Whether you have worked a large portion of your adult life or have been receiving disability benefits for many years, there is one thing that is probably always true: it’s just plain hard to live on disability benefits that are well below the poverty level. Most people on disability do receive some other form of aid in addition to SSI checks each month, but Food Stamps and Medicaid aren’t enough to fill in the gaps and certainly can’t be used for housing, electric and other utilities. Then there is clothing and what about staples such as toiletries and household cleaning goods? With most people living on disability receiving monetary benefits no greater than $1,050 per month, you can see how it is hard for them to cope.
In most areas of the country it is difficult to get even a one bedroom apartment for less than $700 so think about what this means in terms of budget. In some areas that figure is extremely low (such as in major cities around the country) and sometimes that disability check is no greater than $850 to $900 a month. One thing you can do is to diligently watch the waiting list for HUD on the Section 8 voucher program. The waiting list only opens up infrequently so you need to be vigilant. When it opens up, get your name on the waiting list but understand that this doesn’t mean you are guaranteed a voucher and also how long you will need to wait until your number reaches the top. There are places that operate with a sliding scale and those may be easier to get into quickly, but again, there is no telling how long their waiting lists are either.
Telephone, Electric and Utilities
Perhaps the one thing you can do instantly is to apply for a free government paid phone. Once you qualify you will need to reapply annually and they will pay for your cell phone for the entire year. Information on how to locate this program in your area can be found online. Click here to start the application process today. When it comes to help with electric and utility bills, there are organizations that fund this type of assistance and they usually will pay one bill within a 12 month period. If it means keeping the lights on or having water to clean with or drink, you should start looking around today. These agencies are out there and the best place to get contact information would most likely be online or through your worker at the Social Services office.
Clothing and Household Goods
Many sites like Freecycle and Craigslist have people posting useful items for free. It’s often just a matter of picking them up. Other times you can find what you need at local churches that have clothing drives one or more times a year. Household goods are often another story altogether so many of these you will need to purchase from your disability check or do without.
Because the cost of living continues to skyrocket without a comparable increase in benefits, many disabled consumers are simply unable to survive on what they are bringing in. If you or someone you love is having this type of problem, the above-mentioned resources are a great place to start looking for that extra bit of help you are in need of. The one thing that should give you hope is that help is really out there. It may take time to find it but it is there so don’t give up.