Sunday, July 8, 2007

Overdue bill threatens mother's life support

Via A Gimp Parade

Kay posts about a bedridden Michigan woman on Social Security facing cut off of services that keep her life support going. Patricia Alsteen did make her monthly computed payments on time, but faces a sizable bill overage. (Please click above for full details.) No agencies have been able to provide any funds to help her. She needs money toward the bill due to recent hospitalizations and unexpected childcare costs for her four children during those hospitalizations. Her children are age 7 through 18.

Patricia has received numerous cut off notices. A church stepped in to make a payment to prevent cut off from happening since she requires power 24/7 to breathe. She's meeting with the company on Monday to try to work out a solution. She has a payment plan but the amount set is $321.

"A recent television news report on her situation drew a couple of donations, including $450 from an Owosso woman who took up her cause and started a fund at Charter One Bank in Owosso.
The benefactor, Jenny Roberts, said the overdue power bill is literally a life-and-death situation for Alsteen.
"When she was crying, I was crying," Roberts said. "She said, 'If they shut off my life support, I'll die.' Via A Gimp Parade

Donations can be sent to The Patricia Alsteen Fund, c/o Jenny Roberts, c/o Charter One, 200 E. Main St., Owosso.


Elizabeth McClung said...

I really don't understand the statement "No agencies have been able to provide funds" - it makes me question the nature of "agencies" - not that I haven't run into the "our hands our tied" philosophy, it just seems, even for the power company that living customers are better payers than dead ones.

Ruth said...

Exactly. I've run into this so many times with agencies telling me (when I ask even about urgent situations for folks) that they have no funds and it's a complete dead end. No referrals, nowhere to go. Apparently this is what she's encountered.

The most outrageous incident I found is that a place that offers used, even broken equipment that people have donated now charge folks who get even broken stuff - one place quoted me 500 bucks for a wheelchair that needed work. This can put the receiver in a worse predicament than when they started. Ebay, quite frankly, is a better choice. For anyone in that position, I've found dealing with individuals who are selling used equipment who've had disabled loved ones the best thing - they totally understand and are happy to give a break.

It's sad to see the lack of response from agencies. Not only does their lack of help hurt people, but their existence makes it appear to everyone as if there is a place to go. Apparently this company she's dealing with doesn't understand that there isn't much help out there these days.