February 2009 -- I visit my cousin Margie (Bowers) Calkins in Oregon. She presents me a crumbling, faded old newspaper called National Welfare Advocate, published by the California Institute of Social Welfare. On the front page of its January 1951 issue is a photo of our grandfather and the story of how the Institute helped him obtain a rather large sum of money owed to him in back pension payments.

I had never heard this story of my grandfather's fight for his rights, which is reminiscent of his father's struggle to obtain a pension for disabilities incurred in the Civil War. Nor had I heard of the organization to which he turned for help. CISW was apparently an active and effective champion of the rights of the elderly in the 1940s and 1950s.

He Joins Us; Wins $1200 Back Pay

By Frank E. Gardner

LOS ANGELES--When Samuel W. Carey joined the California Institute of Social Welfare he had no idea that he was picking a winner. A winner which would eventually pay off at the rate of 300-1!

Sam lives in Santa Monica. He is going on 72 years of age. Having a heart condition, he is in poor health and very deaf. The five dollars he gave as membership dues to get our free service was strictly a gamble on his part. He iddn't believe anything could be done. Yet he was willing to grasp at straws.

It all happened this way: On August 31, 1949, Los Angeles County Bureau of Public Assistance declared Mr. Carey ineligible and discontinued his Old Age Security because of a property transaction which had taken place several years previously.

Mr. Carey had endeavored for several months to get his Old Age Assistance restored. His individual efforts were a complete failure and when he came to us he was a thoroughly discouraged and troubled man. He discussed his problem with Mrs. Ethel Kropf, one of the Institute's capable welfare consultants. After doing the careful preliminary work necessary in such cases Mrs. Kropf filed an appeal with the State Department of Social Welfare for a fair hearing of the Carey case.

The hearing took place before a referee on September 26, 1950. Mr. Carey was so ill he was unable to attend, so I as Chief Welfare Consultant of the California Institute, represented Mr. Carey.

After hearing all of the facts in the case the referee found that Mr. Carey was eligible for Old Age Assistance and had been ever since his discontinuance. The referee's findings and recommendations were presented to the State Social Welfare Board at its November 24th meeting. The board adopted the referee's findings and handed down the following decision:

"You are eligible to retroactive Old Age assistance to the amount of $75.00 per month effective September 1, 1949. The Board of Supervisors of Los Angeles County has been instructed to grant you such aid."

This means that Mr. Carey will receive $1200, most of which he owes for living expenses incurred during the long dreary months that Los Angeles Bureau of Public Assistance was erroneously denying him aid.

The California Institute, in winning this case has proved once again that organization is the only salvation for the recipients of Old Age Assistance.

We cannot stress too strongly the benefit every Old Age recipient would gain from membership in the California Institute of Social Welfare, the only Statewide organization dedicated to his welfare. After all, just where could you go and for five dollars membership get a free service which brought you back $1,200 in cold, hard cash. The only answer is the California Institute of Social Welfare, at 1031 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles 15, California.