Phoebe Flanagan is disabled and lives on a $490 per month. Her sole source of income is from Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, which provide a safety net for low-income persons with a disability.
While she was in prison, the Escambia County, Florida, Clerk suspended her driver’s license for failure to pay court costs and fines (legal financial obligations or “LFOs”) incurred in the cases that landed her in prison. She requested the Clerk defer collection efforts and restore her license until she had a source of income other than SSI disability benefits. However, the Clerk would only agree to restore her driver’s license if she paid $10/month from her SSI disability benefits. Flanagan relented and enrolled in the payment plan so she could legally drive to the grocery store and her doctors’ appointments.
She challenged the Clerk’s conditioning her driver’s license on monthly payments from her only fungible source of income, her SSI disability benefits, as a violation of federal and state law and basic fundamental fairness.