Parents FORCED to get children immunized to receive TANF (welfare) - Mothering Forums

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Old 01-08-2005, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My best friend was just forced to get her child immunized against her wishes in order to receive the TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) check from the government. You have to sign an agreement that you will have your child immunized on "schedule" in order to receive assistance. They told her if she wished to no-vax or even delay vax that she would no longer be eligible to receive benefits.

She is a single mom who is barely making it and depends on assistance while she gets through school- I think it is ridiculous that she is forced into parenting decisions in order to receive assistance- they really put people in a corner "either get your kids vaxed or you don't get your check"- I don't know anyone who would say "well fine we'll just starve."

Just because parents are in financially hard times doesn't mean they should be forced into vaxing!

What can be done about this???

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Old 01-08-2005, 08:52 PM
 
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ime, its a bunch of bullcrap scare tactics. they tried to do that to me in FL. i refused, they argued, the CW had to check w/her supervisor, but in the end they took the app w/no problem. i was denied b/c my rent was not high enough to make the math work for me, but not b/c of no vax. ppl who are afraid, or who don't know all the facts and how to defend themselves sometimes give in. no offense to your friend, but is she the type to really stand up for herself, or is she more timid?

Bring back the old MDC
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Old 01-08-2005, 09:05 PM
 
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This issue has come up on the forum frequently. Moms have asked about Welfare and WIC. Here is a link to past threads:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...hlight=welfare

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...hlight=welfare
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Old 01-10-2005, 08:57 AM
 
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That is so angering. It is her right as a mother not to vaccinate. I would fight it like all get out and not do it.

Desiree

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Old 01-10-2005, 03:41 PM
 
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as I understand it it is NOT a requirement to have your vaccinations up to date or even have them at all to get TANF. Medicaid is a federally funded program. I review these regs everyday. There is nothing in the regs, on a federal level, that demands vaccinations in order to get the benefit. States have the right to implement some of these federal dollars there own way with seperate regs. However, I really don't think they can demand vaccinations be done. They probably ask if children are up to date, have rec'd them, etc so that they can report the stats to the dept. of health. As with any federally funded program she can request a fair hearing in front of a hearing officer and fight this. What state is she in? If you want to discuss this further let me know. I may be able to pull your states medicaid regs and requirements from the web so she can fight this.
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Old 01-10-2005, 03:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She is kind of timid- but she showed me the papers she had to sign and one of the requirements was "your child(ren) must be up to date on all vaccinations unless there is a good reason not too (a good reason is defined as a medical condition that warrants delayed vaccinations)"

I know she receives food stamps and medicaid but has been told that unless she vaccinates on schedule she can't get TANF (welfare).

I feel like she is being trampled on but it seems that in GA it is a requirement to have vaxs to get TANF.

Does anyone else know about GA policies? We are a pretty backward state...

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Old 01-10-2005, 03:54 PM
 
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I'll do some research on it for you. I'll see what I can find out. I still don'tthink that they can do that. Has she appealed? She may be able to appeal that, with continued benefits.
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Old 01-10-2005, 04:03 PM
 
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The only reason they have to be vaxed here is if you get daycare help and even then you can file an exemption. Both my kids get Medicaid and even they don't have a problem w/ it, they also get WIC, and our food stamps are about to run out b/c my DH got a new job. I would almost bet it's a scare thing b/c most people would just give in and say o.k. w/out trying to fight it.

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AJ (5/03), Evan (12/04), Ilana (11/06), Olivia (2/09), and Unity (8/2012)

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Old 01-10-2005, 04:04 PM
 
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not sure if you have access to the internet of if your friend does but you may want to check this stuff out. Research the Code of Federal Regulations that governs tanf welfare statutes. The code should be listed in orange below.



Department of Human Resources
Online Directives Information System
Index: POL3390
Effective: 3/17/02
Review: 3/1/04
Page 1 of 2

SUBJECT:Provision of Temporary Cash Assistance to Needy Families

POLICY

The policy of the Department of Human Resources is to provide temporary assistance to needy families to ensure that children may be cared for in their own homes, to assist needy parents to end their dependence on government benefits, to prevent and reduce the incidence of out-of-wedlock pregnancies, and to encourage the formation and maintenance of two-parent families.

A. Authority
Public Law 104-193
Public Law 105-33
O.C.G.A. §§ 49-4-180
DHR Rules, Chapter 290-2-28

B. References
Title IV-A of the Social Security Act
Code of Federal Regulations 45 CFR Parts 260 through 265
C. Applicability
All county Division of Family and Children Services offices in Georgia are subject to the authority and references specified above.

D. Definitions
A needy family is a family whose income and resources fall within standards established by the state.
Temporary assistance refers to the time-limited nature of cash benefits.

E. Responsibilities
1. The Director of the Economic Support Services Section of the Division of Family and Children Services is responsible for developing, issuing and updating the Economic Support Services Program Manual. The Program Manual is indexed as MAN3390.

2. The Director of the Economic Support Services Section of the Division of Family and Children Services is responsible for ensuring that the SUCCESS (System for the Uniform Calculation and Consolidation of Economic Support Services) computer system is a federally certified statewide system that supports and maintains the economic support function.

F. History
None



G. Evaluation
The outcomes of this directive are evaluated by the Evaluation and Reporting Section of the Division of Family and Children Services. The Evaluation and Reporting Section’s Economic Support unit conducts planned, intensive, annual reviews of county offices to determine if they are in compliance with federally-mandated standards for accuracy and timeliness. Failure to meet the standards may result in loss of federal funding.

H.Authentication



__________Jim Martin_______________________________3/17/2002_____________
Commissioner Date
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Old 01-10-2005, 04:09 PM
 
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[QUOTE=LoveChild421one of the requirements was "your child(ren) must be up to date on all vaccinations unless there is a good reason not too (a good reason is defined as a medical condition that warrants delayed vaccinations)"

I think a "good reason not to" could be a religious exemption. This needs further research. Thanks Vermonter for doing some legwork for this family

Cristi
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Old 01-10-2005, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks you guys! I will definately do some research for her- now I have a place to start! I thought there would be a way to file a religious exemption or something. I will tell her to call and ask for a hearing at the very least. Her daughter isn't in daycare at all so she should be ok on that part. She said they told her that to get WIC, food stamps, or Medicaid she doesn't have to vax but to get TANF she does have to. There has to be a way around it- the government can't "make" you vax even if you receive government aid- just like they can't "make" you get on birth control because you're on welfare (TANF). It has to be a scare tactic. I think they justify it by saying "well low income kids are the least likely to have up-to-date vax's so we are doing them a service by making their parents be "responsible""

I hope I can find a way to help her! You guys have helped a lot! Anything you find out would be much appreciated!

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Old 01-10-2005, 05:28 PM
 
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well, found some more information in the regs. Unfortunately, believe it or not there is a stipulation in the regs for immunizations. I've copied what I can find. I'll check the federal regs to see what they report. Federal regs may supercede the state. here are what the regs from Georgia say:

(A) There is appropriate evidence from the local health
department or a physician that an immunization sequence has been
started and can be completed within a period of up to 180 days,
in which case a waiver of the immunization requirement for up to
180 days shall be granted;

(B) After examination by the local board of health or a
physician, any preschool age child is found to have a physical
disability which may make vaccination undesirable, in which case
a certificate to that effect issued by the local board of health
or the physician may be accepted in lieu of a certificate of
immunization and shall exempt the child from obtaining a
certificate of immunization until the disability is relieved;

(C) The parent or legal guardian furnishes an affidavit swearing
or affirming that the immunization conflicts with the religious
beliefs of the parent or legal guardian; or

(D) The implementation of such an immunization requirement
violates any federal law or regulations or would result in the
loss of any federal funds to this state; and


Also, remember in some states religion can mean "the church of jen". So, find out what qualifies "religious".
Any Georgia moms out there use a religious exemption?

Jen
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Old 01-10-2005, 06:06 PM
 
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We have freedom of religion in this country. That means you have the freedom to say "vaccination is against my religious beliefs" and you do not have to elaborate--it is actually a violation of your religious freedom to be questioned about what specifically your religious beliefs or affiliation are.

This page has good information about writing up your own religious exemption in Georgia:

http://www.vaclib.org/exempt/georgia.htm
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Old 01-10-2005, 06:22 PM
 
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If she want to avoid immunizations she will probably have to use a religious exemption. There are site out there that define whether it is simply an statement or church membership requirement by state. IF the state as a philisophical exemption that would be best.
When we went on WIC they wanted to do blood work and I told them it was against my religious convictions and they said no more asked for nothing. I was suppose to sign something, but they never came back to have me sign anything. I was never asked for the boys vax records either.
I can't imagine that it is constitutional to force vaxes on this family. I hope she hasn't done so yet. She is lucky to have a friend to help her and maybe you could go with her to be her voice if she is timid in nature.
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Old 01-10-2005, 06:39 PM
 
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I agree that things shouldn't be that way but most people, government agencies, etc regard vaxes as risk free and necessary to keep children healthy.

If you want to change things then you need to let as many people know as you can how dangerous they can be and how effective they are not.

And on another note I'm guessing they don't force moms into breastfeeding but let them buy formula if they choose to go that feeding route.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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Old 01-13-2005, 08:00 PM
 
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I looked into this recently and if you have an exemption (the same one that works for public school or daycare) they can not turn you down. They were supposedly trying to stop parents from not vaccinating out of laziness or because they thought they could save money that way. They absolutely cannot deny you assistance for not vaccinating if you have a state exemption. Here in Tx it is really easy to get the exemptions too. I think they did it to try to pressure parents who were afraid to fight them and afraid of losing their benefits. It is hard to be an advocate for yourself and your kids when you are afraid that you might starve to death if you try.
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Old 01-13-2005, 11:40 PM
 
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Blah. I am guessing, from reading the other posts, that there has to be an exemption. She could always use the line my dad suggested to me....

"If you are forcing me to vaccinate my child against my expressed wishes and he has any reaction to it I will be forced to sue not only the state of Michigan but you personally. So go ahead, I would love to have a couple million handed to me."



I have not used this line yet, as DS's doctor has agreed with me so far. At his first WIC appointment I was asked about vaccines and I just said "His doctor and I are working on it" and they dropped it. I've never been questioned about it by Medicaid (thanking my lucky stars). I am so afraid I'm going to get a letter in the mail some day telling me to get his vaccines done or he's getting cut off Medicaid (he currently does not have the MMR or chicken pox because he is allergic to ingredients in both, along with other reasons).

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 01-14-2005, 12:31 AM
 
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There was a recent court ruling re' this (forgive me if it was already mentioned; I just scanned). It dealt with, actually, restrictions on alcohol use as a requirement for welfare funds, and found that the feds/state had NO right to deny benefits based on such a thing. It is widely interpreted to cover vaccination choice as well.

I am currently on food stamps and my children are on Medicaid. (only used it for dental so far, since my kids are healthy and I hesitate to deal with the inevitable confrontation involved with taking unvaxed kids to a Medicaid check-up. However, the info I received states that I have the right to refuse any treatment. I intend to take that with me to any appointments.

I did not apply for the TANF (Temp. Aid to Needy Families), but I noticed that page included questions regarding drug use/convictions as a condition of benefits. (which was, if I am not mistaken, what the court ruling dealt with)

Now, one of the things listed as something I had to bring/show proof of at my interview for FS was "proof of immunizations". I fretted a bit when I saw that, but decided to just take everything else and explain, when asked, that we did not vax. (and that my kids were not in daycare/school anyway, so the law did not, as written, apply to them anyway)

But you know what? They never asked. Asked me for EVERYTHING else but never the vax records. I am up for renewal right now, so it may be that they ask this time, but if so, I will deal with it.
I have a legal exemption in hand, (Mine are now on a conscientious ex. here in TX)
and if it comes to it, I will do without the $$$ for food rather than vax my children.

I have since heard that they CANNOT deny benefits because of this (I am pretty sure of this, though they will not tell you this, and will in fact tell you the opposite)

And if the state has a legal exemption which the parent claims, NO WAY can they deny benefits! No more than the public schools can.

This sort of thing is RIDICULOUS! The poor and those in temp. need of assistance have the SAME rights as everyone else! I hope your friend is able to defend hers.

Lilith
mom to John, 12
Sage, 5
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Old 01-14-2005, 11:56 AM
 
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OT big time, but StephandOwen: Will your dad adopt me? My family thinks I'm NUTS for not vaxxing!!!!!

Cristi
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Old 01-15-2005, 02:26 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stayathomecristi
OT big time, but StephandOwen: Will your dad adopt me? My family thinks I'm NUTS for not vaxxing!!!!!

Cristi

LOL! He's definately not anti-vaccine.... but I'm working on him All 5 of his kids are vaccinated (oldest is 24, youngest is 8). He doesn't see the point of the chicken pox vaccine and doesn't understand why anyone would get it. The flu one he was actually considering, but that was actually sweet of him because he knew my DS couldn't get it (allergic to an ingredient) so dad's doctor told him he (dad) could get it and it would help keep my DS from getting sick. After he and I talked about it he ended up not getting it. He is very supportive of me not getting a few vaccines for now that DS is allergic to some of the ingredients (I used the scare tactic on that one and started telling him stories of children having allergic reactions to them ).

On the flip side my mom and I got into a small disagreement about it, where she made me feel like a moron for not getting DS 5 vaccines in one day- 3 of which he was allergic to ingredients Yeah, try and tell me he's not going to have a reaction to any of those Mom and dad are divorced and her youngest is 2 and fully vac'd (with the exception of the flu, I don't believe she got that). We have a friendly contest going here. Her DD got the chicken pox shot and she insists it is 100% effective and her DD won't get the chicken pox. My DS didn't get that shot and won't get that shot. I am hoping he gets the chicken pox before he starts school. We shall see if her DD's shot was "100% effective" if she ends up getting the chicken pox from my DS.

Steph, DH Jason (1-1-11), DS Owen (10-3-03) and DS Kai (10-13-11)

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Old 01-16-2005, 10:16 AM
 
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My daughter isn't vaxed,we got the food stamps,but not the cash assistance.I think it's a load of crap,but I'm not vaxing her just because the government wants me to,so I borrowed money from family instead.
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Old 01-18-2005, 10:26 PM
 
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I have been getting food assitance for awhile with no questions asked. However, the issue has come up because I have asked for temporary assistance with childcare. I am required to provide proof of current immunizations. I explained that I am delaying vaxes until she is two years of age and that my pediatrician is in agreement with me. If I could sign a waiver for WIC and okay it with her ped, I should be able to get through this as well. But we'll see. The woman I spoke with seemed unsure. If I have to claim religion as my reason, I suppose I will if I have to. They don't seem flexible when presented with the health risks and such.

OT, the same kind of inflexibility was presented when I was doing daycare for people on state assistance. Thje state inspector and I were butting heads on cleaning products. They insisted I use water and bleach to sanitize everything, including children's toys. I presented them with the facts about the harmful toxins in their required cleaning agents, but they were inflexible. Policies are policies.

"The best things in life aren't things."

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Old 01-22-2005, 10:02 PM
 
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I was on tanf/food stamps and they told me i couldnt' have it because my son has only had 2 or so vaccinations and I won't get the others. A year later now I have to be on it and we're in another city so i did all the application stuff and just didnt send the vax records and now they've cancelled it again.

My question is I think i probably signed something that said I would vaccinate unless i made up a really formidable looking exemption- does anyone know what that would entail in indiana? I was even considering just paying (as long as its a nominal fee) a layer to write the letter but i would rather not if i can avoid it.



*first post*
really glad to find some like minded people!
Melissa
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Old 02-01-2005, 02:08 PM
 
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I just received a call last week from the Welfare department calling me in regards to my son's vaccinations, and just got off the phone with the woman. Apparently she is updating her files for the health department and their internal files and asked what my DS had and has not have and if I intend to vax. She also asked if we were attending well baby checkups and I could answer yes, some - and lots of Urgent Care visits for my son's reaccurrent ear infections unfortunately. And I told her we have the Philosophical Exemption on file in the Welfare office. So it's not like he's not getting ppropriate medical care, FWIW. I kept my answers short and to the point and it was a civil conversation all told. I am still paranoid, though! I may call her back and request more information.

And yes, we were on TANF, food stamps, state health insurance and child care assistance at one point, though now we only have the insurance (and I'm trying to set alternatives up asap). I did see that note that says you have to keep your vax current, but we do have a philosophical exemption on file, signed by his pediatrician, who is aware of my choices (though not happy about it).

So I'm hoping we're covered! It's so scary dealing with them, though, absolutely!!!!

Oh, and we first signed on a YEAR AGO - and someone is just asking about all this NOW.... so if you are on Welfare, they could be asking about your child's vaccination status at a future date, FYI.
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Old 02-01-2005, 07:24 PM
 
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I was on TANF, Medicaid and Food stamps for 2 years and no one ever asked me about my sons' vaccination statuses. I do live in Washington and we do have all three exemptions available though.
Since I got my new job I only get medical and daycare now though.
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