3 On Your Side: Becoming an advocate for the disabled - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

3 On Your Side: Becoming an advocate for the disabled

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(WRCB) -- A North Georgia woman says she is renewing her fight to be an advocate for those with disabilities after she says one company did her brother wrong.

Euginia Souther says her brother has Down Syndrome and a company was helping looking after him and managing his finances.

But she says they didn't do their job. The payments lapsed on his life insurance policy. And now she wants them to pay up.

"He had $20,000 worth of life insurance," said Souther. "He's got $4,200 now."

Souther now takes care of her 45-year-old brother Tony. But that wasn't the case two years ago.

She was relying on the company Highland Rivers Health to oversee his care at a group home and to manage his payments on $20,000 worth of life insurance. But the payments lapsed and he lost the policy altogether.

"I want it reimbursed. Who are they? They could have called me," she said.

And she says that was just the tip of the iceberg. She says her brother broke his foot at one point and signed off on medical treatment despite the fact he couldn't read.    

"He said, ‘Ginia I want to move home'. I brought him home. So yeah, I got the fight back now," she tells us.

"We want to ensure that that person has good relationships with family members, neighbors and friends and kind of oversee and ensure that that individual is safe and getting the support that they need," said Nancy Vara.

Vara runs a non-profit in Georgia that serves as an advocate for people like Euginia and Tony. It helps them find alternatives to being care for in institutions or group homes.

Tony now has a job at Walmart and works at the Tennessee Aquarium periodically.

And Euginia is working to be an advocate too. "With everybody's help. We can make a change in this system."
    
Souther says she's looking into her legal options as far as getting the money back. She just doesn't want others to fall through the cracks.

Channel 3 contacted Highland Rivers health and the CEO responded saying: "Highland Rivers Health prides itself on being a provider of superior community-based behavioral health care services and resource collaboration for individuals and families to improve quality of life."

He went on to say he can't comment on a specific client but says, "We do invite individuals,  and community or family members who have concerns with our organization to contact our administrative office in Dalton and we would be happy to assist in any way possible that fits into those policies that guide our practice."

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