If your debts were wiped out, you'd still lack sufficient income to support a family of 4 (3 of whom have ongoing medical issues).
I'm also wondering, do the parents have any source of income? If not then someone would be looking at getting them on Social Security.
I know there's a lot of information there, which is why I haven't gone into further unnecessary details. So let me repeat from my original post: "Our bills are not merged with my partner's parents at all, so that helps marginally." These bills and income are from a family of 2. My partner's parents are their own separate sources of income and bills, which I have no idea where their money comes from or goes to, and it has no bearing on my and my partner's situation. Although it could mean that at any time they may decide they can't afford to hand over my rent contribution to my partner, which would screw him out of grocery money and gas money for me to get to appointments. But I expect that will be an discussion with time for us to budget accordingly if that happens.
Also, I would strongly suggest that you take all necessary precautions to hold off on growing your family until you are on more stable financial footing. The last thing your family needs is more people to take care of.
With minor changes in income, we will be out of debt in 3 years and I feel perfectly comfortable working toward getting married and then giving us more people to take care of in that kind of timeframe, and not any sooner even if our financial situation magically rectified itself. In the meantime, there is only a miniscule chance that we will have any surprise increases in family members, that's been taken care of.
You said those payment protection plans are making the minimum payments for you for 2 years and no interest is accruing during that time. Sounds like breathing room to me. Things could be worse.
I came here because as I said, even after all of the efforts I've made to get these payment protection plans working for me, we still aren't going to make our bills. I was very clear about that when I said, "In 3 months, two medical bills will be paid off. But I don't know that we can wait that long. At this rate,
we will be unable to make some of these debt payments as early as November."
You completely ignored the question about what YOU need to do.
Darn Tootin' I did, because the details of my medical situation is not your business beyond that it exists and how it impacts my finances, both things which I already outlined clearly. I've outlined my expected timeframe of recovery, and that's all that I feel comfortable sharing.
Since I don't know the nature of your medical issues and am not a physician, I can't say whether there is anything you can do. But if there s something you can do to help your situation then you need to do it.
I also thought this sentiment meant your question was rhetorical, as in telling me I need to think about what I need to do, not that you were asking me to air my medical details online. Sorry for the miscommunication.
Your partner is shouldering an enormous burden, is there anything you can do from home to help? Maybe turn a hobby into a side job, make some crafts, and sell them on Etsy? Maybe hit up some garage sales on weekends, and resell a few gems on eBay? A couple hours of housecleaning for a neighbor? Phone surveys? Anything at all you can do to help ease his burden?
As previously stated, "I'm not allowed to work or I lose $1500 a month in medical benefits," which means I cannot have any income in my name. Putting it in my partner's name is fraud. I'm also not comfortable doing things for other people (like housecleaning) that I can't even do for myself. I used to be pretty crafty and would love to sell things on etsy and ebay, but concentration and ability to use my hands has been a major part of my disability. But even then we are back to the fact that if I could do those things, I would just go get a job. That's kind of the whole idea of disability, that you can't do those things, or else they deny you because you can work. (Of course once you GET disability they want to rehabilitate you to be able to work again, which I'm fine with since that's my ultimate goal.)
As for easing my partner's burden, I do a lot. I keep the chores, projects, and meal plan lists organized so he knows what needs to be done when. I find ways of saving money (clipping coupons is out since we don't eat a lot of processed foods) or making things from scratch that were previously using convenience foods. I keep track of our gardening projects which has brought in food for us over the summer, and devise ways of expanding our gardening ability in our limited space. Over the last 6 months I've doubled our available gardening space with things we have on hand, though the drought killed most of my plants so we didn't get a great yield. I scour freecycle for free plant cuttings and seeds that can be used in the garden to feed us. I do some of the housekeeping, though so far most projects have to be shared since I can only do half of them--we split off what I can do and he does the rest, and I'm in charge of creating checklists so we know what we're working on. Mostly, I am good at organizing things and that's something I can still do, albeit to a lesser degree than I used to. I'm still capable of keeping those kinds of household things organized, but keeping that up plus organizing the entire staff at a job was more than I can do because of the physical requirements an employer needs to be profitable (and my last job wasn't willing to give the reasonable accommodations needed for me to do that job).
Whatevah...at $6/day for gas I guess he'd have to bike 7 days. That's a huge difference and changes everything.
It doesn't change my original statement that "Gas is increasingly minimal as my partner has been able to start riding his bike to work more often." As soon as he is capable of commuting both ways, he will. It's already cut our gas costs in half--and he doesn't have another 7 days a month to ride to work to cut those costs. He doesn't even work 14 days a month, which is the other-way commute he needs to make that money you're saying we can find. It'll net us another $20 a month or so once he starts riding home from work. For now he needs to build up a bit more stamina in order for it to be safe. 90 minutes of riding + a 10 hour shift is not the time to be riding your bike across a wind-tunnel bridge at midnight in the rain and sleet like we had last night. I hope we can agree on that much at least!
Can you list your income and outgo over the next month? Because your post made me think that you don't have to pay the debts for now.
As I said, 2 of my 8 cards have payment protection and I'm still working on activating them for my car loan. Income for the next month:
We know of $269 because that's a check that will get deposited Oct 31 for bills Nov 1-15. Tips from oct 16-31 for the Nov 1-15 bills have not been received yet. That check also includes and extra 2 shifts of project work that has been completed and is no longer available for picking up extra hours, normally the checks are around $225. The schedule hasn't even come out for the check that will be deposited Nov 15 for the last half of the month's bills, so I can't tell you how much he'll be expecting in tips either. I can tell you that my partner earned $558 in wages last month (september), and $326 in tips. The remaining coverage for bills tapped the emergency find, which we drained this month.
My income is $200 in food stamps for my own groceries (not sharing with the house) and $197 in cash benefits to cover my expenses. This covers my rent/utilities which his parents just hand back to my partner for his own groceries and expenses like gas to be picked up from work and get me to my medical appointments, any medical supplies I need, plus toilet paper and the like (which we just cut costs by me switching to toilet cloth because we couldn't afford to keep buying toilet paper--when our stash runs out, he's just going to steal his parents' stash or switch to cloth, his choice). Kitty litter and cat food run about $10 a month and no we are not getting rid of a member of the family.November Bills:
Nov 1-15 (which means we need the cash in the bank Nov 1)
Auto loan: $240
TOTAL: $551Nov 16-30, due in bank Nov 15
CC: $30, deferred
Student loan: $30 (down from 60 last month)
Car Insurance: $100/month set aside*
Cell phones: $67
Storage: $80 ($115 last month)
CC: $10, deferred
TOTAL: $486 (591 last month)
* ranges from 500-600 every 6 months, I called this month to ask for additional discounts and they said to call back the first full week in November since they don't pull data to calculate discounts until the month the premium is due.
TOTAL monthly output with this plan: 1037
$18 for entertainment
$80 for off-site storage
$939 in minimum debt payments
$200 for Partner's groceries and our incidentals which evens out pretty closely, and if we have extra gets tossed into the pot for the next month's bills
$200 for my groceries (yes it seems high, but that includes most gardening costs since seeds and starts are covered by food stamps, and a medically-required specialty diet which I can't share much food with the family for both medical and legal reasons; if I do I lose my food stamps and we don't qualify if we include his parents in food benefits.)
It's now time to think about what YOU are going to do to help the situation. Your partner is already going way beyond what he should have to do.
I AM thinking about what I can do to help, that's why I asked for help, to find out if bankruptcy is an option or if I'm missing some ideas that aren't so glaringly obvious.
But so you are aware, my partner is deeply offended that you characterize his actions as going "way beyond what he should have to do." He feels first and foremost that we all must do what we can, and there is no such thing as "beyond what someone should have to." He moved to take care of his aging parents because it is the right thing to do, and has not gone above and beyond the call of duty by doing so. On top of that, he's failing at helping the situation because he has failed to fulfill his obligations to get himself food stamps, for which he qualifies but hasn't gone for the interview that would get them activated. He has failed to fulfill his obligations for supplemental income through unemployment, which should gain him about $400 per month in income according to their records (enough, in case you missed it, to cover all our expenses and give us a little spending money), if only he could be bothered to make a phone call once a week. He has failed to find a superior job (due to his own lack of time and desire and experience), such as one that would keep us afloat longer. He doesn't want me pushing myself past my limits, which I do regularly to try to make this situation easier for us, because I want to do what I can within my abilities and the structure of the legal situation I'm fighting through, and because I'm afraid if I don't push my limits sometimes I won't know what they are.
Because our incomes and debts are intertwined, it was pertinent to include the information including his debts, bills, and income. But I didn't feel comfortable going out of my way to list his shortcomings, and I know I can't force my partner to do anything, so I stuck to my own responsibilities and asking for ideas what I can do about MY share of the debts. But since you tried to demonize me and put him on a pedestal, he asked that I enumerate his shortcomings in this situation as well. So there you have it. He's no saint, and I'm not the only one not picking up my end of the slack here (and in fact my partner doesn't feel I am leaving any "slack" to begin with)--I'm just the only one doing what I can to FIX it.