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The Stigma Associated with Public Assistance

Posted by on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:01 AM
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1 mom liked this
In the state of NH public assistance has a time frame. FANF (Financial Assistance for Needy Families) is a 5 year lifetime limit. Say you have a child in 2005, you go on FANF, then have another child in 2009, you still have only one year left. If you have another child in 2010, you can not get FANF. Another requirement is that you must be attending a work readyness program or working at least 20 hours a week, verified by you providing weekly pay stubs. SNAP (food stamps) does not have a time limit for mothers, but for a single person you can only get food stamps for 3 months every 15 months. But there is a very strict income guideline. You have to recertify every 6 months, proving you still need assistance.

Now, for a disabled family, you can get FAP cash benefits, which is the same as FANF but with no time limit. You can only receive that if your income (for a family of 5) is under $700 a month. The disabled person can receive APTD (aide to the permanently and totally disabled) which is $18/month. Then the kids get Healthy Kids Gold insurance and the disabled adult gets Medicaid, on top of the Medicare they get from SSDI. If you get SSI, you don't get Medicare or APTD. You get food stamps also, which for a family of five with an income of $729/month is $600/month.

What is the difference between SSI and SSDI? SSI is supplemental security income, you never have had to work to receive it, you may not work while getting it. It's pretty much FANF for adults, but with no time limits.
SSDI is social security disability income. You have had to have worked at least 40 quarters and paid in to social security to receive it. You can work while on it, making up to $999/month without losing any of your SSDI money. You go through quite a bit of testing to be qualified for it because they want to truly make sure you are 100% disabled.

Public Housing: well, your rent is 30% of your gross income, with deductions for trash bags (in my city we have to buy city bags and use only those). To get in they do a complete background check, finger printing you and everything. You are only allowed to have one vehicle here, must have a housing authority parking permit sticker on it. If you don't have a driveway (only two apartments do), you can park on the street or in the public parking lot in the center. They don't really monitor it though, only making sure the cars in the driveways have parking permit stickers.

Your tax dollars: In 2012, the average American taxpayer making $50,000 per year paid just $36 towards the food stamps program.That's just ten cents a day! That's less than the cost of a gumball. They cut the budget for food stamps so you are actually paying less now.

I am a 100% disable mom of 3. I became disabled in March of 2010. I see a therapist, a psychiatrist and a functional support therapist each week. I will always be disabled. That will never change. My boyfriend, who is not my children's father, lives with us. Legally. He is on my lease. He had an amazing factory job, but was temporarily laid off. He walks to Labor Ready EVERY singly morning hoping to be sent out. He goes back to work full time on 3/18. We have a plan, we have goals. He is going to get his CDL this fall and get a job driving trucks. By the end of 2015 we plan to be out of public housing, get a home loan, and have our own home. We (me and the kids only, he's currently uninsured) will still receive state insurance and I will still be disabled and getting SSDI. Change doesn't happen overnight. You have to work at it. And my boyfriend wants to make sure that we have all that. We report everything. I'm honest. I don't want to get more assistance than I need. I don't want to be on food stamps and in public housing forever. But I know that the best things take time to achieve. I'll get there someday.

So, with that all said, why is it looked down on so? Why do people think that if you receive any assistance you should dress in potato sacks, have unkempt hair, not have nice nails and picture perfect make up, you can't have a nice cell phone, a car (a used side of the road bought car at that!) or anything.

Now, I know the system is flawed and people are able to get more than they need, but for the honest people, why shame them and make them feel like the lowest form of citizen? Is getting a little help that bad?

I know this conversation will spark controversy, and potentially bring out the worse in some people. Please remember that we are all adults, capable of a civil and adult conversation. Free of drama. Thank you :)
by on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:01 AM
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Replies (1-10):
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:05 AM
3 moms liked this
It really needs to be looked down on for the sake of society. People cannot keep depending on our broke government.
nurse1997
by Silver Member on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:08 AM
1 mom liked this

I think this is great and I hope every state adopts this new policy !

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:12 AM
2 moms liked this

Its public assistance week on the Cafe, lol.  So many posts.  With a record number of people on it this is why it is so much in the forefront of things.  Not enough working to pay for those on it.  It needs a total overhaul.  Too many get it who are frauds and abuse the system. 

KJST1982
by on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM
It's been like this in NH for over 10 years. Unfortunately every state has different laws governing there public assistance program and different income guidelines.

Quoting nurse1997:

I think this is great and I hope every state adopts this new policy !

KJST1982
by on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM
What do you suggest changes? :)

Quoting Anonymous:

Its public assistance week on the Cafe, lol.  So many posts.  With a record number of people on it this is why it is so much in the forefront of things.  Not enough working to pay for those on it.  It needs a total overhaul.  Too many get it who are frauds and abuse the system. 

ingrid198
by on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM
4 moms liked this

 NH state guidelines sound great, unfortunatly they don't seem in place in some other states. In MA for instance, there isn't much incentive to get off state assistance, they pay out differently, people could get tattoos etc. Above all its frustrating to be struggling working and raising a family and see people buying cigarettes and booze with their cards and they have 5 kids ages 6 and under in their cadillac escalade.. yes ive seen this im not being a snooty snob with her nose stuck up, ive seen in in NY and MA. i needed medical assistance while pregant with my son and it was horrendous the people whould show up in flashy 40,000 cars toting 3, 4 kids along with them, pregnant again looking for more hand outs. I know its not the whole, you cant generalize for everything, but first hand looks at some states and i do wish guidelines were different. there should have to be pay stubs, drug testing and time limitations or its a merry go round. I dont look down on it i merely don't agree with how its taken advantage of and unfortunatly its never going to be 100% innocent, people will want to sit on their ass, collect and play the little violin " i was dealt a bad hand"  scenerio and for those who really are, its a great service to get back on your feet but sadly a lot of people merely dont try! Again though, it sounds like your state has things in line, other states shoud follow suit. Our American dream went from hard work for growth and prosperity to what can i get away with and how do i reap the rewards without doing the work... our society had shifted a lot, not everyone..but too many

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:17 AM
1 mom liked this

Tighter restrictions.  Better checking on people.  Limiting the number of years on any form of assistance.  At least Clinton did something.  He put in place if you have another child you get no more money but I think that went by the wayside after a while with Obama and his generous giving because he wanted votes.  WIC is too easy to get also.  Should have tighter restrictions and it should not be for 5 years.  If you don't have to work for it, you don't appreciate it. 

Also if you are on public assistance and working, you should get no tax refund at all.  Zero. 

Quoting KJST1982: What do you suggest changes? :)
Quoting Anonymous:

Its public assistance week on the Cafe, lol.  So many posts.  With a record number of people on it this is why it is so much in the forefront of things.  Not enough working to pay for those on it.  It needs a total overhaul.  Too many get it who are frauds and abuse the system. 


Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:18 AM
2 moms liked this
If you have a child in 2005, get on FANF, then have another child in 2009, you need your ass kicked.

Period.
atlmom2
by Susie on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:18 AM
2 moms liked this

My friend works next to a food bank. She said 75 to 80% or more waiting outside are smoking.  What a waste of money that could be used for food.  Maybe they wouldn't need assistance if they were not wasting money on cigarettes.  That pisses me off beyond pissed off. 

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 12, 2014 at 11:20 AM
3 moms liked this

Drug testing.  You test positive you have one chance.  If it is positive again you get no more help again.  

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