My primary source of income will be SSI which is $735 from the federal government, and $22.40 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. For those living in economically struggling countries, this may sound like a lot. In reality though, it about 25% below the poverty line, and in my opinion – even at the poverty line, one can not truly make the basics suffice.
I also receive financial assistance with my rent through the Section-8 Program. The program pays about $370 (in my case) of the rent. It is based on the housing capacity, and income. Since my rent is about $540 + Electricity, the assistance makes it possible for me to afford to pay for rent. In addition, there is a $15/pet fee. In addition to my SSI benefits, I also receive about $65 in SNAP benefits (aka Food Stamps). This fund is for food only, and since I spend as much if not more on food – it is greatly appreciated. My brother and his girlfriend are both due to give money totaling to $115 for their portion of the cellular phone bill. Last, I have applied and been approved for the CAP program which helps in reducing the total electric bill. The program requires that I pay about 60% of the bill which has meant that my electricity is now below $20 per month which considering my income – is a great assistance.
Once per year, I qualify for a rental rebate program. Based on my income, and the money I pay – I can expect about $400 each year that I apply for the program. I also have a credit card which I receive 1.5% of cash back. This credit card is assigned to address essential items and prevent any chance of overdraft. For example, my bills are paid with this credit card, and then I make one payment with the credit card for the bills. Exceptions to this will be the landlord (doesn’t support credit cards) and the electric company (charges to use a credit card). In both cases, the funds are handled through my bank account. By paying the bills with the credit card – I receive cash back. This cash back will typically be applied back to the credit card which is treated in my opinion as income.