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public assistance debate - Page 3

post #41 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

The subject of envy was brought up earlier. That got me thinking about envy, and that led to a new question.

Is it easier to not be jealous of what someone else has and you do not if you *choose* to do without, or if you are *forced* to do without?

You mean, is it easier to not be jealous of what someone else has if a) you choose to do without or b) you are forced to do without.

 

Sorry, I get confused easily sometimes.Sheepish.gif

 

If I got that right, then my answer would be... I don't care. Whether I choose or am forced to do without doesn't matter. I usually do not care either way because I do both. Just my 2cents.gif

post #42 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

The subject of envy was brought up earlier. That got me thinking about envy, and that led to a new question.

Is it easier to not be jealous of what someone else has and you do not if you *choose* to do without, or if you are *forced* to do without?

I think some people tend to be more envious, and others don't. I rarely feel jealous, and it has nothing to do with whether I've chosen or been forced to go without something. It's probably just one of the many feelings I've suppressed since childhood or something. lol.gif I know people who are much more envious by nature, and they could have everything in the world & still be envious of the one thing they don't have. But generally speaking, I would imagine that being forced to go without something you'd like would be harder than choosing to go without it.
post #43 of 75
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by erinmattsmom88 View Post

You mean, is it easier to not be jealous of what someone else has if a) you choose to do without or b) you are forced to do without.

This is what I mean.


I go through times when I'm at peace with my situation, and other times when I'm howling at life because it's unfair. If I can figure out how to stay at peace, I'll choose that.

At the time that something is taken from me is when I'm most likely to focus on how unfair it is. For example, when my food allergies/intolerances escalate, I wish I wasn't me, and didn't have food issues. But for the most part, I look for the silver lining. Maybe the same is true for folks struggling financially.
post #44 of 75

I'm at peace with my situation for the most part. However, we have been in a financial rut for a few years now, and I am eager to get out of it. When something bad happens now I kinda just roll with it because in some weird way, I expect it. I'd like that to change too.

post #45 of 75

I don't like things to be "unfair" and can feel deprived, and sometimes jealous.  But I don't like to place the responsibility for those feelings on others. 

 

Mostly I try to count my blessings. 

 

I know sometimes others are jealous of me:  I've never been overweight or had a long-term debilitating health problem or gone through divorce and I always did well in school.  My life feels so hard to face sometimes but I am so blessed I just have to get over myself.  I think I ended up with a huge tray of responsibilities that require lots of giving with low pay because first of all I have a lot of skills and energy to offer, and because I am kind and have integrity.  Perhaps I was blessed with a special needs child because I was tough enough to face it in the way he needs--I don't know.  Those blessing have helped bring me some difficult commitments in life but I am not sure I would want to give up the qualities that have attracted these challenges.  Most blessings are mixed blessings, I guess. 

 

I am jealous of the simple life because my life is too complicated.  Having two full time jobs, dh and I, looks like the easy and simple life from where we are sitting LOL.  If I were doing it I would probably complain though.  I envy anyone who can leave their work at work at 5:00 and has a real weekend and who owns a reliable vehicle.  But many of people envy me getting up late and being able to walk to work, spend time at a bookstore, and own a home with space for a garden in a small nice town.  (Clearly I use logic against my envy.)  LOL  

 

I don't envy people on public assistance whatever else they are doing.  Well, maybe I envy full-time students because I love going to school... 

 

I guess I do envy moms who can really give their full attention to their kids because even though I am at home a lot I have to do other kinds of work a lot.  But it is okay if people have this thing I do not and use publis assistance to make it happen, just as I don't mind if some mom getting public assistance also has a nice reliable vehicle that I can't have.

 

Oh well, my own envy isn't very powerful because I counter it with a LOT of gratitude and then I just try to focus on what I need to do to take care of my blessed little life.

 

P.S. Thanks ladies for helping me procrastinate about doing my business taxes!  That's what I supposed to be doing now.  LOL  If I procrastinate too much I'll be at the office past midnight.

post #46 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by mamarhu View Post

For me, it is the attitude that makes the difference. A major part of my job is to help families find and access services and resources in our area. I feel like I deal with 2 distinct groups of families. One group is doing the best they can, sincerely trying to make the best life they can for their kids. They have dreams of getting off welfare, going to school, getting a job, whatever. They may have some unreported income (E-bay sales or babysitting income, that kind of thing). Even though that is probably legally fraud, I don't begrudge them that, or the occasional birthday party or splurge type dinner. They might even be choosing alcohol or cigarettes - I don't know and I wouldn't ask. The families I work with have special needs kids - the moms attend doctor, therapy, school, and social services meetings, often by a long bus ride with screaming kids, spend hours on the phone to arrange for their kids' needs, spend months or years on waiting lists for programs to help, are humiliated by the need to accept help at the food pantry or clothing closet. But they appreciate anything they do receive. If these families have a ray of sunshine in their mostly otherwise bleak lives, I rejoice. Even if that takes the form of a lobster bought with food stamps.

Another (much smaller) group I work with are the families who are trying to milk the system. These are the people who, rather than trying to become self-sufficient, are spending hours, of my time and theirs, trying to find new ways to avoid taking responsibility. The seem to have an attitude of entitlement, and are willing to go to great lengths to avoid working. They have no plan or intention of ever decreasing their dependence on public services. When their church helps with rent or utility bills, they are offended that the pastor tries to open a dialog about future, sustainable plans.They complain that the donated clothes are not the latest style, that the food stamps amount is not enough, even while they buy new $200 Easter dresses for their 8 year old daughter, and cases of soda pop. While these families are probably within the letter of the law, they are not acting ethically, in my opinion.

I do not judge the shopping cart of the person ahead of me in line, even if they are buying treats with food stamps. I hope and assume they are are in the first group above - by far the majority, in my experience.

 

I could have written this. For me, since the vast majority of people receiving help fall into the first group, I feel like the system is working, and pretty fair. The second group, well, I just keep hoping they'll change their way of thinking and break the cycle their families tend to have had for a couple generations (not always the case, but often). I can help connect them with resources, encourage them to make the most of life, help them advocate for the children - and themselves - and wish for the best.

Buying lobster is, like, the least of my worries when working with families who often have the world stacked against them. Buy all the lobster, skittles, soda, and bottled water you want. No judgment here, and in no way is it fraudulent.
post #47 of 75

You know...I've worked with some of those people with the major entitlement mindset. Honestly - I'd prefer supporting them with my tax dollars to having to try to get work done with them in my way. It may not be very nice, but I really do feel that way.

 

My ex's family were in the second category. It was really bad for him and it was really bad for his sister...and it was really bad for his parents. But, yk - they didn't change when they weren't on assistance. They had the mindset already when they went on welfare, and it never really went away.

post #48 of 75

I kinda have to be honest here, the first post in this thread makes my head explode a little. It comes off as though should poor people on public assistance use that assistance to have something nice? Or should poor people just make do with cheap crap because that's all they can or *should* afford? Everyone deserves something special every now and again. If it causes their stamps to run out early, well, that's a problem they will have to deal with. But it is not illegal, nor is it unethical, immoral or wrong in any way, for people to have a treat. 

 

The idea that both parents need to work is also unrealistic. My family's been on and off food stamps for five years now. About equal time on and off as situations have changed. For a long while, for me to have worked would've been a financial drain. We would've lost the food stamps and after paying out for childcare what I'd make in a week at full time (as I haven't had a job in a long time nor do I have a previous career nor a college education), we'd actually have *lost* money. So we'd have had more stress, seen our kids less and had less money. It's not realistic. 

 

In general, as a poor person, I'm really frustrated with how much the poor are discriminated against. The idea that someone on assistance shouldn't have a nice phone, a nice tv, a nice car, whatever electronic gadgets they have, have tattoos, buy cigarettes---its so easy to make a judgement against poor people having those things. But my husband's iphone is 3 yrs old, our tv was a gift as were most of our other electronic gadgets, we saved for years for the tattoos and its very, very hard and can be expensive to successfully quit smoking. Without knowing every part of everyone's story, its very, very difficult, if not impossible, to judge their lifestyle. 

 

Can we please stop judging now?

post #49 of 75
Just so you know, the original post was a sort of spin-off from the Welfare Moms thread over in parenting. The op wasn't intending to be offensive as much as provocative, and I don't even think she was presenting her own opinion on the subject but rather presenting for debate a sentiment that had arisen in the other thread.
post #50 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3xMama View Post

 

In general, as a poor person, I'm really frustrated with how much the poor are discriminated against. The idea that someone on assistance shouldn't have a nice phone, a nice tv, a nice car, whatever electronic gadgets they have, have tattoos, buy cigarettes---its so easy to make a judgement against poor people having those things. But my husband's iphone is 3 yrs old, our tv was a gift as were most of our other electronic gadgets, we saved for years for the tattoos and its very, very hard and can be expensive to successfully quit smoking. Without knowing every part of everyone's story, its very, very difficult, if not impossible, to judge their lifestyle. 

 

Can we please stop judging now?

 

I agree, as do many of us.  We should not jump to conclusions about anyone because of what we glimpse and most especially we do not have "extra" claim on judging people only because they receive public assistance.  Everyone should have the right to privacy and to make choices for their family's well being with the resources they have.  Leave the judgments to the social services workers whose job it is to sort through the qualifications.  That at least enough judgment already.

 

When I took a Sociology class in college we learned a term:  "The Deserving Poor"  The Deserving Poor are the ones who we judge good enough to help, and this judgment creates another group: "The Undeserving Poor" and we create pictures of who these people are.  Among other things these judgments are used as excuses for discrimination and stereotyping.  We generally each define the Deserving Poor who should receive help in personal ways.  While such judgments may be used to make the system better, they can also be used to hurt and shame people as well.  Everyone loves you enough to help if you are pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, but if you don't play the role right then no one loves you.  The example in class was buying steak with food stamps. 

 

(My professor from that class later did a very interesting thing: He was a single man who had accumulated a large savings and then retired from teaching.  A local friend was about to lose her farm, and he gifted her a huge sum of money from his retirement savings to bail her out.  After he bailed her out he ended up in a huge tax battle because the government didn't accept that he was making a gift and not receiving anything in return.  He ended up paying a large sum he did not expect over that.  He is now poor and lives on only his Social Security.  He probably leans more on the government for things like health care now than he would have.  I saw him at the grocery and he was buying some fancy cheese and other nice quality foods and we had a little laugh about it how he was part of the 47% and there he was getting something nice and not "paying his share.")

 

I believe in equal rights.  We should not treat the poor who receive food stamps as substandard, with different rights and freedoms in their personal decisions, than those who "pay their share" .  It's a personal and fairly private choice what to get at the grocery store and it should stay that way for everyone.  No, just because we are funding others with our taxes does not mean we should treat them differently and make them act more deserving.  One thing I like about government programs instead of private charity is that there is more uniform delivery.  A private organization can pick and choose worthy recipients, or require they do things like attend a church service, or simply exclude anyone who doesn't play their particular "Deserving Poor" role.  I am glad that at least the government whittles it down to certain basic requirements that can apply fairly and their is less assumed right to invade privacy beyond program requirements.

post #51 of 75

Where I live, food stamps are done through what looks like an ATM card. There no way for the people behind a person in line to know whether that person is paying with an ATM card or food stamps. I thought this was this norm EVERYWHERE. I like this system because I believe this is very private information, and that no one should be humiliated because they currently need help making ends meet.

 

Although I think ALL people should buy mostly healthy food, not everything that goes in our cart is healthy, and I'm fine with people who qualify for food stamps picking treats for themselves or their kids. A million years ago, assistance came in the form of "commodities." These were basic food stuff that came in very large sizes and where packaged specifically for the program. My mom used to baby sit for a single mother who paid part of her bill with commodities, so I grew up eating them. Her family could only eat so much peanut better and huge blocks of cheese, so she partly paid my mom with them and in turn, my mom used them to make lunches for her kids as well as the rest of us. (which most likely counts as fraud, even though it made a lot of sense).  The cash she by partly paying my mom with food she used for utilities or other food of her own choice.

 

I think the system where families can select their own foods is much more humane. And I'm fine with some other mother letting her child pick a treat at the store, even if it is a box of poptarts. Just because someone is struggling to make ends meet doesn't give the rest of us the right to dictate  what they should eat. That's one of the strengths of the food stamp program, IMHO, personal choice.

 

I work in a school and a little girl in our class, who is on free lunch and breakfast, brought in a bag of hot Cheetos for her snack the other day. It was a HUGE deal for her. She was so excited, and she shared a couple with friends. They made her really happy. She usually chooses from the healthy snacks we have available, the cheetos were a BIG DEAL. I'm fine with food stamps letting kids have a choice and some control.

 

Also, our school has a full time staff person who helps families connect resources in the community. She's bilingual. There are so many program run through both public and private organizations, that getting families the support they need at the moment can be like walking through a maze. And every staff member knows about her, so if a child mentions the phone getting turned off or whatever, we can let her know and she can help sort it out. So what I see isn't judgement, but a desire to help families be successful, whatever they are going through.

post #52 of 75

littlest birds- I have one tiny quibble with what you have said. Obesity should not be lumped in with sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits as a reason to judge people. If you look at large long-term studies people who are overweight or in the first category of obesity are healthier and longer lived than people in the "normal" or "underweight" categories on average. If you go into the heavier levels of obesity they tend to have problems similar in magnitude to being underweight. Level of activity and quality of food matter. Not weight. Other than that I feel extreme love for every single thing you said. joy.gif

 

Because this is the internet I'm allowed to tell all the stories I want. Feel free to skip my posts if you get sick of my stories. 

 

Ok, how about one life in tax brackets. Not that I actually know all the tax brackets I have been in because that requires a knowledge of tax law I don't have. When I was born my father was bringing home around $3600/month in the early 80's to support a family with four kids. My mom was a stay at home mom with a high school diploma. My parents divorced when I was three because incest really is one of those things you should end a marriage over. I'm grateful she ended the marriage.

 

Our lives were a horror show. In order to get child support my father required that my mother come earn the money on her back every month. If she refused, well, this was the era before they just went after your paycheque. We were screwed. Between when I was three and when I was seventeen I don't think my mom ever made more than $15,000 in a year and most years far less that. 

 

My sister is a complete loser. But her father raped her over and over starting when she was five and going until she was sixteen. She is an incredibly dysfunctional person. She has been on one kind of assistance or another most of her life. When her kids were little she totally sold the food stamps for drug money. Every kind of fraud on public assistance that can be committed--she's done.

 

My dad didn't get as much access to me. I was probably only raped by him a few dozen times before I was thirteen and I put a stop to seeing him at all. When I was seventeen I pressed charges and he confessed then killed himself rather than go to jail. Because he would have been in jail until he died given the crimes he committed. 

 

So at seventeen we started getting SSI for him. It was the first time in my memory we had a stable income. It was an incredible amount of breathing room for my family. We were sent $1300/month on top of my mom's salary. It only lasted for ten months and was not enough time to pay off all of my mom's debts and issues. I walked out at eighteen with no help from my family.

 

But I got an annuity settlement. I was attacked by a pit bull when I was five and half of my face was torn off. That money was wisely invested by my lawyer and when I was eighteen I started getting $1200/month. It lasted until I was thirty.

 

From when I was eighteen until I was twenty-four I lived on that money. I went through college and got a teaching credential and went to graduate school. In the bay area of California which is one of the highest COL areas in the country. We aren't quite as bad as NYC but we are within spitting distance of that.

 

I have never, as an adult, asked for any kind of public assistance. I make it on the money I have. I could have had more money when I was eighteen-twentyfour if I had wanted to. I could have worked more and made more money. But I doubt I would have made it through college. 

 

In the end I am able to be a stay at home mom but I have multiple degrees that would enable me to work again if something terrible happened. I will never be in my mom's position. And I always knew I wanted to homeschool my kids. So I went to college and graduate school and I learned how to teach so that I would do a good job. Because I think if you are going to pick something as what you want to do all your life you should be good at it.

 

My kids are little--who knows if this will work out.

 

But no matter how much money I have had--and I was often homeless and stealing food as a child-- I have never particularly envied people having things I don't have. I never worried about not having a nice tv. I've never had nice clothes. I've never had nice anything. I went from being poor to living like I am poor and shoving extra dime into savings so that my husband can retire early.

 

At this stage of my life we pay significantly more money in taxes every year than I have ever earned on my own. Even when I was teaching full time. My husband makes an amount of money that staggers me. 

 

I am grateful that I can pay into the system that is helping people who need help. I may hate my mother and my sister with the fire of a thousand suns for committing fraud and being bad people but that doesn't mean I want to take the system away from the single mom four doors down who spends a lot of time crying because she knows the food she is giving her kid is nutritionally deficient but it is all she can afford. That strikes me as being petty and mean spirited in a way that will not make my life better.

 

I believe in public assistance. I'm not entirely sure when that happened. I used to be a rabid Libertarian. I used to believe that I had G_D pulled myself up by my bootstraps, everyone else can too!

 

But I didn't. I had help at important times. Not the same help as everyone else--no--but other people get help I didn't get. I effectively have never had a mother or a father. I had a woman who abused me and left me alone to be raped over and over and a rapist. I wasn't taught useful life skills. I was taught specific skills about how to be sexually submissive from when I was a toddler.

 

I could hate the whole world for that. I could decide that since I was mistreated so f***ng badly that I have the right to be angry and hateful and nasty for the rest of my life to fight back against what happened to me. I would like to be angry forever about how f***ng unfair my childhood was.

 

But I had advantages other people didn't have. And if I ignore the advantages I have and I spend my time being bitter about what I didn't have, about what I still will never have then I will waste my life.

 

Some people have things I don't have and will never choose to buy. Some people have relationships that I would kill or die to have and they are just not available to me. I could hate other people for having what I don't have and want so desperately but then what I am doing is making it impossible for me to enjoy what I have.

 

In every life there is a mixture of blessings. Some of the poorest (materially) people in the world are the happiest. They have riches in relationships I lack. I could hate them. But it seems silly. 

 

In America we have a concept of the American Dream that I think doesn't entirely serve us well. We have this belief that anyone can have whatever they want. It's just not true. No one can have everything they want. But people have more opportunity for changing the path of their life here.

 

If I had not been born here with the access to reduced cost public education I probably would not have made it to college. Girls who are raised to be worthless whores very rarely amount to anything. But I went to graduate school. Because I live in a place where your origins do not have to define who you are for the rest of your life.

 

I believe in public assistance and I do not think that people who have to accept it should be denigrated or judged or shamed for needing it. There are people who abuse the system--duh. But if we shut down the assistance because of those jerks we are cutting off our nose to spite our face. Children need the help even if their loser parents don't. I have literally been starving. I have long-term serious health complications from the malnutrition I experienced as a child. If I can help someone else have better than I had I want to do it. Fine, take the taxes. It's not like a fancier car or more expensive clothing will make me happier. The money I lose in taxes almost certainly ensures that someone else eats.

 

I feel very good about that I have to say. Do those taxes also pay for things I don't agree with? Sure. I vote to express my opinion. But overall I am so grateful that I get to live in a country that allows the opportunities I have been allowed that I am going to fight really hard to ensure that every child is allowed to be supported no matter how much other people disapprove of his/her parents.

 

[Admin note: Edited for profanity.]

post #53 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by erinmattsmom88 View Post

You mean, is it easier to not be jealous of what someone else has if a) you choose to do without or b) you are forced to do without.

 

Sorry, I get confused easily sometimes.Sheepish.gif

 

If I got that right, then my answer would be... I don't care. Whether I choose or am forced to do without doesn't matter. I usually do not care either way because I do both. Just my 2cents.gif

 

Mostly I don't care, especially if I'm the only one who has to do without.  But if it's something for my kid that I can't provide, then I feel a little jealous of other parents. 

post #54 of 75

How is it fraud to buy lobster with food stamps? If lobster is an approved food covered by food stamps, that is not fraud. Recipients of government assistance are NOT getting rich off of help. Food stamps in particular do not cover tobacco/alcohol, pet food, "ready made' foods, and non food items. The average family of 4 (at least in Illinois) receive about $200 a month (or less) in food stamps and it's not an easy process to get approved. 

 

All this talk of possible fraud sounds like poor people hate in my book.

post #55 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by rightkindofme View Post
...That strikes me as being petty and mean spirited in a way that will not make my life better.

 

...In America we have a concept of the American Dream that I think doesn't entirely serve us well. We have this belief that anyone can have whatever they want. It's just not true. No one can have everything they want. But people have more opportunity for changing the path of their life here.

 

...I believe in public assistance and I do not think that people who have to accept it should be denigrated or judged or shamed for needing it. There are people who abuse the system--duh. But if we shut down the assistance because of those jerks we are cutting off our nose to spite our face.

 

Yes, yes and yes.

post #56 of 75

A little off topic, but around here, it used to be the poor kids who ate lobster, and the rich kids ate bologna.  I know people who used to scrape the lobster out of their sandwiches on the way to school because they were less embarrassed to eat two pieces of bread jammed together than to eat the lobster. 

post #57 of 75

I'm not envious of stuff.  What I'm envious of is health care benefits.  My husband and I are self-employed, and netting about 20K-25K per year.  An inheritance pushed us out of state-subsidized health care.  Thankfully, DSHS looks only at income and our girls still have coverage (though I'm nervous again this year--some of the inheritance is on the 2011 taxes for the first time and it's time to re-qualify for benefits).  I jumped back on the waiting list, which is currently 3-5 years, but realistically that program could be gone by the time our name comes up.

 

So, I have a hard time hearing about people's insurance, where in the form of assistance or from employment, especially teachers or state employment which are paid for through taxes (and we live in the state capitol, so I know a lot of government employees). 

 

I did look for private insurance, but even the worst was triple what we were paying each month-- and those plans had nearly everything out-of-pocket except some office visits.

 

Anyway, a hard situation for us.  We cannot afford to pay more than we were under public assistance, and it bums me out.  I understand these are the life choices we make, and I'm not bitter.  I just wish, as someone mentioned earlier, there was more gradual assistance, especially for those of us who own our own businesses.  That still might not have helped with my case and the inheritance, but still......

post #58 of 75

Rightkindofme - Thank you for your story and your perspective. I always appreciate you posts and your perspective. You have a depth that comes from real life experience. Now I understand why.

 

Reminds me of an interview I saw on 60 Minutes, maybe 30 years ago...

 

They were interviewing 2 identical twins, men now in their 40's, who had been raised by their alcoholic, prostitute mother, on welfare, in Public Housing - you can fill in the details.

 

One brother had become a lawyer, working for human rights. He said, "Look at my background - what else could I have done with my life?"

 

The other brother had become a criminal, and was interviewed in prison. He said, "Look at my background - what else could I have done with my life?"

post #59 of 75
A family member is on wic, and complains about how stupid it is that wic doesn't completely cover every can of formula. They have to buy one can a month...and the program is bad for not covering all of it! That is what I don't like to hear from people. You get so much "free" food, why complain about the little you have to buy yourself? I have been on foodstamps and wic, and if we wanted junk food we used cash bc I felt we shouldn't waste our aid on junk. I was thrilled to have the help and it never occurred to me to complain that it wasn't enough! I would have gone hungry without it. Hell, I was starving before the stamps kicked in just so my daughter had food, diapers, and daycare so I could work my $4.25/hr job.

When I hear families talk about how much they get in food stamps, and it's more than we spend on groceries, their kids get free breakfast and lfree lunch at school and they are complaining...that bothers me.
post #60 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplerose View Post

A family member is on wic, and complains about how stupid it is that wic doesn't completely cover every can of formula. They have to buy one can a month...and the program is bad for not covering all of it! That is what I don't like to hear from people. You get so much "free" food, why complain about the little you have to buy yourself? I have been on foodstamps and wic, and if we wanted junk food we used cash bc I felt we shouldn't waste our aid on junk. I was thrilled to have the help and it never occurred to me to complain that it wasn't enough! I would have gone hungry without it. Hell, I was starving before the stamps kicked in just so my daughter had food, diapers, and daycare so I could work my $4.25/hr job.

When I hear families talk about how much they get in food stamps, and it's more than we spend on groceries, their kids get free breakfast and lfree lunch at school and they are complaining...that bothers me.

But 1 can of formula might very well push their budget over the edge. It may be completely unattainable, or they may need to turn off the heat for part of the month to pay for it.

And, not everyone is financially savvy. I was astounded at how much my DH spent on things when I first met him. No one had ever taught him to compare prices, make compromises, balance a checkbook, stick to a budget, etc. So for some people it is truly beyond their ability to spend within their food stamp allotment.

I can't fault them for complaining. I know it's annoying when you're getting by on less, but your hardship doesn't mitigate or eliminate theirs. You can both struggle with your circumstances and you both have a right to complain/vent/etc.
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