Below the Poverty Line

I receive a *very small amount* each month from SSDI (disability). I know the general consensus is that I'm "scamming from the government" (although white collar greed far surpasses) and "get paid not to work."

When I was feeling a bit better than I am now, I wanted to work. It was nearly impossible to do so without a third party (SSA or the housing authority) disclosing my disability to my employer. Additionally, SSA guidelines are such that a trial work period constitutes the combined number of months I've worked (going back to '93), and not consecutive months (which would be a more accurate indication that I'm ready to re-enter the workforce). I'm caught in a Catch-22. Not to mention the gaping holes in my employment history (that's another story).

I receive less than $800/month. Granted, my rent is $300. I have bills I haven't opened in months because I can't pay them, much less the student loans, car insurance, phone bill, etc., I write bad checks for necessities such as toilet paper and toothpaste. I was going to quit smoking because I can't afford to, but I wrote a check for those too. My account is constantly overdrawn. So it's never really the $770, sometimes it's in the $500 range (to pay the overdraft). I've put in a request to recalculate my amount, since I worked as a cashier last year until I flipped out and quit on the spot. (fat lotta good that BA did). Surprise-I haven't heard back from them and there's no record of them having received my request. wtf?

No one but you guys and my mother (who's not in a financial situation to help me) knows where my money comes from. I don't have any friends, mostly because I can't field these questions. A couple of women with whom I connected got a little too close, and so I've gone back into my shell. There it's just me and myself, telling me I'm useless and don't contribute to society, and how am I ever gonna pull myself up from the bootstraps when I can't afford the boots?

I've even lived in a shelter. Not fun. Not safe.

I can't even go out in the ****-box because I have *just* enough gas to get to and from my therapist's office.

God, is this my life? I thought this would help me "come clean," but it's just made me feel worse. I'm not looking for pity. I'm just tired of hiding.

Most of the time, I am so defeated and dejected, I sleep. I can't imagine "living" like this much longer.

Thanks for listening to my rant! I'd appreciate any feedback. Thanks!




Etesian Etesian
31-35, F
15 Responses Jun 19, 2007

I am in the same boat because my rent is $550.00 each and every month and I can't even pay for lights phone and even cable tv and I am only getting $748.00 every month and seams like no one even care about us in this country

I know this is a very old post but I hope either you or someone else in your situation will benefit from my comments. First of all, you have to stop writing bad checks. That is insane, for a lot of reasons, and also illegal. Just stop. Wouldn’t be a bad idea to stop smoking.<br />
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Have you applied for any and all types of assistance? Food stamps, utility reduction plans, etc. – various social service agencies can point you in the right direction.<br />
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Obviously you can type and you are internet proficient. What about a part-time job either from home or outside, to supplement your income? I know there are lots of scams but there are also some legit opportunities.

Dont feel guilty, Im in the same boat but because I had menegitis and almost died.....I worked 28 yrs and now Im 47 and have been on ssdi for 3 years, yes it sucks, you live in the becomes a dark hole u feel like your scratchig to get out of, cars and lights go by and your standing still yes I know it sucks but dont feel guilty, the good die young but by being guilty your allowing all the Hispanics and other clowns who abuse the system laugh while they take advantage of a system tax payers have paid services deals with so many different people they have to be on gaurd and wary.......I never wanted to rely on my insurance because of disability but as an ex marine and Navy person as well as working as an electrician for 15 years paying taxed I feel I am entitled.....It makes me angry to see trhe abuse but nor ashame......dont ever feel guilty, there are enough people who abuse it and laugh about it, guilt is the last thing on their minds.

I have been on SSDI for a couple of years now due to Schizoaffective Disorder. I rarely tell anyone where my income comes from because I am so tired of being judged and told "if you can go to school then you can work"-- not true becasue there is much more flexibility in school and a lot more absences allowed and I can set myself up to have long breaks between each class etc. But people don't understand that. They think I am freeloading. But they also dont' know what happened the last time I worked (landed myself in the hospital for three months). I have thus come to the conclusion that my income is my business and that is that. It does get a bit more complicated now that I am on medicare and when people see that then they are like hmm a 23 year old on medicare? But again no one is owed an explaination. <br />
In terms of managing what money they give you I would suggest that you try to find a community mental health agency that can help you with financial management. I know of several agencies in my area that have programs that help people who are on social security to budget and in extreme cases even act as like a financial guardian per se. Maybe having someone help you for a short time would get you at least caught up a bit.

* correction 2 adults and one near adult.

Well, if misery loves company, right now I'm praying I can get this much help in my life. This year everything came crashing down... I live at home, had quit the job that had become too much for me physically and mentally, and this year my parents both lost their jobs, and had to go to the government for help. They gave us a little help for food, but before real relief could come, my father lost his life. One tiny income now supports 3 adults and one near adult, and a ton of debt piled up from legitimate needs (like new washer, house repairs, etc...) And we're just praying that the government will recognize that I can't work so we can get this much.<br />
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The one thing we've got going for us is faith. With that, I think we can face the worst, even if help doesn't come from the government. But it's certainly not going to be easy, and I know exactly what you mean about facing friends and relatives when you're "getting paid to not work" ... just that I've applied has gotten me some really cold, heartless comments from people I consider very good friends. When/if it's a reality, I know I'm going to be eating a lot of humble pie. It's hard when you're not in a wheelchair or something, to explain to people that you CANNOT work. Most of them just shake their heads and say, "that's crap."<br />
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But I guess we've got to realize... we know the score. We're trying to survive. If they were in our shoes, they'd do the same thing. I suppose it also helps one to understand that there are people out there who do legitimately need it. Not everybody is trying to scam the system. When it happens to you is when you realize... sometimes you just don't have options. I consider myself lucky to have God. At least that's one thing I can count on.

Here a a few things that may help... check out the local churches and ministry food banks as well as SHARE (you can find this all on line). There are food banks that can assist as well as assistance w/ electric and phone. I've been there/done that and now I am making it. It's a tough road and I hit those bumps daily but I'm here and breathing. If you need help in locating these things let me know... I'll hunt them down for you.... Have a wonderful and SMILE! It will get better...

apix & newshoes ... i have to admit ... i'm with you both. i used to make LOADS of cash every month and was hurt terribly in an accident. all the 'side affects' of the injuries have caused an extensive list of other ailments both physical and emotional (most recently emergency surgery - last week.) thing is ... i can't get the government to even look at me twice. thankfully i had, unknowingly, signed up for some type of insurance through my previous employer where they continue to pay me my wages minus the commissions which amounts to nothing - just like you. it's hard to admit, it's hard to get out of - the gov't themselves making it virtually impossible, and it's hard to trust anyone when you're in this situation. PLEASE message me if you either one ever wanna chat. PLEASE! i could use some friends, tips, etc. as i am for the most part housebound and get out of the house about once a month or so. your interaction, understanding of the system, etc. is greatly appreciated as is you both sharing your stories. thank you both!

Thanks for getting back to me, NewShoes. I'm sorry you're in the same situation. And really sorry about your car. I'm sure trying to stretch $670 a month is not easing your bipolar. Please put in a request for recomputation, it may raise the amount. And/or request SSI. There's a food program, but I'm not sure if it's just in New England. I'll forward the information to you once I see if they have chapters throughout the country. <br />
I applied for food stamps a few years back and after the litany of intrusive questions, and all that bs you already know about, was given-wait for it- $10 a MoNth in foodstamps. Which was promptly yanked when I started a PT job making $9/hr. <br />
I have pickles, coffee, creme, expired veggie dip, and baking soda in my fridge. I've been living on instant oatmeal and coffee for the past 5 days, making sure I drink a lot of water. You're right, it's existence-not living. <br />
It's f-ing ridiculous. I don't even have the strength to do anything about it right now since I feel dizzy unless I'm asleep. My head is in a fog and I can't think straight. <br />
Maybe it's Darwin's way of thinning the herd. At least the (non-human) animal kingdom does it fast and makes no bones about it. <br />
:( My heart goes out to you.

I'm in the same position. But you should should feel honored I guess. I bring in a whopping $670! I'd love to bring in a government official to live at my house for a month, pay all my bills and get $75 food stamps and see what they think.<br />
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For anyone who thinks scaming the government for that is crazy. It's a mere existance and not very easy. I have Bipolar, and I too have big gaps in my work history. And I know the feelings of shame that go along with being on SSDI.<br />
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My car died about a year and half, maybe 2 years ago. I haven't been able to get another since. <br />
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And then if we ever get a raise like the 3% cola they give every year....<br />
Well that's a joke. Because soon as they give it to us, they lower our food stamps and raise Our HUD.

I can't imagine why you'd feel ashamed of this. Some people are going to act superior no matter what. They don't matter. We all have something to deal with that makes us feel bad. I'm unemployed and scared about that myself and I don't feel suported when I talk to people. They don't understand but that doesn't matter. I need to talk to deal with it and they can just listen!

I agree, you have no reason to feel ashamed. The only people who should be ashmaed are those who are truly scamming the government, and unfortunately there's too many. It's not easy to get back on your feet for anyone, and the govt doesn't offer all that much help. If the govt took all the money spent on white collar crime and spent it on social services, the country would be in a much better place.

You guys make me feel a helluva lot better. I don't think you're part of "the general consensus"- that's why I decided to share my "dirty secret." Sometimes I think "they" bank on the fact that those with psychological issues are often too immobilized to affect change. And it's starting to **** me off, which is really good. I feel as if I've been in a deep-freeze for a long time.<br />
Thank you so much for your sensitive and thoughtful feedback. It's so good to have people know me for who I really am and like me anyway.

I th$ink you would be surprised at the number of people that would support you if you gave them the chance. The general consensus is not that that YOU are scamming the government, it in fact sounds like you are exactly the type of person that the system is set up to help. The problem is that the system is full of people who are scamming the government. You have every right to accept a little help, especially since you are trying to get yourself back into the workforce as soon as you can, and start supporting yourself again. That is what the system is there for, to help people get back on their feet. Best of luck to you, I am here if you ever want to talk.

Social services in the US SUCK!! You are so right that white collar crime is astronomically higher than any social services. Plus if those idiots weren't so short-sighted they would see that more money spent in the short-term on social services means less money in the long-term. If our government really cared about the mental and physical health of it's constituents, it would divert some of the billions of dollars being given to businesses as incentives or subsidies and give them to social services. We could pull a lot of people "up by the bootstraps" that way and later down the road there wouldn't be so many issues with people. They would have healthier children and families. I am so sickened myself in trying to keep myself healthy and sane with no insurance. It's a tough thing to do and I really feel for you. Holler at me anytime.