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August 2010 low-income support thread

post #1 of 211
Thread Starter 
I didn't want it to get too far into August before we start a new thread & I didn't want replies to get 'lost'. I hope no one minds.

Anyway from the end of July:

Erica: Your DH is one of the lucky ones!!! Only 2 weeks unemployment is amazing right now. CONGRATS!!!

Frugalmama: I hope all goes well. Good luck!

We didn't get our fs funds yesterday so I spent all day stressing, it doesn't help that I was just having a crazy pregnant lady day anyway. I called today & actually talked to my worker (amazing). She said there is an anual recertification I need to fill out. I will go in today to fill it out & should have the funds tomorrow. PLEASE let it be this simple!!! I feel like I am ready to have this baby at any moment and I need this taken care of before baby comes!
post #2 of 211
Thank you for starting a new thread. I can soooooo relate to your siggy!
post #3 of 211
Just saw the new thread so I'm going to repost here what I posted on the old thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Usually Curious View Post
sometimes i feel like i'm in the twilight zone. how many people - in this economy - have wads of cash lying around?
Exactly! I'm sure everyone has $10k lying around right now to re-roof a house and cut down a damaged tree.


I'm back from DHS - Got our full food stamps, DD's medicaid, hopefully my medicaid which will be a big help and and let me get back in to my doctor to get my meds adjusted which I really need terribly.

Found out I can get TANF without participating in the CHOICES program here {TX thing} by having my doc certify me as not employable - she's already in agreement. I'm just waiting until we really really really need the money as I can only draw a year of TANF due to my education level, which is so stupid - I can't work so it's not like I can use the education anyways!
post #4 of 211
maybe if you explain to them that you don't have that $ they can cut you a check up front. I have never heard of ins working like that.

Well I was supposed to be having 2 kids start in my home daycare today. Got texts over the weekend from both moms saying family members were going to be keeping the kids...i am drowning...i have $800...my light bill is $500 of that... I get my pell/SL excess check mid sept early oct so I have to make it until then. Right now I only have $150 a week income coming in. Like I was telling my mom though, around here the MOST you can make at any job is $10 an hour, after childcare working 40 hours a week I would only be bringing home that same $150...at least I get to be at home with my kids and make the same as i would out of the house...but more would def help.

I just keep praying that something will work out...it has to.
post #5 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by surrogate View Post
maybe if you explain to them that you don't have that $ they can cut you a check up front. I have never heard of ins working like that.

Well I was supposed to be having 2 kids start in my home daycare today. Got texts over the weekend from both moms saying family members were going to be keeping the kids...i am drowning...i have $800...my light bill is $500 of that... I get my pell/SL excess check mid sept early oct so I have to make it until then. Right now I only have $150 a week income coming in. Like I was telling my mom though, around here the MOST you can make at any job is $10 an hour, after childcare working 40 hours a week I would only be bringing home that same $150...at least I get to be at home with my kids and make the same as i would out of the house...but more would def help.

I just keep praying that something will work out...it has to.

Keep looking for those daycare kids. They will come. Are you posted on craigslist?
post #6 of 211
I just got a call requesting an interview. I'll be crossing my fingers. It's such a crummy job market right now!
post #7 of 211
I'm new here. This is the first low income support thread I've read. I just wanted to comment that DHS (in MI, at least) has an emergency services request form. They will help with shut off notices on electric and heat, medical expenses, mortgage payments/rent eviction notices, etc, and some home repairs. Even if you are not on any assistance yet. We've only ever used it for shut off notices, so I don't know the extent that they will help with the rest, but it might be worth looking into for the roof repair, etc. ?

In MI, if DHS won't help with some of that stuff, there are other programs. Our city has a low income assistance program that helps with emergency home repairs, too. And if DHS won't help with the other things there are other places; Salvation Army, and an org called Capital Area Community Services. You can find thse type of orgs by calling 2-1-1.

So, if I've stated things people already know, or assumed too much, please forgive me. I think I'm going to go catch up on recent posts, and then come back to post an intro.
post #8 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
Keep looking for those daycare kids. They will come. Are you posted on craigslist?
Thanks! Yeah I post on CL, but we don't actually have one for the city I live in so I post to the 2 closest, but most people here dont use CL...i post anyway just incase lol.

I run ads in our local paper that people post for sale/etc stuff in that gets delivered to all the homes in town.

I had an interview today for a 10w old, and she has a friend with another 10w old. I don't usually take kids under 1...but desperate times...and with my sister living here she does babies, so it will work out.

I just keep positive
post #9 of 211

Intro (my whole life story)

Ok, so I think I'm a little caught up. Here's my intro:

Hi, my name is Jessica. I have 4.5 kids, I'm a homeschooling WAHM, and I'm returning to school for a second Bachelor's degree at the end of this month. (my first is in technology, and I'm going back to be a teacher). I'll be able to do my first year of classes exclusively online through the local community college, so I'm psyched. Even more psyched about those student loans. Dh is also back in school, and we're hoping to get his loan check in Oct, mine at the end of this month, and finally get caught back up on bills. However, this year has been our best on staying current on bills in over 5 years, so I'm not getting too down on myself. We didn't really get behind until last month, when a few bills went too far beyond the budget and dh's hours were short.

We have only $500 in cc debt and when we pay that off at the end of the month we will be debt-free except the student loans, a la Dave Ramsey. We've been working on our snowball since 2006 (when I was still working a $55,000/yr job). That was when I declared bankruptcy (before learning of Dave Ramsey). We were in ch 13 for a couple of years, but couldn't keep up when I was no longer WOH. We finally just converted to a 7 and let the car and house go last year. The house was literally falling apart, and even if the bank had cut our payment in half we still couldn't have afforded to fix the huge problems, so we just let it go to foreclosure. We just couldn't do it on an income of less than $20,000 the past couple of years for a family of 6. Lucky for me, though, the credit score seems to take into account the date you filed (my ch 13 date in 06) not the date you were finally discharged (this Jan), so my score is rebounding quickly and I'll be in FHA loan range before the end of the year.

Dh works a part-time job at Lowes (we're very thankful he has any job at all), and occasionally paints houses (when the work comes in). I used to own an online store and "sold" it in Dec on small monthly payments to a competitor/friend. So, that's a little bit of money coming in each month, too. I was teaching 1-2 tech classes at a nearby college this winter/spring, but they didn't have enough need over the summer, and I can't go back again for fall because I'll be having a baby!

We are currently receiving medicaid and food stamp benefits through DHS, and WIC. I can't believe I just wrote that. This is the first place I have ever freely admitted it. It seems like if you say these things on any other forum you are immediately an out-cast, lazy, leeching off the system, etc. Especially if you have many children and/or are pregnant (like birth control never fails/surprises never happen). Luckily, we've got a GREAT worker at the moment (I think she's new, so she still "cares") and I've actually called and she PICKED UP THE PHONE! I could NOT believe I didn't have to leave a message. Then, when she said she'd call back, SHE DID! I nearly had a heart attack. However, we run out of food benefits about 2.5 weeks into the month. And that's before this baby is born. I have babies with multiple food allergies, so I have to eat all home-made foods with alternative ingredients. Most of these ingredients have to come from the health food store, and that means major moolah. Sigh...

While we do currently require assistance, we do treat it as the "Temporary Assistance for Working Families" that it is in MI. Like I said we are both in school, trying to get better jobs at some point in the future, and dh is working literally as hard as he can to get promoted to management at work. This would nearly double his pay and, while it would disqualify us for the DHS benefits, get us out of our barely scraping by each month situation. I'm hoping beyond hope that it happens before the end of the year.

We are currently maxing out our student loans, in an attempt to begin saving toward a house. We are paying $800/ month in rent at the moment, but as soon as this baby is born we are too many people according to the zoning in our city to live in a 3 bedroom. Any 4 bedroom house or apt in this city is a minimum of $500 more/month. However, we could easily buy a great house for less than we are now paying in rent, even with taxes, insurance and PMI! (yep, the market is that bad in MI). Yes, maintenance costs can make that sentence untrue, but we have no utilities included or anything now, so, while taking that chance we believe we will still be coming out better on buying a house. Based on my calculations, and barring any unforeseen HUGE expenses (like replacing our van, etc), we should have better than 10% on a great house by this time next yr, so I'm asking everyone I meet to keep their fingers crossed for us.

Anyway, we currently have ZERO EF left right now (dh had to sell plasma today to make the last $30 we were short on rent), so we're holding our breaths until the end of the month when my student loans should come in. Then we'll have about $2000, and that will be enough to make me stop stressing quite so much. Then all we have to do is keep Murphy at bay long enough to save the big money and get out there for a house. I'll almost feel like I've arrived at that point, lol. I never want to go back to living like we did when I made the big money, but just to be able to comfortably pay bills each month, not stress about events like birthdays or the kids outgrowing their shoes AGAIN, etc, and possibly even taking a 2-day trip once a year for some learning opportunity would be freaking awesome. I plan to live frugally until the day I die, but to not have to be "poor" would be so unimaginably wonderful!

confustication - 500 mg of calcium/day for a week before your period will help to offset the dip in milk supply. http://www.kellymom.com/herbal/natur...s.html#calcium

dhinderliter - if you end up with a hospital bill, make SURE to call and explain your low income situation. They have forms for you to fill out, that can reduce or even eliminate your bill. I had an emergency room visit wiped away last year because we could NEVER afford it and the hospital knew it.
post #10 of 211
just bumping this up. Hubby gets paid tonight. Good thing as the car was on fumes. He has to stop at the nearest gas station for gas when he gets out or he won't make it home.

We need to do some grocery shopping, and I'm hoping we'll get to stop at Costco's again. It's a drive but SOOOO worth it. Even though we've upped our budget it's still hard to eat healthy/natural/organic without them. And I feel so much better since we've been able to eat better-my pregnant body is pleased.

I went through my dd's fall/winter clothes. We've got more than what we need, in one sense. I would like to get some tights and some solid colored shirts to tie things together though. I just read that you can cut the toes off of dress socks to make baby legs. (The heel hump goes over the knees). Well, off to fish out those socks hubby never uses and see if it works-they sell dress socks at the dollar store. The solid color tees/shirts may be a little trickier-it always seems that the girly clothes are full of prints and designs (of course I'm apparently drawn to them too!) but luckily we have a month or two before the change over begins.

Speaking of unplanned pregnancies, we just found out that the major suprise is a little girl. We have a ton of clothes saved from my first daughter and we saved almost all the big items, so other than the crib we're pretty much set.

I hope everyone is doing good. gabby-my hubby will soon be going back to school to get his RN. We're looking forward to it-he'll be home more, we'll live in a more dream locale, and he'll be closer to his dream of working in the medical field-but the loss of income is pretty scary.
post #11 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by surrogate View Post
maybe if you explain to them that you don't have that $ they can cut you a check up front. I have never heard of ins working like that.

Well I was supposed to be having 2 kids start in my home daycare today. Got texts over the weekend from both moms saying family members were going to be keeping the kids...i am drowning...i have $800...my light bill is $500 of that... I get my pell/SL excess check mid sept early oct so I have to make it until then. Right now I only have $150 a week income coming in. Like I was telling my mom though, around here the MOST you can make at any job is $10 an hour, after childcare working 40 hours a week I would only be bringing home that same $150...at least I get to be at home with my kids and make the same as i would out of the house...but more would def help.

I just keep praying that something will work out...it has to.
i've actually been wondering if i should start daycare for infants. i love the stage and do way better with little babies than toddlers. however i am supposed to start classes on the 25th and i don't know if i'll be able to keep up!

gabby~ i'm sure at some point bf will have to declare bankruptcy. he has lots of things piling up and no idea when he'll get back into a good job. i will certainly keep that in mind though to have him call the hospital. i don't know how it will work since it's the kids stepfather's insurance they may just pin it on them....we don't want that!

surrogate~ same situation here. i could probably land a job that makes $12/hr (it would take weeks to get started though and there would be no way to pay the first day care costs!). but even then daycare for an infant would likely be $600+ and then after school care for 2 would be ???? who knows (i would guess another $300 total). i would end up bringing in a whopping $125/wk minus extra clothes, gas, higher likelyhood of an accident, eat out/unhealthy, probably loose $300 in fs/mo but hey on paper i would look like i was hunky dorey....i just don't understand how people don't think things through.... plus i would be stuck i couldn't juggle a FT job and school and a pt job would pay $8-10 max.

on another depressing note i mistakenly didn't check my college email enough (why oh why do they use college email for financial aid??!!!) and missed the deadline for submitting my income verification stuff so i'm behind on the normal way they do things for the regular fall semester. i'll likely get my check a few days before school starts which means i won't have time to buy my books on the internet and could possibly get kicked off college for "non payment" since its all due on aug 13. of course the pell is the ONLY thing that is going to right our drowning ship and i had to go and mess it up. the extra payout minus my school supplies would leave me about a grand to get all the bills caught up. i just hope that our electric bill goes down in the winter. it's $400 for ONE month so far and i didn't really honestly think it would be over $200.

had a phone interview for our recert for fs and insurance. she asked me how i'm paying my bills without enough income...i told her that i'm not. obviously this isn't the first time they've heard that! but i guess they know people are usually telling the truth when they have to admit they aren't paying all their bills...its kinda shameful. i'm trying not to panic but i can't help myself. i can always pay the rent no matter what but not everything else. has anyone lived in their house with no utilities? i was thinking that we could shut off the a/c and run fans in the darkest bedroom to try and stay cool, keep the water but not the gas (water heater) which would allow us to have clean water, the fridge, be able to boil water and still charge and use cell phones, computers fans etc. i guess that's my emergency plan.
post #12 of 211
Oh Danielle, you totally get it! Yeah if I got a "real" job making $10 an hour, I would lose most of my FS and wouldn't be able to feed my kids on the amt I would have after taxes and daycare...it is just so hard being a single mom...

As for your school, hopefully you can get it all figured out! I started at WGU per the recc. of another mom on this thread last month, and OMG it is great! They start classes the first of every month and it only took me 2 weeks to get all my paperwork done. They do pell, and student loans, grants and scholarships and it is ALL online! They have a $65 application fee, but if a current student refers you (like ME) you get that waived! I got my whole tuition covered by pell, and get the excess at the 15th or so of next month...(thank god)

I could never live without the a/c, I see you are in AZ, I am in south Ga so it is hot here too...my light bill last month was $500 (well it is combined lights/water/sewer/trash/cable) but there is no real way to cut back the a/c without dying, and I have to do laundry...idk...

eta: oh and it is so sad that I am thinking about being a surrogate again for the money...*sigh* but I don't want to move again (since my family can't know I do it)
post #13 of 211
Doesn't DHS help with shutoff notices in your states? Or are there other programs? My mother is also on assistance. She is caring for her disabled sister who is dying of cancer. So, she really can't work. They, through the programs at the hospital, hear about all kinds of programs that help. It's a PITA to meet with all the different agencies, fill out all the paperwork, etc. But it's more of a PITA to be w/o air in AZ with an infant! Seems like there'd be a program in the state that wou;dn't allow the shutoff of someone elderly or with babies. They do that for heat here, since an old person can freeze to death in a night. Call 2-1-1 (like 911) and ask for any types of assistance they can recommend (pretty sure that's in every state), talk to the United Way, etc. Google "low income assistance" and your state. There's got to be more help. Most of it just buys you time, unfortunately. Like DHS will pay our shutoff amt, but not the full amount due. So, it doesn't get us caught up, just buys us a few weeks to pay the rest ourselves. But it's something.

dhinderliter - OMG! Are you serious?! $400 a month for heat in AZ? We never pay more than $300 a month in MI! That's crazy! Here, again, we have a low income assistance program that will come and do an energy efficiency audit on your home, and do some things to improve it. Sounds like you might need that! Try to find something like that!
post #14 of 211
Thread Starter 
So my FS still have not been released I have been calling the worker everyday and leaveing messages. It has only been a few days but I really want to get this taken care of before baby comes. Atleast we have a bit that we have been rolling over each month to carry us for now. She said is I went in to the office and filled out the form and turn it back in on Mon 8/2 she would release the funds the next day. I spent over 2 horrible hours in that office with my kids (1 of which was sick and really crabby) trying not to cry and nothing is happening as a result. I am so frustrated.

On the bright side DH got an unemployment check finally after the extension passed. The scary thing though is he also got a letter saying that his claim is invalid. I think it was a cross in the mail thing or some other weird kind of mix up because he got a continuing claim form to send in along with the check.
post #15 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by gabbyraja View Post

dhinderliter - OMG! Are you serious?! $400 a month for heat in AZ? We never pay more than $300 a month in MI! That's crazy! Here, again, we have a low income assistance program that will come and do an energy efficiency audit on your home, and do some things to improve it. Sounds like you might need that! Try to find something like that!
NO thats the summer a/c bill...

AZ has no $$ DHS will not help with utilities (as far as i know). Like I said I was on LIHEAP and got the max of $17/month.

AZ is one of the lowest paying states for benefits of any type, it can be foodstamps, unemployement whatever... we pay low low low....

The good thing about AZ is unless you live in the mts (flagstaff) you dont need the heat in the winter, so you can get about 4 mos w. out the a/c and much lower electric bills.
post #16 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
NO thats the summer a/c bill...
OH! Ok, that makes MUCH more sense. Our electric bill from the A/C this month was $140 and it about killed me. But I'm 32 weeks pg and I just can't take it any hotter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
AZ has no $$ DHS will not help with utilities (as far as i know). Like I said I was on LIHEAP and got the max of $17/month.

AZ is one of the lowest paying states for benefits of any type, it can be foodstamps, unemployement whatever... we pay low low low....
Aw, that's too bad. I need to keep reminding myself that living in MI isn't too bad, I suppose...
post #17 of 211
So I registered for my classes last night, and found out that my books are going to cost $500 and they wont let you pay for them with financial aid! OMG I have NEVER had a school do that! I ended up renting them for $100 for 3 months...I had to put it on my credit card because I am broke...my ex was supposed to give me $200 today (he owes me $4k for a personal loan) and he informed me today he can't pay it...ugh...

ETA:
The website I rented my textbooks from was Chegg dot com. They rent books and they also buy textbooks. Use this code CC131862 for 5% off your order or if you sell books $5 added to your total. I am about to check my textbooks to see what they buy...(eta again I am making $36 off selling 2 books!!) I wonder if I could buy used textbooks on craigslist and sell them for extra $$$...hmmm
post #18 of 211
Thread Starter 

Unemployment extension confusion

So in the last 2 days DH has gotten a letter saying that his unemployment claim is invalid, a check with a continueing claim form to send in, and an award letter saying that his claim expires 7/2011 but that his weekly amount will go down $54 a week starting in August. What has your experience been since the extension was passed?

I am slightly freaked out about the idea of loseing the $54 a week on top of the $25 stimulus we will no longer get but I am not sure I beleive it will happen. The numbers on the continueing claim form show he should be getting the same amount as he was previously. I am thinking he should call them Monday to check on it but I am afraid it will just screw things up more somehow.

Hope everyone else who was waiting on the extension to pass has started recieving checks and without the confusion we are having.
post #19 of 211
We're luckily not counting on unemployment, but I got a letter from DHS today. I sent in a form on Monday asking for help with our shutoff notice on the electric bill. We were being shut off for $147. I had to send in pay stubs and so on, too, with the form. The letter today says not only did they pay our ENTIRE balance with the electric company ($302), but she also adjusted our income in the system because it's a little lower than our recert showed a couple of months ago. DH's copay on his medical went way down and our FS benefits went up like $10. I could NOT believe it! I called my worker (and she answered the phone! Again!) and asked her if there was anyone I could talk to to tell them what WONDERFUL job she is doing. I told her I'd write a letter to her supervisor if she wanted. She said it's just because she's new, so she doesn't have a huge case load (like I thought), but I made sure to thank her again and again. I hope I made her week.
post #20 of 211
Quote:
Originally Posted by maciascl View Post
So in the last 2 days DH has gotten a letter saying that his unemployment claim is invalid, a check with a continueing claim form to send in, and an award letter saying that his claim expires 7/2011 but that his weekly amount will go down $54 a week starting in August. What has your experience been since the extension was passed?

I am slightly freaked out about the idea of loseing the $54 a week on top of the $25 stimulus we will no longer get but I am not sure I beleive it will happen. The numbers on the continueing claim form show he should be getting the same amount as he was previously. I am thinking he should call them Monday to check on it but I am afraid it will just screw things up more somehow.

Hope everyone else who was waiting on the extension to pass has started recieving checks and without the confusion we are having.

Mine is the same amount. I got the same letter stating how much $$ is in my "UE account". I have to call in every week and talk to a rep to file my claim but its been that way for all of 2010
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