Hi, welcome to the board.
One thing that jumped out at me - can't your employer do more to help here?
Welcome, this is a great place.
One suggestion I have is about getting a credit card again. Actually, two ideas;
1. You could see if you can get a secured credit card, more likely from a credit union than from a bank. You put $500 down as collateral, and that is what the credit limit is.
2. Try to get a store card, like a Sears card. They are easier to get than major bank issued visa or mastercards. Then just use it to charge one thing a month, say $50 a month of charging, THAT YOU PAY IN FULL ON TIME EVERY MONTH for six months or more. This will establish a **new** current credit history and will make it much more likely that you will be able to get a major credit card again. This is what has been explained to me, so if anyone else here has any information if I am wrong, PLEASE post it. In Canada you can use a Sears card in a lot of places to pay for a lot of things other than merchandise at Sears, so it is a good one to have for that purpose. If I were in this situation, I would use it for buying gas, for example, so I am still only buying things I need. I am not suggesting you start charging junk you don't need just to start a credit history.
Good luck, stick around. Life with debt is much easier when you fully know what the numbers and situation is. It can get better!
You probably already know this, but don't apply for a bunch of cards all at once. It looks bad on your credit report; I learned that one the hard way :)
You're definitely not alone in this. I have had a couple of bills go to collections just because I avoided opening the envelopes. The worst part is that I could have paid them, I just couldn't open the envelopes.
What I've done is earned extra money on the internet or outside of my regular hours and paid that money onto a bill. I did this online and without actually opening the bill. But the payment made me feel a bit better about the bill, and then I could open the next one. It's still avoiding the problem, so not exactly a good solution. But it means that I can actually go for quite a while without opening bills - I had a period of about 3 months where I just sort of guessed how much I should pay. I still sometimes do this with a couple of my bills.
It sounds like, with the move to your cousin's, you're taking the first few steps to getting things in order. It's a two steps forward, one step back kind of journey, but it does get easier as you go along.
Don't forget, you could have been denied the cc because of a mistake on your credit report.
One more idea I have for you, if you do decide to be brave and open all your mail as this poster suggests (and I agree with) is to get a three ring binder and a hole punch, and a few section dividers. You could do that for under $10.
I use a three ring binder to file all my current stuff in. I keep my credit card statements, bank statements, pay slips, all filed in sections in a binder. It makes it dead simple to find it when you need it. In January or Feb I put everything from the previous year away into file folders in an accordian folder.
I also keep an envelope in the binder for any kind of receipt that I can claim for tax purposes. That way at tax time, I have everything in one place. It makes it less frustrating.