(Formally "Plan V: A Van Dwelling Blog", when I lived in a 1978 Dodge Xplorer 228 Class B motorhome van)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Very delayed update

I'm sure everybody's been wondering why the updates stopped in February. Here's what ended up happening.

I had my mail going to my mom's house in Arkansas still. She would call me if something potentially important came and had permission to open everything that came there. The last week of February, a letter came from Social Security.

It turns out my occasional disability review had come up. I thought I was good for at least a couple more years. I was wrong! She forwarded the paperwork to me at my uncle's apartment and I contacted the caseworker listed. The paperwork gave an extension which calls the lady's desk directly so it as very straightforward and easy.

She informed me not to mail the papers back to them or they'd do the review out there. But she did need me to hurry up and provide an address of where I was staying. I hauled ass up to the Seattle area and got in at a homeless shelter after one night. That first night I slept in the van on an overpass with I-5 running under it. I can sleep well with traffic noise so it was no big deal.. heh. Then I got in at a shelter.. which turned out to be infested with bedbugs.. but  thankfully I didn't bring any with me when I left there.. just a bunch of bites that took 5-7 days to show up.

After the first night in the van, I had put it in secure vehicle storage south of downtown (about a 45 minute bus ride) since downtown Seattle is insanely expensive for monthly parking. I got a $300/mo quote from Public Storage.. and the guy told me that the man who had his truck parked there previously had it vandalized since it wasn't fenced in and it stayed there extended periods of time.

After about 5 or 6 nights at the shelter, I ended up finding a transitional housing apartment down in Tacoma that had just become available. So I snatched it up. It's a bit expensive for my income, but it's no lease, no deposits, no credit check. I can stay here up to 18 months and it's a quiet, secure building.

The reason I didn't just go to an RV park is I couldn't find one who had a space available and who allow a 1978 RV.

I moved the van to closer storage this month since it was an hour and 45 minutes each way from Tacoma to where I had it stored in Seattle. Now it's only a 20 minute bus ride. Parking where I am living now is pretty much all for compact cars and costs as much as storage so I have it in storage with a tarp on it.

I ended up just taking up WA residency (driver's license, vehicle reg) since I ended up applying for food stamps here to help me since I was paying so much rent plus vehicle storage. The food stamps covers what I would be paying in cash for food if I was in the van, so it kind of like "pays for the storage of the van", though indirectly. Oddly enough, insurance on my van is less than half of what it was in Arkansas. I have MUCH higher registration costs, but it's exempt from being smog checked since it's way past the 25 year limit.

I don't know if I'm going to just stay in this apartment once my disability review is done or if I'm just going to end up back on the road again, keeping my WA residency of course after all the money I had to pay to get established here.

I still have my scooter, trailer, tools and 2 boxes of personal belongings out in Arkansas I need to collect or sell. I may try to go get them once my disability review is up and then come right back up to WA and look harder for an RV park this next time, or even stay in a smaller town until I can find an RV park spot around Seattle. I was in such a rush over the disability review stuff I didn't have time to really decide much. I require a lot of thinking to decide on things usually but I couldn't this time.

Oh... and about the lady saying not to mail in the papers. I don't know if she didn't tell me or if I misunderstood... frankly, I can't remember now.. but I didn't do anything with the papers but keep them. I had them almost entirely filled out. Come April first I logged on to SSA as something was nagging at me to look. It said I was receiving no benefits!! It was 9pm so I had to wait until the next morning (March 2) to go to SSA about it. I had a very unpleasent stress filled night, to say the least.

When I got to SSA in the morning after a long line and relatively shirt wait considering, they informed me that I was supposed to hand in the papers up here but hadn't so they stopped my benefits! They *promptly* reinstated them within 24 hours (more like 12 hours!) and my direct deposit was in on time as it normally would have been in the early morning hours of March 3. I had to scribble in a bit of partially incomplete info at the last minute at the window in the SSA office and handed in the forms. The case worker who came to the window said he'd Google the contact info, but to give the names, places and cities for doctors, etc.

So now things are good and I am waiting on hearing from Social Security about when they will be having me see a doctor up here for the review. Once that's over and done with, then I'll have to decide what to do. I will post back here once I know more.