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Financial Toxicity in the Middle Class

Monique Roberts photo

New Day recognizes that not all families facing financial toxicity are from low-income families.  The loss of income from one spouse in a two-income household, combined with an influx of medical bills, can also be financially devastating to many families. For Monique and her family, New Day has helped with their mortgage and car payments to keep them in their home and maintain their transportation to cancer treatments.

When Monique met her husband Bryant 16 years ago, she was a single parent to three small children.  As a result, she was familiar with working hard and trying to balance a broken budget.  Over the years, both she and Bryant worked at fulfilling careers while raising their four children together.  They were a typical middle-class family balancing work and family, building their savings, and beginning to put their kids through college. Until cancer hit…

“Up until my diagnosis, we had managed our careers around raising our children and being present in their lives,” said Monique.  “I worked 12-hour midnight shifts in order to be here for our children. I’ve been able to volunteer with their schools and it has allowed me to be present for drop off, pick up, football practices, field trips and all of the things that parents do not want to miss. Bryant is a pharmacist. We have managed to build a life that we love.”

Monique was forced to quit her job after cancer demanded that she undergo a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and a hysterectomy.

“Bryant is now responsible for all of our expenses as we are now a one-income household,” she added. “Prior to that we split all of the bills. We have three children at home and I have now lost 100% of my income. Before this we were getting by, but this unexpected life event has set us into financial hardship.”

“As a contingent employee, I did not qualify for any leaves of absence or FMLA,” she explained. “This was devastating news to our family as we relied on my income just as much as my husband’s. My job could not be held, nor could I return to that environment as an immunocompromised person and work in direct patient care.”

The family is now faced with a very sizable insurance deductible – which will need to be paid twice over the course of treatment – and a more than $10,000 out of pocket maximum.

“I am again trying to do the best I can,” said Monique. “We have withdrawn from our savings and are trying to float on that for now. For the first time in our marriage our monthly bills exceed our income. We are utilizing all we have, but it is still not enough.

“We have never been in this position and are falling behind fast. We are asking for any help that can be offered to balance the bills that are piling up. This has changed our lives in such a dramatic way we are humbled and feel grateful for the opportunity to even be considered.”


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