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Topic : 12/21 One Paycheck Away

Number of Replies: 771
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Created on : Thursday, October 05, 2006, 04:42:21 pm
Author : DrPhilBoard1
(Original Air Date: 10/11/06) Did you know that your financial decisions could land you on the street?  Are you one paycheck away from disaster? Stacey has two children and one on the way, and she says she is close to being homeless and it's the fault of her kids’ deadbeat dads, and her parents who have cut her off. Stacey's ex-husband, Pete, says their son would be better off living with him. So, why does he refuse to pay child support? And, see what Dr. Phil provides for Stacey to help get her life back on track. Then, a hidden camera experiment shows how people really treat the homeless on the streets. And, meet a family who was living paycheck-to-paycheck when the money stopped coming in, leaving them homeless. Manuel and Heather and their four children have been living cramped in their RV for the last year, where they have no electricity and must take showers at public beaches. The difficult circumstances are taking a huge toll on their family, especially the children. How did they end up in this situation? Dr. Phil makes an important, life-changing announcement to the family. Share your thoughts here.

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October 9, 2006, 4:59 pm CDT

Do not know where to turn

    For the past 20 years my wife has been ill and gotten worse over the last 15.  I had been a retail store manager and my wife worked as a Training Coordinator for a major fast food chain.  Her illness left her unable to work and she had to start collecting Social Security Disability which, because she only worked a few years in our married life, of some $299.00/Month.  She also gets SSI of $482.00/month.  That coupled with my income allowed us to still be OK in the financial arena.

 

    Then a couple of years ago, my wife started to take a turn for the worse.  It turns out that she has Muscular Dystrophy.  She can sometimes get around still in a walker, but is mostly confined to home and to an electric wheelchair which MediCal paid for.  She also has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and requires oxygen 24/7.  Then 2 years ago my wife went into full repiratory arrest while sleeping and had to have CPR done on her by me and be rushed to the hospital where she was intibated (sp?) to get her breathing.  This happened two more times.  She was then placed on a BIPAP-ST machine which will sound an alarm if her breathing stops and will act as a sort of respirator forcing air into her lungs.

 

    I had to quit my job in order to take care of her.  I am also a disabled vet with kidney problems and diabetes.  I get a small disability check from the VA each month($377.00/month) and I get paid a sum of $581/month by the state for taking care of Julie.  Our total income is a little over $1700/month.  Out of that we have to pay rent ($600), Utilities ($200/mo), car insurance ($50/month), gas for trips to doctors, pharmacies, church, etc. ($250/month), medical co-pay ($50), Feed ($150) and about $400 for food.  In order to be able to make it we each have to take out a payday loan totalling between us of $510 every month due to a major problem with our 15 year old car.  That loan costs us $90 interest each month to pay back so the loan payback is $600/month. 

 

I know most people would tell me to go back to work.  See if the state can get another health car worker for my wife so I can go back.  There are several problems with that.  The main problem is that if I were to return to work, my wife would lose $1 for every $2 I earn from her SSI.  And if her SSI drops to where she isn't able to get any, then she loses her MediCal insurance also which pays for her prescriptions ($2000+ out of pocket), doctors appointments, her wheel chair and BIPAP-ST machine (over $1500/month rental), etc.  It would end up costing me over $5000/month just to cover her medical expenses which means I would need a job earning over $100,000/year.  Plus to help defray the expenses of medical care I would need to work for a company that has medical insurance coverage with no Pre-Existing Clause in it and one that started from day one when I went to work.  I don't know of a company that has one of those plans.

 

Secondly, I am over 60 and have, as I said before, kidney disease and diabetes and not too many companies want to hire someone my age especially if that someone has medical problems.  I am having a hard time finding a part-time job also.  We live in a very small mountain community and there aren't too many jobs.  The closest large town to work in is some 45 miles away which would require going up and down the mountain during times of snow and ice storms.

 

There are the homeless.  We've nearly been there.  We don't know how to get out of the debt we are in.  We don't have any credit cards or owe any loans except for the payday ones, but we are around $1500 in debt that we can't catch up on.  We had my son and his daughters living with us this spring and summer because he lost his job elsewhere and had to move in with us.  We had to pay for everything.  He now has a job, his own place but can't afford right now to pay us anything back.

 

So, we are open to about anything.  We are praying to God for a $1500 miracle which would get us back on our feet, and I am willing to do whatever it takes, legally, to help it along.

 

So I know what it is like to be at the bottom, because we are nearly there ourselves right now.  I know that there are people out there far worse off than we are because we've seen them, we've helped them, we've taken them into our homes when they've had nowhere else to go.  

 

The stress is killing me.  I don't know where to turn but I am open to suggestions that's for sure. 

 
October 10, 2006, 5:23 am CDT

Is it possible......

Quote From: mrtumnus

    For the past 20 years my wife has been ill and gotten worse over the last 15.  I had been a retail store manager and my wife worked as a Training Coordinator for a major fast food chain.  Her illness left her unable to work and she had to start collecting Social Security Disability which, because she only worked a few years in our married life, of some $299.00/Month.  She also gets SSI of $482.00/month.  That coupled with my income allowed us to still be OK in the financial arena.

 

    Then a couple of years ago, my wife started to take a turn for the worse.  It turns out that she has Muscular Dystrophy.  She can sometimes get around still in a walker, but is mostly confined to home and to an electric wheelchair which MediCal paid for.  She also has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and requires oxygen 24/7.  Then 2 years ago my wife went into full repiratory arrest while sleeping and had to have CPR done on her by me and be rushed to the hospital where she was intibated (sp?) to get her breathing.  This happened two more times.  She was then placed on a BIPAP-ST machine which will sound an alarm if her breathing stops and will act as a sort of respirator forcing air into her lungs.

 

    I had to quit my job in order to take care of her.  I am also a disabled vet with kidney problems and diabetes.  I get a small disability check from the VA each month($377.00/month) and I get paid a sum of $581/month by the state for taking care of Julie.  Our total income is a little over $1700/month.  Out of that we have to pay rent ($600), Utilities ($200/mo), car insurance ($50/month), gas for trips to doctors, pharmacies, church, etc. ($250/month), medical co-pay ($50), Feed ($150) and about $400 for food.  In order to be able to make it we each have to take out a payday loan totalling between us of $510 every month due to a major problem with our 15 year old car.  That loan costs us $90 interest each month to pay back so the loan payback is $600/month. 

 

I know most people would tell me to go back to work.  See if the state can get another health car worker for my wife so I can go back.  There are several problems with that.  The main problem is that if I were to return to work, my wife would lose $1 for every $2 I earn from her SSI.  And if her SSI drops to where she isn't able to get any, then she loses her MediCal insurance also which pays for her prescriptions ($2000+ out of pocket), doctors appointments, her wheel chair and BIPAP-ST machine (over $1500/month rental), etc.  It would end up costing me over $5000/month just to cover her medical expenses which means I would need a job earning over $100,000/year.  Plus to help defray the expenses of medical care I would need to work for a company that has medical insurance coverage with no Pre-Existing Clause in it and one that started from day one when I went to work.  I don't know of a company that has one of those plans.

 

Secondly, I am over 60 and have, as I said before, kidney disease and diabetes and not too many companies want to hire someone my age especially if that someone has medical problems.  I am having a hard time finding a part-time job also.  We live in a very small mountain community and there aren't too many jobs.  The closest large town to work in is some 45 miles away which would require going up and down the mountain during times of snow and ice storms.

 

There are the homeless.  We've nearly been there.  We don't know how to get out of the debt we are in.  We don't have any credit cards or owe any loans except for the payday ones, but we are around $1500 in debt that we can't catch up on.  We had my son and his daughters living with us this spring and summer because he lost his job elsewhere and had to move in with us.  We had to pay for everything.  He now has a job, his own place but can't afford right now to pay us anything back.

 

So, we are open to about anything.  We are praying to God for a $1500 miracle which would get us back on our feet, and I am willing to do whatever it takes, legally, to help it along.

 

So I know what it is like to be at the bottom, because we are nearly there ourselves right now.  I know that there are people out there far worse off than we are because we've seen them, we've helped them, we've taken them into our homes when they've had nowhere else to go.  

 

The stress is killing me.  I don't know where to turn but I am open to suggestions that's for sure. 

......to check out some government housing in your area? I know that most cities have it. They base it on income. It may not be a house, but there are advantages to that. Food stamps, and other possibilities. I know it is hard to turn your children away, but they need to step up and look out for themselves. You can't afford to support them. They are adults......they need to fend. If they saved a little each month, then when they loose a job, then they have resources to provide for their needs for 3-6 months. Good luck.......and God can carry you through this......if you let him.... 
 
October 10, 2006, 11:12 am CDT

One Paycheck Away

Dr. Phil:

 

I'm sorry but I have no mercy for these homeless people in the streets who live off of all the working peoples' money.  Take a look at them, they have two good eyes, two good arms, legs and a mind.  There are so many jobs as cleaning bathrooms in public places, washing dishes in restaurants, sweeping park grounds, working in cemetaries, etc. There is no excuse for their decisions, they are just plain lazy and they know if they stand on a corner, people will give them money.  We as taxpayers are paying for this nonsense; we have to go out a bust our butts working to earn a small paycheck. I can't see and I never will give these people any money.  When they come up to my car, I tell them to "GO GET A JOB" and stop living off our money.  People don't realize it, but, a lot of these homeless people choose this life and if you were to investigate some of them, they have more money than the average worker, they own homes, cars, etc., but it is easier to collect off of us  TAX FREE!!  I don't feel any remorse for them!!!

 

Arlene from Florida

 
October 10, 2006, 1:46 pm CDT

deadbeats

To whom it may concern.

It seems to be an epidemic in our society that the parent who has the children are left trying to support them alone.  There are to many deadbeats owing  over hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Yes I am alone supporting my children...I am lucky that I have the help of family and friends, but it is really there fathers responsibility to help support them.  I have worked hard to get this far, but its been 4 years and he still has not paid his court ordered support.  The Canadian government agency call the Family Responsiblity Office is one of the biggest dust collectors out there.  Yes they serve a purpose........yet my childrens father continues to work under the table move around he even has crossed the U.S. boarder.  He uses alias and is backed by his family.( He works for his brother and is hidden by other family members).  This is not just me Check out the web site wantedposters.com , there are hundreds of cases posted in both countries as well as international. Go figure .  

For those of you that seem to think that this is a hand out and that one should take steps for a rainy day.  You try being a single parent.  For those that say that single parents should have tried to save there marrige or relationship.  You should try being abused for years and watching your children suffer.   I took the steps to better my childrens lives, the lest he could do is help support them. 

We all have to deal with this problem one way or another, we are all touched by this problem,  I believe that we all just turn a blind eye and hope it will go away.

 
October 10, 2006, 3:04 pm CDT

Upset

I am a stepmother that has a wonderful 11 year old stepdaughter. My husband pays to support our daughter every month without fail. It is very upsetting for her to come to our home in clothes that do not  fit and her hair smelling bad and in need of a haircut. I am very upset that Dr. Phil had the nerve to say that a non-custodial parent has no right to know where that money goes. Our court system is so very messed up when it come to custody, and support payments. Any parent has the right to know their children are taken care of in every way , especially when they are handing over their hard earned money to an ex spouse and seeing no clear evidence that the child is seeing any of that money.

 

 
October 10, 2006, 3:05 pm CDT

10/11 One Paycheck Away

Quote From: noraann

......to check out some government housing in your area? I know that most cities have it. They base it on income. It may not be a house, but there are advantages to that. Food stamps, and other possibilities. I know it is hard to turn your children away, but they need to step up and look out for themselves. You can't afford to support them. They are adults......they need to fend. If they saved a little each month, then when they loose a job, then they have resources to provide for their needs for 3-6 months. Good luck.......and God can carry you through this......if you let him.... 
There is little low-income housing available, even for disabled, veteran or not.   In northern NJ, the waiting list is 4-5 years for government housing.
 
October 10, 2006, 3:21 pm CDT

10/11 One Paycheck Away

Quote From: soni_g

It's sad when others state that most of the homeless are looking for handouts, that they are there through their own mistakes.  How untrue this is, and how sad they are viewed that way.  Perhaps it's that thinking that keeps them from getting the help.  Remember, "there but by the grace of God go I"?  There's a lot of truth to that.  I know.

 

I worked hard all my life and survived two of just about every disaster you can imagine.  I had saved, too; had a good little nestegg built up.  I was independent, hard-working, dedicated, and determined that I would live my life on my terms, having plenty to see me into my golden years, which would be spent travelling and living a darn good life.  I had it all planned with the exception of making the reservations.

 

But life doesn't always give us what we want.  My nestegg went into living expenses and doctor bills when a rare neurological condition put me out of the job market for two years.   Insurance runs out when you run out of money.  One disorder caused another, and as hard as I tried, it got to a point I could not work, and I was so close to retirement.  But you do what you have to.  The doctor had given up on me, arthritis had set in over most of my body, and he already had me riding in a wheelchair until I was 6 feet under, which he figured would be soon.  I was without income, and had nowhere to turn.   I ended up in a homeless shelter, and thought my life was over.

 

Turns out it was just beginning.  My life changed when I learned the truth.  Yes, many are addicts, but many are not.  There were mothers with children.  Some had been abandoned, some had lost everything when they lost a job or a spouse.   So many situations, and so many not of their own making.

 

Then I ended up in a setting with incurably mentally ill people, but I wasn't incurably mentally ill.  Good thing, in a way, because I found how abandoned many were.  I was surrounded by paranoid schizophrenics and those with personality disorders and seriously devastating mental illnesses.  They didn't put themselves there.  They had been abandoned by family, by society.  They had nowhere to go.

 

I found my way back, am less well-off financially than I was but am a much better person than I was.  I talk to the street people, and I listen to them.  I help when I can.  I try to connect them with service agencies.  If I see one who's sleeping on the street, I get a warm sweater or blanket for them.  I love myself as never before and sleep better at nights knowing that I'm making a difference, even if it is only one person at a time.

 

We are all here to help each other, and I can state with certainty that any one of us can be there at any time.  We don't need to blame those who are homeless, nor do we need to pity them.  We don't need to feel guilty when we can't do anything.  What we need to do is whatever is necessary to help our fellow man.   We were created with love and compassion, and we owe that to all, not just those who are employed and have a big bank account.

 

I would suggest that you stop and talk to the homeless, it won't hurt and few will bite.  Visit a shelter and listen to them.  You would be amazed at what you learn, and the biggest thing you would learn is there is no room for judgment.  Remember the saying, "You may not always get what you want, but you will always get what you need."  We must always remember that we are in this life together.  I recently read a great saying that goes, roughly,   "It's not the event or circumstance that matters, it's how you respond to it that counts."

If the posters who state that homeless and the poor are looking for handouts, instead spent a little time doing research on poverty statistics, they would find the numbers of those abusing the systems to less than 4%.

 

I wonder how many judgemental people actually know what the poverty line is, or the minium and\or average wage from state to state, or the cost of living from state to state, even county to county.

 

Since the beginning of time, when dealing with the poor, it has been embedded into society's collective mind that it is their fault - whether mental illness, physical illness, substance abuse, environmental factors contribute or not - people don't want to care. 

 

Among the homeless people I worked with last year, most were developmentally disabled and from poor families.   Classism plays a huge role in who gets what in this nation.  Many of these people were addicted to drugs or alcohol by grammar school, two were full-blown alcoholics in kindergarten, and many had fetal alcohol syndrome.  

 

The current relief systems have caps set so low that many do not qualify, and indeed, if they make a dollar over their low monthly income levels, they lose benefits.  Even if they wanted to work, and most that are not mentally or physically handicapped do, they cannot afford to when their paychecks are less than their benefits.  That is a reality in affluent Bergen County, NJ.  

 

Having been a grassroots homeless advocate, I observed a very uncaring attitude on the part of the social workers and county workers and not only that, watched many times as they helped themselves to perks, donations, services, gift cards, county gas, etc.  Talk about being on the dole.

 
October 10, 2006, 6:47 pm CDT

one pay check away

Quote From: thinkoutloud

Please don't be so quick to judge people for ending up in desperate financial situations.  It happens faster and easier than you can imagine. 

I have always been a very good money manager, putting myself through college, saving from my salary, etc.  My divorce from my ex-husband put me back many, many steps in financial terms.  I am now very happily remarried, but my husband has to pay $400/week in child support (for one child!!) to his ex-wife.  He only earns $65,000 a year!  This is not a bad salary by any means, but by the time we've paid for health insurance for ourselves and our four children (my two, his by his first wife, and our one together), his ex wife gets HALF of his take-home pay!  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for child support (and wish I could get some from my ex), but this is ridiculous. His ex-wife doesn't even need it, but saves every single penny we give her.  That's great for her, but we have a family of five that also needs to survive.  We have taken this to the courts (and spent way more than we can afford on an attorney), but there's nothing we can do to change this because my husband agreed to it in the beginning.  (He did that because he wanted to do the right thing, and he didn't want his ex to have to work and  put the kid in daycare.  But now the kid is in school all day and my husband's ex DOES work because she chooses to.) 

Because of this, we are sinking further and further into debt.  We are both doing everything we can to bring in extra money, but it's never enough.  We are desperate and there doesn't seem to be anything we can do about it.  If we don't pay the child support, my husband will be thrown in jail.  If we DO pay the child support, we can't afford the basics for the rest of us. 

Put yourself in a situation like this first.  Then see if you're so quick to judge.

We have been through the same thing. Half my husband's paycheck goes to his ex who also works and makes more than him. She also lives with her bf that makes triple the money we do, they make their new car payment with his child support. My husband's daughter has no supervision she has a police report a mile long of everything but murder! The courts do not care and all they do is take money. Also his ex said she was on the pill because he did not want more children. So where does the mother's responsibility come in? Why should the father's have to pay the total care? You can't tell me it costs 2400.00 to raise a child if you are paying 400 a week  and the mother is supposed to pay half.
 
October 10, 2006, 6:54 pm CDT

one paycheck away

Quote From: steiwhleur

Aren't there laws that force the deadbeat dad to pay the child support??  I find it nauseating that men get away with not paying for their own children's upbring.  The men were willing participants when they CHOSE to have sex....so they are well aware of the consequences.  Oh wait...there seem to be no consequences.  At least not any financial ones.  Ridiculous.  When will these men decide to act like responsible human beings??

Yes there are laws. They either pay half their paycheck or go to jail. Did you know only 7% of fathers in this country do not pay child support? Did you know that the friend of the court system is one of the biggest government entities in the country? And yes men are willing participants but so are the women. The women have a choice after they get pregnant the men don't.  And many women tell the men they are on the pill or just plain can't get pregnant. Question is when will the women quit blaming the men for their mistakes? When will they quit having kids with diferent father's? When will they quit living off child support and the welfare system? And by the way I am a woman and used to think the same way you are, but the facts are the system is messed up and the men have no rights. I have been fighting with friend of the court for 2 years now and I can assure you they do not have the best interest of the child in mind!

 
October 10, 2006, 10:29 pm CDT

From Mrs. Tumnus

I think I need to add a little more to MrTumnus.  I am his wife.  He was a Pastor for about 28 years.  We have been married for 33 years.  All of our married life, we have always given to people, taken in all kinds of people, helped people.  As a pastor, we were far from well off.  At one church we pastored, we were given a small house and $50. a month.  At two other churches, we had a small parsonage and $125. a week, with 3 little kids to feed.  We were not allowed to get any food stamps by these churches, but, we still gave out of our hearts. 

 

Now, we do get food stamps, $23. a month. for my husband.  I don't qualify to get any.  We applied for housing.  We waited for a year until our names came up.  When it did, we had just moved into a trailer.  It is over 30 years old and does not qualify for housing allowance.  We made the choice to stay where we were.  We could not come up with more "security deposits" and moving.  Where else in California would we find a place to live at $600. a month anyway?  We only qualified for a little over $400. a month in housing.  Find a place for $400. a month in California?  You got to be kidding!  We were very lucky to even find a rental.  We go to 3 food banks a month.  We don't get much, but, we are thankful for what we do get.

 

When a catastrophic illness hits, it doesn't matter if you have $30,000. in the bank.  That can all be gone in less than one day.  Yes, we also got a wheelchair lift donated, for our car.  But, we still can't haul my wheelchair anywhere, because the weight of my chair caused the shocks to go.  The car needs air shocks.  We cannot afford that.  We are living so far on the edge, a whisper could knock us off. 

 

We are the people who the system calls, "people who fall between the cracks."  Society has changed.  People used to live in small towns, tribes, settlements.  They used to take care of one another and care for one another.  Now, I am told, so many times (even by psychologists), "Well, everybody has to die sometime."  Would they say that to a young couple who lost their 8 year old child, too?  Or, are they telling me to "die and decrease the surplus population", as Scrooge said?  I was 32, when I started to get sick.  Now, I'm 54.  I don't consider myself  that old.  I feel society wants me to sit in front of the TV and die.  But, that's not me.  I'm a fighter.  In 1994, I was given 2-5 years to live.  The mitochondria in my cells are crystallizing.  I don't expect many to understand what that means, although it affects every part of my body.  It is hard fighting illness in itself.  It is harder when there is not enough money to buy a stamp, put tires on the car, buy new shocks for the car or get my 1973 van running so it can haul my wheelchair, buy fresh vegetables and fruit, stay warm in the winter, or just general things most people consider normal.  People in society now, look the other way, shun you, tell you to go to agencies, buy a book (with what money?) so they don't have to deal with it.  Where are the selfless people who really care, anymore?  We were that kind of people.  What will happen to us?  That is what is scary!

 
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