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Financial Assistance
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Financial Assistance

Hello All

I was just wondering. Currently we are wallowing bills, and get  between 10-15 calls on our answering machine a day while we are at work. We are currently 2,5 months behind on the mortgage, 1 month behind on the cell bill, one month behind on cable, one month behind on gas/electric, One month behind on my wife's car and 2 months behind on my truck :( with NO end in site. We both work fulltime and I even have a side job that requires 5-10 hours a week.

I want to continue working and NOT be disabled, but at the same time I do not want to add anymore stress to my work schedule above the 2 jobs I've have.

I have contacted our creditors and explained my situation and how we have already spent over $4,400 this year on insurance, copays, meds etc. They can't be bothered and refuse to make payments arrangements and want it ALL or NOTHING or they will just repossess.

I have applied to get some sort of disability assistance and was told I we make too much money and I am too healthy. What they don't take into account is, it is all the medicines and Dr.'s visits that MAKE me this healthy, and they don't factor in what you pay out in insurance, dr copays and med copays to KEEP me "Hea;thy!".

I wish I could say I spent all the money on gambling, wild women,booze, and shopping ...but it is ALL medical bills :( I am at wits end...We have already received help from my parents, my wife's mom, and my wife's grandmother but all 3 are retired and on fixed incomes so their help was limited.

Because we are behind on so many bills we can't get any loans to help pay the bills :(

YES we shouldn't have gone on vacation 2 weeks ago, but considering the house and vacation time was reserved and paid for in Mid January.... before my official diagnosis. Also 2009 has been a real crappy year between my diagnosis, health issues of my wife's grandma, and death of a close friend we decided we NEEDED a get-a-way as well as the fact the rental $$ was NON-Refundable.

I would like to add before this year and my diagnosis we comfortably paid ALL our bills ON TIME and without problem and had some left over. So it's not a case of over spending or getting in too deep.

So I am wondering if there is any places that offer assistance or can go to bat for me and stop my creditors from shutting off the lights and gas, repossessing our house and cars, and everything we worked so very hard to get  :(

Sorry for the long vent. It was very embarrassing for me to "out myself" like that, but like I said I am at wits and and will do ANYTHING to fix this situation!!

Thanks in advance to any responses

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16 Comments Post a Comment
Dear Scottie,

What a nightmare, i cant help with where to go for help i'm in the wrong country but i'm sure there is someone who has an answer for you, hang in there!!!!!

Sorry for what you are going through. Have you contacting your local MS Society? Ours has a person who helps you figure things out financially.

This is the health care crisis in this country. It is not your fault. You could be any American.

Good Luck,

We've experienced the same situation. We're self-employed and have an MSA with a very large deductible.. We were squeezed out of our other medical coverage by a company that decided to jack up our rates each month by $300 that we didn't have. We felt we had no choice at th time but to change insurance companies and I ended up with zero insurance due to all of pre-existing conditions.

After this, our bills started piling up. We ended up 2.5 months behind on our mortgage, 2 months behind on utilities, car payments, and bill collectors were calling every day.

It's easy to pay two or three bill collectors $50 a pop every month, but when you suddenly have 20 or more bills from different doctors, labs, etc... it becomes impossible to pay them all the amount they think they need to receive each month. They are very cold and care not what your circumstances are. And when we had big tests come up like scans, labs, biopsies, etc... we suddenly had to come up with huge amounts of money before they could be done. We payed for the tests and then had no money for bills.

You can send a cease and desist order (which is just you writing the creditor to tell them not to contact you anymore) to each creditor and they are only allowed to contact you one last time. Don't do this with utility bills, etc... I didn't use this company. I'm just posting the link so you can read what they say about the law regarding bill collectors calling.

We sent decease and desist orders to get the debt collectors off our backs. It was so nice not to have to worry every time the phone rang anymore! We did a phone call from one of them and I warned him that he was breaking the law because I sent the order and hung up on him. He never called back.

This year we had to shut off cable, got rid of memberships, etc... sell our boat, and trade our new car for a used one so we wouldn't have monthly car payments. I called the credit card companies and told them to cancel our cards and I cut them up. Even though we still owe on one of the cards, the monthly late fee stopped when I canceled the cards. All of this was so hard to do. It meant we had to change our lifestyle that we had grown accustomed to.

I called our mortgage company and talked to them about our situation. They transferred me to their mortgage delinquency department. The guy that worked with me was very nice. We ended up filling out paperwork showing our expenses and medical bills and sent in check stubs showing our income. Even though our income and regular fixed bills showed that we made enough to pay, we couldn't with all the new medical bills we kept getting. We did not have to show them the medical bills, just write down the amounts and what we had to pay each month.

He sent us paperwork to refinance our loan and gave us a break on the amount it would cost. This is what he did: he had us fill out paperwork and send it in with a check for $390 to cover the refinance. He took the 2.5 months we were behind and absorbed them back into our mortgage. Our interest rate was 9.5% and he was able to change that to what the current interest rate was at the time we filed, which was 5%. He extended the length of our mortgage and it changed our payments from $1380 per month to $750. He then set our mortgage payments to start two months later so it gave us a way to pay the $390 finance charge and have a one month cushion to play catch-up. This saved us from losing our home!

Most mortgage companies will work with you to help! They also offer a plan where they can take the months you are behind and tack them onto the end of the mortgage for a fee without refinancing. Not sure what this plan is called?

Our utility company set us up to pay back the amount owed weekly and she said to call anytime we needed to if we couldn't pay so she could push our payments forward and not be disconnected.

We now had $1200 extra each month due to the refinance, trading the new car in for a used one, shutting off cable and stopping the gym membership. I wrote down all of our medical and credit card debts from smallest to largest, figured out how much I could spare to pay on each debt. We decided to sock away $400 each month for an emergency fund (car repairs, plumber, ac repair, etc...) and use the remaining $800 each month to pay off debt. This emergency fund has helped us pay for a new hot water heater when the other one died, a new tire on our car, and a visit from the AC guy to fix our ac that went out when it was 105 outside. The emergency fund is necessary to survive and can never be used to pay medical bills! There are times when it is drained, but we always try to put back in to it.

I completely payed off the smallest debt and split the $800 between the remaining debts. Believe it or not, we had so many bills that the checks I sent each were tiny amounts. The next month I payed off the smallest debt completely, divided the remaining money out of the $800 and split that between the bills. I did this each month, even though we had to keep adding new medical bills here and there and had to cut the amount drastically one month when my daughter needed an ultrasound and we needed to pay up front. We've payed off many bills this way and have kept new debts from going to collections. They get really mad when you only pay $5 a month, but too bad.

And just when we have them nearly payed off, I ended up in the hospital for three days last week and I have no insurance, so we will be adding many big bills back into the plan. It can be depressing, but it's all we can do.

This payment plan wasn't my idea, I got all of my ideas from Dave Ramsey's website when I was desperate for help with bill collectors and the never-ending downward spiral I felt we were in.  I don't use all of his ideas, but I use alot of them to help us get out of this pit or just to keep our heads above water for now.

I hope some of this helps. It seems as though I've rambled on forever, (which is nothing new for me) But I thought some of this, even if it doesn't pertain to your situation, might help others who may have had similar problems to what we've gone through.

At least send cease and desist orders to some of the bill collector so you will not have to deal with the added stress of all those harassing phone calls each day. That can really depress a person. Be careful of debt consolidation companies and loans. Most are sharks in sheeps clothing.

Maybe call your mortgage company to ask for help? They will work with you! This might be all you need to get back on your feet. And hang in there Scottie! You are not alone!

Speaking of nasty bill collectors, when my husband took me to the ER last week, they told him he needed to write them a check for $200 before they could admit me. While I was admitted in the hospital Thursday- Saturday in the CDU hooked up to wires and an IV, the hospital called me on their own phone right next to my bed. The same hospital I was in called me to ask me how I planned to pay the bill!

She asked me how much my husband made, if we owned or rented our house, owned a car, and then asked me what the year, make and model was of our car!!!!!!!!! I was answering the questions until she asked about the year, make, and model of the car. I said, "What? Why do you need to know that?" She told me that it was required that I tell them and I told her I was currently in the CDU in pain hooked up to machines, feeling bad and couldn't believe she had the nerve to call me to ask me and ask me how I was going to pay for it and what type of car we drive!!! Then I hung up on her.

What is going on in this country?
Scottie, you are an excellent example of how one catastrophic illness can change a secure financial future into a shakey (shaky) one at best.  Tina has lots of excellent ideas in her post and I think more than you will benefit from reading her ideas. Thanks Tina for taking the time to share your story.

I would also contact your local social services agency (such as United Way) and ask for a referral to a debt counselor.  These services are usually free, and they will help you negotiate with your creditors and find the best terms available.  

The current economy has a lot of creditors rethinking that all-or-nothing philosphy. They are getting wise and realize that someting is better than nothing.  Don't try to negotiate with the people who call - they are just the collectors and have no power in working out creative deals to help.   The debt counselor can help you figure out who you really need to speak with.

Do not allow yourself to be frightened, threatened or intimidated by any bill collector who calls - there is a really dark side to that industry and laws against such tactics.  

You are so wise to be proactive now and not wait until you are so over your head you can't find a way out.  

There is an MS foundation in Fort Lauderdale that I would call and talk through your situation - they should be able to talk through this and help you come up with contact numbers to use.

Hang in there -

my best,

Thank you  for all the ideas and tips. However we don;t own any credit cards( I am a firm believer in if your don"t have the cash you DON'T need it) All the calls are from CURRENT utilities, mortgage, cell phone and car loan offices and they have every right to freeze bank accounts, stop services, and repossession.

For instance I received a notice from my car loan place today stating their rights to reposess immediately and then by November 15th freeze our bank account for the past due $600+ and rest of the loan.

If anyone has every lived in western or central NY and have dealt with National Grid they KNOW they are a monopoly and they don't care if you are cold or in the dark because they OWN all the gas and power lines and there are NO other services you can get services from.

As far as our Mortgage it is through Bank of America and they are too busy sending their executives on resort weekends and the Superbowl with federal stimulus money to care. We tried to get a payment plan or refinance and we don't have enough equity due to the poor housing marketto refinance  and we "make too much money" for other deals.

I am blessed with AWESOME medical insurance that pays for EVERYTHING besides copays, it's just I have so many $20 office visit copays and $30-$50  medicine copays and $260/month to have the awesome coverage that most of my check goes to pay for the coverage and copays :(
I just can't believe in this day and age and this economy that companies are so unwilling to strike deals with people!

I am sure they have heard every sob story in the book, but I have actual documentation of my diagnosis as well as receipts for every cent I have spent on healthcare and copays in the past year.

I have to pay all my copays for visits at time of service, as well as when picking up my meds. If I don't pay I don;t receive my medicine and cannot schedule another appt. until the balance is paid. So unfortunately if I want to remain healthy, the medical stuff gets paid FIRST and the mortgage, gas/electric, and vehicles have to wait for their $$ :(
This is all just so wrong on so many levels and my heart goes out to you. At one point, before we refinanced and everything was a mess, my husband made the sarcastic statement that if he quit his job and we went on welfare we wouldn't be in the bind we were in.

There are so many people that have to choose between their health and their electric bill or even their groceries! It really makes me angry! I are now trying to decide if I should continue trying to figure out what is wrong with me and risk going deep into debt again, or just buy good life insurance and let it run its course.

As far as Bank of America not being willing to help out....I can't believe they would do something so financially ignorant! If you lose the house, they are stuck with it and in this market, they do not win. Just shaking my head....

The sad thing is...this is what is driving so many people to medical bankruptcy.

I'm trying to put my thinking cap on for ya...but my brain is strained this morning due to a miserable headache. This afternoon I will call my friend who went through cancer a few years ago and ask her how they got help with their bills. I know they had a similar situation.

Hang in there!!!!
Thank you Tina!

I so wish they would let us refinance or get an equity loan, but due to the housing market crash even though we have lived there for 2 and a half years are house is worth LESS than what we paid for it, so we have no equity built up. Also they won't give us a loan because we are 2 payments behind!

I agree with the welfare comment....I work in the medical field and see the same medicaid patients a couple times a week going to Dr. visits for FREE, getting blood drawn repeatively for FREE, and even getting FREE transportation to and from their office visits. Yet I choose to continue working and NOT be disabled, and I am headed straight to the poorhouse! Basically my entire check pays for my health insurance and copays :o(
Please contact your local United Way office and as kfor  a referral to an agency that can help you navigate these bills - there should be no charge for this help.
your local UW number is 3.1.5   4 2 8 2 2 1 1  ((I hope this makes it through the censor).  
My sister has used this service and the debt counselor was excellent in helping her work through the problems.

good luck,
Hello< I'm in the same nightmare that your in. I was working & making great money then this illness hit. I did have insurance at the time but all said  & done I ended up with $110,000 in copays & lost my house, cars, & everything & ended up filing bankruptcy. I tried to work but found it was no longer possible due to my increasing disability. Now I have no job, no insurance, & have lost most of my mobility & still don't know whats wrong. They have in Kentucky whats called Community Action  Agencies that help pay your utilities when your behind , they also do heating assistance & in some cases help catch up your mortgage. I don't know if you attend church but some churches also help with these types of problems.  You also got some great suggestions above!! Please hang in there & don't give up!!!  You might also check with MSAA (its online) they have a toll free number & have counselors there, they paid for my mri & since you do have a confirmed diagnosis they pay for your follow-up mri's even if you have insurance in some cases they pay the co-pay . I hope I have helped you even if in a small way. God bless you!       Tammy
Sorry I really dont have any advice for you, but just wanted to let you know we are going thru "almost" the exact same situation as you. Our largest problem though is that I have been un-insurable for the last 8 years due to other pre-existing conditions, but I have just been DX'd with MS last month and we are trying to figure out how in the world to pay for our regular bills with all my new medical bills I have gotten in this last year. My Dr's took me off work in January and my husband is working his butt off trying to make enough to keep us going... Life is crazy & unfair! Good Luck!
Live, Laugh, Love
Thank you Lulu and Tammy 586 for the #'s and info. I will definitely try them, but I am not sure we make the income requirements.... on paper we "make to much $$" HA! imagine that... they also base it on your pay BEFORE taxes (which are VERY high in NY and BEFORE the $132.00 I pay bi-weekly for health insurance!!

Thanks again for the help and I will DEFINITELY try those places!
Hello all..... just an update. My wife's grandmother helped us out with a loan and everything is finally up to date. The stress of that situation is now gone! Thanks for everyones input
You might want to be proactive and obtain more info to protect your home.  

Free foreclosure consulting services are available through the Department of Housing and Urban Development's HOPE NOW alliance. A foreclosure consultant can stop or postpone a foreclosure sale, prevent lienholders form enforcing or accelerating their note, help the owner reinstate the loan or or negotiate an extension of the reinstatement period, advance funds to the owner, or arrange a loan for the owner,

Thanks for the tip! We have tried similar companies but were denied because "we make too much $$"  Of course they don't factor in the $6,552/yr I pay in insurance, meds, and Dr. visits in order to stay healthy enough to work and even make any money!

I am all about being proactive so I will look into it further

Thanks for the tip!!

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