Grandma Says..

Observations and views from a different set of eyes

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

on March 28, 2013

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Are you shocked?  Are you outraged?  Take a good look.  Your tax dollars went for a delicious surf and turf dinner.  Is that fair?  NO..it’s not.  Your response to the “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” would probably be that someone else was misusing the program designed to feed needy families.  Would you be right?  YES!

However, I see something else wrong with this picture that is making the rounds on Facebook.  I don’t see any posts or pictures of the families that don’t abuse the program.  Needy children who are being fed good, nutritious food purchased by parents who need a little help during these tough economic times.

I was a welfare mom back in the mid-seventies.  My soon to be ex-husband refused to support the three children we created together.  A divorce was in the works; until it was decreed by a judge, he wasn’t giving up a red cent.  There was no way to balance the pay I would receive from a job I was qualified for with the child care expenses that were necessary to work.  I was forced to go on welfare in order to provide food and shelter for my children.

I was grateful for the help from the government and I used the money they gave me the way it was supposed to be used: I feed my kids balanced meals, I paid my rent and utilities and I was able to put clothes (mostly second-hand) on my babies.  I did what I was supposed to do.  Hell, I didn’t even have a car.  I would pack my kids on a city bus for doctor’s appointments; food shopping and for reporting monthly to the Welfare Office.  Believe me, I wasn’t rich off the government funds I received; but it was enough to survive on.

Am I the only parent that didn’t abuse the Welfare system?  Of course not.  Welfare families continuously get a bad rap because of the small percentage of people who do defraud the government’s welfare program.  I did some research and was not surprised to find that statistics for welfare fraud were quite hard to nail down.

But, the overall consensus was that a very small percent of fraud cases were actually identified..as low as 2 to 3%.  To be fair, the reason for the lack of real fraud statistics is because you can’t count them if you don’t find them.  But, I doubt that the statistics would rise dramatically even if all the cheaters were identified.  If you’ve ever had to apply for welfare or for food stamp assistance; it’s not as easy to get approved as you might think.

Unfortunately, when people do misuse the system and are caught, the public starts to view all families on assistance as “freeloaders”.  And why?  Because the people who cheat the system get the attention.  No one speaks up for the majority of families on assistance who play by the rules.

I know people on assistance; good honest parents who are struggling in hard, economic times.  These parents would much rather be working then be on assistance.  I also know of a lot of senior citizens who receive food stamp benefits;  believe me; they don’t get enough to buy surf and turf.  On the other hand, I know of a lot of people who receive 100% Disability from Social Security while they are working full time..”under the table.”

So, should we still be outraged when we see abuse of our tax dollars that goes into these government programs?  Damn right!  And, at the end of this post, I’ll give you a link where you can report these bums who work the system.

What we shouldn’t do is assume that everyone who is on assistance is a cheater. Don’t look at these families like second-class citizens, they don’t deserve it.

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Just saying!

To report welfare fraud contact the appropriate County Agency directly. 

If you need assistance in determining which county to call contact the Welfare Fraud Hotline at 1-800-344-8477 or by e-mail at FraudHotline@dss.ca.gov.

What are the most common types of welfare fraud?

  • Absent Parent in the home
  • Unreported income
  • Ineligible child(ren)
  • Child(ren) not living in the home
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19 responses to “What’s Wrong With This Picture?

  1. Bastet says:

    I’m so happy to see a sane person once in a while talking in a well balance way about this. So often I’ve felt frustrated by the Facebookers, who are just so happy to point a finger, not realizing that there are many people, especially in this day and age, who would be very happy indeed NOT to be on welfare. Thanks…I’ll put this on facebook!

  2. Basharr says:

    You should not be taking any flack for this, I will tell you why, the people who administer food stamps or what they now call SNAP are for the most part not interested in dealing with this issue of fraud. I fully support helping those in need, no family should ever go hungry, no if, ands, or buts. There is however an element among our people who exploit, use and scam knowingly. I just read an article last week, some grocery store with numerous locations will transfer the food stamp balance on a card to cash at the rate of 50 cents on the dollar. The state found out about this and banned this grocery store from being able to accept the food stamp cards. Yay right? The state did something. We actually this was over a year ago and the store still continues to transfer illegally food stamp balances into cash at 50 cents on the dollar and the state still reimburses the store for the transaction. It is complete fraud that nobody it truly willing to deal with.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/mar/7/violations-dont-deter-food-stamp-vendors-hunger-fo/?page=all

    Times are tough in this nation, they are getting worse and more people than ever are on SNAP, I feel that just because a person may qualify for SNAP benefits does not mean they need them. I watched a video of people applying for food stamps (SNAP) and they were interviewed and many had play stations, X-Boxes, Wiis, etc and numerous games which BTW are not cheap. Then it looked at the clothing they were wearing from $200 a pair shoes to brand new tags still on shirts, pants, and jackets. Maybe I am just a reverse snob here but I live within my means and I shop at Walmart for just about everything and I buy most of my food at Grocery Outlet which is a discount store. I believe that if more people lived within their means the burden on the SNAP program would decrease and those truly in need would get better service.

    Again I have babbled on and on here…Have a wonderful day =)

    • That are many stories out there of welfare and Snap fraud. And, these people should be thrown out of the system. Does the Assistance program need restructuring to identify these scammers? Absolutely!

      The articles you quote just make my point. There will always be people who abuse the system. But, where are the stories about the people who don’t?

      Love ya!

      • Basharr says:

        I will tell you where the stories are, nowhere, because those people carry on and do the right thing, the only thing that is most often reported on is misuse and fraud.Sadly it makes for better reading than the people below the radar doing the right thing. I think we should be angered by what we see and extremely happy for the things we don’t because the fraud though most highly publicized is a small percentage compared to the true needy who benefit from and use SNAP properly. The question is has our society crumbled so badly that we must herald the people for simply doing what they are supposed to do? I believe to a point yes probably some stories about the good citizens might set an example…?

      • Great minds think alike! I agree 100%

      • Basharr says:

        Did you happen to see yesterday the Des Moines Register news paper posted a map of all the school districts in Iowa and it listed which schools had security as well as a color coded level of security in any existed? This action essentially is almost akin to painting targets on the children who attend these schools. I am going to write an in depth post on this later today on my blog.

      • I’ll be looking for it!

  3. btg5885 says:

    Grandma, you are dead on accurate with your post. It is well said and based on experience. In the work I try to do to help those who help others, in particular, homeless families, we fight a huge uphill battle with perceptions. People use smaller numbers of examples to define the whole audience as unworthy. They view a panhandling chronic homeless person (or even some who are actual frauds) and paint the entire population of homeless people with that brush (there is something on MSN news online even today). The significant majority of homeless people are working Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck and a crisis caused them to lose their home. The SNAP program is no different. They’re people in need that are trying to make ends meet. The Food Stamps are the only thing standing in the way of them being homeless or malnourished. Your story is very compelling, The only thing you can do is point out erroneous thinking. Unfortunately, provocative news (such as fraud) create a bigger echo than good news. It always has. Thanks for your post and compassion. BTG

  4. LadyGrave says:

    I absolutely agree with you; most people are not abusing the system, and are on welfare despite the fact that they are working as hard as they can to provide for themselves and their families. I would go a step further, though, and say that we have no idea of the context for the image of the lobster-buying welfare receipt. As a friend of mine on facebook said when she shared the image, maybe that individual ate rice and beans from the back of the cupboard for a whole month to be able to afford the one meal we see see in the image. Maybe this was the only way they could celebrate a hugely meaningful life event, like a wedding. It’s impossible to judge other’s actions when we are presented with limited information; perhaps the procurer of the lobster-feast was just doing the best they could with a crappy situation, just like everyone else. We don’t know!

    • Very valid point! People are so quick to judge..I used the receipt as an example and to agree with being outraged by fraud in the Assistance program. As you say, these people might have sacrificed for one meal…and I can’t say I wouldn’t have done the same thing!

      Sometimes I blow our budget on buying high priced meat..so I can’t judge! Thanks for reading and your great comments!

      • Basharr says:

        I am not sure if you have Safeway stores where you are located but my wife and I make full use of $5.00 Fridays where they have numerous items for $5.00 it truly helps the budget. We live in cattle country and are considering this year on buying a steer at the fair and filling our deep freeze last year a number of non-winning steers went for under 300 dollars thats cheap for 400 pounds of beef.

        Yesterday a news story said the IMF (International Monetary Fund) said Gasoline should have another $1.40 tax added to it here in the US.It seems there are not enough people out there trying to hellp people get off assistance but rather seem determined to keep them on it. I could go on with the craziness but will keep it mostly on my blog as your blog is quite refreshing. =)

      • We’ve got probably the twin of a Safeway; It’s called Save-a-lot and it’s a great place to get more bang for your buck!
        As far as gas prices..Agggh! Somebody’s getting rich..really rich and it’s not us!

      • Basharr says:

        Yes somebody is getting rich, so rich they cannot see reality through the gas fumes. =)

  5. Aurora says:

    From times we’ve talked before you know how much I appreciate this post. I’m one of “those people” who needs food stamps, basically to survive and feed my son. Our rent and our share of the bills here in an apartment we share with a roommate pretty much takes up most of what I have in money. My mother in law helps us out a little or most months we couldn’t make it. We aren’t scamming everyone, we surely aren’t buying fancy meals or wearing 300 dollar sneakers.

    I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the country as divided as it is the last few years, or seen this much hatred of the unfortunate. It’s as if being poor somehow makes you less deserving compassion according to some people. We’ve all been stereotyped as the worst extreme possible.

    Someday we may very well end up on the street, if the rising cost of housing here keeps climbing the way it has been. Fair market rent on even a one bedroom apartment here is more than my entire income per month. Our portion of rent here just jumped 100 dollars a month this year alone. Most of the time it scares me if we are going to make it or not.

    I’ve had people tell me I don’t deserve a dime of help until we’ve sold everything we own but our clothes. I can’t be poor enough to need food stamps since I own a computer (that is old used and quite beat up) They think I am faking being disabled because my disability isn’t outwardly obvious to the naked eye to people that don’t know me. I’m so tired of hearing it. I don’t understand how so many people have grown so cold and stopped caring, but I am very grateful for the ones who still do care.

    • My darling, you just hold that head up high and DO NOT let those a-holes (sorry) get to you. I know you battle daily with a disability and with raising your child. YOU are the people that the government programs were designed for.

      From my experience, I know you don’t sit in the lap of luxury on public assistance and you don’t eat lobster every night on SNAP. Whoever bought that either was cheating the system by having income SNAP didn’t know about or they ate mac and cheese for the rest of the month.

      You hang in there and I pray your circumstances improve.

  6. Aurora says:

    Oh and by the way, that picture is very badly photoshoped where it says food stamps…the rest of the receipt appears genuine, but the food stamp line was very badly edited in by someone who apparently just wanted to stir up trouble.

    • I have no doubt this receipt was a fraud. But, Facebook people loooove to put out crap that hurts people. I just used it to get peoples attention and to draw their focus on people who Don’t defraud the Government. I have no idea if it’s fake..my guess would be it is!

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