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Recently, Betty accepted a job as a receptionist in a dental office that pays $10 an hour. With her new salary, Betty is able to afford a one-bedroom apartment.

Even though they no longer have to share a shower with 20 other people, their new financial standing also poses other problems. Betty says because she makes more than minimum wage, she no longer qualifies for state-administered food stamps or medical aid.

Betty is still living paycheck to paycheck. "Even though Kelly and I are comfortable in our new home, it never leaves the front of my mind that I could still lose it all," Betty says. "It causes me to have a lot of sleepless nights, and it keeps me from rejoicing in the triumphs that I have made."

Even though Betty still worries about the future, Kelly takes pride in her mother's accomplishments. "She's worked really hard to get us to this point, and she hasn't let me down," Kelly says. "She stayed by my side."
FROM: Inside the Lives of People Living on Minimum Wage
Published on April 14, 2006