Social Question

trailsillustrated's avatar

Do you think it would be better to be poor in the Pacific Northwest of the USA or in Australia?

Asked by trailsillustrated (16799points) June 22nd, 2018

I could go back and live with my family. But, eh. I’ve had a stroke and have no idea how healthcare works. I’ve been renting a 3 bedroom house here for ever, it’s getting hard. Just playing around with the idea.

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29 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

I am saddened to hear of your stroke, yet relieved that it was apparently not so debilitating as to preclude your participating here. Of course there are too many holes in the information you’ve provided for an opinion from me on your options. But it’s good to see you back, and here’s hoping you keep in touch.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Well yeah my brain was scrambled for like a year. I still can’t speak properly. I get 300$ a week on the dole. I’ve applied for disability which would be about 900$ a fortnite. I presently get 600$ a fortnite. I could go back to my family but I have no idea how the healthcare thing works there or anything. My sister really wants me to come, I’m kinda like eh no. I’m 59 this year, I’m still a ( very vanilla) sex worker, my physical self looks young but my body feels 80. If I got the disability payment here I could just maybe make it.

stanleybmanly's avatar

You are fortunate in that there is apparently no urgency to your decision. Being poor anywhere can be foreboding, but you have the good fortune to be located in a part of this country with a more enlightened perspsectve on such matters, and it is intriguing that you occupy a 3 bedroom house. Clearly your independence is paramount in your motivations, so rake in the extra $300, allow your entrepreneurial mind to continue ticking over, and you might well devise an alternative to looming poverty.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Thankyou, really that has kept me all this time. I’m feeling my mortality! Everyday I’m kind of like really? If I did all the work that came my way, I wouldn’t have a problem. I, however, have become depressed I guess. I’m doing 200? Mg of Zoloft, I’m not crying but I’ve been hiding in my house. I just don’t understand it. Thankyou for your answer my friend,

trailsillustrated's avatar

When I got this house, my kids lived here. They have grown up and left home but I’ve stayed here. This neighbourhood is really nice and now, all this time later, I wouldn’t be able to get anything again. One bedroom is my work room.

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janbb's avatar

It is my understanding that health care is very good in Australia and my guess is that social services are getting worse and worse in the States. However, only you know how well you like living here and what it might be like to live with your family. If I were comfortable in other ways, I would rather be poor in Australia at this time.

notnotnotnot's avatar

So sorry to hear about your health. I can only speak for the US, where health care is difficult and unaffordable. Additionally, there is a bi-partisan attack on sex workers here in the US, which may make things more difficult for you (see FOSTA/SESTA for details).

LadyMarissa's avatar

I had my stroke when I was 40 & my parents moved me straight from the hospital into their home assuming that I could no longer take care of myself. Well, at that point I wasn’t able to care for myself; but, I wasn’t the kind to lay down & give up. Now, I loved my parents dearly & I appreciated their desire to give me a better life than I was facing!!! The up side was they were willing to do things for me that I could no longer do for myself. The down side was they kept trying to take away things from me that I could still do for myself!!! I was forced into a situation where I had to fight for my right to take care of myself!!!

I can tell you from my experience that I spent most of the first year regrouping & relearning what I could & couldn’t do any longer. The next year was learning how to better do the things that I wanted to do for myself. One of my therapist suggested that when I was trying to do something & it wasn’t working out the way I had anticipated that I say out loud to myself “NO, that’s not the way I need to do it now.” Then start over slowly figuring out the best way for me to do it with my current abilities. With my parents there, they automatically took away anything that frustrated me & I couldn’t get them to understand that being frustrated was my motivation to learn a NEW way. After about 2 years, they needed to go visit with a relative who lived quite a ways away & I assured them that I was well enough to take care of myself for a few days. While they were gone, I moved out & into my own place.

My parents didn’t like my decision; but, I had not been declared incompetent & as an adult there was nothing they could do about it. Yes, it was tougher than I thought it was going to be being back on my own & many days I cursed myself for leaving the safety/security of my parents home. Still, being alone forced me into finding a better way to do what I needed. In the long run, the best thing I ever did was live by myself!!!

Long story I know; but, I don’t know your full status & wanted to give you as much info from which you can draw that might correlate with your situation. I think you need to do a LOT of research on what you might benefit from moving especially the financial part of the equation!!!

I’m sure your sister means well; but, are you ready to stand up to her IF she becomes overly hovering??? You live by yourself & do things the best way for YOU. Are you ready to have someone take everything away from you because they feel it is easier for them to do it for you??? I wasn’t ready for that. I cherished my independence & felt it was slowly being taken away from me while living with my family & I also found it even more difficult to be disrespectful toward them for trying to help me. For me, living by myself became the best way to have a happy life even with my physical challenges!!!

For me, I refused to feel disabled & had to insist on being handicapable.I’m NOT going to lie to you…recovery is a freakishly long process & for me, taking control over that process helped me to get better!!!

Now, I’m 68 & both my parents have passed. IF I had not insisted on taking care of myself, I’d be helpless & dumped into a nursing home. Instead, I’m still living in my own home & taking care of myself!!! Some days the idea of the nursing home seems more attractive than others; but by the next morning I’m back on track.

When you’re having a down day & just need to talk through it, PM me & I’ll do my best to help you cope!!! Now, YOU are the ONLY one who can decide what is BEST for you. I know what was best for me; but it might not be what works best for you!!! I do suggest that you not just jump on an offer without thinking it through from 12 different directions.I don’t have knowledge of the financial possibilities in the Pacific Northwest nor Australia & you know your financial needs much better than I do; so, now all I can wish you the best no matter what you decide!!!

kritiper's avatar

The fishing is good here in the Great Northwest, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and I’d be eating lots of fish if I had to. What’s the fishing like in whatever part of Australia??

rojo's avatar

Not sure about the PacNW but I can tell you that here in Texas I have family members for whom receiving disability is a constant, ongoing battle. They have to justify, and re-justify their injuries/disabilities. Any attempt to add income to their lives is cause for loss of disability compensation.

I had one who has lost a limb. He has a tendency to get MRSA on the stump. Last month they wanted to know how many days a month he suffered from MRSA? How long does each outbreak last? Their thought is that should be able to work around it. If he only had an outbreak every other week or so and it lasted three days, then he should have 14 days he could be working. He had to explain that you cannot schedule MRSA for, say, only on Fridays; it happened when it happened and that it was impossible to find an employer who would hire him knowing he would be unable to work for a quarter of the work month. But, they don’t allow reality to interfere with their world view. He is still fighting with them.

What it boils down to is that you cannot live on disability (you can survive) especially when you have medical bills, trips to the hospital, constant doctors appointments, expensive prosthesis (things break and while you might be able to get assistance to purchase the original, things break and there is a reluctance to fix them by the system), many and varied medications, etc that you have to pay for your of pocket. It is extremely difficult when disabled to get a job that would afford you a decent living. If you try to supplement your disability payments you are considered abled and dropped from the program. A classic Catch-22 situation.

What they need is a program that provides the needed benefits and allows you to earn up to the amount of the benefits without loss but I am sure that would be too much to ask.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Anyone convinced that people on disability are freeloaders or gaming the system should read @rojo ‘s post

LuckyGuy's avatar

@trailsillustrated It is nice to see you here. :-) I’m sorry you need to ask this question though.
I know nothing about the welfare/public assistance situation – fortunately.
It seems to me that a support network is very important. If you are independent and have friends who can help you in Oz then that is probably a good place to be. If you don’t have a good network there and your family in the US is willing to help then living nearby, or with them, might be a better option. Only you know the full situation.
I forwarded this Q to someone who might know a little more about the system in the Pacific NW. Hopefully he will get back to you.

janbb's avatar

@LuckyGuy I may be wrong but I think her family is in Oz.

Zaku's avatar

I wasn’t clear where you vs. the family are either but I intuit the family is in Australia and that you’d be eligible for (non-gauging like in the USA) health case in Australia, so that sounds like two good reasons to go there, but the PNW is beautiful and ultimately it should be about where you’ll be happiest, which you would know best.

stanleybmanly's avatar

There are just too many unknowns. For example, is there a network of friends where she is? Then there’s the extent (if any) of her impairment. Will relocating to Australia with her family restrict her independence? Are her grown kids still in the Northwest? And so on.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Getting on disability in the US is difficult and the process takes years (I swear they do it like that just to see how many will just give up). And once you do get it, if you get, you have to prove you disability again every few years. And you can subsist on disability in the US, but you can’t live on it.

johnpowell's avatar

In Oregon we have the Oregon Health Plan. But there are specific enrollment periods and even if you get it things are not great. Limited doctors and so on and not sure if Zoloft would be covered.

Have you ever filed taxes in the United States? Your disability payment could be as low as 700 (average is 1200 – max is 1700) a month. And then after two years they take a 100 a month out of that for Medicare. And this assumes you can even get disability. It is so hit and miss and you are looking at at least six before you would would get a check. And again, I would not count on getting disability. And six months is like the best case scenario.

On the bright side you could get food stamps right away. So that is 158 a month for food.

My apartment is pretty depressing. It is small and has wood paneling in the living room that makes it very dark. But I do have a spare room that is tiny and currently storing my moms crap. She is actually in the process of getting her stuff out. So… If you need a place to crash in Eugene my door is open. All I ask is that you cover whatever the electric bill goes up. I have a very serious problem mentally paying for the heater to be on.

And this is kinda a mess since it is hard to compare USD to the Australian dollar. I have a hunch a box of kraft dinner is more expensive there by a significant margin.

And another thing. How long will Australia keep cutting you checks without meeting with someone? I have a friend here that about 20 years ago lost both his hands pulling green chain. He has been classified by the social security administration as “unlikely to recover”. He only has to go in every five years to prove he is still disabled. So he has been living in Mexico since his 900 a month goes a lot further down there. He just hops on a plane when they want to make sure his hands didn’t grow back.

janbb's avatar

It’s not clear to me whether the OP is currently in the North West or Australia. She is from Austarlia and I know she has lived in both countries. I took the Q to mean she was in the Pacific North West currently and her family wants her to move back to Oz. Maybe she can clarify.

johnpowell's avatar

She is in AU and wants to go to the PNW. I believe her family is in Portland.

Pinguidchance's avatar

If you had a partner, then your new start unemployment benefit allowance would be AUD492.80 each a fortnight in Australia.

Good luck with the Disability Pension application for AUD907.60 single or AUD1,368.20 a couple per fortnight.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Thank you guys for the kindness! I’m in Australia. I do have dual citizenship with the us but I have lived most of my life here. So, I don’t think I would qualify for anything there because I worked there for maybe 12 years only. I did live with my sister and her husband for a couple years there before I came back here. Her husband didn’t like me and was a total dickhead back then, but I’ve been told that after having a heart attack he’s changed and is now nicer. My kids are here, they’re loving kids but they’re young and doing their own things. Because I look normal they think I should just go get a job. I think I’m just going to stay here and try to get the energy to do something. I don’t have to pay for healthcare here and prescriptions are 6$. There’s no copay for anything. Australia cuts of your social payments if you leave the country for longer than a couple weeks. Thanks for your help, guys, I don’t feel so alone.

Zaku's avatar

Ah, that clears up a lot for me. I’m confident there is nothing anywhere near as good as not having to pay for US healthcare and $6 Zoloft prescriptions here (except deals where you sign up for a convalescent home (generally not happy places) where the company takes a contract with the government to care for you, and you sign away all your financial rights (and maybe some others) for the rest of your life).

It might be worth the adventure (always ultimately up to your choice) if you could figure out how that could work with your family, and if you could return to Australia if/when it doesn’t work out.

janbb's avatar

@trailsillustrated I agree that you’re best off staying in Australia. Aside from any other considerations, the US is a mess right now and will be for some time.

LadyMarissa's avatar

From what you just shared, STAY where you are!!! With only 12 years worth of work on the books & you not being a permanent US resident leading up to your application, you might or might not qualify for SSI instead of SSD & SSI pays considerably less. You would be creating a situation where you’d become much poorer. Then IF things didn’t work out between you & your sister, you’d be unable to afford to return home.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Since you have 12 years on the books and presumably paying into the social security system in the US won’t you be eligible for some form of Social security payment once you reach retirement age? I thought a person only needed 10 years.
You should not leave that money on the table.
It is worth investigating even if you are in Australia.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Here is information about work credits for soicial security. With 12 years of full time work you most likely quailify.
Social Security Credits
“To determine who is eligible for various Social Security benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a system of credits that establish whether minimum work requirements have been met. Typically, the number of credits required in order to be eligible for benefits is 40. Credits are based on amount of time in the workforce and, to a lesser extent, on compensation. As of 2017, the maximum number of credits that can be earned in any given year is four, but because you only need to earn $1,300 in compensation to acquire each credit, it is possible to earn all four annual credits in a short amount of time. Once you have earned $5,200 in taxable income, you have acquired the maximum number of credits for the year. This means that a minimum of 10 years in the workforce are required in order to accrue the 40 credits necessary to apply for benefits. Since no one can earn more than four credits per year regardless of income, this system levels the playing field somewhat, so that those who have very large incomes are not able to take advantage of benefits any earlier than those with more meager earnings.”

Go to and check your work history and credits. Then you will know for sure. Don’t leave that money on the table.
Open an account with your info and check out the “Retirement Estimator”.

LuckyGuy's avatar

And you can collect even if you live in Oz. “retirees who decide to move to another country are still entitled to Social Security benefits. ”

JLeslie's avatar

I’m so happy to see you back here. :). You’ve always been a lot of help to me and I love hearing your perspective on Q’s. I hate that life has had such a sucky turn of events regarding your health.

@LuckyGuy brought up what I was going to touch on. With 40 quarters of work here (10 years) you can get Social Security for sure, old age SS, but I don’t know if you qualify for SS Disability now if you’re out of the country? I didn’t read the link. Medicaid is done by state, if you qualify for that you might get free healthcare through Medicaid. At age 65 you will qualify for Medicare in the US.

You had a profession that I’m sure paid fairly well while in the US, so even with just 12 years of work I bet you probably will get at least $1,000 a month on SS when you hit retirement age. The question again is can you get SS Disability now, and maybe Medicaid too.

Log into the SS website and find out how much you will be getting in SS when you retire as of now.

Most important is where do you prefer to live? It’s probably nice to be in the sunshine in Aussieland rather that the rainy days all too often in the PNW. But, that’s me projecting my love for the clear blue skies.

This won’t help, but I have some regrets that I didn’t try to move my aunt near me when she became disabled. I was very concerned about her losing her NYS Medicaid and her rent stabilized apartment she had lived in for over 30 years, and was just too afraid to take the risk.

Would you be living with your sister, or just near her? I think I missed that detail. Also, do your kids visit you? They live in Australia don’t they?

I think don’t decide just yet. Gather a bunch of information and find out your options.

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