Join the Conversation on
382 people
0 stories
71 posts
Note: The hashtags you follow are publicly viewable on your profile; you can change this at any time.
  • Explore Our Newsletters
  • What's New in finances
    Community Voices

    #Finances #recession #Depression
    I really need to work
    They just increased some more costs on us
    My husband's job isn't cutting it.
    I am such a mental and physical mess that the thought is stressing me out.
    I really need long term inpatient treatment.
    I really just want to check out all together.

    1 person is talking about this
    Community Voices

    Is Your OCD Expensive?

    I need a lot of things, like tissues, disinfectant wipes, toilet wipes, computer screen wipes, extra clothes, nitrile/vinyl gloves, (sometimes multiple) things for certain purposes, because of my OCD, plus I need things for physical disabilities and issues, like bed pads, extra bathroom tissue, dry eye drops, powder/products for sweating and chafing, and more. These are only a few things for each I need, but I don't always have them all. My boyfriend gets mad at me for the things I need, and that I eat out. That's an ocd thing, too, but more of a mental health thing. I don't do well staying in the motel room, even for one day, and I have to wait for him till at least after 8:00 pm most days to bring me a meal (usual Chinese chicken fried rice, and I find Chinese boooring, but I don't want anything the convenience store offers. I also can't eat just anything because my teeth are so bad and missing, plus my body doesn't react well to some foods. I can't cook at the motel because the microwave is broken and my boyfriend has cooked things in there that are a problem for me.

    Anyway, I'm in a restaurant now (another reason I'm limited is, I have to know the restaurant bathrooms aren't a problem for me), and the waiter asked how I was, and I gave a "so-so" hand gesture, and he asked what was wrong. I said, "Money." He said, "Why are you eating here, then?" I don't feel like explaining my OCD and other issues to anyone, plus it's none of his business, anyway. I usually get the cheapest dish, other than soup, although today I got fish, because I was really craving fish. Also, the drinks are free refills. This is my only meal of the day, except for a small snack later.

    Does anyone go through a lot of things because of their ocd, and maybe other reasons?


    Skye Gailing

    Is Medical Debt Causing You Anxiety? Here's Some Good News

    I won’t beat around the bush: I’m in a lot of debt. Like most chronically ill folks, I have my fair share of ever-increasing medical bills that lurk in my file folder, filling me with shame and dread. In addition to the routine costs of having a rare disease and several co-morbid conditions, I have tens of thousands in student loan debt – both private and federal. The U.S. health care system (and other lending schemes, let’s be honest) is based on predatory billing and collections practices, so until that changes, the best we can do is work with what we have. It’s not all doom and gloom for us, however. How Medical Debt Is Changing There are some exciting changes coming July 1, 2022! The three major credit bureaus are joining forces to remove approximately 70% of medical debt that’s already gone to collections from consumers’ credit reports. Medical collection debt that has been paid will be removed from credit reports and, in the first half of 2023, the three bureaus will also stop including medical debt that’s in collections and under $500 on reports. In addition to all of this, the No Surprises Act – which helps protect patients from unexpected costs associated with seeing an out-of-network provider they did not choose, such as during an emergency or for surgery – will be more aggressively enforced. The VA will also stop reporting approximately 90% of the debt they have been and will be streamlining their debt forgiveness process. So, how does this actually affect me? These changes help remove surprise credit score and report changes because health care facilities and insurance companies don’t typically report unpaid bills to credit bureaus. Instead, these bills get sent to collections agencies, and, after a year thanks to these changes, the debt then gets reported to bureaus. Well, what’s the worst-case scenario? If you do wind up having to deal with a collections agency, it is not the end of the world! The thought of going to collections can be scary, but you can equip yourself with knowledge and face the situation on your own terms. Collections companies will harass you to try to make you pay your medical debt. If you have a large amount of debt that you don’t pay for a long period of time, the provider or collections agency might file a lawsuit. There are rules these collections agencies must (OK, are supposed to) follow, however, including a statute of limitations for the length of time the collector has to sue you, which varies by state. The National Consumer Law Center has a digital book called “Surviving Debt,” which is free to access during the COVID-19 pandemic. This book includes tips for dealing with collections, including how to write a no-contact letter. What happens if my medical bill is sent to collections? Here are some simple steps: You will want to see how your credit report has been impacted. Due to the pandemic, you can get free weekly credit reports from all three credit bureaus from until the end of 2022. Does your credit report have any errors? If so, dispute the claim on your report with the bureaus themselves. Gather evidence and file a different letter for each bureau that has the inaccurate debt listed on your report. TikTok is actually a decent source for tips on writing these letters! If your credit report is accurate, then pay off your debt to the best of your ability. Your account will show that the debt has been paid – late payment looks a lot better than no payment – and that will help you when seeking approval from lenders and creditors in the future. Unfortunately, this might not improve your actual score right away, but it will get better. I hope this information brings you some relief as you navigate our complicated U.S. health care system. These are major developments that could help a lot of people, including you and me!

    Skye Gailing

    Medical Debt, Explained: What People With Chronic Illness Need to Know

    One in five Americans are affected by medical debt. This is a major stressor that can affect anybody and everybody, especially those of us living with chronic physical and mental illnesses and other disabilities. Do you have medical debt? So do I! Here’s what you need to know about it: As with other forms of debt, medical debt occurs when medical bills go unpaid. This is an especially insidious form of debt, as most insurance policies won’t cover the full cost of appointments, procedures, therapies, etc., and medical practices can overcharge for their services, leaving patients responsible for the difference. As of early 2022, 65.9 million people in the U.S. have medical debt, and it’s the leading cause of bankruptcy in this country. The way medical debt is reported, however, is different from the other types. Your credit report and score are not impacted by your medical bills until they have been sent to collections. The period of time before your bill is sent to a collections agency is determined by the individual health care provider and/or practice. So, how do we deal with medical bills before they go to collections? The best preventative measure is to speak with your insurance company before any medical procedures or seeing a specialist. Depending on your plan, you might need a prior authorization, referral, etc. in order for your care to be covered. You’ll also want to keep an eye on your insurance deductible and out-of-pocket maximum. If you’re eligible for Medicaid, you may be able to have your coverage retroactively applied to medical bills from the three months before the actual start date of your Medicaid plan. I know, I know, this is all much easier said than done, especially when an unpredictable event occurs. Let’s get into what you can do about medical bills after the fact: When you receive the bill from your health care provider or explanation of benefits from your insurance company, check your bill for any errors. Call your insurance company and the billing office of your health care practice immediately if you see any errors on your bill or you have a question about the amount you’re being charged. If your insurance company is giving you a hard time, you haven’t met your deductible, or you just need help paying your bill (I had knee surgery in 2020, I feel you), ask the finance office of the hospital or medical practice about setting up a payment plan, or see if they have a financial assistance policy (sometimes called charity care). If it’s a nonprofit hospital, they are required by law to have a financial assistance program. With a quick internet search, you can also usually find a church, nonprofit, or other organization that has funds to help folks with their health care costs. Use the Healthcare Bluebook to find the fair price for your procedure (you can also ask for the Medicare/Medicaid price), rather than the “chargemaster rate.” Take this information to the billing office and ask them to adjust your bill. It also helps to ask for an itemized bill, that way you can find the fair price for each part of your procedure, appointment, etc. Do you get nervous at the thought of negotiating or standing up for yourself? Same. When you contact your hospital, ask them to direct you to their patient advocate or patient representative. These folks help patients in these situations all the time! Try not to put your medical debt on a credit card. Credit cards have high interest rates and you can’t negotiate the amount you owe once it’s on a card. If you have to put your debt on a card but don’t have a credit card or a high enough credit limit, you can apply for a new credit card or personal loan, although applying for a new line of credit doesn’t look great on your report and involves a hard pull of your credit report, which decreases your credit score. If you do go this route, make sure you find a card that provides you with 0% APR for as long as possible. Which is the worst debt to let simmer? Hint: it’s not medical debt. While medical debt can be intimidating, it is probably safe to consider it the least harmful type of debt. If you can, try to prioritize your rent, mortgage, student loan, and credit card payments, as these are the accounts with the highest interest rates. Being late on these payments will cause a greater impact on your credit report and score than unpaid medical debt. You’re not alone. There are approximately 79 million Americans currently dealing with outstanding medical bills or debt. I attend 3-4 appointments each week and I dread receiving those bills in the mail (and that’s before taking into account prescription costs, specific foods for medically necessary diets, and special braces and clothing). It is unjust that health care costs frequently prevent us from receiving the care we need and deserve – and add an unnecessary burden that can exacerbate our conditions. For more information, check out the following resources: RIP Medical Debt (the ultimate resource for all things medical debt-related). A great explainer on how to save money on medical bills from Her First $100K. Viral TikTok Video Highlights Hospital Medical Bill Debt Forgiveness Rule 5 Tips for Becoming Financially Equipped for Living With Chronic Illness NPR’s LifeKit has answers to all of your money questions – including how to deal with the finances of medicine.

    Skye Gailing

    Credit, Explained: What People With Chronic Illness Need to Know

    I was “fortunate” enough to grow up in a family that has a lot of money troubles. I knew what it meant to receive unemployment benefits when I was 9, could explain the intricacies of Medicaid at 10, and knew how to file my own reduced-price school lunch paperwork at 11. The repercussions of financial stress at a young age and early maturation aside, I use the term “fortunate” because I am genuinely thankful that I entered college and the working world knowing about the world of credit, especially once my health care became more complicated. As folks experiencing chronic illness know all too well, being sick is expensive and credit reporting in America is a complicated and confusing system that is not made to benefit the people who use it. Taking care of our health can take up the majority of our time and energy already, so learning the ins and outs of a super complicated credit reporting system might just not be feasible. Does this sound like you? You’re not alone. Here’s what you need to know to get started navigating the hellscape that is U.S. credit reporting. Let’s start with the basics: What is a credit report? Credit reports are statements that contain almost your entire financial history. Creditors, such as credit card companies and loan servicers, report your financial data to credit bureaus (more on that below). Different creditors may report to different credit bureaus. Your credit report usually contains personal information, including your social security number, any and all credit accounts you either have or have had in the past, public records, including foreclosures, bankruptcies, and civil lawsuits, and the names of companies that have requested your report. There are three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian. These agencies are responsible for compiling your credit scores and creating your credit reports, which lenders then use to examine your payment history and deem your “creditworthiness.” Your payment history is super important in the world of lending because it shows the lender that you make payments on time and take responsibility for the debts you accrue. Credit scores can vary across the different credit bureaus and different lenders may use different scores. Each credit bureau creates their own credit report for you. It’s an unfair and terrible system, I know. What makes up your credit score? Your credit score is the synthesis of the information in your credit report, wrapped up in a number typically ranging from 300-850, with 850 being the best possible score. An excellent credit score ranges from 720-850. The major items comprising this number are credit utilization, type of credit, the number of debts you’ve taken on in a certain period of time, your credit history, and hard inquiries (pulls of your credit score when taking out a new loan or applying for a new, not pre-approved, credit card). How long does information stay on your credit report? Generally, negative information remains on your credit report for seven years. The negative outcome of a lawsuit can stay on your report for either the duration of the statute of limitations or the seven-year limit, whichever one is longer. If you declare bankruptcy, that information stays on your credit report for up to 10 years. Even when the negative information no longer appears on your credit report, the credit bureaus can retain the information indefinitely. The exceptions to the seven-year rule are if you apply for a job that would pay greater than $75,000 a year or if you apply for greater than $150,000 in credit or life insurance. In these instances, the employer or lender can access all of your credit history, including the negative information that is more than seven years old. PSA: If a company offers to “fix” your credit report in exchange for money up front, do not accept their offer. This is a scam. I’m not going to sugarcoat it: The credit system sucks. But you are not alone. Schools should include lessons on credit systems and lending practices as part of their core curriculum. The only way a lot of folks learn about these topics is by being thrown into the credit reporting system without a full grasp on what’s happening (enter: young me). Hopefully, the information I’ve shared equips you with the knowledge and confidence you need to learn more and advocate for yourself in the financial realm. We’ve got this! More Resources for Managing Finances With Chronic Illness For more information, check out the following resources and stories: 5 Tips for Becoming Financially Equipped for Living With Chronic Illness Her First $100K has amazing information about which credit cards to use, tackling debt from all different sources, and how to prioritize your mental and financial health. 5 Ways to Control Your Anxiety About Finances NPR’s LifeKit has answers to all of your money questions. We Need to Talk About the Financial Impact of Being a Spoonie How the Broken U.S. Healthcare System Is Breaking My Family

    Community Voices

    Can't seem to get out from under

    I try so hard to get out from under the many challenges of depression and other issues.
    I'm on disability and am started to work part time. I'm in a private type of subsidized housing. My son who has multiple disabilities and now is blind is trying to become independent and move out. He is really struggling.
    I don't know why, but my rent is being raised $50 per month. I'm barely making it financially now. I was badly scammed and had fraud and identity theft be ause I was so stressed out I didn't realize until too late that the people calling and pressuring me were a scam.
    I have severe medical issues that require surgeries and I won't get paid for the time because I'm new and part time.
    I have lost all my friends due to my depression and other illnesses. I have really failed in life. I'm a single mom and have tried hard but failed my son in many ways. I'm afraid we are going to end up homeless.
    I hate the system. I got off it before and I wish I had never gotten back on but I ended up back in the hospital. I am angry at mental illness. I am angry people judge me so harshly. I'm angry at the trap the disability system puts me is so hard to not be angry at myself because I haven't gotten better and succeeded.
    I've been doing this for decades and I am old now, and feel worse in my depression, etc. than I ever felt. I honestly can't think clearly enough about how this is going to work out. I will try to talk to the property manager. The rent will probably go up more because I haven't reported I'm working. I feel like there is no way out and no way I'm going to make it, but that is my depression talking.
    I'm sorry to be a downer. That is why I have no friends. No one wants to be around a depressed person. I'm supposed to be positive. #Depression #alone #struggling #Finances #single mom #Not making it

    2 people are talking about this
    Community Voices
    Community Voices

    Today's my birthday, and it's not going at all how I planned. I got up later than planned, because my boyfriend "lost track of time"; I was going to treat myself while at the same time challenging myself by traveling to a store I've been wanting to go to for a long time that's further away than I've driven by myself since I was young, but my boyfriend informed me upon waking yesterday that he has serious financial issues and we'll be super tight until he gets paid next Friday, but we'll still be tight; nevertheless, I still overspent, and feel like a pos; I got to dinner late, and had to wait and use up some gas, looking for a parking space; things just keep going wrong; and I'm just stupid! What's wrong with me?

    13 people are talking about this

    Ways to Overcome Financial Abuse in Abusive Relationships

    Financial abuse occurs more often than you think. If you’re experiencing financial abuse, it’s important to take steps to reestablish your financial safety. Every person’s situation is different, so please keep that in mind, as some of the suggestions here may not apply to you. Consider taking these eight steps in order to overcome financial abuse. 1. Establish personal safety. Your safety is the top priority. If you’re experiencing financial abuse, you may be experiencing or be at risk for other types of abuse, such as physical, sexual, emotional, or verbal abuse. Also, abusers tend to intensify their efforts to maintain power once they perceive they are losing control, which may lead to future unsafe situations. If you do not feel safe enough to enact some of the suggestions below, you should first focus on establishing your personal safety. 2. Gather all financial information and important documents. Before you take action, you should make sure you have all of your financial and personal information (if you have access to it). This will help determine your current financial situation, aid in financial planning, and help protect you in the future. Consider collecting and securing the following: A recent credit report. Your birth certificate, social security card, passport, driver’s license, marriage licenses, titles, and other ownership documents. All account numbers, balances, and passwords. 3. Establish financial boundaries. If your abuser is capable of changing their actions, you can try to establish specific financial boundaries designed to reestablish financial safety. You must identify the boundaries that you need in your specific situation. Here are a few suggestions: Increase supervision by requiring that you have all financial information and an ability to check all accounts often. Increase accountability by requiring that the co-owner of any accounts consult with you regarding all financial decisions. Request that your abuser relinquish their credit cards or access to funds. All boundaries need to be agreed upon by both parties. If someone does not accept your boundaries, consider that this person may continue to engage in financial abuse. 4. Seek social support. Financial abuse often occurs when the abuse survivor is in isolation. Let someone you trust know what’s happening. You’ll need to make sure this person is able to be supportive of you and not your abuser. Being seen, heard, and understood by trustworthy and empathetic friends and family members will help you become less isolated and will therefore better equip you to protect yourself. Consider telling these trusted people what you need. Do you need help taking action? Do you need them to listen to and understand your experience? 5. Secure vulnerable accounts. Vulnerable accounts are accounts to which your abuser has access. These can include checking, savings, retirement, investment, and credit card accounts. You should secure these accounts as soon as possible. You can close these accounts, freeze them, or withdraw your share of funds in order to prevent further financial damage. However, be aware that closing certain accounts may negatively impact your credit. 6. Open secure accounts. Secure accounts are accounts over which you or a trusted co-owner have complete control. You may consider opening new secure accounts in order to deposit current or future funds. Be sure not to give your account information to anyone who you cannot trust. 7. Seek financial independence. If someone prevents you from working or earning your own money when you are capable of working and willing to so, this could be financial abuse. Consider gaining employment or funding opportunities and controlling your own funds. Utilize your support system and community resources for additional help. 8. Participate in therapy. There are many types of therapy that can help you overcome financial abuse. Individual therapy can help you identify financial abuse, process your thoughts and emotions, address trauma, and discover how to prevent abusive circumstances from recurring. Couples or family therapy can assist you and your abuser in reestablishing financial safety and trust in the relationship. Financial therapy is provided for individuals or for any relationship in which money is involved and should be considered if you’ve experienced financial abuse. Amanda Ann Gregory is a trauma psychotherapist, national speaker, and author who provides specialize speaking engagements for conferences, companies, and communities. Schedule a speaking engagement and follow on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube. 

    Community Voices

    Anyone else financial struggle because of depression? Like having to give up a car or house/apartment because you can’t seem to get the motovation to work for enough money to pay for it all. Or work a job that you absolutely hate but pays extremely well because with depression its just too draining to endure your hate for the job... 😔

    9 people are talking about this