Government Grant Money For Daughter And Disabled Mother To Start Over
(Brookeland, Texas, USA)
I am 34, single, female, with no children. Although not disabled myself, I'm directly affected by my mother's disability.
My mother and I both grew up in Oregon, one of the most beautiful and diverse states in our nation.
She was born in 1953 in The Dalles, and I was born in 1977 in Portland, living the first several years of my life in Scappoose.
My parents divorced when I was eight years old because my mother didn't want me to grow up around my drug-addicted father.
We moved to Milwaukie, Oregon, a pleasant suburb of Portland. I had a happy childhood.
When I was an adult I moved out on my own for a few years, but when my step-father suddenly died of an aneurysm in 2000, I moved back in with my mother to help her with the bills and the mountain of credit card debt my step-father left her with.
She received no life insurance after his death as he left his two children as beneficiaries. After his death we were both written off by his family whose lives we had been a part of for years. Though not blood-related, my mother lost the grandchildren she loved, and I lost my nephews.
In 2003 my mother became ill and her doctors struggled to find a diagnosis. I had a full-time job at the time, but it was impossible for my salary to cover all of our bills.
We refinanced the mortgage on the house and cut out luxuries like cable TV. We also switched to mass transit, which eliminated the cost of car insurance, upkeep and gasoline.
As I'm sure you are aware, it can often take years to get on disability if you have an undiagnosed illness. Our financial situation worsened when I began having to miss work to care for my mother on bad days.
I am an only child, so there are no siblings to help me, and all of our relatives lived in the southern part of the country.
We had even rented out the extra bedroom in the house to a young couple, but they eventually found an apartment of their own to live in and moved out and we were never able to get a new renter for the room.
We were just a couple of months away from losing the house, knowing we couldn't make the mortgage payments, and after we were denied a second refinance request.
We made a very tough decision in the spring of 2004 to sell the house and move south to be near my mom's sister (in fact living in an RV on their property).
As a "housewife" with time available, my aunt promised she would help me care for my mother while I worked for my uncle at his cabin rental business. It was a guaranteed job and guaranteed help with my mother.
After a few-too-many falls from the stairs of the RV we were living in, we moved my mother into my aunt and uncle's spare bedroom where we were able to install handicap aids like toilet and shower bars, bars on her bed and a railing in the hallway.
Everything started out fine but swiftly went downhill after about a year or so. I had been promised I would get paid enough to get my own apartment just down the road, but instead, even now seven years later, I still live in the RV, which is old and beginning to deteriorate.
I still don't make enough money to get my own apartment and pay my bills at the same time. It's cheaper for my uncle to "support" me in this RV than to pay me enough to get my own place.
The nearest specialists that my mother's primary care physician could refer her to are almost two hours away from where we live in Brookeland, Texas.
Sometime after the first year, my aunt suddenly declared that she could no longer take my mother to her doctor appointments because they were too far away and my uncle didn't want her to do it anymore, nor did he want my mother living with them anymore, claiming it was too expensive and causing too much stress.
On the contrary, my mother had finally qualified for disability benefits and was paying rent and buying her own groceries. My mom spent most of her days in bed sleeping, but was still fully capable of using the toilet and showering with no assistance and she was also still able to walk and eat by herself and help clean around the house.
Since my mother had finally qualified for disability (which had taken about two years and she had had to hire a disability lawyer) the decision was made, not by my mother and without consulting me, that my mother would have to move to an assisted living center closer to her doctor's offices.
Moving my mother to Beaumont, Texas meant that she was two hours away from me. She lived at the cockroach-infested assisted living center for about four years and I visited her as often as I could when my work schedule allowed and if I wasn't having car troubles (my car is quite old but thankfully paid off).
My mother is now on the correct combination of medications that she can live on her own again, and I was eager to remove her from the assisted living center.
After a change in management, the rent was so high that she struggled financially to pay her other bills and they even charged for meals in their "restaurant" even though the rooms didn't have kitchens in them, leaving the residents with no other option than to eat in the "restaurant" or go to other restaurants.
The part of town that the assisted living center is in doesn't have many restaurants other than Subway and Pizza Hut, and very few of the residents had their own vehicles and there isn't a very good mass transit system in that area of town.
Residents were moving out left and right and even many of the employees were quitting, as they didn't like the working conditions after the change in management.
So this past winter I was finally able to move her back closer to me. Her financial situation hasn't improved very much, of course, because after rent and utilities and bills and groceries she struggles so much that I am in fact paying a few of her bills.
The irony is that her social security benefits pay just enough that she doesn't qualify for low-income housing.
My aunt has begun taking her to her doctor's appointments in Beaumont again, against the wishes of my uncle and he makes my mother (or me, if she can't afford it) pay for a tank of gas.
I try to save money, but living paycheck to paycheck it seems like one step forward, three steps back when I have to transfer money from my savings to cover bills from my checking account. I know it will take several thousand dollars to make the move. It's very disheartening.
My mother and I can get two apartments near each other (as much as we love and rely on each other, we agree that living together is not really an option -- we drive each other crazy).
My job is just unpleasant. Since it is a family run business, I work with relatives and one of my cousins hates everybody and makes all of our lives miserable by verbally cutting us all down, telling us how we are all doing everything wrong, both at work and even our personal lives and how he could do everything better.
The funny part is that my uncle pays him (his son) enough money to move away to live and work somewhere else. He is capable of driving a moving truck or towing a trailer with his truck, whereas my mother and I are not and would have to hire movers and pray that we can afford apartments right away and that I can get a job right away.
My life serves no purpose here. I have a very empty feeling inside. I look back on all of this and see it as the biggest mistake of my life, as a reliable cosigner because I don't have any credit; and vice versa, she cannot cosign a loan for me.
Neither of us has credit cards, just checking accounts and near-empty savings accounts.
I work full time, but live paycheck to paycheck and am having a hard time saving money.
I'm looking for grant money or any kind of financial assistance to help my mom and me escape our dreadful situation.