“Everything was going well until last year, I got sick. I was on complete bed rest for nearly 10 months. When I got sick, I didn’t have insurance and we paid $8,000 out of pocket for medical expenses.”

For most of my life I have been a waitress as my family owned restaurants. In 2000, we moved to Arizona and decided to start a cleaning and landscaping business here in Prescott, Az. Everything was going well until last year, I got sick. I was on complete bed rest for nearly 10 months. When I got sick, I didn’t have insurance and we paid $8,000 out of pocket for medical expenses. I wasn’t eligible for AHCCCS at the time because when I applied, they used the previous year’s income, so we did not qualify.

Finally, after six more months of waiting I was eligible. Being on AHCCCS saved my life, because of the kind of medical condition I have, I needed major surgery and more. We lost everything, and I am no longer with my husband. I ended up in a shelter and I am hoping to go back to work soon. I recently broke my arm and at 54 years of age, that really hurt! I will be in a splint for 2 weeks and a cast for 4 to 6 weeks. Thanks to AHCCCS I am receiving the medical treatment I need.

Just because you are in a shelter doesn’t mean you don’t have expenses. I pay $3 a night to stay here, and fortunately I have a car so I also pay gas and insurance. I have been using money I saved up and was able to pay for a whole month at the shelter. Sometimes I give people a ride and they will pay me.  Today, I have less than a dollar to my name.

If a work requirement happened right now, I don’t know what I would do. I hope to get back to work soon and get into an easier line of work. I’ve been taking classes for peer support training and I also volunteer here at the Coalition for Compassion and Justice (CCJ). We will see what happens, I am optimistic about my future.

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