I just saw a CNN article "How I got off food stamps". It was one form of success story; single parent needed lots of assistance while getting her life together, went to school to become a nurse and is now making $75,000/year and talks about how she pays taxes gladly so the program is there for someone like her.
But there are other ways to wind up on assistance. And most of us don't think that it could ever happen to us. I didn't. In fact just under 3 months ago when I was in the hospital and had been talking about my fears about knowing I was going onto long-term disability and after meeting with Dr. Brain that I knew returning to work at all was not likely for an extremely long time if ever someone there told me about how she was rapidly approved with somewhat similar circumstances, and how much Medicaid and other programs (probably SSI, which I did not know about then; it is what you get if you haven't paid into the system long enough to get SSDI and it is much harder to live on) had helped her. I remember thanking her and thinking that things would be different for me because I had longterm disability insurance. At that time I hadn't found the little clause that said mental health cases were limited to 2 years while physical went until retirement age, and I had no idea that the time I went onto short term disability was the date that affected when my pre-existing conditions mattered. It didn't come up when I went on short-term because I wasn't off because of psych issues.
The day that I should have been seamlessly transitioned to long-term is when the company informed me that wouldn't happen unless I had another reason for the time off. So I went from making a great income to having no income in about 5 minutes.
I am on food stamps and soon medicaid because sometimes you can't predict where life is going to go. A year ago I knew that I wasn't putting money into retirement but I couldn't help that because of medical expenses. Retirement just wasn't going to be this way. It wasn't supposed to be disability or at my age. I don't know if the need will stop there or if I'll need other programs.
Someday I hope I won't need food stamps or (once I have it) Medicaid. I use what I need until that comes, and I am grateful. I really love being able to get fresh fruit without worrying I'm spending too much, along with many, many other food items.
I just wish there was a way for people to understand more of the stories that result in the use of food stamps before they sigh at me because checking out takes me an extra 35 seconds to use my food stamp card. Sometime it could be you, Mr. Bought a drill and got frustrated waiting in line but didn't go to 12 items or less.
Copyright 2006 www.masterofirony.blogspot.com