Author Archives: femmefrugality

Applying for Health Insurance as Domestic Violence Survivor

Note: This post may contain triggers for those who have been in abusive relationships or been through sexual assault.

The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To highlight the issues that victims face physically, emotionally and economically, Femme Frugality will be discussing the issue every Friday. Except this Friday, I got the post up late. My apologies.

We will explore these issues through a mix of stories, conversations and factual articles. To help raise awareness, please use the hashtag #DVAM when sharing these articles.

I didn't know domestic violence qualified you for a special enrollment period! So glad so many states have expanded Medicaid Expansion for exactly this reason.

There’s a lot of financial rebuilding to do after you’ve escaped an abusive relationship. Just some of the things you may have to worry about are:

  • Repairing your credit report.
  • Finding employment.
  • Building savings.
  • Paying for any necessary occupational education.
  • Applying for benefits which may help you get reestablished.

All of these things are important, and necessity may dictate that you handle them all immediately.

However, you’re also going to be dealing with some other pretty serious stuff after you leave. First, you’ll need to work with a professional to make sure you are safe.

But even after you have that basic need covered, you’ll likely be battling the after effects of psychological, emotional and/or verbal abuse, which can escalate as far as PTSD and can prevent you from doing seemingly simple things like paying the bills, filling out the welfare application or holding down a job even if you’re extremely well-qualified for your position.

For this reason, it’s important to make sure you have mental healthcare services. Healthcare itself can be cost-prohibitive, though, so today we’re going to look at some ways you can get your hands on health insurance as a first step to getting your financial life back on track.

Getting Health Insurance after Escaping Domestic Violence

In the States, you are required to carry health insurance. If you don’t, you’ll have to pay a tax penalty–though that penalty is eliminated starting in the 2019 tax year.

But you don’t want to dodge a tax penalty. You actually want healthcare services. Usually, you can only apply for health insurance through the marketplace during open enrollment, which is November 1 through December 15 this year.

However, when you leave a domestic violence situation you qualify for an exemption, and can apply for coverage right away even if it’s the day after open enrollment closed.

You may have lost your health insurance when you left your abuser. You may not have had it in the first place, or you may have had to leave the employer who provided you with your insurance thanks to the abuse.

If you’re low-income or living at 138% of the Federal Poverty Line, you will qualify for free Medicaid coverage free of premiums or deductibles in most states which have adopted Medicaid Expansion. A handful of these states have wonky Medicaid Expansion laws which may prevent you from qualifying for Medicaid thanks to adjusted income limitations or may require you to pay small premiums or deductibles.

Some states have not expanded Medicaid at all, though, so you may not qualify for this free or close-to-free coverage even if you are living below the poverty line. Instead, you’ll have to pay for an ACA Marketplace plan which will be subsidized based on your income level. States that have not adopted Medicaid Expansion are:

  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Kansas
  • Wyoming
  • South Dakota
  • Wisconsin
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Florida

Virginia’s Medicaid Expansion will kick in on January 1, 2019, and Maine was supposed to have expanded by now, but the governor has been illegally blocking implementation.

What if I don’t qualify?

If you don’t qualify for Medicaid, you should still apply for it through the marketplace anyways. This will allow you to purchase a marketplace plan.

If you really, truly feel like you can’t afford your health insurance off the marketplace–even with subsidies–there are a couple of other options.

First, you could forgo health insurance and seek mental health care elsewhere. Your local domestic violence shelter is a good place to seek out these services. You may not be able to get a bed as many of these shelters are frequently full, but many times they can connect you with mental health care.

I don’t like the idea of you forgoing health insurance. Even though the tax penalty is going away, it’s still a risky gamble to go without it. You may find yourself needing healthcare outside of mental health services, and if you’re caught without health insurance, that could mean financial ruin via medical debt.

Another option is to go through a Healthcare Sharing Ministry. You pay a smaller monthly fee, and then the group will use the pooled fees to cover your medical expenses when needed. There are a few problems with this method:

  • These groups are religious, and I’ve only seen them among Christians. So you’ll either have to be a believer or feel okay lying about your faith or lack thereof. Not a problem for many in this country, but it is an obstacle for some.
  • Many of these groups do not want you to have a preexisting condition. If you do, you may not qualify for membership. As a survivor, your mental health care needs are likely to be considered a preexisting condition. (Hooray if you find a group who lets you in, though!)
  • You are not guaranteed coverage. Some groups are really great about covering everything, but not all health care situations will be covered depending on the group’s bylaws. You still might run into the same problem as filing claims with an insurance company, except these ministries are not as highly regulated.

Access to Care

Getting access to quality health insurance in the United States is still a difficult task, though it has gotten easier in the years since the ACA passed. The good news is that because you are a domestic violence survivor, you will actually have an easier time getting a policy thanks to the open enrollment exemption. That doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to get coverage, but it does mean  you should have a slightly easier time than the general population as a whole.

You may want to call around to different therapists who will accept your insurance at the same time as you are applying for it. In many parts of the country, mental health is understaffed. It’s not unheard of to end up on a wait list. The sooner you can get on that list, the better.

 

Related Domestic Abuse Content

To learn more about domestic violence or abuse, or to find more ways to get help, check out other articles in this series:

medicaid domestic abuse

Applying for Health Insurance as Domestic Violence Survivor

As a domestic violence survivor, you qualify for a special enrollment period at any time of year thanks to the ACA. Apply on the marketplace today.

domestic violence advocate

The Intersection of Islamophobia and Domestic Violence

Nour Naas shares her important story and perspective on domestic violence and how marginalized groups face additional barriers when it comes to reporting.

supreme court

Economic Effects of Sexual Assault: A Case Study via Dr. Ford

What can we learn about the economic plight of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors from Dr. Ford's testimony? As it turns out, a lot.

Domestic abuse can take many forms, including child abuse and economica abuse. This is Dr. Burke's story of overcoming identity theft as a survivor.

Economic Abuse: Silent Epidemic of Abused Children

Survivors of childhood abuse encounter unique challenges, even in the realm of economic abuse. Read Dr. Kenisha Burke's story of overcoming identity theft.

The Silver Lining Behind My Debt

There is a lot of stigma around debt. There is a lot of stigma around domestic abuse. But debt is a useful tool that can help you become a survivor.

8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Many abuse victims don't realize their relationship is unhealthy until it is too late. Here are red flags to watch for from a domestic violence survivor.

LGBTQ+ Intimate Partner Violence

Unique Economic Obstacles for LGBTQ+ IPV Survivors

While intimate partner violence happens at a comparable rate in the LGBTQ+ community, survivors face additional financial barriers.

long term effects of ptsd

The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

PTSD affects combat veterans and survivors of domestic abuse alike. Learn what it can do to your finances, and what you can do about it.

Getting Help: LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence does happen in the LGBTQ+ community. Here's how to get help if you need it, and how society can better help survivors.

You could be the victim of financial abuse even if you're the primary breadwinner.

Financial Abuse: My Partner Nearly Drained Me Dry

Financial abuse doesn't just happen when a partner tries to limit your income; it can also happen when they try to take over the money you're bringing in.

8 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships

Having a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship is hard. This article gives you tips to help from a domestic violence survivor.

Feeling trapped in a relationship because of money

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is something many go through, but not all recognize it even as it's happening. Read on to learn how to identify this type of abuse.

Here's where you can find money to leave an abusive relationship.

I Have No Money: Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult, complex and nuanced. One major hurdle is finances. Lessen that problem with these resources and grants.

Cactus Invites and Free Wedding Websites

This post is in collaboration with Basic Invite.

I love how this website matches the design of your free wedding website to the design of your customizable wedding invitations!

Did you guys know cactus-themed weddings were a thing?

Apparently they became all the rage in 2017 and are still going strong. I’ve been out of the wedding game for a minute, but I can see it. Southwestern themes. Saving a ton of money on flowers. I could definitely be into it.

Cactus Wedding Invitations

You guys know that I’m all about not DIYing wedding invitations. I still have flashbacks to all that time spent in front of my printer years ago. Ordering them is the way to go.

Just as I was learning about cactus-themed weddings, I learned about Basic Invite–a custom invitation company that offer a slew of stationary options, including cactus wedding invites.

I’m loving playing around with the site because not only can you pick a design from a plethora of options, but you can also customize everything down to the color. There are literally 180 custom colors to choose from, which means matching to your wedding’s theme would be easy breezy.

It’s also really cool that you can order custom samples so you can see how your invites will look in person before ordering 200+ of them. On top of that, they have an address collection system which automatically gathers postal addresses from your family and friends via a link, and then allows Basic Invite to use that data to print your envelopes for free.

So there’s a lot of free and there’s a lot of customization. Which is awesome for budget-conscious brides-to-be.

Free Wedding Website

Oh, you were interested in more free stuff? Well, then. You’re in luck.

On top of all the cool stuff they offer with the wedding invitations, Basic Invite also offers free wedding websites. Free wedding websites aren’t too hard to come by, but I love this option because it’s just as customizable as the invitations. You get to pick from those 180 colors, and you can even coordinate your website and invitations to match.

Yes, that means you can have your cactus-themed wedding invitations match your cactus-themed wedding website.

Now you just have to do the calculations on how much cactus leaves are going to save or cost you over florals.

 

The Feminist Financial Handbook: Get it Today

This is truly a unique personal finance book. I feel like she's writing just for me. Definitely learned a lot!

Today is the day, guys! The Feminist Financial Handbook  officially launched this morning, and I’m so excited.

Writing this book took a lot of hours. I knew it would be a big effort before I took it on, but I never could have anticipated how rewarding the process would be.

The Women Who Shared Their Stories

First, I got to sit down and interview a bunch of amazing women who helped this book come to life with their lived experience and expertise. Check them out:

financial adventure

Story from Joyce

Praise for The Feminist Financial Handbook

As a part of the publishing process, I had to get some reviews on the work once the manuscript was together. Honestly, there’s a reason I started this blog anonymously, and as I sent the manuscript out, I was wishing I could have published it anonymously, too.

It’s not that I wasn’t proud of the work. I just wish the work could stand on its own. I always feel so weird marketing myself.

But I held my breath and sent it out, anyways. I was overwhelmed by the positive feedback. If you’re wondering if this book is for you, check out these reviews to get a better idea:

“You can always find books geared toward helping women to improve their financial lives. Some are condescending mansplanations of finance, couched as an important help to us little ladies and our emotional lady-brains. Some offer pink-jacketed rah-rah enthusiasm claiming to help the modern woman have it all! Some are deep dives into the real financial difficulties and challenges facing specific groups of women. But none of them look at finance from an intersectional feminist perspective―until now.

In every chapter, Brynne offers both actionable steps and hope for individual women who want to make their lives and their finances better. She offers suggestions for how to fight the unfair system while also working within the system. That means everyone who reads this book will put it down knowing ways to work for both a better world as a whole and a better life as an individual.”

-Emily Guy Birken, bestselling author of End Financial Stress Now

It’s so different–money is a piece, but there are so many other important topics being discussed that aren’t normally talked about.”

-Candice, owner of Young Yet Wise

“The Feminist Financial Handbook is a unicorn among finance books – one that endeavors to recontextualize sensible financial basics within an acknowledgment of the myriad forms of oppression within our society. I wholeheartedly applaud Brynne Conroy in her efforts to transform both the role of the finance information world as it exists and the inequalities of the world. Brava!”

– Becca Anderson, author of The Book of Awesome Women

“Great job describing the challenges faced by marginalized folks in our society. I learned quite a bit, which isn’t common for your more ‘typical’ money book.”

“In The Feminist Financial Handbook, Brynne Conroy provides women with a comprehensive guide to living a wealthier life that contains actionable advice while not sugarcoating real issues that impact women such as the gender pay gap and the impact of divorce. This book is a valuable read.”

-David Carlson author of Hustle Away Debt-

“One of the leading voices in personal finance, Brynne Conroy perfectly sums up what it means to be a woman in the 21st century. Money affects every part of our lives ― from the way we dress to how we can support ourselves and our families ― and Conroy does a perfect job of highlighting how the pay gap, discrimination, and the motherhood penalty affect women’s money differently. This is the perfect book for the modern woman looking to understand her finances on a societal level (and how to fight back.)”

-Tori Dunlap, Editor at Tomorrow Ideas

“Too often, we forget that women have very unique financial needs. The Feminist Financial Handbook remedies this problem nicely by tackling issues modern women face when planning for a secure financial future. If you’re a woman struggling with the reality of money in the patriarchy, this book can help you break free and live your best financial life.”

Miranda Marquit, money expert, financial journalist, and political activist-

“Conroy has done her research and given a platform to the rich and diverse experiences of womanhood and our relationship to money. This truly is the feminist financial handbook for the new wave of intersectional feminism.”

-Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together

“Conroy goes beyond blanket, modern-day notions of #girlboss to not only explore, but redefine what financial well-being means to different people. Meticulously researched and forward thinking, contemporary feminism, which includes ableism and non-traditional populations, The Feminist Financial Handbook not only serves as a practical guide, but as a platform of empowerment to the oppressed and underserved. ”

-Jackie Lam, owner of Hey Freelancer

womens personal finance women at work

Story from a Her Money Matters listener

In the past week, this book has been featured on HuffPost LIFE, in a Her Money Matters podcast interview, and as a top pick for finance books for beginners.

Now it’s your turn.

Of course, I’m so thrilled to hear my peers enjoyed the read. But now it’s your turn.

This book has a chance (though hardly a guarantee) of becoming an Amazon Bestseller. If you’re thinking about buying it, I’d urge you to do so today. It gives the book a better chance of reaching that elite status.

If you’re into it, leave a review on Amazon as that’s one of the biggest factors in getting this important information out to a wider audience. I know there’s stuff in this book that can help other people, so I’d like to get it in front of as many of them as possible.

If you read it and there’s anything you’d like to discuss with me, please leave a comment here on the blog or shoot me an email! I wrote this booking hoping it would spark discussion. As long as your thoughts are made known respectfully, I’m excited to start having those discussions. Thank you to all who made this tome possible.

Get the book here.

number one amazon new release womens money

 

 

The Intersection of Islamophobia and Domestic Violence

Note: This post may contain triggers for those who have been in abusive relationships or been through sexual assault.

The month of October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. To highlight the issues that victims face physically, emotionally and economically, Femme Frugality will be discussing the issue every Friday. We will do this through a mix of stories, conversations and factual articles. To help raise awareness, please use the hashtag #DVAM when sharing these articles.

Wow. I never thought about how outside prejudice might affect a woman's ability to report domestic violence. This is such an important read.

Domestic abuse is an epidemic-level problem in our society. The complexities of the dangers you find yourself in when you are being abused make it hard to leave. To report. To recover.

These problems are compounded, however, when you’re a member of a marginalized group. Today, we’ll look at some excerpts from The Feminist Financial Handbook, which comes out Monday and is currently 33% off for preorders.

In this section of the book, I was honored and humbled that Nour Naas–a survivor and advocate–shared her story and perspective as a Muslim woman who has lost her mother to domestic violence. Here are just some of her perspectives on how Islamophobia compounds the problem of reporting–both within a community and to authorities–and the economic effects of abuse.

“After my mother passed away, I didn’t want to talk about it,” says Naas. “The Muslim community is already targeted in so many ways through stereotyping and policies. I didn’t want to add to it. There are really obvious ones like invading all these Muslim countries and occupying their lands, speaking about people from or in those countries as primitive, saying things like, ‘We’re there to save them,’ and giving people this concept that these people are different from us, living in a backwards culture. But there are also stereotypes about Muslim men and women that make it hard to talk about. Men are supposedly violent and patriarchal; women submissive and in need of saving. You don’t want to reinforce any of that.”

Naas notes that Islamophobia is at times also in evidence at the institutional level, creating a mistrust of law enforcement that affects victims’ decision to report. In the Muslim community, mosques have been surveilled by law enforcement. Racial profiling is widespread. The police haven’t been on your side so far—why would they help now?

“Not having finances to leave your abuser is the number one reason women don’t leave,” says Naas. “They would have nothing to survive on. It’s a source of a lot of people’s depression when they’re in that situation. When you don’t have resources to leave, it just makes people feel hopeless.”

“You’re not in a state of mind to do anything because of those psychological scars,” Naas explains [about returning to work after escaping abuse]. “There’s a stigma attached to what a victim goes through. It can impact a person’s work performance or their ability to bring in an income at all. Women who are in these situations will sometimes resort to drugs or drinking, etc., to cope with the pain. That ends up being where all their money goes.”

Today, Naas is a political science major at UC Berkeley. About a year ago, she took her first training to be a domestic violence advocate and has been serving as a volunteer in her communities ever since. She has a special place in her heart for marginalized women— especially Muslim women. She is launching a new effort to create safe spaces for these survivors to share their stories and get help.

“Talking about domestic violence and making people aware can help get rid of the stigmas we have around it,” she explains. “That way, if this is happening, you know you just need to tell someone that it’s happening. We need a community of people who will help— who know it’s not okay either. That attitude is not really there in the Muslim community or in most of the country, for that matter.”

To learn more about Nour, visit her website. From there, you’ll be able to find her social media channels. You can also get more of the context of her comments and some potential financial recovery solutions in the book.

If you purchase, please leave a review on Amazon! It will help us get Nour’s important story and perspective out to more people.

 

Related Domestic Abuse Content

To learn more about domestic violence or abuse, or to find more ways to get help, check out other articles in this series:

medicaid domestic abuse

Applying for Health Insurance as Domestic Violence Survivor

As a domestic violence survivor, you qualify for a special enrollment period at any time of year thanks to the ACA. Apply on the marketplace today.

domestic violence advocate

The Intersection of Islamophobia and Domestic Violence

Nour Naas shares her important story and perspective on domestic violence and how marginalized groups face additional barriers when it comes to reporting.

supreme court

Economic Effects of Sexual Assault: A Case Study via Dr. Ford

What can we learn about the economic plight of sexual assault and domestic violence survivors from Dr. Ford's testimony? As it turns out, a lot.

Domestic abuse can take many forms, including child abuse and economica abuse. This is Dr. Burke's story of overcoming identity theft as a survivor.

Economic Abuse: Silent Epidemic of Abused Children

Survivors of childhood abuse encounter unique challenges, even in the realm of economic abuse. Read Dr. Kenisha Burke's story of overcoming identity theft.

The Silver Lining Behind My Debt

There is a lot of stigma around debt. There is a lot of stigma around domestic abuse. But debt is a useful tool that can help you become a survivor.

8 Signs You May Be in an Abusive Relationship

Many abuse victims don't realize their relationship is unhealthy until it is too late. Here are red flags to watch for from a domestic violence survivor.

LGBTQ+ Intimate Partner Violence

Unique Economic Obstacles for LGBTQ+ IPV Survivors

While intimate partner violence happens at a comparable rate in the LGBTQ+ community, survivors face additional financial barriers.

long term effects of ptsd

The Long-Term Financial Effects of PTSD

PTSD affects combat veterans and survivors of domestic abuse alike. Learn what it can do to your finances, and what you can do about it.

Getting Help: LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Survivors

Domestic violence does happen in the LGBTQ+ community. Here's how to get help if you need it, and how society can better help survivors.

You could be the victim of financial abuse even if you're the primary breadwinner.

Financial Abuse: My Partner Nearly Drained Me Dry

Financial abuse doesn't just happen when a partner tries to limit your income; it can also happen when they try to take over the money you're bringing in.

8 Ways to Help Loved Ones in Abusive Relationships

Having a friend or family member who is in an abusive relationship is hard. This article gives you tips to help from a domestic violence survivor.

Feeling trapped in a relationship because of money

What is Financial Abuse?

Financial abuse is something many go through, but not all recognize it even as it's happening. Read on to learn how to identify this type of abuse.

Here's where you can find money to leave an abusive relationship.

I Have No Money: Leaving an Abusive Relationship

Leaving an abusive relationship is difficult, complex and nuanced. One major hurdle is finances. Lessen that problem with these resources and grants.

 

THE GLOW Pittsburgh: My New Favorite Halloween Experience

DUDE. I'm taking my kids to this before Halloween---THE GLOW looks so cool!

I love finding out about new things happening in my city. This fall, I was thrilled to hear about THE GLOW, which opened a new location here in Western Pennsylvania. I was even more thrilled when I got an invite for a free media pass. This past weekend, my mama and I headed to the new attraction. And it was fabulous.

smaug jackolantern

Why, yes. That is Smaug in the background.

What is THE GLOW?

THE GLOW is an outdoor trail lined with magnificent jack-o-lantern art. At the beginning of the trail where you wait for entrance, the ambiance is already at a ten as the woods near Hartwood Acres are lit with spooky but not scary colored lights. Then, as you walk in, you’re greeted by adorable jack-o-lanterns, some of which have the word “Welcome” in a ton of different languages.

As we went down the path, we saw sea turtles and jellyfish, skeletons riding motorcycles, dinosaurs and fossils, superheroes, cartoon characters and local legends all carved from pumpkins. These larger than life art installments were a wonder to behold.

prehistoric park

These dinosaurs are over 16 feet tall! Click this pic to expand and get a better view.

Right before the end of the trail, there were some pumpkins with digital faces singing Imagine Dragons.

The whole thing was fun and creative and unique–a new way to celebrate the Halloween season.

The Most Affordable Pumpkin Patch

affordable pumpkin patch

At the end of the trail, you pass through a pumpkin patch. Instead of pricing pumpkins by the pound, they’re priced at a flat rate of $3 for small pumpkins and $5 for large pumpkins. This is WAY cheaper than what I’ve paid in the past going to pumpkin farms!

food truck

There’s also a pumpkin carver, a souvenir stand and a gyro truck which is so authentic it offers halal.

icecreations

Pricing

Depending on the time and date you go, you can get discounted tickets. I’ve seen them as low as $10.99 for kids. But normally pricing is as follows:

  • Adults: $22.99
  • Kids: 16.99

You can get your tickets here.

turtle pumpkins

Those are jellyfish made of pumpkins in the top right! Click to expand this pic and see the detail better.

NOTE: Be sure to type the address into your phone exactly as it is listed on the website. I may have gotten lost because I got overconfident with my knowledge of the local area. I ended up at the mansion (not where you want to go) and had to phone it in for help! It’s really easy to find if you just listen to your maps app, though.

Are there other locations?

fred rogers jackolantern

Be still, my yinzer heart! Click on this one to expand.

Yes! This is year one in Pittsburgh, but you can also check out THE GLOW in these cities:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Charlotte, NC

Recommend?

RIP Stupidity

This is the grave of Stu Pidity. If only.

Yes, yes, yes. This was a really cool attraction, and I loved the modestly-priced pumpkin patch at the end. It’s something completely unique, family-friendly, and seasonal without being the least bit scary. Definitely a fun alternative to the pumpkin patch, or just a fun night out this October!