Life's been especially good for the last few years. And I mean especially good. Good enough that I had almost forgotten how rotten it can be.
And then it slapped me in the face last night.
That's what I get for thinking that I'd finally gotten everything straightened out and turned around.
I know I'm making it sound all doom-and-gloom, but I'm having a bit of a pity party for myself.
When I graduated college, the only job I could find was building trophies for about $6.50 an hour. I had three kids, a brand-new college degree and a minimum wage job. I had quit a job that was paying $22.50 in 1993 to return to school. I don't make $22.50 an hour as an Associate Dean once I break down my hours.
But I digress.
When I graduated from college, life sucked just as bad as while I was in college. Let's face it, minimum wage is minimum wage even with a shiny new college degree. At that point, my rent was literally 80% of my income. I had to choose between paying my student loan payments or paying rent. I chose to pay rent and defaulted on my student loans. Now I know about deferments and forbearance, but when I tried to talk to the student loan people at my school about it back then, no one said a word. I had no clue that I could have applied for one or both. Thanks a lot financial aid people at CSU. Fuckers.
Long story short, I spent many years working many jobs and gradually worked my way up to a point where I could afford to enter a "rehabilitation" program for my student loans. When I entered the program, I was advised to not file taxes if I thought I was going to receive a refund - any refund - because it's "offset" - taken to pay back what I owed. The problem was, that the offset came off of the interest, not the principal. So, for years, I've been holding back on filing my income taxes.
I finished my rehab program, got my congratulatory letter for finishing it, and was told the offset had been removed. Not trusting the government to be speedy, I waited an additional year before filing taxes. I finally filed my taxes in October.
Since I found out what my refund was going to be, RCC and I have been coming up with creative ways to spend that chunk of money. A lot of it was going to go directly to bills I'm still paying on, but we had a few things in mind that we wanted to do.
I've been anxiously awaiting the lump sum deposit in my account. Woo Hoo! I'd managed to dig myself out the financial hole the kids and I had lived in for pretty much their entire lives and it was paying off.
Until I got the mail last night. In it was a letter saying that my entire refund had been offset.
Wait a minute...I finished the rehab program, I've been paying my student loans faithfully each month, the offset had been removed. Or so I'd been told.
I got on the phone first thing this morning, determined to straighten out this mess. I had played by their rules, I had waited a year for them to get it removed. I wanted my fucking money.
The customer service lady who helped me was exceptionally nice and dug through my files, conferred with her manager and broke the bad news to me...when my student loans were consolidated, they forgot one.
The Perkins Loan.
I knew that; I found out a couple of months ago. Big deal, set up some payments and crank it out. Get it done and over with, right? Nope. Never got the chance. It went straight to an offset.
So, after years of playing by their rules, doing everything they asked, I still managed to get screwed.
I'm going back to my pity party now...