February 13, 2014

Homeless 8: "The Rest of the Story"

Colorado EBT card,
i.e. the type of debit-style card that replaced
paper food stamps across the country
So, in my mini-installment, Homeless 7.5, I announced that I had finally gotten a bit of good news for a change, but didn't go into details. Now that I've done some investigation, I can report on my good news, as well as what it does and does not mean for my situation.

I received a letter last night, informing me that after months of waiting, my application for state financial assistance had been approved under a program called "Aid to the Needy Disabled" (in my case pronounced "poor because of PTSD"). We've discussed extremely personal information in this series, and I cannot explain the practicalities of this development without giving you numbers, so nobody blush, now--we're going to talk bluntly about money. Until the state decides for some arbitrary reason that I'm no longer eligible, which they usually do in such cases eventually, or until my circumstances improve and I no longer need such aid--the preferred outcome, obviously--I'll be receiving $175 per month from the state. See, I told you it was a small piece of good news.

What This Does NOT Mean:

-I still do not have enough income to help with my housing situation at present. Those were the calls I had to make today and verify that fact. Now I have done so. Without a miracle, I'm still going to a shelter Monday.

-The needed root canal certainly can't be financed from this source; that procedure will still have to wait a while.

-On the upside, this income is NOT taxable, will not affect the fact that my student loans have been forgiven, and will not hold up or nullify other aid applications that are in progress.

Not actually my car,
but same make and model
What This DOES Mean:

-Since they back-date this aid to the point at which I applied, I have two months' worth of assistance waiting on my EBT card, and can therefore FIX MY CAR (provided it's within the limit of the amount available to me; that's what getting an estimate first is for)! When I opened the letter and saw what it said, I literally burst into tears and began calling out, "Thank You, Jesus! Thank You, Jesus!" (Those of you who have known me since I was a child, or were my dorm-mates at seminary, will quickly recognize this behavior.) It was when the car finally died and I was truly trapped and paralyzed that the hopelessness reached a whole new level; God did not abandon me there.

-I have a regular source of gas money coming in with which to go visit Brigid! (I only mentioned the car repair first because, if the car won't run, it doesn't matter how much gas I can put in it or not.)

Photo by Shorelander
-When I go to buy groceries with food stamps, I can now also buy things that I'm NOT allowed to buy with them, little luxuries like toilet paper, shampoo, and a bottle of generic Excedrin with which to nurse my tooth along. Moreover, I can pickup my prescriptions when needed. Medicaid leaves a co-pay of $1 per drug at the pharmacy, but if you take a dozen medications as I do, and you don't have $12, you're still just as screwed. Now, I can swing $12 per month for pills.

In other words, I actually had a conversation today about whether or not it's illegal to sleep in my car (it is; thanks a lot, legislators and police forces across the country), something I once never dreamed I'd have to do. BUT, I also have a small sense of hope, enough to carry on for a while longer and not give up on rescuing my daughter and myself from this shipwreck.

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