Welfare options for the formerly middle class?
January 9, 2010 8:44 PM Subscribe
What kinds of social assistance are available for members of the middle class who get caught in the current economic downturn?
My partner and I were doing everything right - good educations, student loans paid off early, a smallish mortgage on a house we could afford, decent jobs, and our consumer debt generally is just one credit card with a balance under $5K. We were living fairly frugally, and within our means. One of us is a wage slave, the other, a grad student.
Then the layoffs came. Our state unemployment insurance just ran out (Illinois), and the job market is bleak. Our savings are now depleted, and a grad student stipend only goes so far. We had a baby last year (the same week as the layoff!), health insurance that runs out at the end of this month, no chance for COBRA, and we need help, but have no idea where to even start or what kind of help exists for people like us. We don't have family to turn to for financial help.
I know welfare exists, in theory (because talk radio guys are always yelling about it!), but I don't even really know what that means, in terms of actual help, or where to turn in terms of government or nonprofit resources to find financial help. What kinds of state/federal assistance is available to help keep families like ours afloat?