How to manage my debt and life as a whole
September 19, 2009 12:34 PM Subscribe
How do I get my life on track with high debt and a chronic medical condition?
posted by thegreatcokeolympics to Work & Money (9 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
So i'm 26 years old and have been completely on my own since i was 18. I come from a working class family who lives in a small dying town with no jobs. I knew if I was going to make something of my life in any way, I had to get out of there. Being so young and inexperienced, it's not like I could get a well paying job to support myself. And it's not like my family had any money to give me.
So 5 years ago, I took out many many loans and used that money to move myself across the country to " the big (and expensive) city" to attend college and hopefully start a new life there.
I also used the student loan money to pay for everything I would need to live on (mainly rent because the dorms were more expensive than studio apts, food, and school supplies) and even then it still wasn't enough, so I also worked full time in addition to going to school full time, just to make ends meet.
On top of this, to make matters more complicated, I also have a chronic medical condition. I have had it mildly since I was 10, but never had it addressed, or even diagnosed as to what it was, since my family lacked health insurance.
It was still fairly mild even when I moved here, but through the years got much more serious and I am now in constant daily pain and have some serious breathing issues. I tried to get health insurance on my own, but no plan would cover me due to the pre-existing condition. So I had no choice but to pay out of pocket for all medical expenses. Of course I had no out of pocket money to spare, so I used credit cards to pay all my medical bills.
And I never had enough credit to pay for anything medical that would truly diagnose me, so I resorted to many expensive pain management treatments only to be left with my condition progressively getting worse.
Now flash to present day, 5 years later, and I am $60,000 in debt from school, $10,000 from credit card debt. The job market is scarce and no one is hiring on staff. I've been taking very low pay freelance gigs which don't even amount to half of my expenses.
Currently, my bare minimum expenses amount to $1150 per month.
One of them being a health plan I pay 400 a month for after puting myself on a long waiting list for a government health plan that teams with private insurers to give coverage to high risk people. With this plan I was also able to finally get the tests I needed to diagnose me, only to discover (upon confirmation of 6 different doctor opinions to be sure) that I need a surgery that will cost a minimum of $30,000 depending on where I get it done, while knowing full well my insurance plan will most likely not cover because it is not a common surgery, though results are typically favorable.
I also pay 400 a month to see a physical therapist who I have been seeing for a year and a half and is the only source of pain relief I have found to help me (Insurance only covers 25% of 12 sessions a year, which I have already maxed out) Then pay 300 a month for my credit cards and 50 for my cell phone. And every 3 months, pay 150 forbearance fee for my student loans. That is it.
I had to leave my apartment and move in with a friend who is letting me stay there rent free until I figure something out. They are also fortunate enough to make a decent living and have been loaning me money to help pay my bills, eat their food, and use their computer. If anything, they've almost become my surrogate parent and it makes me feel like shit for puting them in that position, but I simply don't know what else to do.
I would get a second job anywhere I could find, but not only have those jobs even been hard to come by, but my health simply won't allow it at this point. I am extremely distressed, depressed, and hopeless. The biggest issues of all is the health and everything else seems to stem from it to make all the other problems worse. I don't know how much more bare minimum I can get in terms of cutting my budget when I'm already miserable and in so much pain.
I have considered going on disability, but I don't know if I would count since I still have been able to work, so long as the work isn't strenuous and I don't have to be on my feet all day.
I've considered welfare and bankruptcy but I'm not too sure how they work or if I would have to give up making enough money to pay for everything I need just to qualify. Or if bankruptcy will just ruin my credit enough to never be able to rent again.
I want to be responsible and make the best choice that will benefit me in the long run, but I don't know what that is or where to go. I really need some advice or clarity on this, so anything anyone has to say, please I'd love to hear it. Thank you.