So the story goes....Z turned 18 the 20th of this month and when a surviving child on social security that is not disabled turns 18, that means they no longer receive benefits UNLESS they are still in high school. Z is. In November after hearing nothing from SS I contacted them to ask them what I needed to do to ensure Z did not lose his benefits until May. They said "nothing." I knew that wasn't right but after speaking to several people...they told me that if they needed anything from us that they would have sent it to me already. I also took that moment to ask if Z's money would then be divided between David and I (this is the way it has been done in the past...as one child falls off their money is divided between the other survivors). I was told it would be. Fine. My bases were covered.
Then the last of December I received paperwork from SS saying that I needed to have the enclosed verification paperwork filled out by the school. The first day back after break it was filled out and mailed. Today I find out that Z is being cut off as of February...so I call. Apparently they have lost the paperwork but I can have knew paperwork filled out and send it back in. All should be back on track then within 60 days....after of course I payback my overpayment to SS. WHAT overpayment I heard myself ask in a shrill voice. And this is what I was told:
Currently the boys and I all receive the same sum monthly. We will say $500/month each or $1500 total. We live on that total amount. Since Z is no longer or at least temporarily not receiving his....then David and I will each receive not $750 each but $600 each which totals $1200. So obviously we won't be having Z's money divided between us. We get a much lesser amount ($700/mo lesser to be precise). However, the real kicker is this....when Z's money is reinstated, before he can receive it, I must pay back the extra $100/person/month that David and I receive in Z's money's absence because that is considered "overpayment" of what we should be getting....but aren't! How am I suppose to pay back money when it is not even enough to live on???? The guy told me he knew it made no sense....it was the government. I would have laughed if it had not been so tragic for mine and my children's livelihood.
After getting off the phone and realizing that between past due medical bills (mine), bills that I just haven't had enough money to pay and past debt, I was royally screwed. I can't work....remember....I am unemployable....I can't pay my bills and now my income is being cut even further. I just wanted to throw in the towel. I have always been able to stay afloat....if not actually swim, but today I realized that I was sinking fast with no life jacket in sight. Then I remembered someone awhile back telling me to go to www.gofundme.com. At the time I never imagined myself doing this. The person suggesting it told me at the time to lay it all out there, be honest with my need and see if others wanted to help. Absolutely NOT! screamed what was left of my pride. So I baked cheesecakes morning, noon and night and made almost enough to cover Davids upcoming out of pocket physical therapy. Of course I had no idea what the future had in store. Today I realized, after spending the morning checking out job sites, grants and a multitude of other places.......that I was pretty much at the end of my rope. My pride had hit rock bottom and I went back and gave gofundme another look.
So here it is. This is me feeling like a failure and being emotionally raw and completely exhausted after trying to take care of everyone and making everything work for everyone by myself for years. I guess I just can't anymore...maybe I never could. The worry alone is taking a toll on my health and since cheesecakes alone aren't going to pay the bills....this is where I stand. I am embarrassed and humiliated and yes....it is soul crushing asking for help. I can only imagine my mother turning in her grave at all of this. All I can hope is that at the end of this shame filled storm that there is a rainbow overflowing with amazing life lessons. It is all that is getting me through as I write this. I am also assuming that I will be spending the rest of my life doing community service and giving back. Perhaps that is one of the lessons!