Disabled Judi Seeks Government Grant To Avoid Financial Crisis
(Mountain Home, Arkansas, USA)
Lost in the system... A real story
My name is Judi. I am 44 and disabled. I am facing a crisis situation. This is my story.
In 2007, my husband was fired from a job in Indianapolis where we both worked for Fortune 500 companies. We moved back to our home state of Arkansas, to start up an excavating business.
We used our 401K money and our home equity to survive until money began coming in. To begin the business, we put up all of our assets to secure a loan to start the business. This included placing a lien on our vehicles, 4-wheelers, trailers, tools, etc.
In 2005, I was diagnosed with spinal stenosis, a progressive disorder typically found in the elderly. Although I was in constant pain, I continued to work for a pharmaceutical company, as our lifestyle demanded two incomes. I also suffer from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia syndrome, which was diagnosed in 2000.
After our move back to Arkansas, my health continued to deteriorate to the point I knew I needed to apply for Social Security Disability, which my husband adamantly objected to.
I tried to work part-time for our local school as a substitute teacher, but my symptoms prevented me from even working part-time. In August 2008 I applied for Social Security Disability.
In the early stages of the business, my husband took out an additional loan on a dozer which was in both of our names and then a backhoe and trackhoe in his name.
The business was not generating enough money to pay any more than the interest payments and so the loans have accumulated a substantial increase in the payoff amount.
Over two years, I began seeing my husband becoming less interested in work and more interested in playing games on the computer, often staying up till the wee hours of the night and then not wanting to get up and secure business opportunities. Our 2008 tax documents indicate income less than $20K.
In May 2009, I was admitted into the hospital for two days for conditions related to my disability and when I was released, I returned home to discover my husband was more concerned about the cost of the hospital bill then he was of my health. I knew he was upset, as he did not visit me in the hospital.
I left him and my girls went with me. I was verbally and emotionally abused for years, as my husband could not "accept" I had the medical issues for which I applied for disability. He felt I was in a rut, or depressed, and that I should just shake it off, and get to work.
Two weeks after I left him, I was served divorce papers. My two children and I moved into a home owned by my dad.
Not having any money, I had to borrow money from family members to survive. I applied for food stamps to feed my children and myself.
Over the course of the summer, I had to visit Social Security doctors to assess my health for disability determination. In August, I was awarded disability benefits, but I did not share this with anyone at the advice of my attorney.
Also, in August, my oldest daughter moved in with my husband after a sleepover visit in which he played on her emotions by saying things like he is so lonely he feels like dying.
He also shared with her an incident that occurred over a decade ago in which I hurt him. She became sympathetic to him and angry with me. I encouraged her to stay with me, but she was persistent.
Over Labor Day weekend 2009, my husband's disabled mother moved in with him and my daughter, and is paying all of the bills. In October, my husband drove our daughter to see her boyfriend graduate bootcamp. The truck broke down a couple of hours down the road.
They managed to make the graduation; however, the truck was towed to a mechanic's shop and on their return trip they cleaned the vehicle out, removed the tags and abandoned the truck.
I could not get any information from my daughter or husband about the truck and had to track it down. By that time, the truck had accrued $885 in fees (towing and storage) to pick it up.
The bank has had to retain an attorney to address retrieving the vehicle, the cost of which I am sure will be transferred back to me on the loan on which the truck is on lien.
My divorce is still pending. I have recently learned my husband filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, December 1st. As he and I were co-signers on numerous loans, the debts have become my responsibility.
The balances of these loans to date are a whopping $85,000. I have been working with the bank and once I have permission to begin liquidating assets, I will try to sell what I can to lower this amount.
However, my attorney, the banker and I know I will not be able to recoup the cash needed to completely pay off these debts, which continue to accrue interest.
To top this off, over the summer, my husband abandoned our possessions in two states, and all vehicles (including business vehicles and equipment), besides mine, are in inoperable order, meaning I have to recover them and make the needed repairs to obtain top dollar value.
I have been encouraged to file bankruptcy, as there will be too little money left to repay the debts once the assets are sold and my limited income currently is not even enough to cover rent, food and vital monthly expenses.
Within the past week, my husband has found out I have been awarded my disability and has contacted Social Security to get my oldest daughter's benefits sent to him.
He states this money should be used to house and feed our daughter. I am not opposed to caring for my child while in his care, but I have doubts this money will actually be used in this manner.
Over the summer he was stopped and marijuana was found in his vehicle, but was not ticketed because of the small quantity found. He likes marijuana!
He lied to Social Security regarding his finances. He failed to share with them his pending bankruptcy and support from his mother.
Additionally, I have his bankruptcy document and have found so many untruths on the document. He declared on the bankruptcy that he has no money and has not worked for the past several months.
He states he is unmarried and his household size is 1. He even declared he is receiving no support to pay bills.
As a co-debtor, I had to attend a creditor's meeting in January 2010, where I planned to expose his lies and provide evidence he has concealed a property asset, which was transferred to his mother's name in June.
I hope to get his bankruptcy reversed so he will have to help repay these debts, especially, since he has left me with dwindled assets and his concealment of certain assets. However, if his debts are discharged, I will be pursued to repay the $85,000 debt.
My situation is a constant, daily nightmare. I am trying hard to move forward with my life but it seems I constantly have to backtrack because of my husband's actions.
I do not want to file bankruptcy, but I feel my husband filing bankruptcy is forcing me to do just that.
My only recourse at this time is to remain optimistic and find a way to avoid bankruptcy. My limited income and inability to work full time makes it difficult to maintain a life for me and my child(ren).
If I file bankruptcy I will lose my credit rating and most importantly I will not be able to secure a home for me and my child(ren).
I have recently learned about grants available for individuals with disabilities to assist in overcoming circumstances such as mine. It is my hope that by sharing with you circumstances I am experiencing there will be an opportunity open up to help relieve me of this debt and constant stress I am experiencing.
When my divorce is final, I would like to walk forward and have a fresh start. I am working towards obtaining that goal without filing bankruptcy.
I am not a quitter and will try what I can before I admit defeat. Quitters don't win, and winners don't quit! Thank you for reading my story.