We are a couple in our mid-late 40s. I (Joyce) have been on Social Security Disability for almost 7 years. I suffer from sciatica, Hepatitis C (unclean tatoos in the 80s), degenerative disc disease, major depression, anxiety, PTSD (I was sexually abused from the age of 4 - 16), suffered from my first seizure (a major one where I had to be ambulanced to the ER last week) and yet still worked a paper route when I was still in elementary school until I could no longer work as a retail district manager when I was almost 43.
My husband Jeff worked as a bus mechanic for 24 years at the same company, before that working for Ford, TW Smith Aircraft, Midas, and Moxie as a hardworking mechanic. Eventually that work took a toll of his body, he had two failed back surgeries and is left with rods and screws in his back and has to use a scooter/wheelchair for normal activities such as shopping or going to church and ended up having to retire at the young age of 45. As we waited for his retirement to be approved, we lived for 16 months with only my $776 SS income. His retirement was not grandfathered.
I (Joyce) have no medical insurance except Medicare and have no prescription coverage. We both have prescriptions that we are not able to pick up (including several of Jeff's heart medications. He had a heart attack four years ago). Before our illnesses made us disabled, we bought a house that was reasonable, affordable, and modest. When your income is cut 2/3rds, what was small, reasonable, modest, and affordable is no longer any of those. We are doing our best to work with our mortgage holder and avoid foreclosure, lost our main means of transportation, and now rely on our 13 year old vehicle as our only means of transportation.
We have always made it a habit to live frugally. We don't buy new clothing (we thrift shop), buy used, and eat modestly. I was an inner-city missionary for several years and learned that rice, beans, and ramen can go a long way and thift shops actually sell some pretty cool clothes and household goods! We definitely aren't "stuff" people and all monies raised will be used for necessities such as our mortgage, medical bills, utility bills, food, gasoline, clothing, etc. We had both been very active in our community and the world, working hands-on in our city helping those in need, have been to South Africa where the work done there was building homes, gardens, medical and eye clinics, providing food, clothing, and shoes, building schools and orphanages, job training, built the largest AIDS hospice in the country of South Africa. We also support rescuing and aftercare for girls rescued from sex slavery in India and the USA, freeing restaveks (young slaves sold by their families) in Haiti, and a number of other humantarian efforts. (Our photo is from several years ago in South Africa before our health greatly deteriated. We wanted to give you an idea of how we live our lives and where our hearts and values are.)
But we are in trouble. Our unexpected cut in income and my lack of insurance caught us off-guard. Once we get caught up (and maybe a tiny bit ahead), we should once again be in a position to be self-sufficient and givers once again. That's where we need your help. We estimate that it will cost us a minimum of $9000 to get caught up and have maybe another month to save what we'll need to continue on our own. We thank you for listening to our story and will happily supply any other information that you need. Peace and hope to you.