Way back, near the first of August, I received a letter, notifying me that I would have my DHS (Department of Health and Services) in other words, "welfare", re-determination, via a telephone call on Tuesday, Sept 5, between 8:00am and noon.
In the meantime, I had to gather all my "documents", i.e., proofs of income, assets and expenses--the ones that count for welfare. Rent, utilities, that sort of expense.
I had about 15 pieces of proofs that I mailed back on August 21st, a whole week before the due date.
On Sept. 5th, I got up at 7:30, just so I would be awake and alert by 8:00, when my case worker might call.
I didn't leave the house all day--not even to walk across the street to get my mail. I carried my phone with me when I had to go to the bathroom.
There was no call.
I stayed at home the next day, thinking maybe my case worker got overloaded on Tuesday and would call.
There was no call.
This past Friday, I got a notice in the mail that because I had "missed my re-determination interview," I would have to call and reschedule or I would lose my benefits.
I called my case worker right then and of course it went to her voice mail. I left my message and waited.
Monday morning, I decided to call again and leave another message. I was shocked when she actually answered the phone!!!
I explained that I didn't know how we had missed connecting on Tuesday, as I had stayed home and by the phone all day.
She said, "I didn't call. I didn't have your paperwork yet."
"Oh....I got a notice in the mail that I might lose my benefits because I had missed your call."
"That notice is automatically generated if I don't note, on your file that I have called you."
In other words, "you could care less than one shit that you struck panic and fear in the heart of an old woman?"
NO! I didn't say that.
"We can do your interview right now," she said.
All she did was ask me questions that were on my proofs. Like, "Is your income still Social Security?" "Is your rent still.....?" She had the signed proof from the park office as to how much rent I pay, right in front of her. Did she think it had changed in two weeks? Perhaps.
Our interview took exactly 7 minutes. "You'll get a notice in the mail on whether you will still receive the benefits."
So--"why don't you take those benefits and just shove them in a file where the sun don't shine."
NO! I did not say that. I said, "Thank you so much."
Sure is a heck of a lot of time and stress just to get $23.00 in food assistance and I know darn well, my food assistance will drop to $15.00--I just know it.
But, I have to play this game because DHS also pays my $104.00 a month Medicare, so it doesn't come out of my Social Security.
I get 900.00 a month for Social Security, so if they took that 104.00 away-----I don't know what I'd do. My budget is always in the red with the help.
I remember the day when I'd walk into the grocery store and buy all our family needed, write a check and think nothing of it.
I remember, growing up with nary a worry about money.
I remember the days when I sponsored a child in Mexico for $50.00 a month and sent extra clothes and things twice a year, and never gave it a thought.
I remember when I could tithe 10% of my income to my church, and never gave it a thought.
Golf memberships, bowling leagues, new cars every 3 years, college tuition for the kids. No hardships, financially, at all.
I can remember, looking down my nose, at people on welfare. The woman I saw in the grocery check-out lane with a passel of kids, whipping out her food stamps and tearing off whatever amount was needed. I was sure she was trash!
Then the divorce. Having to give up his nice GM pension and free insurance. Five years later, having to give up my house. Having to go to work for $5.00 an hour.
Ya know--that was 32 years ago. I have lived in poverty more than I lived in comfort--and I still can't get used to the fact. I am embarrassed by it all!
My grand parents, my family--we used to be the ones to help others and now...I've got my hand out? It has destroyed my pride--which, in the long run, according to the Bible, is a good thing.
I heard a rumor last week that President Trump wants to raise all poverty stricken seniors Social Security to $1,300.00 a month. I doubt that will happen, it seems to me that the Democrats would like that, they like social programs. Just think! $1,300.00? Man, I would be living in high cotton!
So thankful I don't live in a hurricane/flood/wild fire/earthquake zone!!
I await my re-determination results.