Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:13

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unearned income

One of the really hard things about going through this is that I have to accept financial help that I never thought I'd need.  I have written about how hard it is to face that Dr. Mind is going to be losing even more money on me during a time that his own financial situation is plenty rough.  Some parts seem harder than others; applying for assistance for heating and later air conditioning (due to medical condition) doesn't bug me much.  Food stamps were a little more challenging to think about but I desperately need that; the amount is likely to be enough to feed me with very minimal cost to myself especially if I figure out coupons and go back to my grad school skills at knowing what stuff is safe to get from the ultra-cheap stores and what isn't.  I just finished applying for those and at the same time will have applied for some stuff that I am not eligible for until I use up a little bit of money.  So I'll probably have to re-do that form later.  And that form is not all that well designed, but it also gave me greater pause that I expected the food stamp application to do.  Why?  Because it asked what unearned income you have or have applied for.  This turns out to be disability through a job, social security disability, social security income (low income supplement) itself, etc.  And that struck me as odd.  Because I did earn disability through work.  They aren't going to pay me, but I did earn it.  And I've paid in the system for many years to be eligible for SSDI (social security disability).

One thing I managed to think to do while things were tough last week (or just before I found out how tough they were going to get?) was to open 2 credit card accounts using the income I technically have until I lose my job.  This was done to hopefully transfer my high balance high interest card to others as well as using tax $ to pay it down.  I haven't received a response yet but when I got into my mortgage webpage I had a new credit card line of credit.  So there's one balance transfer I can do soon.  I hope the other card is also approved.

And that is the hardest part.  I worked so incredibly hard to bring my credit up over the past few years.  And I succeeded, making me able to open new cards and shift things around.  Dr. Mind and I talked today about my struggle with my car.  For the job I had an SUV was needed.  I was nervous about the extra cost but I worked really hard and got the best possible deal.  I kept having to remind myself that I was making very, very good money and that I'd done well for a long time.  But buying a car was a bit of a gamble.  And now I have little choice but to keep it because it's a long way from being paid down enough for a trade to be the least bit effective; I'd just wind up with a cheaper car but leftover debt from this one added to the cost.

Because of the times I was off work I knew to never take income for granted.  But I also had huge expenses and so I never saved much.  Turns out that makes it easier to qualify for assistance but it does make me a bit sad.  I think that the hardest part overall of accepting that I need government assistance to manage is that I know how much I was making and it does not seem like one could possibly go from the salary I managed to negotiate before starting this job and then one day get a letter that says "haha, no income for you", even though technically I'm still employed.  The shock is finally clearing and the fact that I feel relatively comfortable with these applications (sometimes there is not a good answer) has helped.  Last week on Monday when I saw Dr. Mind I had only known for 45 minutes what was happening and I had sobbed the entire way to see him.  When he came for me I was still crying and shaking and pale.  He kept looking at me funny and asked if something happened on the drive up.  And then I cried for 3 or 4 days.  On Thursday he looked at me again and after asking how I was noted that I looked terrified.

I'm not terrified now.  I'm doing everything I can to save myself.  I may not succeed, especially if my initial claim is denied like so many.  I still am completely stunned and very sad that this has to happen the hard way.  I also know that this possibly makes it even more likely I'm not going to work more than the small amount SSDI allows.  Dr. Mind seemed surprised that I said that; I know he has thought this for a while and apparently he didn't know that I knew.  Not sure how that got confused.

Time to start the several hours of settling down to sleep.  Hopefully my brain will let it go tonight and not force me to get up to make notes about the disability application.  That would be a really big blessing.


Michal Ann said...

I am incredible impressed that you are able to tackle all the forms and applications. I'm terrible at tackling that kind of paperwork. You are doing so much to face this head-on and you are able to focus, plan, strategize even though you are stressed and were "terrified."

You're amazing!

May God continue to bless you with clarity of mind and diligence.

(((Hugs))) Michal

Becky where are you? I miss you!

Michal Ann said...

Ummm, that would be "incredibly" impressed! Typo!