Since all 3 of those categories happen to apply to us right now

I thought I’d change the subject line (was: fast food wages) and throw my thoughts in there too.

One of the problems in the past we have had since DH was discharged was being able to afford things, primarily medical insurance. Of course, right now, I’d be happy for work which pays our minimum monthlies (4 walls and bills) and try and figure out later about medical. But I digress.

While it may vary slightly from state to state, in California $50,000 is the cut off for every benefit or social program. No Medical, No food stamps, No TANF, No college tuition assistance. Since those are dropped, we would automatically be disqualified from reduced utility rates.

$50,000 would cover our 4 walls & minimums. It would not cover gas to get to and from work, it would not cover medical insurance, it would not cover food. It would not cover the spike in utilities.

Our rent, as an example, is $1900, and that’s cheap. Utilities are currently hovering in the $200 range, they would jump to at least $400 at full rate. Medical insurance would run at least $500 (last time pre-Ocare that I looked) but is more likely now to be closer to $1,000. Plus $500 a month for gas.

So when/if DH goes back to work, if he makes at least $50k, we have to have a plan to bring in an additional $1,700 a month on top just for survival.

That’s just reality. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do it, I’m just saying we better have a plan. Oh yeah, plus all the forestalls from the IRS would go away immediately too.

In MY perfect world, given how Ocare was supposed to be “helping the poor and needy,” if you became gainfully employed again, you would stay on state medical until you were able to financially cover medical yourself, but not longer than a year.

In California, you can go to Junior colleges for FREE if you are (a) a vet (b) a child of a vet (I think there might be a sliding scale), (c) are on any of the social benefit programs, (d) have low enough income, (e) are illegally in the United States under the Dream Act. These are called Board Of Governor’s Waivers. It is how DS18 and DD16 are paying for college this year. DD16 is getting her license to become an interpreter for the Deaf. It’s not a huge savings for the two of them, but it’s $3000 I don’t have this year, for sure.

You can also go to JC part time (6 units or 2 classes) for free if you are (f) an enrolled high school student. DD16 did this for 2 years.

Our JC systems are set up as Vo-Techs in additional to being a gateway to a 4 year university. So at a minimum, a person in any of the 5 pre-mentioned categories you could do a 2 year program to become a licensed cosmetologist, auto mechanic, etc etc, for free, and better your life as a result.

On the other hand, IF DH were to do that, guess what? Our unemployment stops IMMEDIATELY. (This goes to hand up vs. hand out.) So we can be on sitting on our butts for 2 years doing nothing, and be able to pay rent. Or we can look at reality, go to school in the same 2 years to better our opportunities, and GET COMPLETELY CUT OFF from money that WE PAID INTO for 20 years of working.

THAT is how screwed up our government in. IMO, they don’t really want to give people a hand up, they want to create a mentality that ingrains you HAVE to be dependent on the government in order to survive.

When we first applied for EBT (food stamps) DH’s unemployment handed kicked in yet, so we qualified for the maximum, $793. When it kicked in, (a whopping $1800 a month which doesn’t cover our rent), it dropped to about half, $390. We reported the income, but it took 6 weeks for our case “worker” to note it. By that time, according to their math, they had “overpaid” us for 1 month by $390. Our choices were (according to them) even though it was THEIR fault, to (1) pay it back all at once, (2) pay it back in installments, (3) be dropped from EBT. We chose (2).

So now our EBT is $380 a month. I’m grateful for it. But it is completely ridiculous to think that a family of 5 could feed itself, even cooking from scratch, on $380 a month. And that doesn’t include toilet paper, shampoo, stuff like that.

I digress. EBT managed to figure out “we owed them” for THEIR error. Exactly why are they unwilling to do the same for the WalMart fiasco? To answer Eldred’s question, every time I buy something on EBT, it prints out at the bottom how much I have left, like a gift card does. I’m sure people bought their normal amount of stuff, saw the balance didn’t go down, and then went back in for more.

Still, EBT DOES have a way to get that $ back. It and Walmart may choose not to, but that’s a different decision than not being able to.