You’d think by now, with years of ongoing dramas for basic survival needs, that my shit would be about as real as it gets. And it is, to a point. But the I-will-survive struggle keeps on, so the shit just keeps purifying in its realness.
I was brought up not to talk about money, for various taboos and guilty reasons. Don’t talk about how much you have, how much things cost, nothing. For the most part I stick to those constraints, but since our political system is doing what it is doing, and there is so much hatred against anyone using the so-called safety nets, I think a little transparency is needed.
Behold the glut of luxury at the teat of the state: My disability check is $933 per month. That’s all my income. It is well below the poverty index cutoff. My rent is $1025. My checking account has $22 to last me until next Wednesday. I’m a college-educated (no degree), 60-year old white woman, who was middle to upper-middle class most of her life. My husband of nearly twenty years makes low six-figures. We’re divorced for nearly twenty years. After the divorce I ran my own business, until the 2008 recession killed it. Then I worked for other people. I have moved to chase jobs. I should have applied for disability several years ago, but I was in denial about my ability to work. I don’t think this snapshot of me matches the snapshot of handout-seeking, lazy-assed, poor people that the haters have in their minds.
Today I spent the morning with Lynne from the local Human Services, to interview for an application for rent assistance. I qualify. We have to spin a lot of paperwork before I get a voucher. The amount of the rent assistance is ok, not great, not horrid. The amount is leaving me wondering if I can pull this off financially. I have no idea. With $933 of income and just rent being $1025, if I didn’t have rent assistance I would be homeless very soon.
Part of the requirements for getting assistance is for me to be looking for subsidized housing, which I am. I am hoping I can hang on long enough to avoid actual homelessness. Hopefully I can transition from this apartment and situation to a subsidized housing situation. We’ll see. The local rent assistance is available on an ongoing basis, as long as I continue to look for other housing sources.
I spent the afternoon on a phone interview with Jamie from the state. I am applying for home help. I cannot carry things, like groceries or trash, up or down the stairs to my apartment. Even though I’m on the “ground” floor, there are five steps that have to be maneuvered inside, and a few more outside. The broken arm/elbow/wrist makes other household duties impossible. I have two, bone-on-bone knees that are never going to heal on their own. This is why I qualified for SSDI (disability). Ah, more paperwork is needed, more interviews.
It is exhausting. It is depressing. It is mind-numbing. All of it.
My pain level is high since yesterday. The ibuprofen, which is the only thing that works for my knee pain, is now showing signs of making me retain water (kidneys!), so I’m having to back the hell off of that. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m at an 8 constantly right now. I have post-surgery/injury swelling, I can’t retain extra water because of ibuprofen, too.
So, yeah, today. Not a lot of fun, today.