Well if there hasn’t been enough damn stuff to write about this week…
As I’m sitting here getting a blown out tire fixed, I wanted to do something to pass the time. Why not write? What to write about?
At the age of 89, my Father passed away on Thursday. I got to see him before he passed, what a blessing. He had a wonderfully long life. I’d like to write about that, but I think it’s too soon. And out of respect for my family, I’ll just wait on that. It stirred some deep thoughts on spirituality that are quite interesting though. Another time…
We had Hurricane Sandy blow through a couple days ago. My son was in the thick of it in New York City at NYU. That was a bit harrowing, worrying about my pookie. But he’s fine, no classes, no electricity for a while. My nerves have finally calmed, so I’ll wait on writing about that.
Well, slap my ass and call me Sally, I found a draft I started in my posts… why not finish that?
I’m a bit hesitant, as I’m not really in the mood to listen to some name calling from some anti-government assistance lunkheads on here. But I just want to share this story. And if one of you comes in here in the comments throwing out the words, “liberal”, “bleeding heart”, “asshole”, or other derogatory terms, I’m going to (at the very least) delete your comment, and (at most) hunt you down and stab your tongue with a fork.
Here’s my statement:
No one is getting rich off government assistance.
A lot of people bitch about people on government assistance. And yes, I’m sure somewhere there are people that try and cheat the system or are a little lazy and would rather collect some assistance than find a job. There are people who are not on the up and up everywhere.
In the same vain, there are incredibly rich people who cheat the system to not have to pay all of their fair share of their taxes? Is one better than the other?
But before you all jump to conclusions, let me tell you how it really is. I have at times had to seek public assistance. I’m a bit humiliated by it, but I had to do what I had to do, when suddenly left with 3 kids to raise alone with no income and no child support at a particular point in my life. I felt humiliated, defeated, depressed, and any other negative emotion you can name. Major FAIL for me.
And as I had to go through the process, I thought… who in the hell would go through this just to get some extra cash? You don’t just walk up to a window and get money, and it certainly ain’t no pile ‘o cash. Let me break it down…
Have any of you ever been through the process? Until you have gone to a Department of Social Services office, witnessed the process, seen the people, I would think twice about spouting off about the “hoards” of people living the life of luxury off the government.
I’ve been through the process twice and on both occassions, it went like this:
1. Drive to one location. Walk in door, wait in line to go through security search and metal detector. Then go over to stand in line at info desk. when they get to you, tell your sordid story and they will give you the proper 18 page form to fill out and which line to go stand in next. Go sit down and fill out the 18 pages which includes very detailed financial and personal info (I was expecting a cavity search to follow). Go stand in another line for a good 15 minutes. When you get up to the window, tell them your sordid story again, they will assess your needs and decide which people you need to see. You are given a ticket with a number. You go sit down and wait… anywhere from 1-3 hours.
2. They finally call your number. You go into an office with a worker. Again you are asked to tell your sordid story. Your answers on the form are scrutinized. Who lives with you? What is your income? Are you legal? Closest relatives? Have you suffered from domestic violence? …etc. they calculate facts and figures. Tell you what you might be eligible for. Then they give you an appt. which is days later at another location.
3. Days later… arrive at the other location for said “appointment” with all the documentation they have asked you for, Social Security cards for all in household, tax forms, paystubs, copy of lease, child support docs, unemployment docs, photo ID, urine sample, and pap smear results. (not really on last two, but close) Wait in line, go through security, listen to some very large loud woman arguing about “Listen bitch, I ain’t got nothin’ in ma purse gonna’ hurt nobody!”. (true story) After you finally get through, you are told to stand in a specific line for a window. that wait in line is usually 30 minutes to 1 hour. You finally get up to the window to say you had an appt., they hand you a ticket and you go sit and wait 1-3 hours for the appointment you were supposed to have an hour ago.
The wait involves screaming babies and toddlers, Mothers yelling at said offspring, people yelling on cell phones, cranky people, bad body odor, too much perfume, and a metric ton of ass crack hanging out. Your number is finally called. You are yet again told to give your sordid story. You are judged, you are questioned, you are scrutinized, your documents pored over. They finally deem you worth or unworthy of different forms of assistance. You are then sent back to the original location to be photographed and finger printed and to receive your benefits card.
4. Oh it doesn’t end there, there are several follow up visits (that involve the same wait time), workshops, and forms that come in the mail to deal with and must be dropped back down at office in person. Those 2 visits alone took up one entire day each, and were the most uncomfortable, uneasy thing I’ve ever had to go through. All the other document wrangling and protocol is quite time consuming and stressful as well.
And all of that to receive $300 in foodstamps per month for a family of four. I wasn’t able to get cash or rental assistance, which maybe tops out at $400-$700 a month. For a family of four. Could you live off that? Do you still think people are living the “high life” off the government. Even with assistance you are still living below the poverty ine. And in some instances they told me I made too much on unemployment to qualify, in others told I didn’t qualify because I didn’t have a job. Hello, that’s why I need assistance?
Now, I accepted having to endure all that in order to get assistance. I desperately needed assistance. I am extremely grateful for the assistance, I couldn’t have survived without it. I sucked up my pride and had to do what I had to do. But it just fries my ass when some of you think people would voluntarily go through that aggravating, time consuming, laborious process just for kicks! What’s worse, the way they scrutinize your paperwork, and call and check with your employers and landlords, etc., I don’t see that it’s real easy to fudge your info.
Yes, yes I know maybe I’m naive, but I just don’t think there is this vast conspiracy of millions getting rich off the government. An income of $800 a month does not make one rich.
However, I do agree that there may be some people who get used to the process and don’t go out of their way to find a way out of the cycle of poverty. They are resigned to their lot in life. But the government does try to put programs in place to encourage people to get a leg up. However, when people start to bitch about let’s cut the spending to these welfare agencies, the first to go are the people and programs that try to give the less fortunate a “hand up, not a hand out” as Sargent Shriver once said. It’s a vicious cycle.
So next time you want to spout off about the “throngs” of people living off the government, think of what I just wrote. Just think first and get your facts straight. Just think, please.