Sunday, February 22, 2015

Welfare ...what? Uh? Huh?




I haven't touched on this subject before, so I wanted to do so now.


A lot of people have a really bad thought process when they think about the recipients of welfare, whether Medicaid, food stamps or financial aid. The common belief seems to be these are people without jobs, who do drugs, fraud and play the system or are just trash.

I have spent the last ten years on and off of different government assistance and it feels awful to be judged simply because you require a little help.

I got pregnant at 20, got a job and then was put on bed rest for medical reasons. I received medical aid, financial aid and foodstamps for a year. After that I never spent more than a three months at a time not working. I worked my butt off, so the government paid for my day care, since I couldn't afford my rent AND 500 + a month in child care...I was a single mom barely getting child support. When I made money I still got foodstamps to help supplement, cause my actually cash had to go to the bills, gas for my car and clothes for my daughter and I.

 Also morale is important, anyone who has ever been down in the dumps or depressed can tell you that sometimes you need an out. Whether that's a new book, a night out with the girls or a night in with your current BF of GF, occasionally it is ok to spend a little money on yourself. EVEN IF YOU RECEIEVE government aid.

It has been over a year since I needed government aid, because I married a man who makes decent money and I went to school and got a job where I make decent money as well. However to get to this place I needed help. Maybe if I was paid a living wage, or there was free day care I could have achieved self sufficiency sooner, but in the United Sates we actually lack a lot of the programs to help the poor that are needed.

I am tired of hearing things like, "Well why does that person get aid, they have a car, nice clothes...a cell phone." Please stop judging someone simply because they require state assistance. You don't know their story and you don't know them. I had 150 dollar boots while on footstamps, they were a Christmas Gift from my grandma. I bought a home, my mom cosigned for it cause we needed some place to live and my mom didn't want me wasting money on rent, so I qualified for a first time home buyers loan. I have had three cars in the last ten years, because I have to have one. So if one breaks down or gets totaled in a car wreck, I don't have an option of simply not having one...But my mom has to cosign and help out cause up until recently my income hasn't been that great.

I have a cell phone because during a good period I bought one and when you are with a company long enough they allow you to upgrade ON CREDIT. I go to hair school's to get my nails and hair done and discount prices, even though it may LOOK like I just had a 100 dollar dye job.

I have friends that look like they wear tons of designer clothes but in reality they go to Savers, the DI and Plato's Closet (Local thrift stores.) and search for great finds to compliment their wardrobe.

You saw someone you know on foodstamps smoking a joint or buying some vodka? First off you can't buy that shit with EBT. And so what? They are on assistance so they don't deserve to wind down every once in a while? Yes if they have a drug or alcohol problem that is not good. If they sell their foodstamps to pay for their habit that is really bad, but honestly the statistics on that are not a lot. In Utah this past year they spent 30K drug testing people on welfare and they only found 3k worth of fraud...Now tell me where that 25k could have gone, where it may have actually been needed?

You saw someone with an EBT card buy an energy drink? And??? Maybe that person works a night shift where they STILL don't make enough money to support their family.

"If you can't afford a family don't have one." Easy to say when you have never had to struggle. Abortion clinics are being closed down all over the states, but Republicans don't want to have to help pay for unwanted children. They are trying to do away with places like Planned Parenthood, places that provided access to safe birth control and information about sex. Adoption is time consuming, hard and disruptive to the birth mother's life cause uh...she still has to actually BE pregnant. So there's that. Then you have people who are laid off from their good jobs, or who get sick and get fired or simply want to have the life they deserve with a family, but can't seem to make enough money to pay for the rent, groceries and bills. Shit happens. Not everyone is simply lazy and skating on the government.


Now I know things are different everywhere. But here in Utah to qualify for government aid they make you prove your bills and your income and every sixth months they make you re qualify and do it all over again. Also you have a limit to how much financial aid you are allowed in your life time. I have heard that you don't have to do this in California, which I find hard to believe. In Utah, however I think it would be VERY hard to fraud the system. But that's just my opinion.

Here are some statistics I have found

On Average, in the United States, there are 10-22 % of the population on welfare, but 13 % of the entire population of the USA is below the poverty line.

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is a cash assistance program with a maximum of 60 months of benefits within one's lifetime. Most recipients are required to spend a minimum of 30 hours per week in various work readiness activities.

Food stamp assistance
is now formally known as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The United States Department of Agriculture reports for 2011 that:
•The average size of recipient households is 2.1 persons.
•Children make up 45% of food stamp recipients.
•A full 92% of SNAP households receive no TANF benefits.

So if the average household is under three, where are all those welfare queens? If 45 % are kids then why would a drug addict mom be disqualified, should her kids starve cause she turned up a positive urine test?


As of 2010 4% of all "Welfare Fraud" in SNAP cases were due to employee error at welfare offices.

In 2011 it was reported that 3.8 % of Welfare Abuse resulted in underpayment instead of over.


Fraud does happen, a study in New Hampshire looked at 2000 investigations and 119 people were arrested for fraud, about 100 others were disqualified from the TANF program. It happens, but not enough for it to be a blanketed statement that , "all people on welfare are scamming the system." There are bad people everywhere; bad parents, bad kids, bad politicians, bad co-workers, bad bosses etc..etc..

As a last parting note I wanted to compare the foodstamp and cash aid programs for four different states.

Scenario: You are a family of three and you have a job where you make minimum wage; 7.25 and hour. You work about 40 hours a week that's about 1160 dollars a month before taxes, which is what these programs look at.... Do you qualify? (Please note these are income limits ONLY, there are MANY other factors looked at when applying for aid)


Utah:

Foodstamps : Yes the income limit for you to get foodstamps as a family of three is 2144 a month.
Cash Aid: Nope, you can't make more than 1050.

http://jobs.utah.gov/customereducation/services/foodstamps/index.html


Think about that. In the real world how much do you make? Could your family survive on 1050 dollars a month?



California

Foodstamps : Yes the income limit for you to get foodstamps as a family of three is 3300.00 a month
Cash Aid: Yes, the income limit for cash aid is 2116.00 dollars a month (TANF)

http://www.cdss.ca.gov/calworks/


Nevada
Foodstamps : Yes, but you only get about 400 dollars a month.
Cash Aid: Yes, the income limit for cash aid is 2116.00 a month (TANF)

https://dwss.nv.gov/?SNAPApply.html


Ohio
Foodstamps: No, the income limit is the national Poverty level so you make too much money.
Cash Aid: Nope, the income limit is 825.00 dollars a month, you make too much money.

http://jfs.ohio.gov/


Montana
Cash aid: Nope the income limit is 1092.00 a month
Foodstamps: Yes! The monthly income limit is 2144.00


http://dphhs.mt.gov/


So please, the next time you see someone whip out their EBT card, try and put yourself in their shoes, don't just judge them by what you see. You never know what fate will bring and one day that could be YOU. Bright Blessings















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