but it’s not the free ride people think it is.
community service is required, job search is required, for some services, a JOB is required. unless you have a proven disability, there’s no way out of it, and if you’re like some people, you may not have ever even sought help for yourself except at the bottom of a bottle. you might have been in denial about needing help at all, and so when the time came to check the box that asks “are you or anyone in your household disabled?” you’d check “no,” and you’d be stuck with a pittance of a check until they realized you couldn’t do the things they ask you to do. and then you’re cut off.
and for those who can fufill the requirements, it’s not so bad. but even then, let’s be honest, the welfare system asks a lot of people who are asking for help.
how much money do you have. do you have a car. how old is the car, what’s its BB value. how many people in your household. are they pregnant, if so, how far along. who’s the father, where’s he live, no, we need a name so we can get all his info, too. that way we can collect child support for you. you’ll only get $50 of that, but at least he’ll be paying. yeah, i know, he’ll probably be paying closer to $600. you still get $50.
oh, yeah, we need SScards for everyone, k? birth certs, too. mailing address? can you prove it? copy of your lease. statement from your landlord. do you pay electricity? gas? phone? prove it. nope, open the bills when you bring them, doesn’t matter if we can see the date and address on the outside, we need to know how much electric and gas you use. never mind why, that’s not important. do you have bank statements. no no, we need a statement to show your banking activity.
how much cash do you have on hand? how much? $200? okay that’s fine, but that brings you over the acceptable amount of cash and bank accounts, you have to get rid of that. spend it. bring receipts to show what you spent it on.
then you have to sell your car. can’t have you driving around. if you really needed help, you would be willing to sell that. we’re looking for complete desperation here, you’re not really fitting the description. what do you mean you need that car? driving kids to school? looking for jobs? pfft, if you can do that, you don’t need us. nope, sell it. wait, you have a 401k? saving for retirement? if you have retirement money, you have assets. your application is void until that money is gone. ooh, an IRA? look at you trying to be fiscally responsible, that’s so cute. nope. close it. i know there’s a penalty. we don’t care. close it. oh, and bring some receipts, would you? we need to know you actually spent that money and that you’re not just sitting on it.
yup, every penny.
and once you do that, we’ll get back to you in 30-90 days.
yeah. everyone wants to go through that every six months. it’s fun and enjoyable, you see?
and then standing in line to buy anything. ANYTHING. lots of stores accept the EBT card for transactions these days, and they don’t just deposit food stamps anymore, your cash benefits go on there, too.
you damn sure can walk into Popeye’s and use your EBT card to get a 3pc. McDonald’s? yeah, some of them. and if that’s what you want, what you can afford, go ahead, do the damn thing! but hide it, cover the card with your hand when you swipe it. people will be over your shoulder to make sure that’s not what you used, because obviously anyone who has food stamps should be eating at the soup kitchen. and everyone in line behind you is judging you, some of them not even silently.
never hang too long near the steak when paying with EBT benefits. obviously shouldn’t be buying that. never mind that your oldest son just graduated college and is coming home. oh, your middle daughter is turning 16? no cake and ice cream for her. in fact, you should be in the Approved Welfare Foods aisle. don’t leave that area until the cart is full. anything else in there will be subject to inspection by every other customer, employee and manager in the store to make sure you aren’t wasting taxpayer dollars on healthy foods, so they can look down your noses at you if you are.
i see you, over there taking the bus. it’s only 7 stops, you should be walking. you don’t have money for that. oh, it’s your last pocket change? okay then. just make sure it’s some crumpled, over-folded bills and some change that you can drop, so that everyone can see how destitute you really are.
wait, didn’t you say you sold your car? what are you driving? sure, you say it’s a friend’s car. your mom’s car? why didn’t you just go live with her? i’m sure she could squeeze your 5 person family into her 2 bedroom apartment, you should get on that, otherwise, you can’t possibly need assistance.
um, excuse me, how come your child appears to be wearing Nikes? shouldn’t she have some Airwalk from Payless on her feet? how can you afford that! Dooney & Burke bag? Gucci sneakers? better head to Target and grab those Converse One Stars and a Merona purse. it was a gift? please, no one gave you that for Christmas, you’re a liar, you don’t need help. besides, it’s already February, that stuff should look worn down by now, but it’s so clean! you’re so clean! i thought for sure you’d be like, conserving soap or something. and you had time to get you and your daughter’s hair done, too. and hey, where are the little ones? i know you had some… NEGLECT! wait what? how can you afford day care? after school programs? this is unconscionable. i don’t know where this comes from, but i’m reporting you for fraud.
that is what that welfare life is like. that’s what it’s actually like to be on assistance.
no one wants to go through that unless they have to.