Food Stamp Nightmare

In September I had one of the dumbest conversations with a state worker ever.  I wanted to blog about it but things and other topics came up.  When you are on Food Stamps (FS) you have to complete an Interim Report after six months into the program.  When I looked at the application, there were some glaring contradictions and things that just didn’t make sense.

I called up the Head of the FS caseworkers.  I didn’t want to do anything wrong that would jeopardize my case.

“Excuse me”, I said, but when is this application due?  It says in ten days but ten days from what?  The date of the notification, the date you got it?”

“You should try to get your report in as soon as possible because we don’t have a lot of people looking at the cases.”  (Um, why is that my problem, and why doesn’t it say so?)

“Well then, there is a mistake in this paperwork, because in another place on the forms it says I should get it in on October 15th”. (Which was more than a month after saying earlier in the report that it was due in ten days.)

The woman started to get angry at me.  Did she write the form?  Proof-read it?  “Just get it done as soon as possible”.

“Okay well the other thing I am confused about is that the form says it wants our income from the month of September, but we are not even half way through September, so how could I know my income for this month?”

“Just do it for the month of August!”, she snapped.  How would I know this if I had never called???

So although my due date was on a Sunday, I went to Social Services and got it date stamped and put it into the Inter-office mail so they couldn’t say they got it too late.

October was the first month that we had ever run out of FS before our account gets filled on November 4th.  I kept going shopping every couple of days, and buying what was only necessary.  So right on November 4th I go shopping and ring up $128.00 of groceries.  I swipe my FS card.  “Your card is saying you have insufficient funds”, the cashier told me.  We tried it again, same thing.  The cashier was very nice.  “If you want we can put the food back for you and you can call and find out what the problem is and then come back for the food”.  So exhausted, I couldn’t picture shopping all over again so I put it on my credit card.  $128.00! This is a lot for someone who is slowly (quickly) maxing out her credit cards.

I went home mad and crying.  I call the number on the back of the card and she asks me to verify my birthday.  The birthday they had for me is WRONG so the woman said she couldn’t help me but gave me another number.  So I called someone else and this woman told me I have been turned down after filling out the six month report!  I was shocked, because if anything, we were in worse shape than six months ago!

By this time I was hysterical so Grant called the above mentioned FS worker caseworker head and she said that they were still looking at my interim report and there should be no problem.  But do they suspend your food stamps while they are reviewing your report?  If I had known this I never would have shopped for a weeks of groceries!

I couldn’t stop crying.  Not just for me, but what if someone who didn’t have any credit cards was turned down at the cash register.  How would she have fed her family?

So on Monday I am going to call back and ask if this is the normal protocol. I tried her all day Friday but all I got is voicemail and I wanted her live.  Do they suspend people’s food stamps during the investigation?  If so shouldn’t they tell you?

This really pushed my buttons and threw me into a deep depression.  We count on these food stamps. We do not have any extra money for food.  That is why we are on FS in the first place.

I guess hopefully by Monday I will have my sweet, calm professional voice back and find out just what the Hell is going on.  I am so tired of being treated like an idiot just because I am poor.  I did not lose my intelligence and right to ask questions just because I lost my money.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.

12 Responses to Food Stamp Nightmare

  1. Mrs. Tuna says:

    I see you are posting at 1 am, welcome to my sleepless nights. I hate paperwork, when you’re at your most emotional there always seems to be so much of it. Hopefully tomorrow will bring better news, I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.

    Thanks for the comment 🙂
    .-= Mrs. Tuna´s last blog ..The Princess and the Pea =-.

  2. Catherine says:

    ((huge hugs)) That’s horrible! I can’t believe they’d do that! Well, I can, the system over here is terrible too, they just take your money away and expect you to somehow be OK until they give it back. It’s like they don’t really believe you need it. What they should do is hire people who have actually been on FS before to do the jobs, then they might realise how important it is and get it done!

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this, you really don’t need it on top of everything else! Good luck and I hope you manage to get it sorted x
    .-= Catherine´s last blog ..I went out last night =-.

  3. jonda says:

    i am going threw this same thing rite now they send in the 6 month report i fill it out they send a paper back say its incomplete and if i dont have it in by the first they will close my case i take it down and drop it off on the first on the 8 i call my card 0.00 smh i call the office i get a lady who tells me my case is suspended because my report was late {even tho i droped it off on the date they told me o} somebody should be calling me to let me know when it will be turned back on in 48 hrs smh 48 hrs came and went nobody called so now i have to go down there and spend a whole day trying to figure out when they will cut it back on …after i already went 5 days with out them …they dont care…..

  4. Amanda says:

    I am in the same boat, just got an interim report, but it has only been 2 months since we last applied, so why am I getting an interim report now? I am so confused, and where I am at they are only opened until noon tuesday thru thursday and till 3 on mondays and fridays. I have 2 small children, which I stay home because I breastfeed my youngest, and she refuses a bottle. My husband works, but with our rent and all the utilities, it is barely enough to get by.

  5. Josh Weinstein says:

    Don’t let the idiots get you down! So many people think that everyone on food stamps is just too lazy to work. They think that stuff like accidents and sickness will never happen to them, that they could not possibly lose their jobs or otherwise find themselves in need. Until they do, that is.

  6. mamasick says:

    Thankfully Josh I am no longer on Food Stamps. Which also proves another point, that the majority of people need assistance for a brief time, not forever.

  7. Mary says:

    Look this happened to me if u did not get a letter for them to stop they have to give them call walfare rights

    • mamasick says:

      Thankfully, Mary, I am no longer on Food Stamps. If you are receiving them I hope they go more smoothly than they did for me!

  8. G.Marie says:

    I just got my food stamps reinstated after they suspended them because I forgot to complete the 6m report. My fault totally, but that was a month ago, and I just got a letter in the mail last week asking me to complete the 6m interim report. It hasn’t been 6 months yet, wth?! I’m so sick of needing this help. I wish I made enough money to feed us without all the hassle.

    • mamasick says:

      I found the food stamp process one of the most difficult programs to navigate ever. Every application I had to fill out I would cry, they just made it so hard. I am thankful I am no longer in need and I hope that happens for you soon too.

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