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#1 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 07:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I knew this was coming but somehow it's still a shock...

I am being laid off.

We JUST got through DH's year-long unemployment & were starting to get back on our feet & now we're knocked back down again.

We have a bit of savings and will be OK for a while but I am trying to think long-term.

When DH lost his job, it felt different -- he was available to work full-time, any time, any job.

For the last couple of years, I've been providing almost half our family's income (plus health insurance etc.) but I've only been working 20 hours a week. From home. And I've been DS's main caretaker (DH helps out when he's home but often I'm working while watching DS). I can't imagine finding another job with benefits and OK salary and part-time AND from home. I just don't think I'll find it. I'm not even sure I *want* to find it... I've wanted so badly to just be a SAHM, especially because of some mental & medical issues, working has been so so stressful & fully depleting for me & it's not what I want out of life. I just figured out a way to afford badly-needed therapy & now I'm worried I'll have to quit since I can't afford it but I need it!!

So I'm mostly just venting but also looking for practical advice... Like it looks like we may qualify for some gov't health insurance & stuff with only DH's income considered..;. But I'll be receiving severance pay for a bit so do I wait to apply 'til after severance has been paid out? Or do I apply now? Am I eligible for unemployment even though I've been part-time & really will only be able to accept another similar position, not a full-time thing?

My DS is 3 and high-needs, sensitive, incredibly anxious, has some social/emotional delays/quirks & struggles a lot in social settings even if I'm RIGHT THERE (never mind when I'm not!!) so I just don't feel I could put him in daycare/preschool, even if I WANTED to, which I don't. I don't think many people would understand this. Of course he'd survive but I don't feel like it's in his best interest at all. I feel like I am expected to just find a full-time regular job. It hurts.

Anyway. We also contacted our mortgage lender but it doesn't seem like they are able/willing to do a loan modification or refinance... they claim our rate is already low (5.5%) but if we could save even just a couple hundred dollars a month it would make all the difference. We are upside-down due to housing price crash so we can't really refinance any other way, and I'm afraid to try because we may have inadvertently done work without permits so I'm scared to get an appraisal & get in trouble somehow.

As it stands, if we can't get any assistance, the only bills we'll be able to pay are the mortgage/insurance, health insurance, and maybe student loans on DH's income. No food, electric, etc. We can live off our savings but what will we do when it runs out??? Even my internet is provided by my job... We already don't have cable etc. but I don't know if I can deal with no internet & being disconnected from the whole world when I rely so much on it for my sanity!!! My state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. And COL is high (especially compared to incomes) here. My state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. And COL is high compared to incomes here.

Arghhhh just so frustrated and confused. I don't see how we can cut back on anything, we already live about as minimally as we can. People are happy I got laid off because I always said I hated this job -- but I had come to terms with it, because I needed it, we relied on it for more than just an income but also a way to support the lifestyle we have chosen, and if I was going to leave this job I would have liked it to be MY choice & have my ducks in a row & all.

The only real options I can see are living off savings & hoping something magically changes before the savings run out, or filing for bankruptcy or something so we can get rid of the house & find a crappy apartment & still struggle, but not quite as much, to make ends meet. I feel so stuck.

Well, thanks for reading & any ideas & advice are welcome.

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#2 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 08:14 AM
 
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Couple of things: the government just passed some housing assistance that looks like you may qualify for- for people upside down on their home who are current on payments. Get it started now if you do qualify. We applied for stuff and waited and waited and waited. Never heard anything. But it sounds like this one may be for you.

 

Most mortgage lenders won't do much until you are behind.

 

I don't really have any other answers, as dh and I are in a pretty bad place right now as well. Making some changes- short sold our home and renting for $800 a month less- bigger home, back to our old neighborhood, so a good thing. But trying to figure out how to make ends meet every month.

 

Prayers and thoughts that things work out for you and your family. I know it doesn't help, but you are not alone.

 

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#3 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 08:20 AM
 
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I just wanted to offer you a hug for the tough situation. I don't have any real advice. I do understand your reluctance to leave your son in daycare, my son was the same at that age. Now that he is almost 9, it's much easier but he still is a bit shy and sometimes challenged by social situations. We started really small with him to build confidence, and over the years  he got comfortable being around other kids and people.

I wish you best of luck!

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#4 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 08:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks guys.
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Couple of things: the government just passed some housing assistance that looks like you may qualify for- for people upside down on their home who are current on payments. Get it started now if you do qualify.

Do you know the name of the program? My head is spinning with all the research & numbers!!

Our mortgage company said they will send us some paperwork on "HSA" but I don't know if they were confused because from what I can tell, HSA is basically a loan to help you catch up on default payments? Which wouldn't help us at all because we haven't defaulted and we don't need another loan AKA another monthly payment!!!

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#5 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 12:07 PM
 
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Take a deep breath and allow yourself some time to grieve the loss of your job. 

 

We did move from a house into a crappy apartment for a few years so we could live on one income while I stayed at home.  It sucked, but it was the best way to match our resources to our values at the time.

 

 

 

 

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#6 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 01:42 PM
 
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First of all, file for unemployment.  If you were laid off you are entitled to UE benefits.

Does your DH have health insurance at his CO?  This is a qualifiying event so you can register for benefits at his company now

Go apply for state aid, food stamps, WIC, etc, - that worst that can happen is a denial

Look into IBR for student loans. (income based repayment, I pay nothing and get full credit for payments)

 

Something tells me you are in AZ, but I could be wrong.


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#7 of 32 Old 04-26-2012, 02:12 PM
 
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You can get unemployment payments for part-time work.  I did it.  There was a brief phone hearing about it.  And I was in the same boat as you - no way I was going to find another part-time job that paid what I was getting.  I did pick up another part-time job, though, but still got unemployment when the lower wages were taken into consideration.  If you get told no for the part-time work, stick to your guns.  I have only worked part-time since ___; I cannot take a full-time position at this time, etc. etc.  Just keep saying it.  I had the added complication of being a full-time student so they really looked carefully at my claim, but in the end it was fine.  Don't give up. 

 

 

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#8 of 32 Old 04-27-2012, 07:07 AM
 
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Contact your student loan company and file for income based repayment or at the very least a deferment.  That will be one less thing to worry about right now... 


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#9 of 32 Old 04-27-2012, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Now I need to wait 'til after my last day... and I'm assuming after my severance payments end -- to apply for state aid, food stamps, income-based repayment, etc., right?

I'm not sure about filing for unemployment. In my state you need to be actively looking for work & accept any suitable job. Given my constraints (very limited hours I would be able to work, for example) I feel like I wouldn't qualify.

I am trying to write up a solid budget but I keep coming up about $1000 short AND discovering things I left out.

I'd definitely be willing to move out of our house & into an apartment... I mean, our whole house is tinier than many apartments anyway... but I just don't see how we'd be able to rent it out or sell it, the local economy is terrible, dozens of homes in my neighborhood are for sale or foreclosed, and I don't think most people in the area could afford to rent it for enough to cover our mortgage.

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#10 of 32 Old 04-27-2012, 12:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Now I need to wait 'til after my last day... and I'm assuming after my severance payments end -- to apply for state aid, food stamps, income-based repayment, etc., right?
I'm not sure about filing for unemployment. In my state you need to be actively looking for work & accept any suitable job. Given my constraints (very limited hours I would be able to work, for example) I feel like I wouldn't qualify.
I am trying to write up a solid budget but I keep coming up about $1000 short AND discovering things I left out.
I'd definitely be willing to move out of our house & into an apartment... I mean, our whole house is tinier than many apartments anyway... but I just don't see how we'd be able to rent it out or sell it, the local economy is terrible, dozens of homes in my neighborhood are for sale or foreclosed, and I don't think most people in the area could afford to rent it for enough to cover our mortgage.

 

Yes you are 'actively' looking for work. & accept any suitable job, that means you need to get an interview, get an offer etc.  There are lots of things that need to happen.  Actively working for work can mean many things, including glancing at craigstlist 2x a week.  (ask me how I know)

You need to start applying for benefits NOW.  IBR, FS, aid etc. most of these programs have a waiting period while they process paperwork.

As for the house, if you can't afford it, you can't afford it.  If you need to give the house back to the bank then that is what needs to happen in the long run.  Remember if you go to an APT, all expenses are less, utilities are less, no taxes etc.

 

What does DH think?


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#11 of 32 Old 04-27-2012, 12:45 PM
 
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You need to start applying for benefits NOW.  IBR, FS, aid etc. most of these programs have a waiting period while they process paperwork.

bolded by me-

every state being different - in mine severance counts against you in many ways- check all your state requirements prior to filing most times you can not undue an application 

 

this is in my state - http://articles.philly.com/2012-01-06/news/30598015_1_unemployment-benefits-national-employment-law-project-severance

 

you may be far better off waiting and not rushing into apply for things, my state also wants no one receiving assistance unless you basically have NOTHING so things in your name and saved money can count against you- really look into all options 


 

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#12 of 32 Old 04-27-2012, 05:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think our savings is really going to work against us.

We got the packet from our mortgage company & it seems like there is some way they could help us adjust our mortgage BUT we have too much in savings to be eligible.

We also have too much to be eligible for food stamps.

This is a conundrum. We can't live off savings forever. We have some substantial home repairs that need to be done, plus we tend to have really bad luck (like everything breaks at once etc.) so I am terrified about losing our savings. At the same time, if we spent some of that savings on necessary repairs and stuff, we might be eligible for more assistance. I don't know if I'm comfortable intentionally putting ourselves in that position though. I also don't want the roof falling through on us because we saved the money to buy food. But maybe once we've burned through every last cent (now or some months from now) someone will help us. Ughhh SOO CONFUSING!!

I'm also tempted to pre-pay on our mortgage -- not on the principal but on the payments themselves so we'd be ahead on payments. Then our mortgage would be paid for some months and we would have less saved so we'd be eligible for more help and use the monthly money we'd have spent on the mortgage payment on electricity & food instead. I feel like this is some twisted game I'm in & I don't understand the rules.

All I really need is a lower mortgage payment. We can survive on so little, without so many things that most people feel is 'necessary'... redface.gif

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#13 of 32 Old 04-27-2012, 05:57 PM
 
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my state want to make it that unless you are homeless they don't want to help at all (we have / had a proposal if you own two cars you can not get any assistance and they want thrall access to you bank account!)- while all are different, check each option you have, you may wish to contact you state rep- some do help in pointing you in other directions as far as your mortgage you could have options you do not know about- at least ask most areas are starting to make attempts to keep homeowners in home depending on the conditions in your area


 

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#14 of 32 Old 04-28-2012, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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my state want to make it that unless you are homeless they don't want to help at all (we have / had a proposal if you own two cars you can not get any assistance and they want thrall access to you bank account!)- while all are different, check each option you have, you may wish to contact you state rep- some do help in pointing you in other directions as far as your mortgage you could have options you do not know about- at least ask most areas are starting to make attempts to keep homeowners in home depending on the conditions in your area

That is crazy!!! In my state, if you don't have 2 cars, you can't have 2 working parents. There isn't really much in the way of public transportation here. Seems like such an arbitrary rule.

So the company we get our mortgage through is actually the main housing counseling center in our state. They claim that because our mortgage is already through them, we can't get a refinance/lower rates/modification, even though they are currently offering rates 2% lower than our rate. I don't get it & I'm not sure where else to turn since they are the go-to agency in our state. I guess we just have to wait 'til our savings run out & then maybe we'll get some help and I guess even if we don't we can just get foreclosed and then go live somewhere affordable (starting to sound like that's the easier route, sadly!) Either way, it will turn out OK in the end but there is going to be a heck of a lot of stress/struggle/guilt in the meantime... I just turned down an invite with friends because it would cost us $5. All I can think is that soon enough, that $5 will mean having food for another day or two...

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#15 of 32 Old 04-28-2012, 01:41 PM
 
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don't move to my state unless you also sell any stocks you may have----we mean it here- no help!

 

http://www.wfmz.com/news/Pa-welfare-recipients-soon-required-to-pass-asset-test/-/121458/7710268/-/q66pw7/-/index.html


 

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#16 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 08:34 AM
 
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Sadly, once your mortgage is 3 months behind, then they will be willing to work with you on a modification. They really don't want your house, but they don't want to help you until that is their only option. Been there, done that.

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#17 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 09:26 AM
 
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I am merely curious here - i have no idea if this is a good idea at all... but what happens if you take your money out of your account and stick it in a security deposit box?  Moneys gone, but you still have access to it for food, etc. ?
 

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#18 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 09:31 AM
 
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moving money - in PA you would need to disclose that! you would be in deep pay back (and they really care so the do look) and that would mean more problems!


 

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#19 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 11:52 AM
 
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I am merely curious here - i have no idea if this is a good idea at all... but what happens if you take your money out of your account and stick it in a security deposit box?  Moneys gone, but you still have access to it for food, etc. ?
 



I think this is the reason lots of programs ask for several months of bank statements, tax reports, etc. to see if there are any questionable movements of money or assets.

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#20 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah and I don't want to try to beat the system or anything... just annoyed that the system works the way it does. greensad.gif I guess we will just do our best until the savings runs out. Kind of scary but I guess if losing our entire savings AND our house is the worst that could happen, it's not the end of the world... as long as DH doesn't lose HIS job, that is!!

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#21 of 32 Old 04-30-2012, 04:42 PM
 
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If you spend down your savings by paying ahead on your mortgage for however many months then that will take care of the asset part of applying for assistance.  Plus you'd have documentation to show where the money went. In the meantime can you visit a food pantry?  And if you get turned down for assistance while on severance pay you can always reapply when it ends.  WIC has a more generous income limit, maybe you can at least get that?  You can also look up the income limits for fuel/electric assistance to see if you'd qualify for that at some point. 


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#22 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 05:50 AM
 
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It's very important you look up and really try to understand when and how to file for unemployment. Don't assume anything. Look it up on the official government website. The experiences of others are helpful and supportive but they may not apply to you. 

 

I can't stress enough that so many things are time dependent ... meaning if you miss the window or time frame (usually 30, 60 or 90 days) to apply for something, no one is going to give you a break about it. You will just loose out. It's always wise to be informed too early than too late.

For example, when I got laid off several years ago, I HAD to file for unemployment within 60 days of my last actual day of work regardless of my severance or I would have not been able to get UE benefits at all. It might be different now but that was the rule back then. Rules change and vary so my whole long winded point is to find out asap. Being part time does not automatically exclude you. You usually just need to meet a certain amount of hours in the last however many months.  

 

I agree with a previous poster that actively searching does not mean pounding the pavement every day and unless you get a job offer that will work for you and you flat out turn it down you are still eligible to receive your unemployment. This is not scamming the system. Well, imo anyway. It's just having a security net to be able to find a job that works for you. If everyone had to take the first job available in their area regardless of whether or not it works for them we would all be in huge trouble! What's available immediately, what you are qualified for and what will pay enough to feed your family and cover your bills are almost always not the same. It takes most people some time. You shouldn't feel bad about that. Please look up if you are qualified for unemployment before draining your savings and such. 

 

Also, I understand you have some emotional health issues that are making it hard for you to work. Is there any way you would qualify for disability? If not, it sounds like you aren't able to make it without working so I'd start thinking about what you really want to do. As a sahm, the very first thing to look at is babysitting. It's not always easy but it brings in money instantly. Look up what people are charging on craigslist and similar sites and then plan to charge a little under that. Unless you are in a very rural area, I'm sure you will find someone. 

 

I think someone else brought this up but does your dh's company have a medical plan at all? Losing your job and insurance means you can file for instant coverage under his for the family but sometimes you do have to do it within a certain amount of time so if that's a possibility you should look into it right away. 

 

Good luck. I know it seems hopeless now but you can and will get through this.  Sadly, I've been there and I know it sucks but try to stay positive and just keep pushing forward. {{HUGS}} 


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#23 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 06:44 AM - Thread Starter
 
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If you spend down your savings by paying ahead on your mortgage for however many months then that will take care of the asset part of applying for assistance.  Plus you'd have documentation to show where the money went. In the meantime can you visit a food pantry?  And if you get turned down for assistance while on severance pay you can always reapply when it ends.  WIC has a more generous income limit, maybe you can at least get that?  You can also look up the income limits for fuel/electric assistance to see if you'd qualify for that at some point. 
We're far from needing a food pantry at least. smile.gif I didn't know there WAS such a thing as fuel/electric assistance (besides knocking on the church door for help!) What is that program called??
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I agree with a previous poster that actively searching does not mean pounding the pavement every day and unless you get a job offer that will work for you and you flat out turn it down you are still eligible to receive your unemployment. This is not scamming the system. Well, imo anyway. It's just having a security net to be able to find a job that works for you. If everyone had to take the first job available in their area regardless of whether or not it works for them we would all be in huge trouble! What's available immediately, what you are qualified for and what will pay enough to feed your family and cover your bills are almost always not the same. It takes most people some time. You shouldn't feel bad about that. Please look up if you are qualified for unemployment before draining your savings and such. 
Good advice, I will look into unemployment & find out if I'm eligible & when I need to apply. I know there are some requirements that would be hard for me to meet (like a mandatory orientation) but I think one of my friends would help with childcare for those infrequent times, I'd just have to stop being silly and ask...
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Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post

Also, I understand you have some emotional health issues that are making it hard for you to work. Is there any way you would qualify for disability? If not, it sounds like you aren't able to make it without working so I'd start thinking about what you really want to do. As a sahm, the very first thing to look at is babysitting. It's not always easy but it brings in money instantly. Look up what people are charging on craigslist and similar sites and then plan to charge a little under that. Unless you are in a very rural area, I'm sure you will find someone. 
I know for my physical health issues I'd likely qualify for disability, maybe for mental health reasons too... But I just cannot bring myself to even apply. That requires admitting a certain level of defeat, and I'm not there yet. I know that sounds a bit crazy. redface.gif

I considered babysitting/nannying -- still considering it -- but not sure I could handle it on a few different levels so I'm still trying to think that through.
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Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post

I
I think someone else brought this up but does your dh's company have a medical plan at all? Losing your job and insurance means you can file for instant coverage under his for the family but sometimes you do have to do it within a certain amount of time so if that's a possibility you should look into it right away. 
Yes, we can get insurance through DH's company, the premiums are just really high. In fact, when he asked about adding us on last week, that was their response: "It's really expensive." (Uh, thanks, real helpful... he is trying to get a better answer out of them lol.) Utlimately, either COBRA or DH's plan would cost us the same, and his plan covers a bit more, so we'll go with that, even though neither option really leaves us room to pay for other bills...

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#24 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 07:40 AM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

Good advice, I will look into unemployment & find out if I'm eligible & when I need to apply. I know there are some requirements that would be hard for me to meet (like a mandatory orientation) but I think one of my friends would help with childcare for those infrequent times, I'd just have to stop being silly and ask...
I know for my physical health issues I'd likely qualify for disability, maybe for mental health reasons too... But I just cannot bring myself to even apply. That requires admitting a certain level of defeat, and I'm not there yet. I know that sounds a bit crazy. redface.gif

 

How is asking for a lower interest rate because you lost your job any different than applying for unemployment or disability? In both instances you are asking for help because of a situation you did not bring on yourself. It's the SAME thing. Why would one mean a good thing and the other mean defeat?


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#25 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by ilovemygirl View Post

How is asking for a lower interest rate because you lost your job any different than applying for unemployment or disability? In both instances you are asking for help because of a situation you did not bring on yourself. It's the SAME thing. Why would one mean a good thing and the other mean defeat?

Sorry I misspoke, I don't think I'd qualify for disability as of right now, because I have been able to work up to this point. I cannot imagine finding another job where I can literally work from my bed. I think in a year or two if my medical & mental issues haven't improved I might consider applying for disability but I guess at this point I am still hopeful that things will turn around & I can be healthy again. I'd be throwing in the towel too soon right to apply right now. And I don't think I'd be approved as of today.

As far as unemployment, I need to be available for full-time work (which I'm not!) & make 3 work contacts a week. That is something I don't think I'm capable of doing. I will still apply I guess but I don't think I qualify. I also think that without unemployment we are eligible for more assistance... *sigh* IDK.

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#26 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 07:03 PM
 
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my job is only giving me 4 hours a week. I threw my back out and had to go on disability. Sometimes I wish they would just fire me then I could at least get unemployment. Severence packages don't exist in my line of work. I've been living out of an RV to try to be able to buy a home. Hugs mama, from my perspective, I wish I had your problems.


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#27 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my job is only giving me 4 hours a week. I threw my back out and had to go on disability. Sometimes I wish they would just fire me then I could at least get unemployment. Severence packages don't exist in my line of work. I've been living out of an RV to try to be able to buy a home. Hugs mama, from my perspective, I wish I had your problems.

Uhh thanks????

That kind of makes me feel like crap. greensad.gif I'm sure you didn't mean it that way but that's how it feels. You can have my problems, all of them, I certainly don't want them. My life feels like a living nightmare (not the financial stuff, that's just extra stress thrown in for good measure). I'll quit complaining though.

I'm sorry you're in a bad situation. Can you get another job now that you're able to work again?

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#28 of 32 Old 05-01-2012, 11:45 PM
 
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Sorry I misspoke, I don't think I'd qualify for disability as of right now, because I have been able to work up to this point. I cannot imagine finding another job where I can literally work from my bed. I think in a year or two if my medical & mental issues haven't improved I might consider applying for disability but I guess at this point I am still hopeful that things will turn around & I can be healthy again. I'd be throwing in the towel too soon right to apply right now. And I don't think I'd be approved as of today.
As far as unemployment, I need to be available for full-time work (which I'm not!) & make 3 work contacts a week. That is something I don't think I'm capable of doing. I will still apply I guess but I don't think I qualify. I also think that without unemployment we are eligible for more assistance... *sigh* IDK.

That means you send out 3 emails on monster.com.  As far as I know (and I've been on UE for the full 99 weeks) no one has ever checked my employment contacts.  I never had to send that 3 contact per week form in either.  (So just pick 3 jobs that you obviously are not qualified to do)

There is a mandatory meeting for UE, that meeting is several hours and you must attend.  But odds are you can find someone to watch the kids.

The only person who knows you aren't available for FT work is you.  If FT was overnights, or some off combo of hours you *might* be able to do that, you don't know.

 

 

The energy assistance is called LIHEAP.  Its just a form you fill out and send to your energy company.


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#29 of 32 Old 05-02-2012, 09:14 AM
 
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OP- as you might know, disability can take years to get and IF you feel you may qualify (having medical documentation) I would start now-most disability lawyers work off the commission so it wouldn't cost you any thing right now, you may qualify for only partial anyway. 


 

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#30 of 32 Old 05-02-2012, 11:21 AM
 
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That means you send out 3 emails on monster.com.  As far as I know (and I've been on UE for the full 99 weeks) no one has ever checked my employment contacts.  I never had to send that 3 contact per week form in either.  (So just pick 3 jobs that you obviously are not qualified to do)

There is a mandatory meeting for UE, that meeting is several hours and you must attend.  But odds are you can find someone to watch the kids.

The only person who knows you aren't available for FT work is you.  If FT was overnights, or some off combo of hours you *might* be able to do that, you don't know.

 

This. I think its important to not try to scam these assistance programs, but they are there to help you. You pay into them with your tax money. Take advantage of them. Better to fudge a little or very loosely meet their requirements with the unemployment office than to lose your savings, your house, your food etc etc etc. Just my opinion. Start looking into what needs to happen for student loan deferment now. So if/when the time comes, you can easily pull it all together and send it off. That has been a life saver for us! 

 

Beyond that, I really don't have too much other than I'm so sorry this is happening. Its always so scary to have your life turned upside down by something like this.


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