Things People Do When They Actually Have No Money: Moms Kicked Off Of Welfare Edition

The New York Times’ Jason DeParle spoke to some single mothers who “graduated”/were cut off from welfare in Arizona, and found out what really happens when states stops being polite (and giving payments to the country’s most needy folks/allowing people to stay on welfare until they get jobs) and start getting real (cutting their welfare rolls, limiting cash payouts to two years, and diverting their federal dollars meant to help welfare recipients find jobs — what jobs, right — to other programs).

“Esmeralda Murillo, a 21-year-old mother of two, lost her welfare check, landed in a shelter and then returned to a boyfriend whose violent temper had driven her away.”

“…To keep her lights on, Rosa Pena, 24, sold the groceries she bought with food stamps and then kept her children fed with school lunches and help from neighbors. Her post-welfare credo is widely shared: ‘I’ll do what I have to do.’”

“[Another woman] counts herself fortunate, she said, because a male friend lets her stay in a spare room, with no expectations of sex.”

“One woman said she sold her child’s Social Security number so a relative could collect a tax credit worth $3,000.”

“Asked how she got cash, one woman said flatly, ‘We rob wetbacks’ — illegal immigrants, who tend to carry cash and avoid the police. At least nine times, she said, she has flirted with men and led them toward her home, where accomplices robbed them. ‘I felt bad afterwards,’ she said. But she added, ‘There were times when we didn’t have nothing to eat.’”

“One family ruled out crime and rummaged through trash cans instead. The mother, an illegal immigrant from Mexico, could not get aid for herself but received $164 a month for her four American-born children until their time limit expired. Distraught at losing her only steady source of cash, she asked the children if they would be ashamed to help her collect discarded cans. ‘I told her I would be embarrassed to steal from someone — not to pick up cans,’ her teenage daughter said.”

Ugh. But: surely these are isolated incidents and the reporter found the five people for whom the system isn’t working, right?

“As many as one in every four low-income single mothers [in the U.S.] are jobless and without cash aid — roughly four million women and children.”

Oh.

 

Photo Credit: flickr/Rex Roof

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9 Comments / Post A Comment

mouthalmighty (#165)

I can’t imagine (or rather I can and it is horrifying) how my mother would have raised my brother and I if our welfare aid had had an expiration date. Ugh.

$2/day is also the same poverty line used by the United Nations and aid agencies in places like sub-Saharan Africa. Most developed countries don’t even collect or report these numbers on the assumption that it’s inconceivable that they would actually allow anyone to live like that…

automaticdoor (#145)

This is absolutely criminal.

Trilby (#191)

I knew it wasn’t a good idea to “end welfare as we know it” without something pretty damn good to take its place. Cruel and heartless pandering to Repugs by Clinton. Very sad.

beckmeister (#364)

The US Government should do to these states what Ronald Reagan did when there was “a gas shortage.” Every state that received federal highway dollars had to reduce the speed limit on EVERY highway and interstate to no more than 55 mph or lose their federal funding. The US Government should refuse to pay the state’s federal funding for welfare recipients if the state (Arizona and others)
is diverting the federal funding to other programs.

Isn’t America great!? :/

The women with ages mentioned are younger than me. This is incredibly sad. USA, #1!…

MalPal (#1,200)

I do not think that if you come into this country illegally that you can whine and cry about not getting enough free money for yourself and your children every month. Go ahead, rip me to shreds. Oh, I’m also a liberal.

illnona (#4,783)

I have to agree with MalPal, I don’t think you’re entitled to anything if you’re not supposed to be here. That being said, I believe the corporations that use illegal labor should be penalized and those penalties should support programs that help the families of immigrants. I am totally for welfare reform, but limiting checks is not the way. Wish I knew the answer. My mother was a single/ divorced mom who supported us through working as a teacher. Sometimes we had food stamps but it was always temporary (less than 3 months). Once when she couldn’t afford to pay rent, we moved in with family until she could. Otherwise, she made ends meet and now my brothers and I live upper middle class or above.

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