BARSTOW (CBSLA.com) — Nine-year old Caleb spent his entire life struggling to live with a terminal heart defect.
His mom Cathyleen Williams of Barstow says caring for him was a 24-7 job.
“Caleb had his first open heart when he was 6 days old, that’s where it all began,” Williams said.
Williams quit her teaching position to care for him and under a state-run program she received benefits. However, when Caleb passed away in March, the paychecks stopped.
“Caleb died and all my finances in a moment, my whole world, crumbled.”
Even though Williams paid taxes on the money she received, she wasn’t eligible for unemployment benefits.
- If you would like to help Williams, you can donate at her Go Fund Me Page
Under state law, all caregivers can receive unemployment when the person they care for dies, except for spouses and parents.
“I took care of my terminally ill child and then the system failed me horribly,” Williams said.
So she’s now fighting for AB 1930. The law that would close that loophole, passed the senate and assembly and is now on the governor’s desk. Just last week she went to Sacramento with the bill’s author Assemblyman Tom Lackey and brought thousands of signatures in support of the bill to the capitol.
“It needs to be fixed because I don’t want another family to have to go through what I’ve been through,” Williams said.
Williams recently got a new job and says now she’s fighting for the rights of others.
Gov. Jerry Brown must decide on the bill by Sept. 30. Before then, Williams says, she hopes to meet with him face to face.