Monday, December 8, 2008

Gripes of a single mom/student on welfare

Right now I'm supposed to be at work. However, my daughter has a bad stomach flue and has been puking since yesterday. I have a very sensitive gag reflex and aversion to vomit so at one point we were puking in harmony. So I'm home even though I could really use the money. That is because 1 week after I finally get GAIN to approve me going to CSUN I get a letter from CALWORKS saying that they closed my case because I never sent them my QR7. It's a bogus piece of paperwork they use to monitor recipients and I mailed it to them weeks ago. The budget cuts caused my local office to close and merge with the larger DPSS office on Pico and Sepulveda (remember that song from "The Forbidden Zone"?) I have an odd feeling that may be the reason they don't have my paperwork. I've been calling all kinds of DPSS numbers for a week and no one is picking up.

How I found out that my case was closed is that my $580 that I get every month didn't come. Needless to say, Consumer-mas is coming and my bank account is $300 overdrawn. I actually have nightmares about the overdraft notices coming into my account. This year my gift to everyone is to please not buy me a gift. I won't be buying you one.

Another thing I found out is that all of the Cash Aid that I've been getting has been charged to my x-husband as child support. That means that the $13000 that he owes me in child support will now go to the state and I won't see a penny of it. So, to me, it's not really welfare, it's my child support money being advanced to me. So that means I am being forced to work (GAIN is a 32 hour compulsory work program)for my child support?

The way welfare works is that you get 5 years of cash aid for your whole life. I believe that 1 year is exempt from GAIN but after that you have to perform a minimum of 32 hours of "approved activity". They promote minimum wage jobs with little benefits. These jobs may suffice during the 5 years with the help of CALWORKS because child care is paid for, you get food stamps and free health care. However, after the 5 years are up, if your still stuck at that low wage job, you will not receive any help. I believe that this 5 year limit is the main cause that women and children are the #1 rising population of homeless people. While it's the mothers that get the stigma and the blame, these huge corporations, like WALMART, that refuse to pay a living wage or provide benefits to their employees, go unnoticed. They continue to increase their profit margins at the expense of taxpayers who must make up for the damage that is caused by their refusal to pay a wage that people can actually live on.

And GAIN does not promote going to school. Like I said before, it's the last week of the semester and I just got approved for going to school. That means, before now, The hours I spent in college did not count towards my GAIN approved activities. It counted for zero of the 32 mandatory hours per week. It's very important to know that if one is not already registered in college before participating in GAIN, then it is very hard to get approved to go to school. I had to take an 8 hour vocational assessment, and only was approved because "social worker" was one of the jobs that I was able to choose for "vocational education". Some of the other positions that I scored on was "singing messenger" and "food server". Besides sex work, or relying on a partner's financial support, a university education is the only way I can think of to have a chance at the ability to provide for my family. Why wouldn't the Department of Social Services realize that and promote education above minimum wage jobs? Why do they make it extremely hard to get an education while receiving public aid? Why am I society's pariah and not the rich corporate CEO's that enjoy luxury and get hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer's money? I really don't have the answers, I just jump through the hoops.

Bush's solution to the feminization of poverty, that is, the poorest of the poor being women and their children, is marriage. I really hope that this next administration will actively create policy to help mothers in the society given responsibility of raising the future of humanity. The farming industry gets subsidies from the government and they're just raising our food. That is essentially putting corn and cows above human beings. They do this and point a finger at me, Latinos, African Americans and undocumented immigrants as the cause of society's ills.


Ojibway Migisi Bineshii said...

The feminization of poverty is to maintain a violent, controlling and dominating pattern of life. With this pattern in our country women are not valued. Yet, a pro-lifer would yell at an pro-choicer who knows that she cannot or does not want to take care of this child. The devaluing of women is apparent in our everyday culture everywhere you go. I am for change and of valuing the Goddess! Men do not value themselves because if they did they would value women and have programs that actually help women.

GAIN sounds like a bad program that gives you scraps to utilize.

Corporations treat people as "human capital." It is just like a plantation. Things are still very much the same, although they appear to be much different.

In my case Bush's policy about getting married would never work for me. I never ever want to get married because I don't trust it as an institution. If you believe in past lives I feel that in my soul I have had enough confining lifetimes of marriage. This lifetime I am free of all of that.

By the way, I like how you call this holiday season Consumer-mas! ;)

I will keep positive vibes going for you so that you can rise above this!

Sloth Womyn said...

Thank you for your very astute observations! Yes, women and mothers are completely devalued! as any anti-choice advocate will tell you, a zygote has more value than a woman.

As for marriage, it's what got me into this mess in the first place.

Thank you for your consistent support through my emotional ping-ponging!

Ojibway Migisi Bineshii said...

You are welcome! I love it - "emotional ping-ponging."

dollyspeaks said...

OMG... and with the economic recession, I'm sure your struggles have not lightened in the least. Going to school, taking care of a child, and trying to take care of a child all under a system of government that doesn't seem to give a shit about you... I can't even begin to imagine how it feels. But I totally support you and I hope desperately that you get the money you need.

I don't understand this need to "re-institutionalize" and "revitalize" marriage. It seems so retrogressive to me. And yet even the people who want to get married (homosexuals) are forbidden because they're not good enough for it or something. It pisses me off big time.

You're in my thoughts. I'm really hoping things work out for you.

Anonymous said...

this, "'s not really welfare, it's my child support money being advanced to me. So that means I am being forced to work (GAIN is a 32 hour compulsory work program)for my child support?"
is CRIMINAL! and confirms my mothers belief that govt. is synonymous with mafia. It screams of how de-valued human life and the raising and caring for human life, because it is still primarily "women's work" is.
Also reminds me of Michael Moore when he went after the "welfare to work" concept in Bowling for Columbine. So many of us know how unjust this is- writing and speaking of value, and frankly what should be common sense in this country is one small step.

Thank goodness you're in school and will likely come out of this and into more comfort.

I had the option to go on disablity (couldn't breath consistently enough for school or work) go on welfare or strip.
I'm glad I chose to strip.
I bought a camera, computers, programs and when I couldn't breathe, I taught myself to be an editor, photoshop expert and film maker.

My ex- owes 15 years of child support. I don't think we'll ever see it.


i_muse said...

Have you thought of posting this on Feministing? It would be a great addition to the community page there.

So few know what's really going on with "Social Services" and "GAIN"

Sloth Womyn said...

Thank you, for your comments, T. It's true, very few people know what the actual deal is with welfare. I probably would have kept stripping if I didn't get so fat after giving birth. But then I couldn't learn what I was supposed to learn about welfare and such. I think that part of the reason for my weight gain was to force me into a situation where I would learn something new.

I haven't posted anything on feministing yet. However, a cleaned up version of this post will be published in the CSUN women's studies newsletter.

hara said...

WHile you're at it, send it to Barbara Boxer, Feinstein and Obama

seriously, it represents.

Yes, it's a good thing you are where you are and as you are.

cpml007 said...

This is informative inciteful and very well written, why clean it up?