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Money Expert Ryan Nickel

Living with a Disability


I am living on a disability income of $900 per month. After a student loan garnishment and a Medicare B premium, I am living on $770.

I rent a room in a house for $650 per month. I am living on fumes and feel trapped: I cannot afford my current housing, but I also am unable to move somewhere cheaper because I am unable to save up the moving-in costs. Is there any hope for me?



Hi Teresa,

Not knowing whether your disability is long term or short term will affect my answer to you. What are you doing with your free time? I can see that you have access to internet and are able to use a computer. Log on to Craigslist and search for a "part time job". I just ran a search in the Portland, OR area and found several that will accommodate you working from home. That is one way to increase your income in order to save enough to move into more affordable housing.

If your disability is long term and depending on how much your student loans are for, you might want to consider bankruptcy. If your condition is such that you will never be able to work again and have loans in the several tens of thousands of dollars there is a rare clause that will allow you to bankrupt student loans due to financial hardship. This is not an easy process. I do not suggest it unless your condition is such that you will never be able to earn more than your $900/mo.

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I know how hard things can be. I have two permanent mental conditions, buried in debt, going to college on loans, and I make 556 a month on SSDI. Something is wrong here, wouldn't you say?

I didn't notice the date on this post, but maybe this will help you or someone else. I am on SSDI and receive $926 a month. My income is low enough to get a rental subsidy (pays $376 of my $525 rent), get my Medicare premiums paid through QMB, and I even get a little in food stamps. I'm $3.00 over the limit to get my Medicare deductible paid (SLMB), unfortunately; and adults don't qualify for Medicaid in my state. The only drawback I had was that as a single person with no dependents, I couldn't get housing in the major city I lived in. Families get assistance first, and the waiting list is long. So I had to move to a rural area for one year in order to get housing. (And, yes, I did have to borrow money for my deposit--at the time I was still waiting for my SSDI to come through so I had NO income.) After a year, you can move back to your preferred area. None of this is simple or pleasant, but it sounds like there might be some assistance out there that you're not taking advantage of or don't know about. Check with your local housing authority and DHS office. Hang in there!