school, and my oldest daughter who needed 24-hour critical care. We had a lot going on; I was managing everything.” Although she was the family’s primary source of income, Sharon had relied on her husband’s job for health insurance. Sharon enrolled in health care through the Health Insurance Marketplace to provide coverage for her family. Complicated rules determining coverage eligibility by income level caused her to temporarily lose insurance. Scrambling to resolve the error on her own, Sharon felt hopeless. “I did my homework, I did everything [the Health Insurance Marketplace] asked me to do, but it didn’t matter, I kept running into a brick wall.” One of the Advocacy Center’s federally trained Navigators, Julieanne Taylor, stepped in to file an appeal and reenrolled Sharon in Marketplace health care coverage. Taylor was also able to connect Sharon with a Seniors’ Health Insurance Information Program counselor who ultimately helped Sharon enroll in Medicare. After suffering a stroke in 2021, Sharon was incredibly grateful for the peace of mind having health insurance provided. “Julieanne literally saved my life. The pressure, the stress, it could have destroyed my health.”
When it came time to plan for the future, Sharon once again reached out to the Advocacy Center to ensure she could provide for her elder disabled daughter. She wanted to be certain the decisions she made in her estate planning allowed her to prioritize her daughter’s care regardless of her personal choices. Facing another complex system, social security for her daughter, Sharon knew the Advocacy Center would be a valuable resource. “There are a lot of hurdles, information that no one tells you, and ways you can prevent your situation from become a demise financially. The expert lawyers [at Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy] helped me to ask the right questions, get the right answers, to know how to structure things so as not to mess up my daughter’s future.”
Sharon’s appreciation for the lawyers and staff at the Advocacy Center is effusive: “They were the angels of mercy that God had used, educated, and trained in their field to be experts. They come with full power. They know what they need to do and get the job done. They are walking powerhouses in my opinion.”
As difficult as her life has been, Sharon views it all with grace and a positivity that is contagious. She recognizes her legal options would have been limited without the low-income services Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy is able to provide: “When life comes at you and you need a response, my response is Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy. I qualify because of my age and my income, thank God! What would I do? Where would I go? Who can afford lawyers?” Sharon is not wrong. An assessment of legal needs in North Carolina found that 70% of low-income families have at least one civil legal issue each year. Furthermore, people seeking a solution to their legal problems are often forced to navigate complicated systems without the help of a lawyer, resulting in detrimental consequences to their stability, security, and safety. By connecting with the Advocacy Center, Sharon was able to end that cycle and resolve her issues with the support of knowledgeable, expert staff and attorneys.
Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy provides legal assistance and access to critical resources for all, not just those who can afford it. If life creates challenges for you, as it did Sharon, the Advocacy Center is here to help. Connect with us today.