Editor’s Note: This tip was originally submitted as a comment in response to a post on Reader’s Digest’s “16 Ways to Save $100”.
Moonshadow – my heart goes out to you. I have been in your shoes as a child. I also have a daughter with mental health issues. As well as physical disabilities of my own.
Some practical ideas for you:
1. Contact the United Way – they are a clearing house for many charities and can put you in touch with organizations that can help.
2. Locate your community action group – they receive government block grants for energy assistance (they can pay your electric and gas bills) and administer other assistance programs including food programs.
3. Post on Craigslist.org or Freecycle.org – people who have things to give away will sometimes deliver (perhaps some new cloths or a free rug!).
4. Look for free community counseling – both for your son and yourself – usually graduate students at a university. Or counseling paid by Medicaid. Your son needs counseling to learn that he needs to take medication for his health. Mental health clinics have case managers that help with many community services.
5. Homeless shelters, the Salvation Army, food banks, churches all have outreach people who can offer help to your family including free food, free health clinics, free medications, free counseling, day labor jobs, etc. You don’t have to be a member of the church, but they can pick you up to take you to church services.
6. Transportation – contact your state Senior Citizens office. They may also help the disabled and may have transportation available for grocery shopping or doctor visits.
7. Contact your local state Vocational Rehab office – there is money available for education. Yes, SSI limits the amount of money you can earn but it won’t limit the amount of knowledge you can gain. Also, straight Social Security Disability lets you earn up to $940 per month and keep your benefits.
8. Find a volunteer position. You will feel less helpless when you are helping others. Someone in the organization will need to help you with transportation, but you may find good and kind friends there.
9. You are in need and Americans are good, generous people. Please reach out and find these resources – they exist to help you. People do care, but they need to know you are out here – so put yourself in touch.
10. Never give up. Life is change. Sometimes we don’t see it coming and we just have to ride it out. But often we can make change happen through the choices we make for the better.
I know it is hard to face any task when you are depressed and feel helpless and hopeless. Pick one thing and do it today. Pick one thing and do it tomorrow. Make a list and take baby steps. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish!
Please post back here and let us know what positive steps you have taken.