Update on Stephen and the Quest for FMLA (Family Leave)

Me and My brother Stephen December 1961
Me and My brother Stephen December 1961

Many of you will remember my previous post A Greater Love where I shared an article the New York Times did on my brother Stephen and me. (See Below Links)  The article discussed my difficulties in getting time off from my job to care for Stephen who has Autism.

Last year I had applied for FMLA (Family Leave) and was denied. Since I am a Union Member (DC 37) I have been in close contact with my Union Reps to resolve this situation. On Monday September 28th there was a special union meeting where one of the DC 37 Counsel came to discuss our rights under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  During the question and answer period I shared my situation regarding my brother Stephen and later spoke to the Counsel privately. He advised me to go to court and apply for Legal Guardianship over Stephen. Guardianship would give me the same rights as a parent and my workplace would be forced to grant me FMLA.

I am now in the process of researching and seeking out a Guardianship lawyer. My union does not offer that. They only have Labor Lawyers but they have promised to put me in contact with a Guardianship Lawyer. Thank God for DC 37 and Unions. Naturally I’m doing my own searches and asking around. Hopefully since I don’t make much money maybe someone will take my case pro bono or for a reduced fee. Just in case I’ve been doing lots and lots of overtime in order to pay legal expenses. Yes my feet, knees and back are killing me and I’m experiencing lots of physical pain but I would do anything, make any sacrifice, take any risk to be able to care for my brother in a proper manner.  If you really Love someone you would give your life for them so their life could be better. This is why I have not posted recently and more or less put my poetry on the back burner. Stephen will always come first and I’m willing to put aside my wants, dreams and desires so that he can have a happy and fulfilling life.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

So far Legal Aid, Brooklyn Bar Association and Brooklyn Legal Services have all been a dead end for me. None of them do Guardianship cases. Therefore I must appeal for donations. Please donate to help me obtain guardianship for Stephen and the right to FMLA via my PayPal account at deborah.palmer280@gmail.com

Thank you and God Bless.

Stephen Vincent Palmer ~ QCP Christmas Party 2013
Stephen Vincent Palmer ~ QCP Christmas Party 2013

54 thoughts on “Update on Stephen and the Quest for FMLA (Family Leave)

  1. Look on the web. All cities have legal aid offices. Social services might be able to put you in touch with someone or it might be listed under state or city offices…lawyers for low income people. Best wishes, katelon

  2. Many of us struggle to help family members, and close friends. It’s not uncommon to feel there is no support for doing so. I understand, and with reasons to be empathetic. Best to you, and to your brother. He’s lucky to have your genuine care.

    1. Sadly our government, workplaces, jobs, employers are not Family Friendly. People in power and authority really don’t care about people with Autism or their caregivers therefore I’m force to jump through hoops just to spend time with my own beloved brother! Go figure?!

  3. Deborah, I’m so sorry to hear of your struggles to care for Stephen. You have a very compelling story and it’s a shame that you can’t get the help you need. Have you considered doing a crowdfunding campaign? I’m not sure of all the ins and outs of such fundraisers but if people can raise money for making potato salad (yes, this actually happened last year in Ohio) then you shouldn’t have a problem doing it for your brother. I think you could make a good case to appeal to people’s kindness.

      1. Definitely because anyone can feel the love and passion you have for Stephen and one of the keys to a successful fundraising campaign is telling a story. You’re very good with words and this just might open some doors for the two of you.

  4. Afrika Bohemian

    I am so sorry to hear about all that you have gone through but your strength comforts me…Stephen Is lucky to have you…I remember feeling the same way with my brother who suffers from a mental illness, it great to know that they are good sisters such as your self who will put on a fight to help those you love…love and light and hope you find assistance

    1. I’m still making phone calls everywhere. I’m sure that I’ll find a guardianship lawyer it’s just gonna cost me money, but I will work overtime and double shifts to get that money.

      1. Afrika Bohemian

        I really hope you will be able to get a lawyer…there is so much love in your actions…may you remain blessed

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    1. Thank you very much for all your prayers. We really need them. Being a Pastor I’m sure you can get a prayer through to Heaven. Stephen and I are very grateful for all your support and encouragement.

      1. You are very welcome Deborah. I’m just a regular guy, but have seen prayer change things that were pretty much humanly impossible. God knows our hearts better than we know our own hearts. He knows your heart for Stephen. May you be blessed and encouraged.

  6. Have you tried Legal Shield? I had similar issues trying to get lawyers to help defend my cases. I could not afford their fees and I could not get any help from legal aid. Wishing you the best!

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