ethicial issues using food stamps - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 09:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am in a bit of a strange situation.  My mother who lives with me and my husband(always has due to her being unable to work) recently had some health problems resulting in a two week hospital stay.  Long story short she unknowningly had horribly uncontrolled diabetes and ended up getting a huge infected wound and both issues made the other issue worse.  Since she doesn't have a job(other than taking care of my kids which we dont pay her directly for but gift her in taking care of all of her expenses which we would do either way) she qualifies for the county "general assistance" program which will pay her hospital bills where she (or us) couldnt.  the trick is that she must apply for/recieve all other benefits including food stamps in order for them to pay her hospital bills and her followup care which she desperately needs.  So now we have $200/mo in food stamps for however long they deem her unable to work.  My ethicial issue with this is that we consider her just part of our family and we are not hungry.  However, we do need help with her medical care and managing her diabetes and getting her healthy again.  We bought her a treadmill and are doing a low-carb paleolithic type diet which has resulted in excellent blood sugar control and weight loss for her and thats not exactly cheap.  But still, we would not have applied for food stamps if we didn't have to to get her the medical care.

 

so in my situation, would you let the money just sit out there unused?  use them to support local co-op type businesses we normally cant afford to really support?  use them to contribute to the food bank/salvation army?  use them for our family with no guilt and spend all the money we can afford to ensure she gets all the health support she can?  spend them on candy and soda? last one was a joke :)

 

I know I'm probably overthinking this but thats just how i operate.

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#2 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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I don't think there's anything wrong with using them to help buy food, particularly if you can use them at local farmer's markets/CSA's to get the good quality food she could use to get better.  You wouldn't have to use all of the money, but using just what you need to add money to your budget to get local food seems totally reasonable to me. 


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#3 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 10:30 AM
 
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use them for our family with no guilt and spend all the money we can afford to ensure she gets all the health support she can? 

This. The $200 a month will free up room in your budget to assist with healthcare costs, help cover childcare costs if she's unable to help you while she's ill, etc. Plus extra money for food might mean you can afford the foods that best control her diabetes, including any specialty or 'sugar-free' items she may need as she tries to get control of her condition. You could even save the money you would've spent on food in an account for her (for medical expenses or "retirement" spending or a nursing home or personal care assistant should she ever need one). Regardless, I would use the food stamps with no guilt whatsoever.

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#4 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 10:35 AM
 
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Your mother is entitled to these benefits based on her income. Thus far, you have been using your funds to completely support your mom.  Take the food stamps as your mother's contribution toward household expenses.   Use the money you have been spending toward her food and put it toward other aspects of care or your mom, like health care expenses not covered by the general assistance fund, clothing she may need, etc. 

 

I'm saying this as someone who has spent years subsidizing her MIL at the expense of my own retirement, saving for my children's college, etc.  We finally got her signed up for the benefits she was entitled to and now we can use our money to plan for our own future so hopefully we will not have to depend on our children in our old age.  I say hopefully, because things can happen that are beyond our control.

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#5 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 10:41 AM
 
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"use them for our family with no guilt and spend all the money we can afford to ensure she gets all the health support she can"

 

This!

 

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#6 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 12:37 PM
 
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I don't think you even have a choice - your family might not be "hungry" now, but after $50000 in healthcare costs for diabetes issues, you might be. Whatever you save now will go into health issues later, so save while you can.

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#7 of 27 Old 11-18-2011, 06:43 PM
 
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Use them!  

 

 

I say this as a caretaker for my ailing mother who has diabetes.  Diabetes is a life long disease.  While dietary changes can go a long way to improve a diabetic's health, it will get harder to control the disease as it advances.  Seriously, take advantage of whatever resources are available to you.  

 

Good luck to you and your mom.  


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#8 of 27 Old 11-19-2011, 05:33 PM
 
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"use them for our family with no guilt and spend all the money we can afford to ensure she gets all the health support she can" And never look back.


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#9 of 27 Old 11-20-2011, 12:22 PM
 
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Ditto all the pps!


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#10 of 27 Old 11-22-2011, 07:26 PM
 
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go for it!!


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#11 of 27 Old 11-26-2011, 12:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

This. The $200 a month will free up room in your budget to assist with healthcare costs, help cover childcare costs if she's unable to help you while she's ill, etc. Plus extra money for food might mean you can afford the foods that best control her diabetes, including any specialty or 'sugar-free' items she may need as she tries to get control of her condition. You could even save the money you would've spent on food in an account for her (for medical expenses or "retirement" spending or a nursing home or personal care assistant should she ever need one). Regardless, I would use the food stamps with no guilt whatsoever.

This. 
If she does need more expensive (so to speak) food and exercise equipment, at some point you may end up in the negative when the kid(s) also get bigger and bigger and eat and need more (I've got to say, even buying consignment, size 14 boy jeans *do* cost more than little 2T boy jeans).  It's not like you're working the system in a horrible, awful way or anything, and $200 is $200.
 

 


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#12 of 27 Old 11-27-2011, 01:12 PM
 
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FYI- Unused FS benefits are considered expunged at the end of 12 months and the balance in the account will go the the company that issues the FS EBT card.

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#13 of 27 Old 11-27-2011, 10:19 PM
 
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I agree with PPs to use them as your MILs contribution to household expenses. It's actually illegal to use them to buy food for local food banks - or anyone else outside of the household. If you really can't use them, then just let them expire, but honestly... the more people who get food benefits just let them expire, the more those statistics are used to reduce food benefits for people who really need them. By all means, support a local co-op if they accept food stamps and it will support them. I think that's a fine idea.


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#14 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 04:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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so....now I'm using them but i feel super stupid and that i look like a stereotype because i dont look even remotely poor and buy expensive food(whole low carb thing for my mom).  I think i would be less embarrassed if I actually felt like *I*  needed them.  But it doesnt make sense for my mom to use them because I plan the meals and we only have so much fridge space and im excessively fantastic at bargain shopping.  and i dont want to just not use them because that is stupid too and my mom really truly deserves govt assistance and not just my assistance.  but i cant help but being embarrassed at the checkout line and wishing i had worn a cheaper purse....

i'm really just ranting.  you can ignore me :)

 

first world problems right?!

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#15 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 04:22 PM
 
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I am actually poor use food stamps-  and don't always look the part.  If you feel the need- use the self check out. 

can I ask you something tho....

What exactly does poor look like to you?

 

I am not mad what you said I used to be well off but due to divorce I am now poor. 

Just an interesting topic.


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#16 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i dont really know what poor looks like really.  i think i used to look it or even i still do who knows?!  when i was pregnant with my first son(age 23) all of my health care providers assumed i was on medicaid and ive had several cashiers ask me if i wanted to use EBT or if i had separated all my wic items.  ive asked and that hasnt happened to any of my friends and its just weird.  nothing weird has happened lately although a year ago some guy at burger king thought i was my kids nanny.  i dont know what any of it means and it might mean nothing.

 

i grew up really poor and its been a source of pride that we've somehow made it to the middle class and i can do all sorts of things for my kids that i never had.  and now i have this stupid thing that makes me feel poor again only this time i just feel like a poser.  kind of distantly reminds me of when i was young and hippieish and me and my friends would go eat at the soup kitchen like it was "cool" or something...

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#17 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 04:40 PM
 
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I think you don't know since poor is not a look it is a financial situation. Just because someone is poor does not mean they do not need to take pride in their appearance.


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#18 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 04:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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lol.  i dont disagree at all.

and since i grew up poor and im only 29 ive only had a few years of not actually being poor.  its not like im making generalizations about "other" people.  im just complaining about a situation that feels awkward for me even though im the first to admit its stupid.  usually i can google about any situation and find forums or something that can give me some insight about how i feel but this is one that i cant find.  surely someone somewhere has to be in the same situation and feel the same way.

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#19 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 04:59 PM
 
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well.. I was raised middle class and married into middle class and divorced to become quite poor and now clean houses for a living.  I use food stamps so I can be with my kids more instead of having to stick them in daycare.  I do not like going thru the check out at the grocery store but it gets easier... I know my story- I know my reasoning.... I know my decisions and why I made them.  If someone wants to judge me for not looking poor and still using food stamps then they can walk one day in my shoes.  Period. And you could adapt the same attitude- they don't know your situation.

 

 


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#20 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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and thats exactly what i need to do.  its one of those things that I know but is hard.  also seeing both sides and how people treat and judge other people just makes me so indignant about everything.  Seeing how people(caseworkers, doctors) talk down to my mom just pisses me off so much.  its just made me more acutely aware of people's perceptions.

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#21 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 05:23 PM
 
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Yes- it has been an eye opening experience for my family.  What do you mean by both sides?


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#22 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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oh just being poor and being used to being treated a certain way and then not being poor and being treated "better?" and then with my mom dealing with caseworkers and stuff and i feel like im being talked down to sometimes or if im not my my mom is.  what was my normal isnt my normal anymore?  i dont know.  im sure there is an element of overthinking people's behavior as well.  and im sure if my mom was more educated and confident people would treat her differently.  but its funny how vulnerability and begging for healthcare ruins your confidence.  your whole life is in the hands of someone deciding if you "deserve" healthcare.  dont even get me started on that topic!

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#23 of 27 Old 01-03-2012, 05:51 PM
 
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Well ALL people should be treated with respect- regardless of education or confidence level or financial situation.


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#24 of 27 Old 01-04-2012, 11:02 AM
 
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Your support of your mother is generous and loving. Why don't you allow this source of income to help support her needs or the needs of the larger family. You can use it to free up your food dollars for childcare assistance or special foods for her diet or "upgrade" to the co-opp you'd like to support. Our local farmer's market accepts food stamps which is another way of helping to support the community. If you can't buy the food she needs with the funds, then buy the goods and donate them to the food pantry.

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#25 of 27 Old 01-04-2012, 02:21 PM
 
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Our local farmers market actively encourages the use of food stamps in lots of ways.  While I was pregnant a lady selling vegetables told me to apply for WIC (I never did due to a slightly different sort of guilt thing, though I certainly would have qualified) as there is additional government support for farmers whose goods are bought with food stamps. You might end up really helping out some local growers!


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#26 of 27 Old 01-08-2012, 01:30 PM
 
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Our family takes in foster children who are eligible for WIC benefits even though our family income is too high. (Foster children are considered a family of 1 with zero income.) Like you, I felt funny using the WIC benefits, especially because we intended on adopting the children and are about to do so. I'd never ask the government to pay for my bio children's food if I didn't need to. My husband and I realized that we're spending a LOT of extra money raising children who are wards of the state. There's transportation we wouldn't have had for our bio kids, tons of time spent on their special needs and paperwork, less time for me to spend on saving money in other ways now that I am so much busier raising these children.

 

The first couple times I used the WIC card, I made sure to work into the conversation that the items were for my foster child. How haughty of me! I'm now embarrassed at myself.

 

It is a little embarrassing when I buy something expensive at the same time as I use the WIC card. I wonder if I would have looked over at my cart and judged myself a few years ago if I didn't know the situation. I probably would have. But *I* know I am doing a good thing by taking care of these children and will use some extra help in doing so, just as you are helping your mother and using a little help in doing so.

 

When you look at it purely from a government policy point of view, the alternatives are much more expensive. Your mother doesn't get the care she needs in your home to manage her diabetes and her healthcare ends up costing the state much more. My foster children don't get the care they need and they repeat a cycle of illicit activities, costing the judicial system.


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#27 of 27 Old 01-08-2012, 06:50 PM
 
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How are you doing with it mama?  It takes time to adjust- it did for me and I still use the self check out a lot.


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