First Step Disability Services (previously known as First Step Benefits) comprises a team of skilled advocates, case managers, and representatives who are committed to assisting individuals who are chronically homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
We are now providing representative payee services for organizations to manage disability benefits on behalf of individuals who cannot handle them on their own.
The First Step Difference
We help individuals with the most severe cases that others won't assist due to the required effort.
Our team of SOAR certified advocates provide compassionate face-to-face support and case management to everyone.
We help our clients attend hearings and medical appointments they can't reach.
In most cases, we do not charge any out-of-pocket expenses.
To all our referral sources and partners, thank you for your continued support and dedication to ending homelessness. Please complete the form by clicking the link below, and we will contact the claimant within five business days.
Committed to the Cause
Our main objective is to assist individuals in receiving their benefits as quickly as possible. We do not delay the process to charge a higher fee. Our motive is to help people regardless of the financial gain. In most cases, we can expedite cases for those who are chronically homeless or at risk of losing their housing through the Social Security Administration or its subparts. We take this responsibility very seriously and will do everything possible to ensure that our clients receive decisions as soon as possible.
Meet the Team
Director & Legal Representative
Henrietta is the Director of Disability Services with almost two decades of experience representing clients who require Social Security Disability benefits. She grew up in New York and moved to Georgia in 2006 with her husband and two children. Henrietta joined First Step in 2015, and since then, her passion and dedication to helping individuals in need have not faltered. Clients know they can rely on her team to provide competent and compassionate representation. Henrietta is an Eligible for Direct Pay Non-Attorney (EDPNA), VA-accredited Claims Agent, and is SOAR certified. She continues to learn and stay updated with all things Social Security. Henrietta is a member of the National Association of Disability Representatives (NADR) and the National Organization of Social Security Representatives (NOSSCR).
When asked why she enjoys working at First Step, she will tell you that it's strictly for the clients. "There is nothing more satisfying than being the voice of defense for someone who is unable to speak up for themselves. The greatest fulfillment is helping someone get back on their feet; not only to help them gain financial stability but to obtain health insurance and improve their overall livelihood."
Representative Payee and Hearing Level Case Manager
Deirdre is a native Georgian who graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. During her time there, she participated in various extracurricular activities such as Band, Dance, and was also the Co-Captain of the Majorettes. She has a wide range of interests and experiences. Deirdre is a graduate of Atlanta Area Technical College with a Master Cosmetologist degree, an Office Automation Certificate, Fulton County Notary, and SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, Recovery (SOAR) Certification. This certification enables her to help individuals who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, have mental illness and/or co-occurring substance use disorders or other medical impairments. As a compassionate and dedicated professional case manager, Deirdre has over five years of experience working with individuals struggling with mental health. She is committed to providing top-quality attention and personalized services to each person on her caseload. Deirdre also provides a listening ear and support to our clients and their families.
Intake Specialist & Case Management Assistant
David has been working with the Disability Services Department since 2018. During his free time, he enjoys volunteering to help people in homeless situations. His passion has always been to assist individuals in need to get back on their feet, and he has been a strong advocate for the less fortunate people in his community. In his own words, he says, "Every chance I get to help someone in need makes my life more meaningful."
Undray Thomas-Johnson was raised in the United Kingdom by her mother, who was a teacher, and her father, who was a barrister. Following in her father's footsteps, Undray pursued a career in law after completing her studies in the legal field. She started her legal path at Chancery Chambers as a barrister's clerk under the guidance of Barrister Ezechie. However, after migrating to the United States with her family in 1992, Undray realized that the legal field in the USA was not the right avenue for her, and she left her position at the Public Defender's Office under the guidance of Mr. Robert Wesley.
Undray then decided to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, specializing in Victimology and Behavioral Psychology. After completing her degree, she started working at the Orange County Health Department in the HIV/AIDS arena, where she gained extensive knowledge in working with the community as a peer counselor. She was then promoted to the FL Department of Health as a Rehab Technician and then to a case manager. Finally, she was promoted to senior case manager in the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program. During this period, Undray also opened a Transitional Home for women and children.
Before migrating to Georgia, Undray was an advocate for domestic violence victims, sex workers, and individuals exposed to HIV/AIDS. Currently, she is a SOAR-certified case manager and is seeking to advocate for as many people as she can with First Step. Undray sees her future as one of continuous growth and stability in her career.