Special Needs Help
My husband and I are both disabled and on a fixed income. He is 52, and I am 51. We live in a rural area. Are there money saving tips and programs available for the disabled, as there are for senior citizens? I cannot sit at the computer long to go through various web sites trying to find this info as I have arthritis of the spine, affecting my neck and low back. It affects my legs and arms also. I feel it is usual to have 2 people in a household that are disabled. We have our 2 sons living here also. We barely live on our $1588/month. Any webs sites or suggestions from anyone out there would help. Our Welfare office says we make too much money for benefits (we are just over the limit). Insurance costs such as medical, house, and car is taking 1/3 of our income.
Pat in Wash. state
Check State Programs
Washington state has a program called Washington Basic Health. It allows you health insurance based on your income. You may end up paying $10 to $20/month for an entire family. There is also a transportation service (I think its called access) for the disabled, not sure how you qualify, but this could eliminate the need for you to have a car and pay car insurance. If you only travel to doctor's appointments and getting groceries, and if the bus system is near you for other excursions, this would be a good alternative.
If any of the children are under 5, you would qualify for WIC, a nutritional program to help children with milk, and other foods.
Food banks will also let you come once a month for help. If you live somewhere else, there may be similar programs. Your welfare office might be able to direct you to the programs available in your particular community.
Sons Should Help
You live in a rural area so you don't have to pay "big city" prices. You mentioned that 1/3 of your $1588/month goes to housing, health and auto expenses. That really is a very good percentage. Most people spend 1/3 of their income on housing alone.
You also mentioned that your two sons live with you. I am assuming from you and your husband's ages that they are adults. Are they paying rent, groceries, utilities, etc.? Is it possible to work out some kind of an "exchange" with them. Maybe they could pay the mortgage/rent and you take care of the rest. Or they could drive you where you need to go, saving on auto and gas expenses. I feel very strongly that any grown children should not live off their parents for free. All can contribute and especially if their parents are disabled, they should be picking up the majority of the burden.
Some tried-and-true money-saving tips I've found have come from The Tightwad Gazette volumes 1,2 & 3 by Amy Dacyczyn. I am also a sworn garage saler and I visit our local consignment and Goodwill stores on a regular basis. I base my grocery list on our grocery stores weekly sale flyer and I use coupons.
I've found that saving money basically boils down to a lot of hard work. You spend your time, not your money. Have you contacted your county's Human Services office and asked them about programs in your area - Operation Santa Claus, Food Pantry and the like? Lots of organizations (Girl Scouts, etc.) distribute food baskets on a regular basis but your name needs to be on their list. You should be able to find out about such programs from the Human Services office, a local radio or TV station or the local newspaper.
Here are some disability web sites that might be of help. They are all specific to disabilities.
www.acils.com Our Mission in Dayton Ohio The mission of the Access Center for Independent Living (ACIL) is to ensure that people with disabilities have full and complete access to the community in which they reside.
www.janejarrow.com/ Disability Access Information and Support (DAIS) is an important resource to the higher education community, providing a menu of services for those concerned with disability and access in higher education. Institutions and organizations can contract for help from DAIS, in the person of Jane Jarrow, Ph.D., for a variety of services. The growing list of DAIS publications includes resource materials to assist in interpreting legal mandates, reviewing policies and procedures, and understanding the philosophical underpinnings of providing quality service to people with disabilities in the post secondary environment.
Check Social Security Benefits
I wonder if this reader has applied for SSI, which is a supplementary income to people who have limited means of support. I think it's a flat rate of about $500 a month, which sounds like could be a BIG help to this reader. Also, a call to their doctor's office and speak with the nurse or doctor about drug companies that will reduce the price of, or give away free medications to those who have no prescription coverage. The doctor's office should have knowledge of the participating companies; also their pharmacy may have applications for these.
Another idea might be AARP; I'm thinking they take applicant's beginning at age 50, and provide discounts at a variety of places. I know my elderly aunt gets a good discount on health needs when presenting her AARP card at Wal-Mart.
I want to encourage you. My wife is disabled and has been since birth. To find a solution to situation that we encountered we had to be aggressive in asking questions and gathering information for services that were available through our mayor's office. Our city has a "Mayor's Commission for the Disabled" which gave us helpful information and assistance that was available, but not publicly "advertised". Try giving your mayor's office a call. If they can't help you ask if they know of any assistance or services that may be available in your town. If that doesn't help try calling your Governor's office.