Originally Posted by Mama Poot
Your mom sounds a lot like, well, ME! We recieve Food Stamps and WIC, and we also have Medicaid because we qualify. Our annual income hovers around 25,000 a year for a family of 5. Thankfully we live in a very low COL area, but we would be starving without the FS and WIC. I cook from scratch as much as I can, home birth, breastfeed, cloth diaper, buy all my clothes at the thrift store and clothes for the kids too, and we also have a lot of generous friends and family who help us through. My DH works full time and is finishing up his Master's degree so we don't have to be on assistance in the future. I am also in school as well, and without a degree or any formal training, it makes ZERO financial sense for me to WOH. I don't feel guilty one BIT for getting Food Stamps while I'm educating myself and working towards a better future for my family.
MY problem is with people on PA who DON'T live how I do, who go out and SPEND their cash benefits on designer clothing and getting their nails done, FF'ing their kids by choice, the whole bit. I think that is ripping off the system. I think that hurts people who are truly in need, who are frugal, and who are trying to get by without screwing the system.
That Is Nice, I would hold no judgment against your mom for making the decision she did. Clearly she was not a leech just trying to suck all she could out of her government. She made a decision to make you guys her priority, and it is unfortunate that other circumstances made her so deeply dependent on the assistance. But she did the best she could. I wouldn't feel so bad!
My mom probably sounds like a lot of mothers on MDC.
There's a reason I'm crunchy, right? Yes, my mother had a lot of good ideas. She really did. I forgot to mention cloth diapers, too! Anyway, she did well and made good decisions within the realm of what she had.
My point was that she never worked a day in a paid job from the time I was born until welfare reform forced her off public assistance. What I was looking at negatively about my mother was her intentional use of public assistance and 100% her reliance on it. From the time I was born until welfare reform, 100% of my mothers income was from public assistance.
She did not have the $25,000 per year you mentioned. Nor did she ever work towards a degree, like you mentioned, or go after any job training, or take advantage of subsidized childcare. She never had a seasonal job, or part time job, or any income from a job.
I am definitely not against public assistance. In fact, just the opposite. I am very, very much for it and think that we need increased social program investment. I think if we had things like univeral health insurance, better maternity leave policies, more support for breastfeeding, and better access to housing and education, then mothers wouldn't have to make such hard choices. It is hard to juggle the internal desire many of us have to stay with our young children with economic realities. In the U.S. we are at a disadvantage compared to mothers in many other industrialized countries. Of course, we have options that many 3rd world mothers do not. There are blessings, and there are areas we can improve.
Anyway, my point in my posts was that my mother never left public assistance until they forced her to. And that she never had ANY
income other than the public assistance.
It's funny. I know that she received every program subsidy under the sun except subsidized child care. She received AFDC, food stamps, section 8, fuel assistance, WIC, government cheese, etc, and probably some grants for other things. But she never applied for child care subsidies.
She relied 100% on public assistance. So, basically I think she had an annual income for herself and her children of like $8,000 to $10,000 per year. That included food stamps and housing assistance. It was not enough, and we were hungry a lot of the time, even though she did cook from scratch and garden.
My point was that public assistance alone will not provide a very good life for children. Obviously, she is an extreme example, and the extent of her case couldn't happen anymore.
My issue with my mother wasn't her use of public assistance, it was the reliance on it and intentional use, and how she used it not to elevate herself to provide a better life for her children, but to subsist on it. So, when welfare reform hit, she was even more impoverished and had not held a job since she had been a teenager. Her transition to the job world was chaotic and difficult. She is still in poverty today. I am not sure she will have enough credits to qualify for social security even. Eventually, I am sure she will be a financial liabilty to her children, and we will have to provide for her. In a lot of ways, we already have, helping her with expenses. It is one factor in why I have questioned whether I can be a SAHP myself because I need to factor in making enough money to be able to help family.