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Emergency financial services??

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by enginewitty, May 11, 2016.

  1. enginewitty

    enginewitty

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    What do you all do when you are either waiting for disability benefits or denied, cannot work and have no savings or income?
     
  2. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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    Hi engine,

    I am sorry to hear you are dealing with this. Are you in the US? What state are you in?

    I wish there were good solutions here, I know there is not a lot, but maybe I can think of something that will help a little.
     
  3. enginewitty

    enginewitty

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    In Japan but my visa expires in 3 weeks or so
    I'm a US citizen
    but have no home or family or caring friends and would be unable to take care of myself if I returned.
    still, I'm not sure what else I can do...
     
  4. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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    Hi engine witty,

    I see you are in an unusual situation.

    Where are you in your disability process? Are you appealing?

    If I were in your situation, I might try start by trying to contact homeless service programs in different areas until I found one that could help me. Many programs will work with you if you tell them you are in danger of becoming homeless, you don't need to be on the street.

    Services are so different in different areas, but I believe there are places that have great programs and will help people get set up with free housing and other services -- if you are not tied to be any particular state or area you may have much better luck connecting with something good. Of course, you would need to tell them that you are becoming homeless and not yet in their area but will be there soon. Some programs have waiting lists, so you'd need to find out what is available now.

    I am not knowledgable enough to recommend a specific program, I just have heard that some areas have great services and others have almost none. Now I wish I had kept track of the names of the better programs! Have you already bought a plane ticket? Are you needing to fly back to a specific state?

    You are doing the right thing looking into this now, since you still have three weeks to try to find a situation to return to.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
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  5. enginewitty

    enginewitty

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    Hey KitCat

    Thanks for dropping your 2 cents ^^

    To answer your questions-

    "Where are you in your disability process? Are you appealing?"


    I have contacted a disability lawyer and answered their initial questions. That's it. They told me it will take around 2-2 1\2 years until I even get a decision. And even at that point, there's only a 63% chance I get approved (based on some statistics from over 15 years ago. The fact they don't list any more recent data makes me think the approval process now is probably less though). Also, the living wage is pretty low (around $1000 a month), hardly enough to live comfortably while seeking to regain one's health.

    "I see you are in an unusual situation"


    Really!? I figured there would be quite a few people in a similar situation to mine. Is it really that unusual?

    "Have you already bought a plane ticket? Are you needing to fly back to a specific state?"


    no to both questions. looking at Montana as a preference.

    "Services are so different in different areas, but I believe there are places that have great programs and will help people get set up with free housing and other services -- if you are not tied to be any particular state or area you may have much better luck connecting with something good"

    Unfortunately I'm not sure where to begin or even who to contact at this point. More importantly I don't have the energy to do this alone. To make it more difficult as you most likely know, no one will believe I'm actually sick and in need of help and thus will only make things more difficult requesting energy I already do not have. (I have been out of the country for almost the entire time I've had CFS and do not have a professional diagnosis to go off of. No doctors here have ever even heard of CFS let alone will acknowledge there is some illness they do not know of)
    I've been homeless in the past and I'm well aware of the stress and energy required to look into, contact, follow up, find, decide and just begin receiving services let alone continue. it's exhausting, and that's when I was young, had health, energy and the belief that there was nothing that could stop me.
    still, if this is my only option, all I can do is pray and be thankful that at least there's something and some people out there who are actively trying to help people like us.
    Bless those that do it from the heart m(_ _)m
     
  6. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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    Hi engine,

    I understand about not being able to do things on your own. I think if you could find a program to connect to you might be able to get some more assistance. Do you feel well enough to send out emails? If I were you that is what I would do, I would start emailing every program I can find. Just write up a simple letter saying that I am disabled and poor and becoming homeless and moving to their area and ask if they have any housing available or suggestions, and then send it a lot of places.

    There is a very good program called SOAR that assists people with disability applications -- they usually do initial applications, they don't always work with appeals. I am in touch with someone who works there, if you want I could write her and ask if she has any suggestions for where the best SOAR programs are in the country -- they are often connected to homeless nonprofits and/or behavioral health agencies.

    I think it will be good for your application to be back in the states. It could be difficult to get approved abroad.

    Yes, i think it is unusual to apply for disability while you are out of the country -- I'm sure people do, but I haven't met anyone who has.

    70% of initial applications are denied, please don't give up hope, most people who stay with it do get on in the end.

    I believe there probably is a great homeless services program out there, just a question of finding it.

    May I ask if you sent back the appeal request? I believe it has a 60 day deadline. Though it could be 90 days?

    Yes, around a 60%-70% approval rate for hearings is still correct. If you want I can send you the list of which states have the highest approval rates. The highest is hawaii... but too expensive to live there.

    I think you are doing the right thing by reaching out and looking into this now. I think if you are able to keep looking there will be a program somewhere that can assist you.

    p.s. is your diagnosis physical only, or both physical and mental illness? sometimes more services are available for mental
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2016
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  7. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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    hi engine

    if you decide you want to contact programs here's a few you could try. i believe there will be some place out there that can help you, it just may take some reaching out

    homeless programs that have staff members that help with disability applications
    http://welcomehouseky.org/programs-services/housing/

    https://www.pathwaystohousingdc.org/

    http://www.columbushouse.org/

    http://coloradodbs.org/

    other homeless programs/ supportive housing

    http://duluthcatholicwork.wix.com/loavesandfishes

    http://www.catholicworker.org/communities/directory.html

    http://www.virginiasupportivehousing.org/how-we-help/

    https://www.mercyhousing.org/find-housing

    http://www.centralcityconcern.org/services/health-recovery/old-town-recovery-center/
     
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  8. enginewitty

    enginewitty

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    Hi KitCat ^^

    Thanks so much for the replies and resources galore!!!

    Due to my condition, I don't think I could stay in a shelter, or even in a house with roommates (if I had the money) but I will look into some of those as my energy permits and if I can't find a car.
    On that note, I've decided to try and find help getting an old van (preferably a van but an RV or car is also acceptable) to live in. I think given my circumstances, this would presently be the best option.

    "There is a very good program called SOAR that assists people with disability applications -- they usually do initial applications, they don't always work with appeals. I am in touch with someone who works there, if you want I could write her and ask if she has any suggestions for where the best SOAR programs are in the country -- they are often connected to homeless nonprofits and/or behavioral health agencies."

    That would be awesome :) I'm not sure what kind of services are even out there right now. I've been out of the country for a decade+ so if there is something/someone that could help, I'd feel blessed.

    "Yes, i think it is unusual to apply for disability while you are out of the country -- I'm sure people do, but I haven't met anyone who has."

    Oh I see what you meant by "unusual". I thought you were referring to having no money and no one to help. I figured there would be quite a few of us in that boat. Hence the reason for this post.

    "May I ask if you sent back the appeal request?"


    Yes, I did. For some reason, they took 2 weeks to get back to me and then someone different from the same office greeted me by requesting me to send them the same information as though it had never been received. I wrote them back today after boosting my energy with a bunch of coffee. Hopefully things can move forward there but I was thinking with the wait to just start receiving benefits being so long, it's probably a good idea to apply with a few firms. So please, if you're still in touch with someone over at SOAR, I'd love to hear what they can offer.

    Are you personally unaware of programs that assist people with financial resources in situations like these until their benefits come through?

    "Yes, around a 60%-70% approval rate for hearings is still correct. If you want I can send you the list of which states have the highest approval rates. The highest is hawaii... but too expensive to live there."


    Yes please!! That would be wonderful :D

    "p.s. is your diagnosis physical only, or both physical and mental illness? sometimes more services are available for mental"

    technically, no diagnosis.. Asia's pretty archaic in their knowledge of western medicine and that's essentially all that's practiced here in Tokyo. Actually, I'm not even sure how to answer this question but symptom-wise, even though my body is pretty physically messed up I'm able to use it almost well enough to work. the fatigue is the main part and that affects my energy levels, memory and concentration. however I can physically feel where the fatigue is in my head so.... your guess is as good as mine.

    Thanks again ^^
     
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  9. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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    hi engine

    you are very smart to be looking into this now before you arrive back. I feel like there will be a good program out there that can help you, if we can find it...

    housing -
    Some housing first programs are not shelters or roommates, they are efficiencies, but I don't know how hard they are to get into or how long are the waiting lists. If you can go anywhere in the country may have a lot more options.

    van-
    I've got to respectfully disagree with this one. If there is a way to connect to a program that has housing or assistance, even with roommates, I think you will be able to take better care of yourself.

    soar -
    I will write to the person I know at SOAR and ask what she thinks the best program is in the country.

    The list I sent you above, the first few on the list all have trained SOAR workers there.

    SOAR is different than lawyers. Some SOAR programs will still work with you even if you have a lawyer. If you don't have a diagnosis yet, it may be difficult to find a lawyer. Do you have medical records? Can you request and collect these records? I don't think Social Security will be collecting your records from Japan, you can't count on it. You can collect them and submit them yourself.

    appeal -
    It would help me to understand a little about how you are applying for disability. Did you work in the US?

    In order to apply for SSDI you need to have worked.

    In order to apply for SSI, you don't need a work record but you do need to live in the country.

    So, I don't know how long you have been in Japan. I'm just trying to figure what you are eligible for and what it is you have been applying for.

    other resources -
    Some states give a small amount of temporary disability, but it would be nearly impossible to get without medical records. :(

    You will also be able to get food stamps if you don't have much money in your bank account.

    If I were you I would start contacting some programs and seeing if any of them have resources in their area.

    I haven't figured out how to do the quote thing like you did in your post.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2016
  10. enginewitty

    enginewitty

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    Hi KitCat

    As for the medical records, that's a no. I went to a plethora of different doctors years ago trying to just get some help until I learned to recognize what my girlfriend at the time was telling me. In short, everyone in this culture has the same train of thought about everything, so it doesn't matter how many doctors I go to, they're all gonna say the same thing. And unfortunately, she was right.

    As there are no tests for CFS here either and for the most part even if you tell them that's what you have, they just look at you with a blank stare because they've never heard of it. so the only medical records I might be able to get a hold of are for general check-up/blood test stuff, which, were of course, all normal (enough anyways) I think about as far as I was able to get here was testing for anemia which was a negative. To your knowledge is there still any value in obtaining these kinds of records?? It seems even if there is that I could get the same tests done automatically in The US via medicaid, etc.

    As for SSDI and SSI, I was born and raised in The US. I left for Japan when I was in college. I have worked but I don't think I ever held a full-time job in The States.

    Andy
     
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  11. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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    Hi Andy,

    I totally understand about not being able to get a good diagnosis. Many people with cfs go through this.

    Did they give you any kind of diagnosis? Quite frankly, even if their diagnosis was wrong, you can still get on disability for it. For example, if the doctors all think you are crazy and label you with a psych condition, you can get on for that, even if you know in your heart that the real problem is CFS.

    When they wrote you the denial for disability, do you remember what it said? I am wondering if you were disqualified on a technicality. For SSDI you need to have paid social security taxes to the U.S. And for SSI you need to be in the country. When you worked in Japan was U.S. Social security tax taken out of your check?

    So, good that you are coming back! :) I'm not sure you would be eligible from Japan.

    Yes, if you come back and get on medicaid, and build up a medical history here I think that will help you.

    The person at SOAR wrote me back but did not recommend a particular program. If I were you, I would try contacting the links I sent above and let me know if those do not work out I can look for more. Also, let me know if there is a particular program or area that interests you so we can look up the medicaid regs in that state. In some states, you will have no problem getting on medicaid, in other states they won't let you on at all!

    If you don't mind me asking: do you have a psych diagnosis? it seems like there are a lot more programs that help homeless people with a mental health diagnosis.

    p.s. I thought about it a little more. It's possible they would allow you to apply for SSI while in Japan, but you couldn't collect any money until in the states.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
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  12. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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  13. enginewitty

    enginewitty

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    Hey there ^^

    "Did they give you any kind of diagnosis?"


    a few were honest and admitted they didn't know what was wrong with me but were unwilling to help because of it.
    some others just told me I was making it up or that I was just working too hard and needed to get some good rest over the weekend.
    and then the arrogant ones were totally fine saying, and I quote, "well (since all of your labs came up in the "normal range") then you must be depressed." Essentially they were so unwilling to admit that they didn't know what was consuming so much of my energy that they were willing to throw a potentially life-debilitating diagnosis around without a second thought. At least that's how I see it. I'm pretty sure I could easily get someone to give me a psych diagnosis in The States if I just looked all sad the whole time, just so long as I could restrain myself from getting pissed and telling em to fuck off.
    Did you know that out of all careers, I believe doctors have the shortest life span? The health system (if you can even call it that) we must adhere to is anything but healthy.

    anyway, that was off topic and it's not directed at anyone other those people who put their ego above people's health. it does make me angry though.. like, is it really that hard to entertain the idea that maybe, there's even a 1% possibility that the people sitting in front of you pleading for help might actually be telling the truth?

    okay, rant finished ^^

    but yeah, I'm pretty sure I could get a psych diagnosis given to me pretty easily. I just don't want to though. just the stigma of it, that diagnosis will stay with you as long as you're in the system. On top of that, you have to go see docs regularly to further back up that "fact", it can really send you in the wrong direction and I'm not opting for that. I'm trying to get better and although I understand your point I'd rather approach the situation as honestly as possible and see what works out this way, even though, things are not working out well at all...yet.

    "When they wrote you the denial for disability, do you remember what it said?"


    Have never been denied. This is my first time applying. I'm not sure why it's taking so long to get a reply from this firm but I've been waiting to hear from them for a while as to whether or not they can even start an application with me.

    "For SSDI you need to have paid social security taxes to the U.S."


    I want to say I paid taxes but I honestly can't remember. As most of my jobs were part-time, if I even did pay taxes it would have been a ridiculously small amount. If I remember correctly though, the only time I filled out a tax form was for a return. I'm guessing that's not gonna help with SSDI?

    "And for SSI you need to be in the country. When you worked in Japan was U.S. Social security tax taken out of your check?"

    no.

    "The person at SOAR wrote me back but did not recommend a particular program. If I were you, I would try contacting the links I sent above and let me know if those do not work out I can look for more. Also, let me know if there is a particular program or area that interests you so we can look up the medicaid regs in that state. In some states, you will have no problem getting on medicaid, in other states they won't let you on at all!"


    Thank you for asking for me :) I greatly appreciate that m(_ _)m
    I checked most of the links you sent but communal housing is just not an option for me. As much as I don't want to live on the street, if it came down to it, that would probably feel easier right now.
    Because of that I started checking on my own but didn't get too far.
    My biggest concern is having a place to call home/transportation and being able to pay for repairs, gas, camping, etc. when necessary. So as far as programs go it seems like I'm gonna need some temporary cash assistance for this... unless somebody can give me another idea. I'm naturally a pretty resourceful person but when your energy levels are regularly around 15-20% of what you would consider healthy/normal, even when you're able to come up with alternative solutions, finding the energy to engage in those is well.. not entirely feasible to say the least.
    Are you aware of any temp cash assistance programs?

    If you're willing to look for other programs I'd greatly appreciate it m(_ _)m I've only got a couple weeks left on my visa and still don't even have the cash to fly out yet. I can appeal to The US embassy but I've tried that before and it's not only way too time and energy consuming but they revoke your passport until you can pay back the loan to fly you home despite the reasoning. As CFS sufferers typically don't recover, I'm not trying to have my passport taken away and make myself even further financially less than in control in the process. Then again, it is what it is. Just hope another option pops up.

    As for areas, yes!! Most of the states bordering the west coast and in that area. In order it would look something like:
    Montana
    Wyoming
    Idaho
    Utah
    Alaska
    Colorado
    Nevada
    Arizona

    something like that :)

    I'm also very interested in Canada. Just don't think I could get health or food help up there..

    "So, good that you are coming back! :)"

    Thanks :) I feel the same
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
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  14. enginewitty

    enginewitty

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  15. Jennifer J

    Jennifer J Senior Member

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    Hi, Andy (@enginewitty).

    General Relief (Welfare) is an option. It's not much but helps. Each city and probably state has different amounts and requirements. Some may not even have it.:eek: Where I live the amount is very low, I'm told lower than other areas. I think you have to pay it back with any back pay you get from SSDI, at least you do where I live. They also want you to be able to work while on it, but a waiver can make it so you don't have to, if you can't because of health. It also was a 6 week process to get it. This is my experience from 8 years ago. Not sure if it's better now and how it is in other cities.

    Here's part of what I wrote in another post and thread:

    I don't remember which program (General Relief or Food Stamps), you need to have a home. Can't be homeless and get it. If you can have a home address that will help.

    @KitCat, and everyone else, thank you for helping. :)

    Andy, I know it's a lot with being so limited and without more help. I hope little by little more things are coming together for you. Wish I could do more.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2016
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  16. enginewitty

    enginewitty

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    You're doing more than most Jennifer :)
    I greatly appreciate it m(_ _)m

    That stipend sounds like it might be borderline feasible tho. If I use my friend's address and combine it with food stamps I might have enough to survive provided everything is smooth sailing. more than likely I would need some other temporary supplemental income but for now, that sounds pretty awesome :D I'll check it out!

    Thanks! :D
     
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  17. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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  18. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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    damn, why can't I figure out how to make the good quotes like everyone else does?
     
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  19. KitCat

    KitCat be yourself. everyone else is already taken.

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    Andy

    I found where SOAR has the highest success rate in the country. 96% success for Ssi applications! philadelphia. Of course you still need some kind of medical records.

    if doctors told you that you are depressed, they may have put that diagnosis in your records. If you think you can get those records, that could help you.

    oh, sorry, just read the rest of your post. I totally respect your decision on this.

    I am just going tell you what I have found by looking some more online. I am just providing info here, so you know what I know.

    services for mental health:
    there are services in most places for people who are homeless and have serious mental illness
    there are many housing and supportive housing programs -- I don't know what the waiting lists are, but I know many many programs exist.
    there are many soar programs that assist with disability applications
    there are public hospitals and mental health agencies everywhere - again may be waiting lists but they exist and all take medicaid
    there are many many people on disability

    Services for cfs

    there are some soar programs that will assist with physical disability applications, but much less
    there are very few cfs specialist in the country -- I have no idea if any take medicaid
    I couldn't find any housing programs that serve people who are not on disability already -- not saying they don't exist but I couldn't find them
    it is hard to get on disability for cfs to the best of my knowledge

    ====

    oh, I don't know why I thought you were appealing your disability case. I must have totally misunderstood something.

    I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but I believe you will not be able to find a lawyer right now. there is no way for a lawyer to make money off your case at the moment. if you continue to appeal, you could find one in a year or two.

    You can get free help from SOAR, which in my opinion is much better than a lawyer for initial applications anyway. I don't know if they can do a lot without some kind of medical records.

    from what you have described I feel like you would be applying for SSI. I feel pretty sure, but you can double check if you wish by creating an online account at social security website and looking up what it says about your eligibility.

    SSI is $733/month. your work history does not matter.

    Sounds like you have a good idea looking into general relief

    If I were you I would still contact those other agencies, see what homeless services they have available... even if you don't want the housing, they may be able to help with applying for disability, medicaid, food stamps, etc.

    I wondered about Canada too! I do not know if you could use services there if you are not a citizen?

    but if you want to live outdoors... I would prefer to live somewhere really warm? No?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2016
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  20. enginewitty

    enginewitty

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    "I am just going tell you what I have found by looking some more online. I am just providing info here, so you know what I know."


    cool. thanks ^^

    "there are public hospitals and mental health agencies everywhere - again may be waiting lists but they exist and all take medicaid"


    Really?? I do have one stigma regarding medicine- it needs to be holistic/natural. I'm guessing there may not be as many options if this is the case?

    "I don't want to be the bearer of bad news, but I believe you will not be able to find a lawyer right now. there is no way for a lawyer to make money off your case at the moment. if you continue to appeal, you could find one in a year or two."


    Yeah, I was feeling that way and just got email confirmation today that they can't help me. I feel like SSI/SSDI are at the very least gonna be a long uphill battle from here and in the wrong direction also so wanna refocus my energy toward other possibilities for now.

    "there are some soar programs that will assist with physical disability applications, but much less
    there are very few cfs specialist in the country -- I have no idea if any take medicaid
    I couldn't find any housing programs that serve people who are not on disability already -- not saying they don't exist but I couldn't find them
    it is hard to get on disability for cfs to the best of my knowledge"


    Yeah, that was my impression especially after my experience here in Japan, but people on my posts seemed encouraging so Ive been more optimistic toward it. guess we'll have to see...

    "You can get free help from SOAR, which in my opinion is much better than a lawyer for initial applications anyway. I don't know if they can do a lot without some kind of medical records."


    cool. I'm gonna need food stamps and medicaid also so I mind as well give em a holler. I haven't been referenced this organization from anyone else so, thanks for bringing it to the table ^^

    "from what you have described I feel like you would be applying for SSI. I feel pretty sure, but you can double check if you wish by creating an online account at social security website and looking up what it says about your eligibility."


    nice :)

    "SSI is $733/month. your work history does not matter."


    very nice :D will check into this. my biggest issue is coming up with the money for a van and all the conversions and monthly expenses that come along with it. If I could get that, even temporarily, that would be enough to do something with and live off of :)
    'll check the requirements.

    "If I were you I would still contact those other agencies, see what homeless services they have available... even if you don't want the housing, they may be able to help with applying for disability, medicaid, food stamps, etc."


    will keep that in mind :)

    "I wondered about Canada too! I do not know if you could use services there if you are not a citizen?"


    exactly. sounds wonderful though :)

    "but if you want to live outdoors... I would prefer to live somewhere really warm? No?"

    cool in the summer, warm in the winter. one of the many pluses of #vanlife :)

    thanks so much again for all the info and thoughts you send my way. it's REALLY helpful ^^

    Andy
     

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