A State Employee Tries To Stand

The ongoing Pennsylvania budget impasse has obviously been a huge topic lately. Saturday afternoon I logged into my control panel and found the below comment waiting for approval.  I contacted the author of the comment and obtained permission to publish it as a guest post.

It seems as if the media coverage of the impasse is painting a rosy picture of zero-interest loans and creditors willing to show lenience.  The reality is that plenty of people like myself with good credit (around 700 FICO across two of the three bureaus) are being turned down for those loans.  And utility companies and lenders just don’t care.

What follows below is the story of one state employee who did her best to take control of her situation, but was shot down at every turn.  It is not my story, and the only editing done was to remove personally-identifying information and to clearly mark some sections.  My comments will be [bracketed in bold & italics].

We are not a member of the credit union and would be required to change our accounts over to them if we would apply for the pay day loans that Rendell is bragging about Unfortunately, we are sure that we will not pass a credit check due to an illness that prevented me from working for more than a year.  Rendell has made it sound as though the employee’s of the state are guaranteed a loan just because he said so and because he has made all of these great arrangements.The banking industry has been in a bad position for some time so you know they are not just going to give money to anyone. But he never mentions people will have to pass the credit checks. He never mentions you will have to move your accounts to their insitution and become a member of the credit union.

We have contacted been contacting our creditors as we were told to do. He again makes it sound like everyone is going to work with you but it’s not true.

When I called the water company,they told me people lose their jobs every day and are required to pay their bills and they expect payment as usual. I explained that he has a job, is required to show up for work but doesnt get a paycheck, no unemployment checks and no welfare checks. She told me I would be accessed a 10% penalty per mo and after 60 days my water service will be terminated.

The gas company said there is nothing they can do until we receive a termination notice because they have nothing in place for the PA State employee’s. I asked about energy assistance, she said we did not qualify because we make too much money. When I explained again there is no paycheck, she said it is based on your annual salary.

The life insurance I wont mess with considering my husband works in a Maximum security prison! Car Insurance – no payment – no coverage.

The mortgage company is demanding that I send them a copy of the letter we received along with a detailed list of our income and expenses to determine what we should be able to pay them.

The governor makes it all sound like nobody is really effected by this.

I contacted Bill Deweese’s office about the 1.7 million that is being spent on a museum in Philly? Why isn’t this project and others like it not being eliminated. Here is the correspondence: The first thing you see is my reply to their email. His office is on the bottom.

[The following paragraphs are her response to Rep DeWeese’s response.]

Thank you for your response but it doesn’t really answer any of my questions. Why was there no vote on stop gap funding? This would have allowed you to continue to work on a budget without interrupting the pay of the employee’s of this state. It didn’t have to come to this. You have nearly 80,000 families affected by this! Had this happened to the welfare recipients or inmates, there would have been an outcry! Had this been a natural disaster, there would have been emergency funding! But no, it’s just the state employee’s. They don’t need their paychecks!

Also, Why would you put 1.7 million into a museum and risk the lives of law enforcement by taking away million? This is a HUGE waste of tax dollars. What about the stamps and envelopes provided to the inmates every month that are paid for by the tax payer? Why not take all of that away and let the family foot the bill? They are incarcerated for a reason! I am sure there are many more perks provided by the state tax payers that can be cut!

Then there are the extra perks of the welfare recipients! Why are they permitted to get vouchers for car repairs and new vehicles? Why are they not required to work this into their budget? Most of these people, especially in the Greene county area are generational welfare! They have never worked a day in their lives! They are not down on their luck. They want a free ride! Lets not mention the free cell phones, the weather programs, the rent rebates and many other benefits they receive!? They don’t leave their house and still receive these benefits and more. Yet my husband has worked all of these years in life threatening jobs and he is required to show up for work and receive NO pay check! What is wrong with this picture!?

Then there is the penalties and interest that I am now facing with my creditors. Is the state going to reimburse me for these expenses that I would not have incurred had they resolved the budget on time? How about the mental anguish and stress that this is bringing on? Am I going to be compensated for this? And I have the water company telling me they will not work with me on the bill even though I have a letter stating that my husband is affected by this. They told me people lose their jobs every day and are required to pay their bills and it was no different for us. I explained he is not unemployed & doesn’t receive unemployment nor welfare but that he is required to show up for work, business as usual but is not going to get a paycheck and that is could be a few months until he does. She told me if I was 2 months late, not only will I be assessed 10% per month but that my service will be terminated! How do you propose I take care of this? I haven’t even gotten through all of the people I pay monthly!

I also have children to feed & clothe! Gasoline for my husband to drive 45 min to work, my car insurance and life insurance can’t help us either. No payment, no coverage! I can’t not have life insurance on my husband when he works with the worst inmates in the state.

Please respond for I truly am in need of answers!

[The following paragraphs are the response from Rep DeWeese.]

From: Norton, Helen [mailto:HNorton@pahouse.net]
Sent: Thursday, July 16, 2009 5:20 PM
To: my email address
Subject: budget impasse

Dear Mrs. *****:

Representative DeWeese asked that I thank you for contacting him about the budget. In an effort to get over the impasse House Democrats have introduced a new budget bill, HB 1416, (and Representative Civera has amended it with language essentially worse than SB 850.) It may interest you to know that Mr. Civera’s amendment cuts the DOC General Governmnet Operations appropriation by $1.8 Million. What that will translate into is staffing cuts which well may make Correctins institutions more dangerous places than ever to work in.

Representative DeWeese asked that I send you the following letter:

Thank you for contacting me about the state budget.

It’s important for you to understand that I fully support appropriate funding for state programs such as education, job creation, senior citizens and veterans. Unfortunately, ideology has taken root in the state Senate and we remain locked in budget negotiations at this time.

The latest budget action came Monday when my Democratic colleagues on the House Appropriations Committee moved forward with a budget (H.B. 1416) that maintains those vital programs and, more importantly, contains no tax increase – the sticking point with Republicans.

The plan also holds state government accountable by tightening our own belt, and funding programs for which we are responsible rather than passing the buck to counties and school boards.

I promise you that I will fight for what’s best for Pennsylvania’s future, not just what’s the easiest to get through today.

Your fervent ally,

Bill DeWeese

helen norton
room 626, mcb

[This ends Rep DeWeese’s response.]

This is the reply my sister received when she emailed him about the Barnes Museum in Philly.

Der Mr. and Mrs. ****** – Representative DeWeese asked that I thank you for contacting him about expenditures in the budget, and for your careful perusal of those appropriations. He appreciates your alerting him to the Barnes Collection transportation and will attempt to elarn more about it.

helen norton
room 626, mcb

Learn more about it? Unbelievable!

Oh and I have yet to get any answers on the questions that I asked him.

I believe if the media starts to hear what we are really going through and reports it maybe something will be done. As of right now people believe we are being taken care of because of what he is telling the media and none of it is true! PLEASE tell our story!

[This is the end of her contribution.]

And there you have it.  The story of one state employee who has chosen to swim instead of sink.  The responses she received from her creditors, while disturbing, are to be expected. By the way, you won’t be able to sue the state for damages from increased interest rates resulting from the irreparable damage to your credit report.

If you happen to work for Met-Ed, PPL, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, UGI, or any of the other utility or service companies serving Pennsylvania residents, consider cutting us a break.  Especially if you provide service in the Central PA area — where most state employees are located — consider pulling whatever strings you can to be compassionate to your customers during these extraordinary times.  It makes good business sense to give your customers a temporary deferment on payments, especially if we’re talking about critical, not-optional services such as electricity and mortgage payments.  While you’re certainly under no obligation to do so, the alternative is seeing tens of thousands of paying customers written off for nonpayment.

If anyone else would like to share their story, please do so in the comments below.  I’m especially interested in hearing about any companies that have been helpful and understanding in these ridiculous, unprecedented times.

Remember:  We’re not asking for a handout or a free ride.  All we want is our paycheck.

19 thoughts on “A State Employee Tries To Stand”

  1. To the Guest Posters’ observations I would add the following that Rendell has failed to recognize:

    1. The very act of running the credit report for a loan we should not need adds a comment onto our credit reports that stays there for 2 years whether or not we receive the loan. When you have multiple credit checks on your credit report it influences your credit score…and not for the better! This can influence your future ability to secure credit when you really need it for a bona fide emergency.

    2. Assuming you get the loan…which is a big if regardless of your credit history right now due to the national credit crisis…this loan contributes to your overall debt ratio. Which, let’s say you need to buy a car, diminishes your ability to assume new credit that you genuinely need while you give the legislature and the governor a free ride…loaning them YOUR money as an interest free loan while they figure out whether it is their butt or first base they are contemplating regarding the budget.

    In my house we do not live beyond our means, have definitely planned as best we can for a rainy day and for the future retirement (which is a current reality for me…and a 6 month reality for my husband). We are also supporting our daughter and 2 grandkids while she tries to right her life after losing her job to the economic meltdown. We have good credit…no credit card debt…and still, with a mortgage and a car payment (on a Taurus, not an Escalade folks) we are at 26% debt ratio. That’s the low end of the limit for the recommended debt ratio. I suspect that even with credit in the mid/high 700’s as ours is, we would be unlikely to qualify for a loan IF we were depositors of the banks/credit unions offering them OR if any of them are in our geographic area.

    And floor9, though I agree with you most times, I would ask you to not forget the rest of the state employees though when you ask for consideration especially for services provided in the Central PA area. While there is a pre-ponderance of employees in Central PA, the pre-ponderance of the relief is also available there already. Our food bank was like “HUH?” when I called them to ask what was available for local employees families since I am advocating for them locally. Pittsburgh and Philly have a fair number of employees…as do Scranton, Wilkes Barre, Allentown/Bethlehem and hosts of other satellite cities and towns across the state. Where there are fewer employees, there is less recognition and awareness of the situation, therefore already fewer resources to help them.

  2. I feel so bad for the state employees. They go to work every day, put their best foot forward and sometimes have to put up with a boss who they may not like and this is the thanks they get! And as for the govenor, he constantly puts this off year, after year, after year and who suffers? The employees. As far as balancing the budget goes, if the govenor would stop splurging on these elaborate and costly luncheons and traveling the state gov. wouldn’t have this problem now.He needs to do like the employees he referred to as “non-essential” do and brown-bag it.

  3. After several attempts at contacting creditors and utility companies in the past (even considering my fiancé works for Embarq) – no one was willing to cut us any breaks.

    We had saved up approximately $700 since we moved in case of problems. But unfortunately last month we encountered serious car problems with my fiancé’s vehicle which emptied the rainy-day fund. $600 later and it’s still sitting in my driveway, unable to start, with a major short somewhere in the engine that I’ve been unable to trace out. We can’t afford to send it back to the mechanic which has caused other problems – like it electrocuting me last Thursday while I was tracing out voltage lines. If the state would have passed a stop-gap I could have had it towed back where the mechanic would have been able to fix it instead of me risking my life so I could use that money to buy groceries.

    PPL gave me the same line as the employee you talked about; “Everyone loses their job or their pay, it’s a fact of the economy. If you don’t pay the bill we can turn your service off, how about that?” I tried re-explaining the situation and they didn’t show any concern.

    Embarq gave me the same story; “If you don’t pay it in full on time we turn everything off – your internet, your phone, your dish, everything you pay us for. People live without those things every day, they’re called luxuries for a reason. You don’t need a phone or the internet to survive.” When I tried to explain that I use these things to say in contact with family and to keep up with my field of work they expressed ZERO concern. The supervisor even suggested that by them canceling an account for non-payment they can put the early-termination fee in effect as well.

    AT&T Wireless said I was welcome to pay part of my bill if I wanted to but they could assess a fee on the remaining balance that would roll into next month’s bill and if I didn’t pay it in full the second month they turn it off. Then I was reminded that I hadn’t yet reached the “upgrade” date of my contract (sometime in late November) and would therefore be assessed the early termination fee of $275 too.

    My landlord was only willing to cut me a break from $1200 down to $800. This leaves us cutting it close just to make the utilities and leaving nothing for minimum payments on a growing credit card debt, groceries, gas for the car to drive to work…

    My personal bank, PNC, with whom I have done business with since I was a child, was completely useless as well. I tried to apply for a personal loan for $5,000 and was declined. Their reason? I hadn’t lived at the same address or worked at the same employment for 2 years or more. I tried explaining to the loan officer that I had to move here for my job or I would have had to drive 2 hours one way each day, that it was more cost effective to move down here for my job. I also explained that the date I moved was the date I started this job. I explained I had started this job right out of college and had lived at home throughout my studies so I had 23 years at my prior address. The loan officer simply said it was “bank policy” that the minimum was 2 years and they couldn’t loan to me regardless of my situation until my 2 years mark.

    My last resort was to open a savings account at PSECU the beginning of this month and setup a direct deposit of a small percentage of my pay to go into it. This would act as a nest-egg savings (hopefully someday) and it would allow me to qualify for the $1,000/payday 0% loan offer. I was required to have my payroll department send them a letter certifying that I indeed set up that account as a direct deposit before they would approve me. At least I have something to pay the rent with now so we can devote my fiancé’s income to the bills and hopefully keep swimming throughout this mess.

    I was always told throughout my schooling that government jobs were the way to go – secure employment, consistent paychecks… YEAH RIGHT! The only thing working for this government is doing is ruining my credit and running up my credit card debt.

  4. posting from home at lunch. We got word from DPW that FNS said they could close stateworkers food stamps as soon as the budget is passed. In other words they dont have to wait until we timely report receipt of our pay. Now if they were working so hard to HELP our fellow stateworkers wouldnt have to be fumbling around wondering if they are eligible. They still havent changed the blurb about “not eligible if you have house and car.” NO, they find out when they can close the benefits first.

    It is a civil rights violation to treat state workers applications difference from anyone else.

  5. Allow me to call BS on “the blurb”. Food Stamp policy states that one vehicle and one residential property per household are to be considered exempt resources which do not factor into Food Stamp eligibility.

    I’ll also call BS on the “timely reporting”, since I know damn well that I and my fellow DPW workers are watching this budget mess as closely as you are. Trust me, you will not need to “timely report” the restoration of your pay–it will be rapidly widespread common knowledge.

    The Food Stamps can be closed as soon as a budget is passed and pay dates can be established and verified, but that closing is not effective until the end of the first month the deadline can be met.

    Example: You qualify for Food Stamps during the month of August after applying on 08/03/09 and by some miracle Harrisburg passes a budget on 08/17/09 and pay was restored by 08/24/09 (this would probably coincide with unicorns roaming the streets of Harrisburg and Ed Rendell spontaneously disappearing in a flatulent cloud never to be heard from again by anyone); the absolute soonest your Food Stamps could be terminated would be 08/31/09. Since pay would probably not be restored that quickly and would be received sometime in September, the soonest the Food Stamps would reasonably be able to close would be 09/30/09. You would probably get your September Food Stamps and you would not be liable for an overpayment.

    “The blurb’s” author can now crawl back under it’s bridge and remain there–rumor has it billy goats were spotted in its area….

  6. I have read the comments and watched the Budget from PCN and the PA House and Senate Websites.
    I have over twenty years with PennDOT.
    The good news is the longer this Budget Mess takes the sooner we will get to go through it again. Maybe 4000 to 5000 us won’t as some solutions call for the elimination of that many State Jobs, not Legislative jobs mind you. Maybe we will get thicker skin, poor credit ratings or maybe next May we will vote every single incumbent that is up for re election that voted “yea” to any bill that called for the elimination of State Jobs out of office, those are the choices.
    Not whether your are a Dem or a Rep, but we are State Employee’s – Union and Civil Service, and if you think about it, together at the voting booths, we have power.
    It is time to send a clear message to the PA Representatives and Senators that enough of your party line politics, and get back to the people that put you in Office. A strong showing in the May primary and the November election will get these career politicians out and the remainder and newly elected on the right track.
    With the current economy both sides talk of creating jobs, how could the cutting of 4000-5000 State Jobs help then, are we not human? Do we not enjoy the same Civil Rights as Non-State Employee’s?
    A new Governor will be elected next year, we need to know before hand where he or she stands with the State Employee’s.
    Remember the “Stop Gap” law that would allow us all to get paid? Where is it? Neither side seemed to have the integrity to bring it up.
    May is coming, that is the time to do our talking, and you can bet all up for re election will blame the other side for the Budget Impasse and loss of State Jobs.
    Working for PennDot not only do I have to worry about the Budget being passed, so I can get paid, I have to worry once passed do I have a job to get pay from?
    A three hundred million dollar Professional Soccer Stadium is being built in the City of Chester, Delaware County, any bets on when this project will show a profit? provide jobs?
    From the Rendell’s to the Pileggi’s to the Rafferty’s it’s time to vote and take our goverment back.

  7. The COP rep that said workers wouldnt be eligible for benefits because they have a car/house was too stupid for words, or deliberately providing dis-information to keep state workers from applying.

    A car and a house means nothing for all benefits – cash, medical and food stamps, so why mention it? You can have the Taj Mahal and a caddy, it all depends on income.

    There isnt a resource limit for almost all food stamp households now. When state workers apply either 8/1/09 online or at the office on 8/3/09 they do not have to include resources on the application.

    If they pass the budget August 18 or after, it is too late to stop food stamps for September. You have to get a notice out 13 days (on line) before September 1st.

    Although I could see them “ordering” us to send a handwritten notice so that a ten day notice is enough.

    Of course everyone will know the budget is passed. But to adjust income to a case “instantly” like that without verification has only been done for UC, SSI, SSD. NOT earned income.

  8. A few of the creditors that have been very helpful in either deferring payment or work out something are:

    Allegheny Power: No penalties or interest. They will work with us until it is over.

    Windstream: No penalties or interest. They will work with us until it is over.

    Citi Financial – Deferred payments to end of contract

    Citi Auto – Deferred payments to end of contract

    Dish Network gave us a month free for being a customer for 12 yrs.

    No help from the following:

    South Western PA Water Authority

    Columbia Gas

    Verizon Wireless

  9. Kairen, when applying for SNAP, would you suggest we do so online or in person at our local offices. Will they just look at the projected income for August, or do they also look at July’s income? If we apply online, how do we submit the birth certificates for our children or can we just enter their social security numbers? Never done this before so I’m flying blind here. Any help you can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  10. If you can walk in on Monday 8/3, you may be seen, BUT that depends on the CAO where you live. At a big county – they might review it quickly and schedule an appt for later.

    You could also just drop a completed app off with your copies of verification. Make sure app is signed. There is a form called a food stamp addedum, sign that too.

    The app asks for resources – just say PSECU checking, etc, but you dont have to put down the amount. Resources dont count for most food stamp cases anymore.

    If you have a resource that pays off some significant interest, we would use 2008 and divide by 12. (rare for us) Significant to me would be more than $25 a month.

    If you have the lengthy form, pass up anything about property you own, the info about absent parents. Pass up the questions about any health problems, life insurance, car insurance, medical insurance. Just draw a line thru it. Medical bills – pass that.

    Fill in the rent, yes or no for the utilities, we dont care how much for any of the utilities.

    Include the following copies. Photo IDs for adults, birth certificates for all, SS cards, rent receipt, or mortgage payment, years worth of property taxes, fire insurance. A heat bill – just something to show that you pay for your heat, it does not matter how much. (no other utility bills)

    Also include your last pay, to show your job. Just attach a note that that was it, and you dont know when another one is coming in. We wont count it for August.

    If you have unearned income, child support, include a print out if it is easy to get. Or a copy of the last court order.

    If you have to pay child care costs for August, mention that and include verification of last months costs that you paid (child care – big deduction).

    If I got that app, I would be happy!!! You can ask for an interview over the phone if you cant come in.

    Good luck!!!!

  11. I hear PSECU was going to give us a pass on mortgage or bills that we owe them. As they own all I owe, I hopefully will be ok.

  12. Wow…thanks Karen. The only problem I see with all the required paperwork is the fact that when I printed my pay stub for 7/31 it looks like they are depositing my pay as usual. No Budget Impasse LWOP indications or anything. We did receive an email from our central office indicating that even though it looks normal, no pay will be deposited unless a budget is passed. I think I’ll attached that with the app also. I also heard that about PSECU and read on their website that if you wish to defer the payments, you will need to call and arrange it. Thanks again, I’ll definitely be sharing the information you gave with my coworkers.

  13. Yup. This all sounds familiar. The information we were given said that I was not eligible for foodstamps or cash because I “normally” make too much money, this coming from a state website dealing with this issue.I am going to have my husband apply anyway while I am “unpaid at work” this week.
    I received the letter the state offered to give to creditors and it said that we will be paid on the 24th of July – it doesn’t state that we will only be paid for two days, making it seem like I have nothing to complain about for about three more weeks.
    All of my creditors say “there is nothing we can do for you” and at our institution – a maximum security prison – there is talk that they expect it to last at least four more months! At least the inmates are calmer than we are and seem to be walking on eggshells even though they are still getting paid, mainly because they think we are all ticking time-bombs ready to explode at any time.
    Luckily, I was up front and honest with my landlady two months ago. She asked for June’s rent early but was willing to work with me for July and August. No one else was.
    Again, we were sent information on a foodbank in Harrisburg in our work email – almost all information relayed to us is for that city – I live in North Western PA and none of their “assistance” applies to me.
    I drive 27 miles through a forest to get to work everyday, soon I won’t be able to pay for gas to put in the car I expect to be repossessed soon and may lose my job because I will be unable to show up. There is no such thing as public transport here and no room in any other vehicle to carpool. Most of the prisons were “strategically” placed in rural areas to create jobs, which are now strategic implements of our own downfalls.
    Last week, Rendell recommended that we should all look into getting “part time jobs that pay $300 – 400 extra a week” to supplement our non-exisistant incomes. If there were really 80,000 extra part time jobs like this out there, would there really be a budget issue right now? Not to mention that these jobs don’t exist in the rural areas many of us work at and that those jobs would only pay for the childcare needed while we worked them. Not to mention that I don’t have time to get to one after driving 27 miles to get home or to get one “pre-approved” as “suitable” and not a “conflict of interest” with the state’s priorities.
    I am not eligible for any loans according to my credit score and do not want to switch banks on the chance that I “may” get a loan. My bank is more likely to help me out if I’m loyal to them, as they have been to me for years. I will try them this week. The state put out a list of financial institutions that are willing to help but I have never heard of any of them, even after living in three different counties across the state as a DOC employee. Again with the credit score bit. I don’t want to apply for more than one loan and wreck my credit.
    If the budget impasse continues some of their problems will just go away, as their employees will disappear, too, cutting down on the salaries. This is not logical as last year they froze all hiring and the state is already badly in need of labor in many areas.
    Meanwhile, I wonder how much interest is being made on the money they are not paying us? And what happened to all those gambling revenues promised to us with the casinos and slots machines?

  14. You can’t apply online. When the part comes to enter your hours worked and “$0” income, it won’t let you go any further. An error box comes up that says “You must enter income for hours worked”. Yeah…that’s what I thought too!

  15. If you apply online you have to fudge a little. Play with the figures that you have to enter. perhaps say you work one hour and make $10. At the end of the application is a remarks box. You have quite a bit of room to say what you need too. Also we are looking OUT for COP employees apps and understand.

  16. Please make sure when you are submitting an application that you state you work for the Commonwealth (ie. the state) we all at the CAO’s know what you are going through. Now, you DO need to provide your resources (bank statements) if you are wanting FOOD STAMPS NOW (expedited or emergency foodstamps) resource limit is $1000 (in most cases) CAO’s have up to 5 days to process emergency food stamp apps. Also, state employees apps are being tracked so that the state knows how many people are being affected by this. And, please understand that your information will be in the welfare system (i.e CIS). I am not trying to scare you or sway you from applying (heck I am going to apply) but to give you the facts. Stand strong!!! We will get through this!!!

  17. Could you explain “your information will be in the welfare system”? We currently have no income and a house, cars, utilities, etc to pay for…oh yeah…three kids also to feed and clothe for next month when school starts. I’m just wondering what that means when your name is in the system.
    I am calling our local assistance office tomorrow to try to get food assistance. I already normally only grocery shop with coupons and purchase only generics or store brands. We buy our meats from a farmer to cut costs too. I see people with EBT cards in grocery stores buying name brand cereals, ice cream, and snacks when I stand there with all my store brand items and a few name brands that I have a double $1 coupon for.
    I feel a little weird asking for the help, but I refuse to use a credit card with %10+ interest to buy groceries.
    Rendell thinks we should work another job for income? My husband is already working overtime in his state job and I am at home with our three. Get real!
    Thanks for all of your helpful tips Kairen 🙂

  18. First of all, I just want to say thanks so much for all the information on this site, it has been such a lifeline.

    We weren’t able to save up any money to prepare for the impasse, as we’ve had three major financial setbacks in the past year, and have been unfortunately living from paycheck to paycheck.

    However, until this budget impasse, we were able to always pay our bills on time, even with those setbacks.

    This coming week, however, after looking at what little we have left in the bank after viewing our online statement, it has come to the point where I don’t know if my husband will be able to buy gas in order to perform his job duties much longer. Hopefully he will be able to work three more days… (He uses about $150.00 or more per week for gas).

    I do have a part-time job, but the business I work for cut back everyone’s hours, so the little I bring home I need to use for our car insurance; we simply cannot let that go. And I will have to have enough money to put gas in my own vehicle to go to work. (At least they do pay me.)

    We have cable, which we don’t really watch, but internet is a must for us, as we do all our financial transactions online (our phone is also included in that package). It’s through Atlantic Broadband. We’re supposed to be such great customers, but they will not work with us. As of today, we are officially now behind on three other bills.

    On the bright side, it looks like we will be able to apply for food stamps, even with my income. We haven’t had a steak in a long, long time. haha

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