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Running out of freelance work

Discussion in 'Finances, Work, and Disability' started by erist, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. erist

    erist

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    For the past many years, I have been lucky enough to have a job doing research and writing for a non-profit on policy issues I was greatly concerned about. I had a very understanding supervisor who let me work from home when needed, work odd hours, leave in the middle of the day to take long naps, and finally move to a 1/2 time telecommuting schedule that allowed me to work from home about 20 hours a week and still keep my health insurance. However, he left the non-profit and the new ED laid off a bunch of people in a restructuring, which of course included the person who was working from home (gasp!).

    So I have been surviving on freelance work as I can find it and as I am able. My COBRA payment for health insurance is near $600 a month, but I don't dare give it up, especially now that I hae a lyme diagnosis. My insurance is pretty good at reimbursing things, and I can see any doctors or any specialists I want without preauthorization.

    There is no way I can work a 40 hour a week job period, and no way I can work at a job that requires me to be anywhere on a very rigid schedule. Some days I can some days I can't, you know how it goes. But freelance work is drying up, and I have no idea what I will do next.

    I feel so frustrated. If I could get better, I would for sure have the energy and the skills and the intelligence to offer many things to the world. As it is I sit behind my computer screen and occasionally program websites, which in my own personal head, doesn't offer much to the world, just keeps a roof over my head.

    I don't really have anything I'm asking here I guess, just venting. I know I can't get disability, despite 10+ years of psychiatric diagnoses and 5+ years of CFIDS diagnosis and now a lyme diagnosis. Nor could I deal with the stress of applying for it.

    I just hope I can somehow find enough work to keep going. I am cashing out my retirement plan next month. That will give me a few months buffer, but not as much as I hoped, especially with upwards of $2000/month in medical bills (and that's with insurance)
  2. GracieJ

    GracieJ Senior Member

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    Erist, I feel your pain. It is such a Catch-22 scenario trying to keep a roof overhead with this illness. I do know how you feel with the venting. My own story follows a similar thread, and it amazes me that people can walk into the story down the road a bit and think it is just poor money management or something. (I am being sooo nice with that!) If it were me, I would be taking a hard look at every piece I was doing medically and streamline it. Is moving a possibility? I know that is expensive, but any place you can trim helps prolong survival. So sorry you have to cash out your retirement plan. This gets you coming and going, it seems. There will be a way, somehow. Hang in there!

    I sold all my furniture, was homeless temporarily, endured angry tirades from family for supposed shortcomings... Enough said? I could go on and on.. Same story, different details, all that. So many here have had to travel a similar road.

    It can get better, and will. I have another chapter on my story, one that is about being okay and making it okay, feeling better, doing better, moving into some security in many ways.
    ggingues likes this.
  3. erist

    erist

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    Everything is a catch-22. AND I am lucky enough to have a retirement plan. AND I have at least some sort of insurance. AND if worse comes to worst I have family that will put me up and feed me. God forbid anyone who is actually poor gets sick in this country. I spend too much on medical stuff, but then again I would spend the vast majority of everything I would ever make for the rest of my life if I knew it would get me better. My LLMD wants me to put a $3k rife machine on my credit card. That seems like an unnecessary expense to me and too woo-woo, too unproven. But supplements? Good organic food when all I eat is meat and vegetables and lentils? Not a lot of cuts to be made at this point...live in a small apartment, grow a lot of food in a garden, eat out too much but...*sigh* At this point honestly I don't care about retirement. I'm in my 30s. I have no idea how long I'll live, if I'll get well, or if the global economic system will collapse by the time I could cash it out anyway. I take a huge cut of it in taxes of course, but c'est la vie. Sorry again for venting, just a bad night tonight health wise. No optimism left in me for the day. Thanks for support.
  4. aquariusgirl

    aquariusgirl Senior Member

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    find a disability advocate who speciales in cfs... and get some professional to give u a depression diagnosis on top of everything else.. that might get u disability. I don't think u can afford to rule it out.
    SickOfSickness and ggingues like this.
  5. erist

    erist

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    I have a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, CFIDS/ME, lyme disease, chronic non-bacterial prostatitis, various endocrine disorders. I don't think it matters. I am too functional for disability, too dysfunctional to work fulltime and everyone and their sister is trying to get disability at the moment because no one has jobs. I don't need lawyers snooping through my facebook page proving that I went out with friends to a birthday party on a Friday night or something and claiming that is why I shouldn't get disability. I could prove 10+ years of hardship and different doctors seen for depression, endocrine stuff, chronic fatigue, etc etc etc. I will look into it, but I am not very optimistic....
  6. Vincent

    Vincent Senior Member

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    Baltimore, Maryland USA
    I don't remember the exact stats but I do remember reading on a disability lawyer's blog that disability claims have greatly increased over the last few years. I do remember reading that disability rolls have doubled since 1980. We need a national referendum in this country to figure out why everyone IS SO SICK. Why people, quite literally, work their internal body systems, TO DEATH.

    They don't read your facebook, unless you are talking about private LTD (long term disability) company; they can, and do, put investigators on people and follow them around town, etc. The government doesn't do any of that stuff. If you have the medical documentation and the work difficult track record you could win. Keep in mind it will take years and you lawyer takes a cut, though the cut is up to a maximum by law.
  7. Shell

    Shell Senior Member

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    Erist - I hope you find a way to make ends meet. I really believe families are supposed to help in these kinds of crisis, and yet so often they wont. It's just sad.

    This is an important question. One of the reasons the nasty Labour Govt set up Atos to come after us was because the claims for DLA, Incapacity and Sickness benefits have sky rocketed. One of the reasons the equally nasty Co-Govt are following through with Atos is there are "too many" sick people. Yet, as you say VIncent, no one seems to be asking WHY so many of us are so sick.
    Those of us struggling with FMS/ME/cfs and Dysautonomic disorders can say "Well, if there was the research, we wouldn't be so sick," but I don't think that's true.
    One of the most high profile highly funded and highly resourced diseases in the western world is cancer in most of it's forms. And yet cancer rates continue to climb and people are still very sick and dying of it.
    While medics try to blame the patient - (I am sick to death of the "do you smoke" "drink" "eat crap" questions) - no one seems interested in those people who have had an ostensibly healthy lifestyle and are dropping like flies.

    Ernst - how 'bout writing some stuff about ME and sending it to publications? You never know...
  8. caledonia

    caledonia

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    Cincinnati, OH, USA
    Why don't you interview several lawyers and/or a service like Allsup and let them tell you what your chances of getting disability are, instead of just assuming. If you can't work full time, then you're eligible.

    The lawyer that I used 10 years ago is now taking on clients from the beginning of the process, whereas before, he made me wait until I had applied for myself and was denied twice. So I'm guessing this is a general trend in the industry (probably due to pressure from Allsup and Binder & Binder taking away clients). So if that's the case, you can let your lawyer/rep do most of the work.

    Since you already got laid off, I think that would rule out LTD. So that would mean SSDI. Like the previous poster said, they don't have the resources to spy on you. I actually saw a news article on how some judges are just waving people through because they're under such pressure to reduce the backload.

    Once you're actually on disability, then you can cash out the 401k without penalty. You can also work part time up to the Substantial Gainful Activity limit (about $1000 a month).

    Ok, so have I convinced you to file yet? - lol
  9. Marlène

    Marlène Senior Member

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  10. Ocean

    Ocean Senior Member

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    I wouldn't assume applying for dis. is that stressful. Sometimes things are more intimidating in our anticipation of them than in reality. You don't have much to lose by applying, and you have a lot to gain. First application will almost certainly be automatic denial, then you appeal. You do not need a lawyer although it certainly could help. Sometimes nonprofits have lawyers who help with applying or give tips on applying without charging you a fee. Keep in mind if you get disability you will eventually be eligible for Medicare and can skip the huge COBRA payment. You can still do some freelance while on disability also. If they find you've been disabled for many years, you'll get a large lump sump payment of retroactive benefits. I feel like it would be a major win win on just about every level for you. Just my two cents.
  11. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    I too think you should try to apply. Yes its a nightmare applying when one is sick but as these things take years.. probably best to be trying to apply now. I put off applying for disability for many years longer then I should of done just cause I couldnt handle the stress of applying. (and it was as bad as I thought but Im just so glad I get it now after a long fight for it.. Im in a different country to you but I went throu 3 appeals before I got it).
  12. Shell

    Shell Senior Member

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    I know what you mean about the ordeal of applying for benefits. Do you have someone close who is sensible and could apply for you or with you?
    My SIL did my forms at the time as I was too ill to do it.
    If not a family or friend maybe whatever you side of the pond's equivalent of Citizen's Advice? Also I know there are people in the Salvation Army who help with this kind of thing or St. Vincent dePaul Society.
    Just having someone to support you through the process could make all the difference.
    taniaaust1 likes this.
  13. taniaaust1

    taniaaust1 Senior Member

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    Shell's suggestion with getting another to help you with forms and dealing with them also would help them to realise just how sick you are too.

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