Should we get food stamps? - Mothering Forums
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Frugality & Finances > Should we get food stamps?
amber913's Avatar amber913 11:00 AM 02-01-2011

I need honest opinions.  I believe we make the income requirements.  I applied, gathered and copied all the necessary paperwork to send in...then chickened out.  And this is why:

 

We have two cars: a 2005 (paid off) and a 2008 (just bought)--they're reliable, newer cars

We have 4 pets: 3 cats and a Rottweiler puppy.

We still have (basic+) cable and high speed internet. 

 

BUT:

DH got the only FT job he could find (believe me, he's been looking!) when he was laid off two years ago, I get as many PT hours at my job as i can, and we still don't make enough.

We pay for our bills and gas with what's in checking and take out $100/week for groceries and ALL expenses (clothes, household items, fun--EVERYTHING).

The only way we stay afloat is that i squirrel away money, but we're draining our savings just trying to pay the bills.

 

Would you get FS if you were in my place?



zebra15's Avatar zebra15 11:07 AM 02-01-2011

I say if you meet the requirements then yes.  Go and apply, if you dont meet the requirments then you will know for sure.


TiredX2's Avatar TiredX2 11:20 AM 02-01-2011

If you qualify, you should definately use them.  There should be no shame in using them.  I mean, people who have million dollar homes go ahead and deduct their mortgage interest without asking if someone else could use it more, or anything like that.  I'd way rather my tax dollars was going towards needed food!


ilovemygirl's Avatar ilovemygirl 11:34 AM 02-01-2011

I agree that if you need them and you qualify for them you should get them and use them. A quick google search should let you know if you qualify since you already have your numbers together. I've never applied for them but I've never heard about them asking about pets or internet service. It doesn't sound like you have anything extravagant to me. 


VisionaryMom's Avatar VisionaryMom 11:36 AM 02-01-2011

I personally could not get food stamps in your situation. This has been going on for 2 years, so it's not really that temporary. You can't make your bills, but you still have cable & high-speed internet. You have a 2-year-old car & a 5-year-old car. You don't need the food stamps for food. You want the money for food stamps because you don't want to sacrifice your standard of living, and that's different. I would not use public assistance until I'd exhausted all other options to pay for things myself.


OnEarth's Avatar OnEarth 11:51 AM 02-01-2011

You need two cars in many areas if you are a two parent household with two children and two jobs. Replacing a newer vehicle with something "cheaper" will only back fire in the long run with repairs. Internet is starting to be considered a utility, and if it's only 10-15 dollars a month for a lot of entertainment when you're broke I'm not going to begrudge basic cable. It doesn't sound like you have anything extravagant to me either.

If you qualify for food stamps, get them, they've set the income limits where they are for a reason. Eventually you will find better paying jobs and end up not only paying it back, but contributing.


 


frugalmum's Avatar frugalmum 11:58 AM 02-01-2011

My opinion.... the pets are a luxury, cable is a luxury.... high speed internet and two dependable care are not a luxury for a working household.  As awful as it might be, and depending on how much they cost you, you should give the pets away.  Also cut cable unless it is tied up with your internet package.  Then get the food stamps and stretch them as far as you can.


GirlBoyGirl's Avatar GirlBoyGirl 11:59 AM 02-01-2011
I agree with the pp. But honestly, I know this is hard, but if you cannot afford to feed your family then you have no business having animals. I know pets are like family members but 4 pets is extremely expensive in food, vet care, and supplies. I think you should rehome them.
HappyMommy2's Avatar HappyMommy2 12:05 PM 02-01-2011

I think you should get the FS, and not feel guilty.  It is a tough economy, and sometimes people need a little assistance to get through tough times.  I don't think you should get more pets or more cars or more extravagances, BUT I think it is cruel to tell you to get rid of family members with 4 paws.

 

Good luck mama!!


Callimom's Avatar Callimom 12:07 PM 02-01-2011

How do you feel about it? How would you feel explaining your decision to your kids? 

I agree there's no shame in accepting help when it is truly needed. I guess you need to decide if you and your family feel you are at that point.

I personally don't think I would feel right about it in the circumstances you describe but I don't have all the information you do.

 

Good luck with your decision.

Karen


number572's Avatar number572 12:29 PM 02-01-2011

I posted once on here that I was bothered by my neighbor getting food stamps b'c he spent his cash money on designer clothes, cosmetics, alcohol and cigarettes... and was basically told to mind my own business and that he should be able to get food stamps if he qualifies.  

 

I would just go with what feels right to yourself.  I agree with pps and would also not suggest that you give your family pets away.  Seems like it may be tougher for a kid to understand why you're giving their pets away than to understand why you're using gov't assistance programs.  If the kids even need to know that.


amber913's Avatar amber913 12:32 PM 02-01-2011

To clarify:  I have no shame in getting FS.  There are so many contributing factors in our financial situation that it's no use blaming anyone or anything.  In the end, this is where we've found ourselves.  That can easily be explained to the kids.

 

I'm curious as to what people think about my situation, particularly those who know a thing or two about FS.  People don't often share that they're on FS, so i'm not sure what constitutes NEEDING FS.  Truth be told, when my savings runs out, my parents may be able to help us out a little.

 

Selling the house isn't an option in this market.  Getting rid of my four-legged family members isn't either (and there won't be more--long story how we ended up with so many).  Selling the cars wouldn't ease a thing.  Getting rid of internet when we use it to look for work, keep in contact with friends, teachers...yeah, not sure about that.  The cable can go! 

 

I appreciate your thoughts and insight.  Thank you.


HappyMommy2's Avatar HappyMommy2 12:45 PM 02-01-2011

I think having the internet to look for jobs and feeding pets is a FAR cry from designer labels, cigarettes and alcohol. 

 

You are both working hard, so yes, if you qualify, then you need FS, and shouldn't fret over it!


number572's Avatar number572 12:50 PM 02-01-2011


Exactly!  If people were so supportive of him using FS, then this hardworking couple who don't spend on luxurious items  should feel supported.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyMommy2 View Post

I think having the internet to look for jobs and feeding pets is a FAR cry from designer labels, cigarettes and alcohol. 

 

You are both working hard, so yes, if you qualify, then you need FS, and shouldn't fret over it!




goldenwillow's Avatar goldenwillow 12:54 PM 02-01-2011

I was flabbergasted to read folks saying your pets are a luxury, I don't feel that way.  My pets are my family.  Re homing them, come on. 

 

I think if you need the FS, do it.  Why not.  That is what they are for.  I agree with the PP that you are not using your money to buy expensive material goodies, so sure.  We don't have cable (by choice) and didn't have the internet or a second car for 5 years but were in school and totally had FS. 

 

I'd do it. 


Drummer's Wife's Avatar Drummer's Wife 01:02 PM 02-01-2011

I don't see why not.  People who are on food stamps don't have to go without nice vehicles, pets, internet and cable TV.  If you qualify and you feel like you need the assistance, that's what it's there for. 


Oh the Irony's Avatar Oh the Irony 01:11 PM 02-01-2011

Yes. If you qualify you should do it. If you make less than the requirements there is no screening for how you spend your money. You really don't sound excessive at all. The only thing I would have done differently is the 2008 used car with a payment--course I drive a '98 Honda and consider it reliable.

 

And your savings can't be that high if you qualify.

 

Get them, have a little breathing room, and see what you can come up with for long term. Sounds like you are thinking about that too.


VisionaryMom's Avatar VisionaryMom 02:11 PM 02-01-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by amber913 View Post
 Selling the cars wouldn't ease a thing.  Getting rid of internet when we use it to look for work, keep in contact with friends, teachers...yeah, not sure about that.  The cable can go! 

 

Yes, it would. You could sell the 2008 car, buy something reliable for cash, pay less in insurance, and have the money there to put into savings. There are options for free internet - the library, restaurant wi-fis (if you have a laptop), etc. 


mama1803's Avatar mama1803 04:09 PM 02-01-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

I personally could not get food stamps in your situation. This has been going on for 2 years, so it's not really that temporary. You can't make your bills, but you still have cable & high-speed internet. You have a 2-year-old car & a 5-year-old car. You don't need the food stamps for food. You want the money for food stamps because you don't want to sacrifice your standard of living, and that's different. I would not use public assistance until I'd exhausted all other options to pay for things myself.



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chrissy's Avatar chrissy 04:15 PM 02-01-2011

If I were in your shoes, and I qualified for food stamps, I would get them.


goldingoddess's Avatar goldingoddess 04:21 PM 02-01-2011

IMO If you qualify for FS, you should be on it.  I don't care what year your current car is or if you have internet or not, the income limits for FS is low enough that if that is what you are making, you should be on them.  I'm happy to know my tax money is going to help out families that are struggling.

 

And please don't get rid of your pets as other posters are suggesting!!! Pets are family too.  We went through a rough patch once when I was considering getting rid of our animals, hubby said absolutely not under any circumstances and now that we are doing well I would never have been able to get over/forgive myself for getting rid of my pets.

 


sublimeliving's Avatar sublimeliving 04:27 PM 02-01-2011

I think you absolutely should get food stamps. Don't give it a second thought; just do it.

 

Ugh, don't get rid of your pets. They are a ray of sunshine when you're going through hard times.  I would get a Roku, and save on cable bills. You can watch Netflix, and Hulu for like $15 on your TV. 


KempsMama's Avatar KempsMama 04:27 PM 02-01-2011

IMO, you should go ahead and apply. 

 

I think internet in this day in age can be a need-especially if your DH is still looking for a higher paying job.  Yes, I know there are "free" internet options too, but in a family unit it isn't always reasonable for one parent to spend a couple of additional hours away from home. 

 


crazyms's Avatar crazyms 04:44 PM 02-01-2011

I agree that applying for FS should only be done after exhausting all the options. I would definitely get rid of cable (if it was me) and then consider if there is any where else that I can cut costs (find cheaper service providers, ways to save on energy costs, etc). I'm sure you have already done or started doing all that. For me, I would take on a second job or more before getting fs but that's me. What works best for your family to increase income or cut costs is something only you and dh can decide.

 

Since you are asking mostly about qualifying though I will say this: In my state to qualify you can only have one vehicle. That vehicle also has to be 5 years old or older. I know they ask about expenses like how much you have to pay for rent/mortgage, utilities and such but they don't to my knowledge ask specifically about internet or cable. I know people that have or have had fs and had those services and it didn't affect them. If you can qualify though go for it. I would definitely check out state health insurance at least for the kids if you haven't already. (In my state it is only for children, elderly or pregnant women but some states have it for uninsured adults so I'm not sure about where you are) If you qualify for any assistance state health insurance, fs, or other I would check with your phone provider. I know some here offer a discounted plan to people on assistance so that may help you also.


crazyms's Avatar crazyms 04:47 PM 02-01-2011


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldingoddess View Post

IMO If you qualify for FS, you should be on it.  I don't care what year your current car is or if you have internet or not, the income limits for FS is low enough that if that is what you are making, you should be on them.  I'm happy to know my tax money is going to help out families that are struggling.

 

And please don't get rid of your pets as other posters are suggesting!!! Pets are family too.  We went through a rough patch once when I was considering getting rid of our animals, hubby said absolutely not under any circumstances and now that we are doing well I would never have been able to get over/forgive myself for getting rid of my pets.

 


Good points here. We often take care of strays that show up so for me I would rehome them if we were caring for any and something caused us to be struggling. I only help them because I care but they aren't family pets that we chose to get so that's different and I would try to rehome them. We do have one cat that is our family pet and I would find ways to lower her care costs but not get rid of her.


JesKace's Avatar JesKace 06:56 PM 02-01-2011


Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post

I personally could not get food stamps in your situation. This has been going on for 2 years, so it's not really that temporary. You can't make your bills, but you still have cable & high-speed internet. You have a 2-year-old car & a 5-year-old car. You don't need the food stamps for food. You want the money for food stamps because you don't want to sacrifice your standard of living, and that's different. I would not use public assistance until I'd exhausted all other options to pay for things myself.


I have to say I agree with Visionary Mom.  I don't mind people taking assistance when it's absolutely necessary, but it sounds like you can cut some of the costs that you already have.  Personally I wouldn't be able to take assistance unless it came down to the option of feeding my family or having a place to live/gas/electric... Not feeding my family or having cable/internet.  I also would look long and hard at if getting rid of one vehicle is a possibility.  It would save you the amount for insurance each month which may be the amount you'd get for food stamps.  If you could live with one vehicle then getting rid of the one with the payment would save you even more money :)  We have 3 cats and I think if it came down to me having to choose to get assistance to feed my family, I would choose to get rid of the cats to cut the costs of keeping them.  Especially with a Rotti puppy... We had a rotti years ago, and because they are so large they are prone to hip problems (cost a ton in vet bills), and eat a ton of food just being such a large dog.  I would definitely consider re-homing him at least.

 

Maybe I'm just jaded on the subject since I live in a state where there is so much abuse of the public system that I don't see my tax dollars paying to help out struggling families like it should.

 

Whatever you choose to do, I hope you guys can get back on your feet and things get better :)


shayinme's Avatar shayinme 08:25 PM 02-01-2011


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionaryMom View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by amber913 View Post
 Selling the cars wouldn't ease a thing.  Getting rid of internet when we use it to look for work, keep in contact with friends, teachers...yeah, not sure about that.  The cable can go! 

 

Yes, it would. You could sell the 2008 car, buy something reliable for cash, pay less in insurance, and have the money there to put into savings. There are options for free internet - the library, restaurant wi-fis (if you have a laptop), etc. 


 

There are options for free internet but for a serious job seeker these may not be reliable enough to be the way to go. In the area I currently live in folks are time limited on how long they can use the computers at the library. I believe its 30 mins they get, that is not enough time to check email. Linked In and then look for jobs. Also there is the issue of if the library is near by or are they going to be spending gas money daily to get there. As for using restaurants for wifi even Starbucks that starts to add up too, I mean you can't just walk in and plop down and start surfing.

 

For a serious job seeker without access to internet on a daily basis they are at a disadvantage. I see this regularly. In most case high speed internet is not terribly expensive. Its one thing if people have jobs and need to cut expenses but if one is looking for a job, they need it.


GirlBoyGirl's Avatar GirlBoyGirl 08:37 PM 02-01-2011
I don't see what is so ridiculous about the idea of rehoming your pets when you can't even afford to feed your family. How much does it cost to have 4 pets in a month? $100 at least? That could be breakfast for the month for your kids. But I definitely agree that rehoming them would be very hard, it's just that sometimes we have to make tough choices. But anyway, I'm not sure what you are asking here- only your FS office can tell you if you qualify...
matey's Avatar matey 09:59 PM 02-01-2011
I tend to agree with the idea that if you qualify, you should try. The income guidelines are low. We easily meet income guidelines with a family of four but due to how everything is calculated, we were just missing it with a family of three. Did we manage as a family of three? Yes. But we also completely drained our savings. We are now a family of 4 so we qualify. Since I now have food stamps, I was able to do fun things like spend $1,000.00 on fixing our pipes under the house that were pouring water all over the floor everytime I did laundry. That little bit of help allowed me to get on a payment plan to fix our plumbing issue was obviously affecting our home situation.

I don't have cable but we do have internet. And, gasp, sometimes we buy alcohol even though we are on food stamps. We don't go out to eat, we aren't in debt (except for the above plumbing bill), and I am ok with us cutting lose and having a drink. We also don't have animals. We actually had to get rid of animals when ds was a baby, it was very difficult but something that needed done. I am glad we did it as we couldn't have afforded them now. I understand the attachment, but like a pp said, maybe try finding a home for the younger rott as it could get very expensive.

Even though fs have been helpful to us, we do look forward to a day when we can be done with them. Right now it enables me to stay home with my young kids. We are hoping that dh may make a little more money someday to where it wont be necessary.
matey's Avatar matey 10:01 PM 02-01-2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by GirlBoyGirl View Post

I don't see what is so ridiculous about the idea of rehoming your pets when you can't even afford to feed your family. How much does it cost to have 4 pets in a month? $100 at least? That could be breakfast for the month for your kids. But I definitely agree that rehoming them would be very hard, it's just that sometimes we have to make tough choices. But anyway, I'm not sure what you are asking here- only your FS office can tell you if you qualify...

So hard, i agree but I also don't see it as ridiculous. If we had still had pets when I decided to not go back to work and to live on dh's income, the pets would have been the first thing to go. The expense was just too great.
Tags: Cwla Press Child Welfare League Of America , It Wont Happen Again Stories About Reunification By Parents Affected By The Child Welfare System
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