Welfare moms - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 47 Old 03-19-2002, 02:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm not single, or on welfare, but I really hate it when other people give welfare moms a bad time. I don't think a woman should be forced to live in poverty, be deprived of basic needs and human rights, and have to work in a miminum-wage job and leave her child in full-time day care. I'm also sick of all the misconceptions about women on welfare - like they all have six kids, they all do drugs, etc.

I know a few welfare mothers who use drugs, and I know MANY non-welfare mothers who use drugs. Why are the welfare mothers somehow worse?

I realize that for several reasons, teenage women should not have babies, but the fact is, sometimes they do. Should we punish those babies by denying their mothers welfare checks, affordable housing and medical care, and foodstamps?

About welfare moms being a burden to society - I for one am GLAD that my tax dollars can go to disadvantaged women and children! I'd much rather it go to them than to any of the other things it goes to.

Remember, women do not impregnate themselves. These impoverished children are a result of MEN as well as women - men who frequently do nothing to care for them. If the men were providing adequately for the children they created, women would not need welfare in the first place!

All mothers, no matter what their age, marital status, or how many children they have, deserve the right to raise those children themselves - which does not mean keeping them in day care! All mothers also deserve comfortable, secure, spacious, affordable housing; nutritious, high-quality food; the right to breastfeed exclusively without resorting to pumps or formula; the right to remain at home with their children as long as they see the need to; quality medical care (not Medicaid) for ALL medical conditions; and the right to go to school (and bring the child to class with them) instead of working.

In reality, women on welfare (actually, women period) are not given these rights. Raising a child and keeping a house while single is probably the hardest work there is - and people call welfare moms "lazy"! I think they deserve so much more than they are getting.
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#2 of 47 Old 03-19-2002, 12:45 PM
 
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Personally, I'd rather support a single mom or dad on welfare for a year or two or three, rather then have him/her have to put baby in "day care". I believe the first few years are extrememly important, and all moms or dads should be home teaching and interacting and loving their children....
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#3 of 47 Old 03-19-2002, 02:53 PM
 
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Yes, it really irks me when welfare mothers are all tarred with the same brush as drug abusing, lousy, lazy, good for nothing mothers. A mother's work should be valued. Good parents are contributing to society and if a mother is single, with young children, then she should be able to recieve welfare without feeling ashamed.
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#4 of 47 Old 03-19-2002, 07:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Some people think that if you don't have a *paid* job (one that gets taxed) then you aren't worth anything to society and you're nothing but a burden.

But really, who does more for society - a mother, or the owner of McDonald's?

Also, as far as drug use, we all pay for it whether it's a welfare mom or not. Plenty of single men are in prison for drugs - we pay for that.
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#5 of 47 Old 03-19-2002, 07:37 PM
 
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Good point greaseball about men in prison. I read that it costs taxpayers $56,000 a year to house and keep one man in prison . Thats twice what we make a year. Welfare is there for a reason. I hate our idiot president for making welfare even harder to get, and cutting funding for early-ed and head-start progs. He also cut millions from a prog designed to feed low income schoolkids healthy,free breakfast and lunch when that is all some of those kids eat all day. GRRRRRRRRRR

Erin, 33, salty southern mama, sitting by the sea with my DH35, DD10, DS4, &DD2!
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#6 of 47 Old 03-19-2002, 08:58 PM
 
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I think the statement that teenagers shouldn't have children can be hurtful to alot of us teenage parents. Focusing on the idea that teens have no business having children only further stigamatizes teen parents and does little to encourage them to be thoughtful parents. What teen parents need is encouragement and support for the often very hard decision to actually bear and raise these children. I think this is a great thread and it touches on many topics that really hit home with me, but coming from a teen mother and knowing many wonderful teen parents I'm especially sensitive to the subtle and somtimes, unfortunate shaming that these young people (usually women) have to face. I think the issue isnt whether or not teens have any business having children at all, but rather the fact that not just SOME, but ALOT do have children and they need support. Just my 2 cents.
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#7 of 47 Old 03-20-2002, 11:07 AM
 
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I hear you, peatree. I was not technically a teenaged mother, but I had my first born at 23 and I looked about 19 at the time and the subtle discrimination continues to this day, even though I'm now 33. One example (of many): During the 2000 election campaign, the Green Party was very eager to get signatures from people demanding that Ralph Nader be put on the ballot in every state. One day, at our local farmers' market, there was a Green Party table set up, soliciting signatures. I was there with 3 of my 4 children and I went up to sign the petition, and the woman at the table looked at me doubtfully and said "Are you registered to vote?" I was the ONLY person she questioned that way. I'm sure she saw a young mama with a brood of kids and immediately made the assumption that I was uneducated, ignorant, voiceless, etc. (Sure, I was dressed rather sloppily at the time, but it was 7:30 in the morning!)

Anyway, welfare mothers are criticized, but teen welfare mothers are positively vilified. You hardly ever hear people complaining about "teen fathers" or "welfare fathers."
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#8 of 47 Old 03-20-2002, 11:38 AM
 
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It is my belief that compassion alone will not help the poverty disaster. The only people who dedicate their talent and intellect to finding solutions for this problem are people who have BEEN THERE.
Do you know that it is the wealthiest people who leave nothing to charity in their wills? I will find the exact figure, but it will make you sick.
Please, no flames. I know there are wealthy people who are very charitable and loving. But the people who have the real power ($$$$) generally do not care, and use words like "tough love" and "accountability" so as to keep the dependent people dependent. This society makes it next to impossible to get ahead, or get out of the cycle of poverty.
Since I don't have alot of time right now, I'll copy this list that I posted in Activism, in case people have not seen it.
It is an example of how, if you need help, the 'system' thinks you are not entitled to have any privacy at all.

The Ministry of Community and Social Services form to determine spousal status for social assistance includes the following questions:

~Who pays for the groceries and other household supplies?
~If you have a will, is your co-resident mentioned in it?
~Has your co-resident been appointed in your will as executor, beneficiary or guardian of your children?
~Do people think of you as a couple?
~Do you and your co-resident entertain together as a couple?
~Do other people invite the two of you over together?
~Do you go out with your co-resident to dinner, movies, social events or sporting events? Who pays?
~Do you and your co-resident attend holiday celebrations together?
~Does he/she buy holiday presents?
~Who eats meals with you at home?
~Who does the weekly meal planning and how is it decided when to order takeout/in or cook at home?
~Does your co-resident ever do your laundry (or the children's)?
~Do you ever open each other's mail?
~Do people think of you and your co-resident as a family?
~Do your children receive gifts from your co-resident's employer or attend events sponsored by your co-resident's employer?

I'll be back later with bells on.
Amie
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#9 of 47 Old 03-20-2002, 12:08 PM
 
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Forest Sage, I'm convinced that large ammounts of money corrupt people. The more they get, the more they want and to hell with anyone who gets in their way. Why else would super profitable corporations like McDonald's push to expand and yet at the same time lobby against raising the minimum wage?
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#10 of 47 Old 03-20-2002, 03:31 PM
 
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"The more you can increase fear of drugs and crime, welfare mothers, immigrants and aliens, the more you can control all the people."
Noam Chomsky

I think one of the reasons wealth refuses to acknowlege poverty is because wealth sees in poverty the EXACT same thing that drives it - fear of powerlessness. Wealth is about image making, and it's about presenting itself as worthy, great, potent and indestructible.
But a vital part of keeping wealth invincible is keeping poverty dependent. In an egalitarian state welfare moms would be as powerful and revered as Julia Roberts.

Large corporations and banks have convinced people there is not enough money for things such as education, welfare, health care, unemployment insurance, legal aid, etc.

One of the things my premier did to get into power was declare that the government was not in the business of housing people.

The poverty rate for single parent families in my city is 60%. If a single welfare mom or dad is lucky enough to find an apartment for $325 inclusive, (Canadian dollars) they will still be spending 63% of their income on shelter. Living on welfare certainly isn't the 'free ride' alot of people think it is.

I live in a university town that is very resistant to see the problem of poverty and homelessness (which is on par with Toronto's). Right now, despite overwhelming opposition to building it, there is a 42 million dollar hockey arena being built in our core. It just doesn't matter what we serfs have to say!
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#11 of 47 Old 03-20-2002, 08:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Peatree - Oops, I apologize. I realize that must have sounded bad when I wrote that teenagers shouldn't have babies. I guess what I meant to say is that for most teens (under 18, I mean), at least all the ones I knew in high school, raising a baby can be harder than for an adult, and there are a lot of reasons not to have a baby so young.

Some teens, especially those just starting out in puberty, will have an extra hard time carrying and delivering a baby. I know many who have had cesareans, partly because of the medical community and its arbitrary rules, of course, but it could have been due to their underdeveloped bodies as well.

Also, most teens are in high school, and many of them have never had a job. I don't know of any high schools that allow a student to bring a baby to class, so many teen moms do not get to finish hs. Many teens' parents are not happy about the pregnancy and will not help in any way - some even throw their kids out of the house. Teen fathers are notorious for doing NOTHING. The last stat I read said only 20% contribute any kind of help at all.

The jobs one can get while under 18 do not pay a decent living wage to support a family. One cannot usually rent an apartment if they are under 18. The stresses of raising a family, in my opinion, are too much too soon for the average teenager.

I did not mean that teens couldn't make good parents. I think if they can get around all these obstacles, they can. I believe there is a lot more to being a good parent than your age.

Also, every teen I knew in hs who got pg, got that way by an older man who had no business with teen girls. But, of course, it's easier to blame and shame women. I think all teen moms deserve so much more support than they are getting.
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#12 of 47 Old 03-20-2002, 08:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Forest Sage - Also, I read that the people who contribute to charities usually have annual incomes of around $10,000. And that when rich people make donations, it's to organizations that benefit other rich people - museums, opera houses, etc.

Another thing I don't get is the notion that charging everyone a percentage of their income for taxes is supposed to be fair. Or we can use the church example of a 10% donaiton -

If you make $4000 a month, you can probably afford to part with $400, but if your monthly income is only $800, there is no way you can do without that $80!
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#13 of 47 Old 04-03-2002, 12:05 PM
 
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Wow, it's really nice to hear that! As a single mom of two little ones it's nice to know that not everyone looks down on me for getting help through DSS. I am probably not the typical welfare mom, just made a very poor choice for a husband who moved away to who knows where when my first was almost 7 months and had just found out I was pregnant with second. I did not go on welfare at first because I felt embarrased. I also don't like telling people about it because I stay at home with my kids during the day. I was babysitting during the day so I could take my kids with me and going to school at night. Now I am waitressing on the weekends, something I never thought I would do and still in school at night. I am scared to death of the day I have to put my children in day care, which will happen soon so I can go to school full time.
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#14 of 47 Old 04-03-2002, 12:33 PM
 
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OT: Tori, I would recommend looking into a home-based daycare. I was a single mom for most of ds's life and he was in daycare. The only places he wasn't mistreated were in home-based daycares. You have to be careful but I had terrible experiences with every institutional place I tried. Just thought I would share this.
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#15 of 47 Old 04-04-2002, 12:32 PM
 
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I just wanted to say-Tori,you sound like a great Mom!!!
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#16 of 47 Old 04-05-2002, 03:08 PM
 
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Thank you so much for telling me that, I definatly try to make the right choices and decisions for my children's benifits and I know I am doing the best I can but I do worry that I could do things even better and for a stranger to say that brought tears to my eyes because sometimes I do wonder if I am doing a good job. I definatly need to hear that!
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#17 of 47 Old 04-07-2002, 05:52 AM
 
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Tori, the fact that you are concerned about how your choices impact on your children prove that you are a good mother. Being a good mother has nothing to do with whether you have a partner or what your income is or where you get it from.
I get very tired of hearing people bag out single parents and those who get government money. To be honest I would prefer my tax money to be spent on single parents rather than on politician benefits (which I believe are excessive).
I am a single mum of a 3.5yr old. I get alot of flak from people because I'm a single parent, I receive some government money (but then everyone I know receives some government money via family allowance) and that fact that my son is autistic; something which some people believe is a direct result from my single status.
I live in Australia, so the pension system here is different, but that attitudes are not, unfortunately. It's very sad, because these children are our next generation and we should be doing all we can to try and make things better.
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#18 of 47 Old 04-19-2002, 04:03 PM
 
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I was going to post here to voice support for teen mothers-but peatree did such a great job-there's not much left for me to say!
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#19 of 47 Old 04-25-2002, 10:29 PM
 
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WOW! What a really great post and so much support going 'round. It was really nice to get online and see this. Wado to Greaseball for starting the thread and to all who contribute(d). I love my welfare mommy.
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#20 of 47 Old 04-30-2002, 11:58 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally posted by daylily
I hear you, peatree. I was not technically a teenaged mother, but I had my first born at 23 and I looked about 19 at the time and the subtle discrimination continues to this day, even though I'm now 33. One example (of many): During the 2000 election campaign, the Green Party was very eager to get signatures from people demanding that Ralph Nader be put on the ballot in every state. One day, at our local farmers' market, there was a Green Party table set up, soliciting signatures. I was there with 3 of my 4 children and I went up to sign the petition, and the woman at the table looked at me doubtfully and said "Are you registered to vote?" I was the ONLY person she questioned that way. I'm sure she saw a young mama with a brood of kids and immediately made the assumption that I was uneducated, ignorant, voiceless, etc. (Sure, I was dressed rather sloppily at the time, but it was 7:30 in the morning!)

Anyway, welfare mothers are criticized, but teen welfare mothers are positively vilified. You hardly ever hear people complaining about "teen fathers" or "welfare fathers."
I can totally relate. I was 21 when my son was born (I found out I was pregnant on my 21st b-day) and I look about 16. When I'm not at work I dress like a slob. Baggy jeans, too big t-shirts, sandles. When I was on leave I took my son the mall alot because it was too cold (in Nov/Dec) to have a newborn out in the cold and it was a way for me to get out of the house and get some exersice. I was browsing through a jewelery store one day, looking for a mother's ring (which I'm going to get tonight! ) and when I told the girl what I was looking for, she says "well our lower cost ring are this way" I was just like, wait a minute, I never asked for lower cost rings, I asked about mother's ring in general. You can just let me decide what fits in my budget. She just assumed that I was a teenage mother and probably single since I had been at the mall everyday for two weeks by myself.
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#21 of 47 Old 05-04-2002, 02:23 AM
 
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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,
Brenda

PS. Yammer - Your quote about Judas and Christ is perfect; absolutely truthful.
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#22 of 47 Old 05-05-2002, 10:15 AM
 
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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?
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#23 of 47 Old 05-06-2002, 08:35 AM
 
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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.
Peace
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#24 of 47 Old 05-14-2002, 09:49 AM
 
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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."
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#25 of 47 Old 05-14-2002, 01:09 PM
 
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Quote:
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?
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#26 of 47 Old 05-14-2002, 03:12 PM
 
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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?
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#27 of 47 Old 05-15-2002, 07:38 PM
 
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Lilablue,
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!?
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#28 of 47 Old 05-16-2002, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#29 of 47 Old 05-16-2002, 01:47 PM
 
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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)
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#30 of 47 Old 05-16-2002, 04:27 PM
 
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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.
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