Monthly Expenses Prioritization Table
EXPENSE HIGH PRIORITY FACTORS LOW PRIORITY FACTORS
Alimony/Spousal Support
  • Ex-spouse depends on payment for necessary living expenses + is currently facing utility shut-off/mortgage default/eviction due to nonpayment
  • Ex-spouse has sufficient assets to maintain necessary living expenses
Car-Related Expenses (loan, insurance, gas, maintenance)
  • Primary vehicle, necessary for work/strike duty/family obligations
  • Facing lapse of insurance policy
  • Gas expenses only for work/strike duty/family obligations
  • 2nd vehicle
  • Not necessary for travel
  • Gas expense for travel unrelated to work/strike duty/family obligations
Child Support
  • Pre-existing levy on wages
  • Risk of arrest
  • Applicant has filed for a downward modification
  • Applicant has not made any effort to modify support obligation
Childcare/Tuition
  • Alternate care cannot be arranged through Childcare Committee
  • Child will lose spot if payment is not made; demonstrated effort to consult with school regarding hardship
  • Coverage possible through Childcare Committee
  • Tuition payments can be delayed/installment agreement option
Credit Cards
  • Minimum payments
  • Non-minimum payments
Food/Grocery
  • Description of reasonable efforts to reduce grocery expenses, where possible
  • High restaurant expenses
Housing
  • Insufficient funds to pay rent or mortgage (does not need to be at the point of eviction or foreclosure risk)
  • Homeowner’s insurance policy at risk of lapsing
  • Homeowner’s insurance where escrow can cover without lapse in policy
  • Real Estate taxes where escrow can cover w/o risk to HO of lien sale
Internet
  • Insufficient funds to pay monthly bill
  • Alternate access readily available and sufficient (e.g. cellular, free wi-fi)
Laundry
  • Self-wash laundromat costs
  • Dry cleaning necessary for work clothes
  • Drop-off laundry services
  • Non-essential dry cleaning
Life Insurance
  • Facing lapse in policy
  • Within grace period
Medical
  • Necessary out of pocket expenses (**members will be expected to repay fund right away for any portion insurance covers later)
  • Necessary medications
  • Guardian COBRA payments
  • Non-essential expense
Pension/403(b) Loans
  • Facing default / conversion to withdrawal (serious tax consequences)
  • All payments after the first month of strike
  • Pre-default, where it is possible to make a single month’s payment in month 3 and avoid serious tax consequence.
Personal Loans
  • Documented serious consequence for nonpayment AND documented effort to negotiate lower payment
  • Consequence for nonpayment only increased interest rate
  • No effort to negotiate lower payment
Phone
  • Facing default of contract
  • Non-essential land line that can be cancelled without penalty
  • Extra elements of plan that could be adjusted to lower levels
Public Transportation
  • Necessary for travel; not covered by the Union
  • Metrocards available from Union
Storage Unit
  • Insufficient funds to pay monthly bill (not necessary to have auction notice)
  • Grace period or other ability to delay payment
Student Loans
  • Documented effort to seek deferment/forbearance to make payments as low as possible
  • No effort to seek deferment/forbearance
Tax Debt
  • Documented denial of request for collections hold or forbearance
  • No request for collections hold or forbearance
Utilities
  • Insufficient funds to pay monthly gas or electric bill (does not need to be at the point of shut-off)
  • Water or sewer bill if facing lien sale (must seek repayment plan)
  • Water, sewer bill already in repayment plan
  • Arrears without payment plan or other attempts to reduce monthly obligation
  • Water, sewer if not facing lien sale
Other
  • Expenses where member can demonstrate necessity and efforts to reduce where possible
  • Non-essential expenses that can be eliminated, suspended, or reduced, for example:
  • Cable only funded if it’s reduced to lowest possible amount AND it’s essential for internet service (e.g. package plan that can’t be decoupled)
  • Gym membership (unless medical necessity)
  • Media subscriptions
  • Vacation expenses
  • Luxury expenses

 

Legal Services Staff Association, UAW/NOLSW Local 2320