I'm not married, but other than that my situation is pretty similar.
It took a lot for me to finally accept assistance. The reality is that if I don't get help from some of these programs, I am going to be a permanent drain on the system & that's not good for anyone. Talk to a bankruptcy lawyer. Bankruptcy exists for a reason. It shouldn't be the first choice, but it is a real option. My pastor finally talked me into seeing an attorney after discussing how even back in the Old Testament days people realized that they couldn't have others basically (or literally) enslaved to them over debts forever. My lawyer has been a god-send. He has actually helped me avoid filing for bankruptcy so far by hooking me up with educational resources that have allowed me to work with my credit card companies to get lower interest rates (0% !) and monthly payments. You don't necessarily need an attorney to do that, but I had done everything I could think of -- I actually got 0% for 12 months entirely on my own before I started with him. Call the credit card company & ask for their WorkOut Department.
Call the utilities & ask them what assistance programs they have. Almost every major utility company has some kind of short-term assistance program for people who can't pay their bills. Make sure you deal with the credit card companies first unless you're already behind a couple months on the utilities. You may need to fall behind a month or two to qualify for assistance, but I'm sure you have plenty of other bills to pay with that money anyways.
Go to a food bank & get whatever food you can get. Just because you're getting food stamps doesn't mean you can't also get assistance from a private food bank. Your local religious organization (church, synagogue, temple) or the local United Way or Salvation Army can direct you to food banks in your area. They won't cover everything, but it's a start.
For the pain meds (& any other meds) the other members have already listed a bunch of options. Here are 4 more:
a) go to /www.pparx.org/
to find out about
assistance programs in your area
b) go to www.easydrugcard.com/
for discounts on expensive generic meds -- in one case I save $1800/month for a single medicine
c) for name brand meds go to the manufacturer's website & look for their prescript
ion assistance program (Pfizer Pfriends, CephalonCares, etc.). I've found ways to get 2 of my meds for free for up to 12 months since I don't have prescript
d) call (don't schedule an appointment, just call the office) your/your husband's doctors' offices & explain the situation and ask for any samples they can give you or coupons they can give you. you'd be surprised what they have squirreled away.
For doctor's appointments, try to find a free clinic or public hospital. If you need on-going care for something longer term, check out research hospitals or ask about
charity care (esp. popular at Catholic-run hospitals). Also, if you have an established relationship with a particular doctor, ask what kind of deal they can cut you while uninsured. My PM cut his rate by 75% to help me out & gives me script
s to last me for 3 months at a time. Some counselors/psychiatrists will work on a sliding scale for fees. I once had a psychologist who agreed to meet with me for $5-10/session when that was all I could pay.
In Florida, if you meet certain income guidelines, there are programs for free home health care. In addition to the Department of Human Services, you can contact your local United Way. They will send out someone to your home for a set number of hours every week as long as there is a need & you have less than a certain amount of money (I don't remember the amount b/c my gma was above the threshold, but it was pretty high).
Do you have an attorney working on the SSD case? If not, look for one who will take the case on a contingency. Many times the lawyers can get a response very quickly. Also, regardless of what's wrong with him, if he's seriously depressed, put that down rather than that he has nerve damage. For some crazy reason, SSD cases for mental health issues are almost always approved. SSD cases where any other issues are listed, or co-listed with MH issues are often denied the first few times through appeals. If he doesn't have depression or anxiety, definitely don't lie, but if you're thinking that nerve damage surely must be a better reason to not work than depression, the SSD people don't seem to agree. I even worked for a lady with post-polio syndrome & severe grand mal seizures & about
7 other life-threatening or seriously disabling conditions & she's been in a wheelchair practically her whole life and they say they contest her SSD application every time. My lazy friend who has depression only b/c she's an alcoholic & drinks herself into despair gets her application approved without any questions. So wrong, but that's the way it works.
Jobs are just really hard to come by right now. You might consider applying for a retail job. I got something part time in retail. The pay isn't great, but it's something & it gets me out of the house for a bit (which makes me feel better about
myself). Temp jobs are also a possibility. I haven't had much luck the past couple of months, but was doing pretty steady work for the year or so before that as a temp. You could also consider doing volunteer work or an unpaid internship in a field related to your interests. That can be a huge resume booster & also provides great networking opportunities.
Cut yourself a bit of a break about
the job situation, though. They say that probably 25% or more of Americans right now are either unemployed or seriously underemployed. The stats the politicians quote (10%) only include people who've been out of work for less than 2 years, are actively looking for work & are not doing some kind of menial job making a fraction of what they used to bring in. Everyone is struggling so don't be so hard on yourself. Yes, look for work. Spend as much time as possible looking for work. Just know that it takes time. I've been looking for a permanent job for 22 months now. It's just really bleak but I haven't given up & neither should you. :)
Last but not least, housing. Not sure what your situation is with that. If you rent, see if your landlord will allow you to do some work in exchange for reduced rent. Maybe they hire a cleaning service for the common areas & you could do that for them in exchange for a discount on your rent. I know in my old apt. the landlord let a tenant put up flyers that if anyone wanted their garbage taken out to the dumpster they could pay an extra $7.50 per week on their rent & put their trash (up to 3 bags at a time) in the back stairwell before 7am. Many tenants signed up for the service. It nearly covered the cost of that person's monthly rent & people were very happy b/c there were no elevators in our building so it was a huge hassle to try to carry down their trash. If you own, I'll refer back to the attorney. By filing for bankruptcy you can protect your home. There is an automatic delay on foreclosure/eviction once you file bankruptcy. It will give you time to sort things out & possibly work something out with the mortgage company.
I think that covers mostly everything. I'm not sure what to suggest about
borrowing money from the friend. Some people are co-dependent -- they loan out money to others even though they can't cover their own bills b/c they like to feel needed. But if your friend has a good paying job & is simply a kind-hearted soul, take the loan! I absolutely agree with Cat that giving can bless the Giver even more than the Recipient. Maybe the friend was blessed by someone else many years ago & now has the chance to pay it forward. So as long as s/he is financially stable, why not borrow the money now knowing that when someone else is in need & you have the money to lend you will be able to do so graciously, fully understanding how difficult it is to ask for/accept money from a friend?
Really, I've helped people out in the past. I've also offered to help a guy out once & he refused. 4 months later he was out on the street & begging to sleep on my couch. I don't let guy friends stay overnight in my home, so I found another friend (a guy) who let my friend stay with him for a while but I just couldn't get over how much greater of a burden it was to find him a home than it would have been to loan him -- or give him -- the money to stay in his prior apartment. I was still glad to help him out, but talked to him about
trying to plan better & choose options with less drama in the future.
I know that's hard to hear. Harder to hear than it is to say & it wasn't easy to say. But it's true for my life & I know it's sometimes true for others. Don't make things out to be more than they are. And don't make things out to be less than they are. Borrowing money from a well-enough-off friend is not a huge deal. Being sick, broke & homeless is a very big deal. We all like to think we're just a week away from a great job, financial stability, better health, etc. but increasingly that's not a very realistic assessment. And if you do get a good job next week, great! Pay your friend back on Pay Day. If you don't get a job right away, you've avoided things getting worse. You've gotten a little bit of help early to avoid having to get a LOT of help later on. I'm still learning that lesson myself, but I think it's a good one. As long as you're not harming someone else, take what help you can get to put yourself in a better position to get on top of things -- job, finances, putting house in order, etc.
And stop hiding things from your husband. He needs to know how bad the situation is. I have nerve pain too & it sucks, but he can't hide his head in the sand. You need his help & he needs to get real about
that your family needs to take advantage of programs designed to help people get their lives put back together. He needs to know that you depend on him to encourage you & love you through this trying time. He needs to know that you can't do this without him. He needs to be a leader in your family & the best way to do that right now besides supporting you emotionally is to start filling out the paperwork so the two of you & your son can get what you need to survive & eventually thrive. I think after the initial shock of it all, you'll find that ending the secret-keeping might even help with your depression (not saying it will go away, just lessen a little bit & every little bit helps).
You are ALWAYS welcome to post here. HW is a GREAT community. Depending on what time you post, you may be waiting for a few hours for a response. Sometimes even a few days, but members are really good about
being there for one another. They have gotten me through some really rough times. I hope we can be there for you too.
blessings & peace,