I hate to admit it, but I am receiving SNAP benefits, and when I go to the store, I swipe that card as fast as I can and jam it back in my purse. This comes from the time I was first married and had a newborn, my husband was in the Coast Guard and our entire income was 400.00 a month. This was 1979. The Coast Guard paid the rent and basic utilities, but that 400 did not stretch enough to cover the phone, the rent on our color TV, yes I said rent( we gave it up after a month), the food, baby items, gasoline, etc. So we went on WIC and Food stamps.
Back then the food stamps were coupons and you had sign each one as you used it, so it took time at the checkout and there was always some wise-ass behind me making cracks about free food.
I had to borrow a neighbors car to get the groceries and I went to three different locations each week to get all the best deals. Those programs kept us from starving, but it was emotionally damaging to have to go through all that judgement.
I guess I have never gotten over it.
Then when my husband left me, and I became a working mom, I was fortunate enough to have jobs that paid well. Sometimes I took in a roommate, but not often. I very seldom received child support, but I did get my son raised and on his feet, I even provided him with a car.
THEN, 4 years ago I lost my job of 22 years. I had enough saved and along with the unemployment that lasted me 3 years. I was never able to find a job before I became unable to work at all, and plummeted into a profound depression. That is when my parents and sister packed up my things for storage and at 54 years old I moved in with my parents.
It felt like I had lost every thing. Pretty much. My car is paid for so I didn’t lose that. I was renting my house, so that was not a problem, and I had used my severance pay to pay off all the credit card debt.
When I moved in with my parents I had a little money left, but that’s gone now. My son pays for my medication and doctor bills, and I have applied for social security. And again, once again, I had to apply for food stamps, or SNAP as its now called. Thank God it is a debit card thing and not the stupid paper coupons you had to sign at the register!
BUT, things are looking up, I am able to work about 10 hours a week, so I am selling AVON to make a little money while I wait on the SS appeal, and today, I was able to finally open a new checking account. There is hardly anything in it, but it is open and it is mine.
So yeah, I relate to the many people in this country receiving WIC and SNAP. It is painful when others make judgements and assumptions and then express those opinions out loud when a person like myself is at the check out register. I don’t believe that anyone is taking advantage of this system. The application process is very detailed so it’s pretty hard to fake it.
If you have a problem with people who are down and out taking advantage of the benefits designed to help them out of the dark black hole, please keep it to yourself! You might be one of us some day, you never know.