Not all Poor are Deadbeats

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at

Let me be clear. I have worked full time. I paid my taxes. I had insurance through my employer. I quit at kid #2 because it didn’t pay to work. Lost insurance. Moved to a mold infested mobile home to save money. The mold made me sick. After my third kid and a move to a healthy, safe house that we rent, I finally, after 9 years with no health insurance, applied for state insurance.

Food stamps were part of the application. Fine, whatever. Hubby withholds money for me to buy food and complains when I ask for it.

We were approved.

I have a master’s degree and cannot find a job in my field in my town. My kids are in a great school, one that helped my son who has “issues” thrive. I am married but for practical purposes, I live as a single person, with little support from the bio-dad, financially and in other ways as well. If I separated or divorced, I would be in an even worse situation financially, (so spare me your advice).

It is humbling to buy my groceries with my little card. One cashier always looks at my receipt that gives my balance on my card. I avoid going to her register now. I may be on food stamps but I’m still a human being and deserve to be treated with dignity. I’m not in the store with my flesh hanging out inappropriately or in my pajamas.

Health insurance has allowed broken bones to be cared for as well a hernia repair and now some ongoing back issues. Before that, well, I avoided the doctor at all costs, and would prefer to not be in any doctor’s office.

I’ll be honest. I’m not happy to be on public assistance. And yes, I have a smartphone. My husband is self-employed and has to have one for his job at was literally $1 to add on this one and we share minutes.

I understand that there are deadbeats out there, trolling Walmart in their pajamas, abusing the system. Applying for disability perhaps so they can pay the rent and buy their cigarettes and alcohol (not allowed on food stamps by the way, and neither is toilet paper or feminine hygiene products).

I know a mom who had six kids and her food stamps never covered a full month of their needs. Child support rarely came through in full. Her kids sometimes went without breakfast.

See, some of us in difficult marriages, or divorced, are legitimately hurting and in need of help. I shouldn’t need it. My husband is smart enough to make a decent living but always comes short of his lofty goal. We have no savings. No debt either. We had to file bankruptcy 9 years ago and decided then to NOT get any credit cards.

Why am I telling you this? I’m not for Obama-care. I have seen how hard it is to break out of the entitlement mentality. I am entitled to nothing. Except dignity. I’m grateful for a roof over my head and a car to drive. Heat and food and healthy kids. That’s more than so many others have.  I don’t want to be where I am at. I find the process of renewing our benefits to be humiliating even though the workers have been kind. The process, however, has not.  I understand they have to do their job and the system has it’s flaws. Seriously I have spent weeks getting things straightened out that they have messed up. Having said that – if they wanted me to do a drug screening to qualify, I would gladly submit to that.

I am working but not getting paid — yet. In time I will and maybe, just maybe it will buy me the freedom to make it without the assistance.

I’ve lived without insurance before and will probably do so again if I have to. I don’t buy into socialism. I don’t like the government calling me and telling me what to do medically with my children (even against doctor’s orders?).

Just remember us when you post your rants on Facebook or twitter. I understand your anger and frustration. Why should your taxes go up to fund people like me? Maybe you would be willing to help someone like me in my difficult circumstances. I understand that the real issue is with the drug using deadbeats who abuse the system making it hard on those of us who desperately need it. Unfortunately, as self-employed people, we get hit hard on the taxes too.

Everyone has a story. Some may break your heart. Be careful in judging the person with the food stamps. Someday, it could be you.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Celena McDonnell
    Dec 15, 2013 @ 07:16:14

    So very true, thanks for writing this!


  2. Stephanie
    Jan 10, 2014 @ 23:34:25

    I never looked at anyone especially you – someone I admire and respect so much!
    as a deadbeat because they are on foodstamps or whatever. Whom am I to judge nor is anyone else! Thankfully our value in God’s eyes is not based on our financial standing. Susan – you are worth a lot!! A treasure! A true gift to mankind! I feel so blessed to know you!


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