April 2014 Continued…:
The envelope still sat, unopened, on the table. I sat down at the table, took a sip of ice cold Stoli. With deliberateness, I used the letter opener and slit the envelope, pulling out a sheaf of papers. Seven to be precise, front and back, so, all told, four pages. They didn’t mess about. It was all in the first line.
“Your claim for disability has been approved.”
I stopped breathing. I resumed breathing, closing my eyes and thanking God, over and over, and the adjudicator. And all the little people. And, anybody else I could think of. The person who had done the spirometry test. The result of which had been rather eye-opening. Remember that 1.15 score I had to meet to qualify? My score was 0.5. There had been a good likelihood of them approving the claim, but all in all, six months, not the two years everyone had said. That is both the good news and the bad. I qualified. They told me that my disability checks would begin arriving on or about May 21, once a month thereafter. Oh, and by the way, “You have also been approved for back pay.” About 14 months worth of back pay. Oh My God.
I stopped breathing. I resumed breathing. Like a litany in my head, I had never stopped thanking God, but it picked up in volume and cadence. THANK YOU, GOD!
What that translated to was about $30,000 in back pay. OH MY GOD!!!!
The rest of the letter explained how various amounts would be deducted and held to pay the attorneys’ fees, any outstanding government fees, such as a cash benefit, similar to the food stamp program, any back taxes or student loan in arrears…. For a moment, as I thought of my student loans, I thought the entire $30,000 was gone, just like that. Ah, but I was in forebearance and not in arrears. I began to breath again. In. Out. Easy-peasy. In. Out. In. Out.
Oh my God.
So, what would you do if you suddenly heard you were receiving maybe $21,000 when all was said and done, even if it would take close to 90 days for it to come thru?
Frankly, I was relieved with the 90 days, as I would go through a variety of plans on how to spend it, several times a day, for quite a while and that enabled me to practice getting used to the idea of money again. And, here’s the thing, April’s rent still needed to be paid, the Marshall would be there in three days…
I danced over to the computer to email my brother to call me. There was a notice from Amazon Prime, they had deducted the annual fee of $79.00 from my checking account. “Wwwhhhaaatttt?” oh my gawd…. I had just finally gotten the rent together once PayPal transferred the transcription monies, but there was no way I could come up with the $79.00. I’d been excited about the $26.00 coming from PayPal. $79… I did a loop de loop a la Amazon.com, got on the phone and called their service desk and explained the situation. “You’ve got to give that back. I can pay it next month, but not this month. Put it back.” They were very good, very courteous and it would take about 3 business days to return the money….
The next day I called the apartment manager. I asked about the 3 Day Notice to Pay Rent or Quit. “I thought you said you understood and would wait.”
“Well, yes, but I have to serve it, Huntie, just in case.”
I took a deep breath. “Okay, so there’s been a slight hiccup.” And I explained about Amazon and that it would be take 3 business days. “It might be Friday before it is paid.”
“Alright, Huntie. Keep me posted.”
Friday, the rent was paid. It was April 11th.
On April 18, the local Social Security office called to start the intermittent payments owed to me from the State claim for disability. The lady was very nice and explained they had had the wrong phone number for me. She did a full on interview with me over the phone. “If you pass this interview, the payment will be in your account next Wednesday.”
“Can you give me an idea how much that might be?”
“Yes. Once we complete the interview and if everything is good, the amount will be $2,200.”
I passed the interview.
On Monday, April 21, my checking account balance was $2.21. I had about 24 miles left in the gas tank.
On Wednesday, April 23, my checking account balance was $2,202.21.
On Friday, April 25, my checking account balance was $22,002.21.
OH MY GOD!!!!!!
I wish each and everyone of you could have been in the room with me when I casually checked my bank balance Friday evening and saw that amount beaming back at me. No ninety day threshold here.
So, exactly what would you do if you suddenly had $22,000 in your checking account?
My very first act, other than a full tank of gas, at $50.00, was to sign up for LifeLock.
Continued in Part 4.