Thank you for starting a July thread.
WARNING; this is LONG ...grab a drink and small snack...
We have been struggling bad here. We had our yearly FS recert. in early May. Every. year. They screw it up. We have a small ebay/internet mail order business that always fudges things up b/c most of the people working with the recerts have a hard time knowing what numbers to use correctly, etc. Sometimes we get held up for months...meanwhile money we use to pay other (read: ESSENTIAL untilities, other bills) gets diverted to pay for food, etc. and it is not pretty. So .... I had a bad feeling but dh told me to "relax". Our FS were stalled.... (waiting in an electronic "queue" for a supervisor to push a button approving the numbers) and then once it was approved... we saw that our FS had been slashed from nearly 800 to 367, (for a family of 7, soon to be 8). I collected paperwork, made phone calls...went down to the office, filed an appeal, etc. and I *knew* something was not right. When my dh went to the appeal they told him that there was no appeal... (but we had the letter!) I was beginning to feel hopeless as we had exausted our FS for the months and the demand at food pantries around here is increasing but the supply is lower...many of the food pantries need a referral from the local trustee and you can only choose ONE every 30 days. I could give birth at any time and still needed to get baby boy clothes, etc. Not in a good place. The day of the screwed up appeal we went to a local food pantry and I discovered that they also had a clothing bank. I found newborn and 3-6 month summer boy clothes..just what I was looking for. I was able to buy an entire paper grocery bag FULL of outfits in really good condition for only a few dollars. I wanted to cry I was so happy and thankfull! I had not been finding anything at the few yard sales I had been able to get to this summer. As we were leaving an older gentleman who had been helping at the pantry pulled me aside and gave me a few dollars "to get the kids an ice cream or treat" and I started bawling right there. I usually don't wear my heart on my sleeve but it had been an emotional day.
Then we were off to the FS office to file another attempt at an appeal, (we had 30 days and since the other appeal had not been done correctly we were now down to the wire on day 28 or 29!
) So we get there...kids in tow and wait for over an hour. I thought we were waiting for someone to schedule an appointment but was really suprised to get called back to speak to a caseworker. They had eliminated caseworkers over a year ago but that failed dismally and so they have started a new hybrid system of phasing them back in. It was a MIRACLE that the caseworker was one who had worked on our case before and REMEMBERED US! She took time to LISTEN and looked up our case and showed us the numbers, etc. It turns out some MAJOR glitches had happened... They had not deducted "cost of goods sold" from the business total (even though it was on the tax forms prepared by our accountant!) and had us making a HUGE PROFIT that was no where near what we had been making. They also had scheduled the appeal...in an entirely differently COUNTY...yet somehow mailed the letter to the correct address...don't ask me how that happened.
Basically she said that the reason this keeps happening is that most of the caseworkers just don't know how to read the tax forms to enter the data properly...and there was so many "hands in the pot" with no accountability...even thought this was passed from caseworker to supervisors, etc. over the past few months while our bills have piled up and disconnnect notices have rolled in. I just bawled. I was just so thankful that SOMEONE was finally listening and going to HELP US. She fixed it. She punched in the right numbers and the NEXT day we had the adjusted amount of food stamps for this month and the difference from last month. I just felt a HUGE weight lifted from my chest. I don't want more than what we qualify for ...I just want to make sure my kids are fed. I am so thankful there has been resolution to this. Next recert isn't until May.
We still have to dig ourselves out of the financial hole we have fallen into with the bills that have piled up, etc. but at least I know my kids are going to be fed and dh and I will have much less stress knowing that.
I have bartered and collected pretty much all of the supplies I need for our birth now...so I feel a lot more relaxed about baby coming.