How do you live off monthly disability checks

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia and ME & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome' started by fezhat, Dec 2, 2008.

  1. fezhat

    fezhat New Member

    I am considering going on permanent disability as per my doctor's request. What I don't know is how does anyone live on the small monthly payments? I live alone and from what I know now, the monthly payments will just make my rent and electric bill.

    For people that live alone and have permanent disability, tell me how you make ends meet.

    Thank you.
  2. dragon06

    dragon06 New Member

    Well I am not on disability myself but I would think some of the following would help. Local charities, food stamps, food banks, thrift stores, patient assistance programs for meds, medicaid or medicare, at home work (you can make up to a certain amount without losing your benefits). Most electric companies have programs for people on low income. There is also housing for low income people. You may have to move but it could make the money more manageable. Those are just some ideas.
  3. fezhat

    fezhat New Member

    Thank you for your reply. Anybody else?
  4. Sunspot

    Sunspot New Member

    Hi fezhat,

    I was on LTD and was cut off. I'm appealing it, but if I lose and until I find out, the amount I have to live on is almost exactly what I pay in total for rent and utilities for my one-bedroom apartment. So... I rented out my livingroom to a student. Luckily my bedroom and that room are both large enough to have a bed, dresser, desk and chair in. That will give me enough money to eat. Also luckily, the city I live in has a fairly extreme housing shortage, so there were a number of people willing to share a 1-bedroom apartment. In fact it's getting much more common.

    So could you share your home? Or could you move, perhaps rent a house with 2 or 3 bedrooms so you could choose who you live with, but still end up spending way less on rent? It sounds scary to share, but I think it could actually end up being very positive. I have been feeling very isolated for far too long, and I'm finding it nice to have some fresh young energy in the house. Of course, I did specify I wanted a roommate who didn't use perfume and who was quiet and liked quiet surroundings...

    Best of luck to you

    P.S. Advice to anyone looking for a roommate: get references, as many as possible, and call them. Ask would they choose to live with this person? Have a good long chat with the potential roomie. One fellow I was considering said he would be out most of the time with work and with his kids. Later he happened to mention that he's sometimes unable to work because of an illness, and was actually even applying for disability because of it. I didn't want to have someone else around the house all day, so it became clear he might not be the right one for me. People will tend to say what they think you need to hear to give them the room, if they like it. But if you chat long enough the truth might come out.
    Also, someone once gave me some good advice - It almost never turns out well to rent to someone you feel sorry for. When it comes to sharing your home space especially, look for what YOU need, not someone else.
    And get a damage/cleaning deposit.
    [This Message was Edited on 12/05/2008]
  5. fezhat

    fezhat New Member

    The problem I have is that I pay low rent already, and I looked around for a roommate a while ago and it was too expensive. I live in California and the rent is very high out here. I'm happy that I have been in my apartment for so long and it keeps the rent down. But, it could go up.

    I need more ideas. Why was your LTD cut off?
  6. mmztcass

    mmztcass New Member

    you may be able to apply for SSDI which is a supplemental security to the disability. Also maybe look for a cheaper place to live. Maybe consider moving to a cheaper location since California is so expensive? But it is getting to where not very many places are cheap any more except maybe the real small towns?

    Take care... :)
    [This Message was Edited on 12/03/2008]
  7. TeaBisqit

    TeaBisqit Member

    I had to place myself into a low income low rent HUD building. It's for disabled and elderly. I was lucky to get in. And I still can't make it on my SS. I'm either going to have to give up my car or severely cut the insurance. And I might have to cut the cable tv to almost no channels at all. And I'll have to hope they give me back my foodstamps and medicaid. Then could I make it? Maybe, just about with no extras. But it's no life at all.
  8. leannebug

    leannebug New Member

    If I didn't have my family to help out, I don't know where I would be... on the streets perhaps.. I count my lucky stars. Although my family expects me to pay them back someday/somehow, at least for now we are ok. I've cut back on everything. There is NO money for anything extra. I recycle and reuse a lot. Make my own things, do my own repairs. Learn to live without. It really is humbling, and you learn what is most important to you.. I suppose those are the benefits (gotta find SOME bright side, or I'd go crazy)

    Getting back to the basics, watching sales, making a pot of chili by hand, can stretch farther than a bunch of TV dinners or take-out. There are many ways to make the dollar stretch, it just takes a lot of concentration and determination (things that we often lack.. esp when in flares.. that is when I have to fall back on the "easy way")

    As someone else pointed out, there are a lot of medication programs. That is my biggest expense, next to food. I often have to decide between buying groceries that week/day or buying my meds... so the script programs help. I also ask my doctors for samples. I get about 3-4 of my monthly regular meds as samples.

    If you have children, there are free lunch programs. My kid hates it, but it saves 2 bucks a day!
    Buying clothes at consignment stores. There are some nice ones, and if you shop carefully, you can often get them on sale too.
    Garage sales too! You can even find new stuff.

    just my 2c
    [This Message was Edited on 12/03/2008]
  9. Engel

    Engel New Member

    I am struggling on LTD and am waiting on SSDI hearing. I am curious how others are doing it also.
  10. Sunspot

    Sunspot New Member

    I posted a longish reply here an hour or two ago and it hasn't shown up. Also my last post, which also took some time to write, doesn't show up here. Are other people having trouble posting, or ... am I being punished???
  11. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    I know this isn't an option for most. It wasn't for me until last year when my healing permitted me to work a few hours a week. I feel very fortunate that I can do this. The grocery store where I work hires disabled people and in return, they receive a tax credit. They are willing to work with me on my hours. I cashier but fill in for baggers when they are in demand.

    Love, Mikie
  12. suebeth

    suebeth Member

    no one i know of can live on that check alone. I imagine you will apply for what ever other benefits you are entitled to like food stamps..NY gives a HEAP grant once a year toward your electric bill. other people i know get a room mate( on the qt of course) or do some stuff on the side if they can, get help from family etc).. I wish you all the best...
  13. Sunspot

    Sunspot New Member

    Hi again fezhat and all,

    I will try my longer post again... I wanted to say that if your doctor is advising you to quit work, I'm glad to hear that you're giving it some serious thought. I wish I had quit work when it first became apparent to me that I had a problem. I think I would be higher-functioning now... But I can also understand people wanting to hang onto their jobs and a higher standard of living, and of course, being able to afford supplements, meds and treatments that we feel are helping us.

    Here are my tips for saving money, anyway. And I'd love to hear other people's:

    - heating/electricity: I turn heat down or off in other rooms at night, or when I'm out. I use compact fluorescent bulbs in at least some of my rooms, they do save money. I unplug my TV and computer at night or when I'm not using them. I unplug my cordless phone at night if it doesn't need to be recharging. My electric toothbrush only needs to be plugged in about one day a month to recharge. These things add up, you'll notice the difference on your bill, and it's better for the environment.

    - banking: if you're carrying credit card debt, figure out how much you're paying in interest charges each month. Call the bank and ask if you can get a card that charges a lower interest rate. With one phone call I went from 18.5% to 10.5%, and this too will add up. Also ask your bank if you can get a cheaper package of services for your checking and/or savings accounts.
    And figure out how to get out of debt. One great book to read is How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously, by Jerrold Mundis. Most important, don't get into ANY more debt. It's not worth it. Also, pay bills on time to avoid late fees. (I use a daytimer and make a note of when I need to pay bills when I get them.)

    - I don't eat out, go out for coffee or tea. I don't buy books or rent videos. I get them from the library. You can usually order them online or pick them up from the library. My neighbor (who does rent videos) and I lend each other anything we see that's especially good.

    - You can buy greeting cards very cheaply at the dollar store. I keep a stock of presents people have given me that I don't use, like scented bath products or fancy journals, and pass them on to someone else I think might like them on their day. I should probably start writing the name of who gave it to me on a sticky note on them so I don't get confused and give them back what they gave to me!

    - for presents you can also announce to everyone that you can't afford to give the usual presents this year, and that you're giving secondhand books, or making cookies or candies or something (which can be made in batches when you have energy, and then frozen till Christmas or the day). Or if you're artistic you can make simple but nice pictures, and buy frames at a secondhand store.

    - do several errands in the same part of town at the same time, to save gas. (Also better for the environment!)

    - Do you have a hobby or addiction that eats up money? I'm a sugarholic. Most of the time I try to avoid sugar, but when I'm under a lot of stress I can spend a lot of money on buying sweet treats every day. I realized it's cheaper to buy a container of cookie dough for about 9$ that I can keep in my fridge and bake a few as I want them, rather than to buy cookies or chocolates every day for a few days. Or you could bake your own and freeze them for 'emergencies'.

    - entertainment: invite a couple of friends over to play Pictionary or charades or your favourite card or board game instead of going out. You could even ask them to bring potluck snacks, or do it at each other's homes.

    - food: Use coupons (but don't buy anything you wouldn't otherwise buy) and watch sales. A friend buys a whole chicken (cheaper than buying pieces) and roasts the whole thing, then cuts it up and freezes them for later meals. I like to make big pots of hearty soup when I'm feeling stronger and freezing portions. I also try to never throw food out, by shopping more frequently and planning meals and planning for leftovers.

    - If you're single, can you share food with a neighbour or friend? For instance, sometimes prepared salad would be just $1 more for more than twice as much... which I couldn't eat befoer it would go bad. So I'd buy it and give half to a friend. Later she would give me extra of something she bought.

    - see if there's a food co-op in your area that you can join, or one of those buyers' clubs like Costco. If you can't join do you know anyone that's a member that you could occasionally go shopping there with?

    I do think it's important to see living on less as an adventure and a challenge, rather than a misery and bad luck. It's also an opportunity to realize that we (and others) can be happy and valuable people leading meaningful lives no matter what our financial circumstances are.

    There are some good books as well as internet sites about budgeting. Try doing a search for saving money tips, economize, etc. Most of them will tell you to keep track of all your expenses for one to three months. Doing this can really open your eyes to where your money goes.

    I'd love to hear other people's money-saving tips.


  14. PVLady

    PVLady New Member

    You might apply for section 8 housing. These are rentals where you pay no more than 30% of your income and the rest is subsidized I believe. You can look up info and the application for section 8 on the web. I was once going to rent to section 8 tenants but wound up selling the house.

    I understand there is usually a waiting list for section 8 but I would apply anyway.

    You can also look into making a little extra money each month from home - one idea is selling used books on Amazon. This is very easy and Amazon explains everything. They have a great blog that even tells where to get used books to sell.

    I have posted here several times how I listed books I had accumulated over the years. I did this several months ago. In the first 6-8 weeks I made a profit of $1,400. You can also sell used cd's, dvds and kitchenware. I put my Amazon store on "vacation" because we are too busy now to do it.

    For additional info the best thing is to read the Amazon site. They have all the answers and more. Just a couple of things, if you sell used books make sure to use "book rate" at the post office. Also, for cardboard mailing supplies for books etc., we bought from Uline, on the web. Very inexpensive.
  15. Cinderbug

    Cinderbug New Member

    My husband and I are both now on SSDI. He only gets $300 because while he could not work his child support added up so they deduct it from his check.

    I sell on ebay. I don't make as much as the other poster who sells on Amazon but it sure helps me make ends meet and buy little things for my grandchildren.

    I sell anything and everything. I have been doing this for several years now . I do it at my own pace and now have my own little ebay store for $16 a month.

    Good Luck,

    Cindy