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Welfare moms - Page 2

post #21 of 47
Being a welfare mom is in truth a real drag. I was two months from college graduation when I concieved my girl and after graduation I pretty much had to relocate to work. No family, no partner, no friends, nada. MOst of my pregnancy and Finn's first 6 months were a grinding struggle, trying to cover food, housing, diapers... Being broke was always an issue, always on my mind. It's strange how poverty affects every aspect of your life. It just taps you out.
Going on public assistance helped; knowing that we will eat, and eat well, gives a tough day a really nice ending. Having Medicaid and not hesitating to take her to the doctor with bad, bad croup may have saved her life. I'm grateful for the help.
At the same time, it's degrading having to spill your life out; financial, educational, legal, familial, occupational, and personal if there is paternity issues, all for $400 a month. The poor have no rights, least of all privacy rights. And I don't tell people. I know the least busy times at the co-op, and the cashier who is herself on food stamps and so won't give me the eye. I've started a business and I certainly don't tell my business partners as I don't want to deal with the funny oh-well-that-changes-everything stare that comes when people do find out.
My situation is improving now and I hope to be on my own in two or three months. The past year of monthly expense/income sheets, photocopies of all reciepts, endless forms asking redundant questions and all those odd looks have given me a lot of humility, a ton of empathy and a fantastic babyhood for my daughter. In the end it's worth it because the shitty attitudes belong to other people and the minute I look into Finn's eyes, I forget them.

I agree with Greaseball's list of things all mothers (and their children) should have, but welfare is not the way to get them. These things come from having a supportive social community, whether it's family, friends, a partner, whatever. There is no government in the world that can provide for all the needs of all it's people. That is the job of society, not government. What welfare should provide is a safety net, maybe rough and crude, but enough to catch you before you fall.
I haven't enjoyed being on public assistance, but I knew when I was pregnant that by choosing to have my baby I was choosing the results too. Being a mama, single and fresh out of school I was choosing to be poor for at least a couple of years. I get most of the credit, blame, or glory for how my life turns out because I'm the one calling the shots.
I hope this post doesn't sound preachy, but I get tired of both the demonization of welfare recipients, and the way that our society encourages not taking responsibility for the world we have created. One feeds the other.

Thank you for the chance to blab about this. I didn't realize how much I had to say and how badly I wanted to say it.

Take care,

PS. Yammer - Your quote about Judas and Christ is perfect; absolutely truthful.
post #22 of 47
Brenda, Tori, I support you!
It never ceases to amaze me that people applaud a family who earns great money working for a big corporation, while looking contemptuously on a mother who needs support because she wants to care for her babies herself instead of putting them in daycare. I mean, why are these people so revered when the actual rate of welfare fraud is 3%, and the value of corporate crimes is 88 times that of welfare fraud?
post #23 of 47
I am a single woman on welfare. I never thought that I would be saying either part of that sentence. What has happened just wasn't part of the "plan". I have a degree in Women's Studies and was preparing for graduate school when I got pregnant. My partner (my son's father) and I split last year when we couln't survive the emotional and financial stress of losing our business and suddenly being broke. We lost everthing, including eachother.
I could go back to school, I could get a full time job, I could start an in-home day care. If it came down to survival, I would do these things. However, I found a way. I was willing to do almost anything to figure out a way to be home with my almost 2 year old son. I applied to deliver newspapers in the middle of the night where I would put my sleeping son in the carseat, I guess I was over-qualified, I didn't get the job. I am now doing afterschool care for some family friends where he can come with me, I make $600 a month. My rent is $675. The rest is made up by what ever my son's father is able to give me that month and the "system".
I love being a mom, it is my world, and I do it very well. But this is hard. I had planned on staying home with my son, homeschooling, the whole bit. I never counted on this. The worst part is the shame. I feel like I lose another piece of my dignity every time I pass that flag-colored food stamps card to the cashier, every time I have to get my employer to sign the paper stating how much she pays me (I tell her it's just for medicaid for my son), every time I walk into that crowded, filthy office where the toys are an inch deep in crud, to talk to my incredibly over-burdened caseworker. I am willing to go through all of this, anything for my son. I have a wonderful group of friends, none of them know. I know they would be supportive, but I feel too ashamed. I know inside I am doing the best that I can do, but the stgma is huge. I encounter working mom's all the time that would shutter to know my truth. I just know in my heart that I am doing the right thing, I just wish society thought the same thing.
post #24 of 47
Lilablue, I hope you went back and read all the posts. I can imagine how angry and defensive it makes you, however, this discussion has been pro-welfare and positive. I am an anti-poverty advocate who will soon be apprenticing with Life*Spin (Low Income Family Empowerment Sole-Support Parent Information Network) http://www.execulink.com/~life/
I just wanted to let you know this is a safe place to talk about this kind of stuff. I'd like to think most of us are well informed and we "don't believe the hype."
post #25 of 47
Originally posted by lilablue
The courts are f-ed up. The system is entirely wrong. That jerk should AUTOMATICALLY have his right to her terminated after one year if he fails to show up and put up.
I'm not trying to start a p!ssing contest but I would like to ask you to clarify that statement. Do you mean that after one year of no contact, he should never again have the right to see his child? If that is the case, what if he were paying support but just didn't see his daughter for that one year period?
post #26 of 47
Lilablue, I misconstrued your first post as flamage because you said you read five posts before getting cranked up. I thought you had read something here that pissed you off. My apologies. I'm not well aquainted with the social assistance system in California....is there a possibility that you could deal with another caseworker?
post #27 of 47
Thank you so much for your encouraging words. It helps to hear from others in my situation that have overcome the shame. I am sorry about what you are going through with your child's father. It must be really scary to imagine your child going to him if something ever happened to you. In that sense the "system" does fail us. In order for me to get my "benefits" they make me jump through so many hoops I feel like a trick poodle!
The latest from our wonderful government...
The Republican portion of our great legislature is trying to push a bill that requires single welfare moms to work 40 hours per week! Who are they kidding!?
post #28 of 47
Thread Starter 

Questions for those on welfare

What is the process for getting cash assistance like? How long does it take?

Are there any situations where a mother is not required to work? I heard in three states mothers on welfare are allowed to go to college instead of working. What about if she gets pregnant again - does she still have to work? How long after delivery does she have to go to work?

How much per month can a mother earn and still get welfare? What if she also gets child support?

Is having a male caseworker different than a female?

Do they say anything to try and dissuade you from applying for assistance?

And do they do "surprise visits" at your home?

I think Mothering should be free for women on welfare.
post #29 of 47
Ok, just clarifying. I'm kind of one the opposite end of the spectrum. I have a stepdaughter, who my husband rarely sees. He does pay his support faithfully, every pay check. in addtion to cards and letters and gift for holidays. He just doesn't talk to her or see her very often (although we are working to change this)
post #30 of 47
I don't know how it works everywhere elce but from what I do know so far: I stopped receiving or will stop next month any cash assistance because in the state of maryland if your youngest child is at least six months old you have to participate in a job club. Meaning you have to make so many contacts with so many jobs a week etc. You also have to accept any offer you get. You then have to work 30 hours a week to continue to receive any cash assistance. I tried working on the weed-ends but this was too hard to work out. My father was watching my kids while I am taking classes at night as well. I told them I refused to put my kids in day care and they were like well you won't get any more assistance. I will still get food stamps which are a big help but not enough.
You get nothing for being in school as far as I know. There are ways to get around things and different programs etc. but if you don't already know what they are so you can ask, or if your case workers are not helpful, like most, you got to figure it out and ask around. I am planning on going back to school sometime soon and I am not really sure how I will work out childcare?
Oh yeah, I am a single mom of 2 who is not receiving any child support.

It is a huge pain applying for assistance and takes a while for all the paperwork to go through and slightly embarrasing at times asking people to fill stuff out for you. They do retroactivate it if that makes sense. It goes into effect from the time you filled out the forms, eventhough you may not get anything right away.
The amount of money you get is based on your family size an income etc.
No one has actually come to my house for a visit except when I had my first baby. I think that was through my health insurence company though or the health department to check to see if I knew what I was doing. Department of Social Services has never visited though.
post #31 of 47
Well... The wonderful House in our government approved the tighter restrictions on welfare moms today. Requiring moms to work 40 hours per week.
As stated in the article I read...

"Under current law, a welfare recipient may take vocational education courses for a year and still be counted as ''working,'' Cardin said. That option is gone from the GOP bill."

"Along party lines, the House rejected 222-198 the Democratic package. That bill would have provided $11 billion more for child care, opened aid to legal immigrants and let states put welfare mothers in education and training programs."

What can we do??? I feel so helpless!!!!
post #32 of 47
That's ridiculous that you HAVE to go to work when your youngest is 6mths. I'm feeling decidedly lucky living in Australia right now. Currently there is no legislation to FORCE single parents into paid work outside the home - although they are trying. The government should not be able to dictate that a certain group of people have to work rather than stay at home with their children.
They also talked about making our payments in the form of a card - so we don't actually get cash, the government have a record of where we spend our money and what on - how demoralising.
post #33 of 47
Oh lilablue, I wish there was something that I could do to help you, I really feel for you. I know that it's really hard, but try not to stress too much, that'll only make you sick and definately won't help you or bubs. Can you appeal the decision? I hope you've got some great family and friends around to help you through this time and let us know how you're going. I'll be praying for lots of really good things to go your way.
post #34 of 47
Lilablue, don't give up! you WILL be okay. I am not sure how things work where you are but I would try to appeal it. Although I am not quite sure I understand why they canceled on you anyway. It will work out. you mentioned you would do day care? Maybe you could nanny? I was able to take my daughter with me to someones house. It worked out great. Our kids were 6 months apart and feeding and naps worked out very well and the family and I are very close now. She even bought a used twin stroller so we could go for walks. I definatly agree you shouldn't put her in day care to work but if you have to, you have to there ARE good daycare faculities out there that aren't too expensive. Don't give up and don't get stressed, just think about your beautiful baby and how you are doing what is best for her/him and he/she will totally appreciate it all when it gets older. It will one day think what a great mama I've got!!!!
post #35 of 47
I am so sorry that you feel this way. I know exactly how horrible it feels. You could be telling my story 4 months ago. Listen, you can do this. You can find a way. I promised I would not give up until I found something, I would not give into the daycare system. I was so blessed to find a nanny job where I could bring my son. Brainstorm until you are blue in the face, something will happen. That is such a heavy cloud hanging over you right now and it hurts so much, but know you will find a way. Minimize your material lives as much as you can. I have a completely different view on material items now, I even know how to bargain shop thrift stores, and garage sales are always good too. You can do this.
The latest on my nightmare with the system... We have to reapply every 3 months in Florida. I turned my paperwork in a week early. When I never heard anything back I called to find out that I had an appointment that I was never told about and missed. They proceeded to tell me that they would send me another appt. Again I called and again they said I missed an appointment that I was never informed of. I told them that I was unable to get a hold of my case worker, the reply was "Oh, she is gone, you have a new caseworker. There is a pretty high turnover here, this isn't the best job in the world.". This is what I get from the people who hold my food in their hands. Now I have an appointment for the 23rd of this month. What good does it do to give me food money for this month at the end of the month? They don't care, they don't try and they certainly don't see you as a human being, much less a mother trying to feed her baby. I am going to raise hell when I go in there. What good will it do? Nothing, that case worker will leave just like the rest of them, I have had a different worker every one of the 4 months I have been a part of this system.
Powerless, to say the very least.
post #36 of 47
Originally posted by Tori
if you have to, you have to there ARE good daycare faculities out there that aren't too expensive.
I agree, there are daycares out there that are good that won't cost you an arm and a leg. It takes some work to find and you have to spend a lot of time, interviewing and researching everybody but they are out there. I had a fantastic daycare provider up until two weeks ago. My ds was the only one under 2 and she only had to other kids. A 2.5 year old, part time and a 5 year old. He had all the attention the could ever want or need, he was never left to lay and cry, even for a minute (in fact one day when I got there to pick him up, he was laying on the floor and started to ah, ah, ah and she leaped off the couch to run and pick him up) I'm looking for a new provider now because she passed away suddenly. I have spend every night for the past two weeks interviewing people to find out who would work for my ds. Finally I met a lady that will be great. All older kids (mostly after school) a real grandmother type, loves to hold babies. And she only charge $100/week for full time and $55/week for part time.

So, if you are willing to do some work and put a little effort into it, it is possible to find daycare that won't have her "psychology getting maimed for life" Good luck in your search
post #37 of 47
Thread Starter 
In my state, every time I have gotten Medicaid or food stamps, they won't even tell me the name of the caseworker. They mail you this letter-number code and when you call the 800# (which is constantly busy, it takes several WEEKS before you are able to get thru, and you get cut off a lot when you do connect) and you have to ask for that code, and then you are taken to a voicemail to talk to. Of course, no one calls you back, and you are given a new caseworker every month.

Also, their phone system is set up so you can't *66 when it's busy - you just have to sit there and redial. And if you call the AFS office in your city they just say "We can't help you, you have to call the 800# when it's not busy and leave a message for your caseworker."
post #38 of 47
Originally posted by lilablue
I'm sorry we don't have better standards in this country for legitiamte mothers who need help
when their kids are so small and there's no other support around.
Amen to that! Someday it WILL change. Never give up.
post #39 of 47
I have been inspired.
I woke up with my little one beside me at 6:30 this morning with a million ideas running through my head.
It happens that the woman that I nanny for is one of the head people of the Bill Bradley campaign for the Governor of Florida. He is running against Janet Reno in the primaries. Anyway, I spent an hour with her yesterday on a rage about our system. I wanted to know what her candidate planned to do about welfare reform. After talking to her and anyone else who would listen to me yesterday I began to get ideas. I am very serious about doing something to change the system. Grassroots efforts DO make changes. I want to know how someone gets the chance to speak before congress. I once sat in front of the Florida legislature lobbying for a masters program in Women's Studies at my university, we got it. I am also contemplating a photojournalistic style compilation of the REAL faces of welfare. The woman that I work for was telling me about the governments campaign to make welfare moms look like drug addicted abusive mothers in order for the general public to support their reform ideas. I want to change this misconception. The actual average length of time a woman is on public assistance is 4 months, not years like they would like everyone to believe.
I am not afraid to fight the system and I refuse to sit here helpless any longer.
Do you all have any ideas?
post #40 of 47
"Wow". Thats all I can say. Sorry I don't have any ideas right now.
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