My family uses foodstamps…

…and we have Medicaid, too!
Cue the abhorrent gasping.
But… Don’t you have a bunch of kids? 
Yes. Six, to be exact. They say things are cheaper by the half-dozen.
What? It’s by the DOZEN?
Honey, come into the bedroom. It’s time to get to work on the next baby!
Did you have them on purpose? 
Yes, we “chose” not to abort our children.
Didn’t you know how much it would cost to raise them?
Yes, we know having kids is expensive, and I’m sure that’s exactly what YOU think about between the sheets, too.
Then why did you have so many?
Because the five forms of birth control I’ve used don’t seem to work for me. Apparently, I’m in that .01% or more that’s always excluded from the effectiveness guarantee. Also: condoms sometimes break, rapists can produce offspring, and I don’t believe in abortion. (There have been a couple pregnancies that would have been easy to excuse away, but I’d still be guilt-ridden for all eternity if I had chosen to kill my babies.)
And now that they’re all here, I just can’t decide which one to get rid of!
To anyone who has had an abortion: I sympathize with you, I understand your choice, and I do not look down on you for it. But allow me to disagree with your decision.
Well do you at least both work to support your mistakes?
First of all, not one of my children is a mistake. Surprises yes; mistakes, no. To answer the intended question: the hot Peruvian does work a salaried job to support our family the best he can. When he can’t be physically at work (if he’s sick or the building is closed for a day) he works from home. I do not work outside the home.
Don’t you feel like pond scum for sitting around all day while responsible, upstanding citizens pay your bills?
No, I do not feel guilty about staying home to raise my beautiful children. Our “bills” are paid by my husband’s income, which is also dipped into to cover the nation’s welfare recipients. The government helps us buy groceries (we spend only $450 per month, which is less than most 4-person families) and covers the kids’ and my checkups, mental health appointments, and some prescriptions. Alex has his own insurance through work.

And, seriously? Don’t ever accuse any mom of “sitting around all day.” Especially if she’s got 5 kids with special needs, multiple chronic illnesses, and an infant. Not a smart move.

Why don’t you get a real job?
1. I want my kids to be raised by their mother, not some daycare employee. Plus, I enjoy their company (most of the time) and don’t want to miss out on seeing them reach any of the vital milestones of the pre-school years.
2. It would cost more to put my kids in the cheapest daycare for one summer ($6,600) than my credentials would allow me to earn ($3,190 before taxes).  Of course, I could always let the government pay for the childcare, but wouldn’t that sort of defeat the purpose? (I did the math for you: it would be the equivalent of getting $2400 a month in foodstamps, instead of only $450. Still want me to get a job?)
You wouldn’t be poor if you had gone to college.
That is partially true. Alex did go to college. He finished early and was making $30K right after graduation: good money for a bachelor. But when he joined our family, he left that job in Philadelphia and – despite his many efforts at finding work locally – was unemployed for 7 months. After a stint as a mattress salesman, he’s back to working as a systems analyst at a relatively large nation-wide company. Unfortunately, the economy doesn’t allow them to pay as much as the job is worth for now, and a singles man’s salary doesn’t pay for a family man’s life.
I, on the other hand, am not a college graduate. I had plenty of scholarship offers, free-rides, letters saying “We’ll even pay for your books and food.” But, due to a major filing booboo on the part of the school of my choice, I was unable to begin at the planned time. It was during that break between high school and orientation that I met my first husband, who would later prevent me from doing anything that might enable me to escape from his control. I have acquired a few credits since then, but have not yet earned a degree.
I bet you buy beer and cigarettes with your EBT card.
No, I use my crack-whoring money for that, dipwad!
It is impossible to buy non-food items with foodstamps. (Even cash assistance has limits to what you can buy though I don’t know first-hand exactly what they are). Most of the time we use them to buy terribly frivolous things like produce, rice, chicken and tomato sauce. Occasionally – meaning when there’s a super sale and I have a coupon – we’ll buy soda or hot pockets, or a cake mix for someone’s birthday. Since most of our meals and snacks are made from scratch, though, our grocery budget typically goes to ingredients, not quick fixes.
You should cancel your cable and cell phones and go off welfare.
We don’t have cable. And our cell phone plan has a large cancellation fee. We do plan to downgrade once the 18 months is up, but the hot Peruvian’s long commute is much safer with a phone. Having it also enables him to do the shopping without me, which saves mega bucks on gas.
Our tax dollars shouldn’t go to help the parasites on welfare. They don’t WANT to be helped; they’re just looking for a handout.
I don’t think our tax dollars should help parasites, either. Isn’t that what the Master Cleanse is for?
It bothers me each time I go through the grocery check-out that we can’t afford to buy our own food. I would much rather be self-sufficient…and able to do the fun things that middle-class Americans take for granted (Vacation, anyone?). But that’s not an option for us at the moment.
When I was a single parent trying to raise 2 kids with no child support, I would have done just about anything to convince my case worker to help me get on my feet. I begged him to find a way to help me get transportation and babysitting so that I could find a job. When he didn’t, I enlisted the help of a dozen or so already-overwhelmed family members and friends. I searched the system and called all the way to state head trying to find a training program that would teach me a skill worth more than minimum wage. I sat on waiting lists and found odds-and-ends work. I jumped through all the hoops to no avail. The money I did earn had to be mailed to the county assistance office or they would discontinue our benefits, so there was no way to save up or leave the program without allowing my children to starve – literally.I eventually let my abusive husband come back, because it was obvious there was no way for me to get on my feet alone, and I was tired of the humiliation of welfare appointments and the dirty looks from complete strangers.
Sure, there are some recipients who abuse the system. I’ve known several. But that doesn’t mean that we are all “looking for a handout.” Our government just hasn’t quite figured out how to really help those of us who would rather get through the hard times than wallow in them.
This post was inspired by the comments on an article I recently read, and random comments I’ve heard when using my EBT card. What are your thoughts on providing low-income families with grocery money?

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