Wicked Witch of the Welfare Office

 ImageUsually I feel pretty good about my job. Today I am disenchanted. I had an imaginary conversation with myself.

I am the evil witch lurking…ahem…working in the welfare office.

My Inner Angry Republican pitches a fit about 50 times a day. And with good reason too.  But my out Professional Social Worker tries to seek better solutions and keep it all in check.

Money for nothing?! Not really – you have to work (or prepare for work) to be granted cash aid
But if the parents don’t work the family still gets money True – but we choose to believe the parents are not spending any cash aid on themselves and only on their children
You are on crack, right? At least tell me you are screening the welfare peeps for drugs. No. We don’t test the parents – but we do ask them 7 questions to screen them for substance use and abuse
Then you take their money away, right? Of course not. We schedule them for a Clinical Assessment and chose to believe they are not buying beer, weed, crack, coke, schrooms, uppers, downers, etc . We need to believe these drugs are DONATED to them.
Why do you believe that? Because a habit is expensive, if they could afford a strong heavy habit – they don’t need Welfare funds and we would have to cut them off
What’s bad about that? Because we know they are not magically “finding” the money and we sleep better knowing the money has at least made it into a parent’s hands and there is a chance that it is being spent on the family
Do you require receipts for how the cash aid money was spent No
Why not? Too much trouble
Don’t you believe that if people were accountable for how the money was spent, they would spend it on toothbrushes and rent etc and not on cat food, veterinary bills, drugs, strip clubs and gambling Did I tell you about the time I did ask for receipts and the person bought job interview clothes at Caesar’s Palace Shops?
Why did you ask for receipts that time? Well, because GAIN  – or Welfare to Work gives money for job clothing, school books etc.
Oh, so there is some accountability. How does that work out? One time a lady bought 7 pairs of shoes as her work clothing.
What, was she a stripper? Many of my clients are strippers or in elicit but legal trades. I give them credit for making the effort.
So you encourage this activity? I encourage work of any kind. They need to do 32-35 hours of work type activity a week.
Why only 35? I do at least 40 hours of work and 20 hours of volunteering and have up to 4 kids in my house. I don’t know. At 32 hours an employer is supposed to be offering benefits like health care so families can leave Medi-Cal Insurance.
What if they don’t want to work or train, etc? Then they can say they have mental health or substance abuse or domestic violence issues or are homeless and the requirement for these hours can be waived temporarily or permanently.
Are you serious? Of course, It is the compassionate thing to do. If someone is so stressed or overwhelmed that they really cannot function in society; I don’t want to set them up for failure
So you take their children away, right? Why would we? We take a licensed professionals word – or sometimes the client tells us – that this person cannot work or go to school or do community service. What does that have to do with parenting?
Well, a 40 hour a week job is easier than 24/7 parenting. Never the less. We trust that these parents are doing what is best for the children.
Does Welfare really look out for the WELFARE of kids. Kinda,. Sorta. We make food funds and cash aid and medical funding available to the family and trust they are being accessed on behalf and for the benefit of the kids.
That’s it? Also, we ask that once a year a report card or immunization card is turned in. See, we care.
But there is a time limit on this, right? Bill Clinton put a time limit. Yes, the Federal Time Limit is 5 years or 60 months of Cash aid per family
Whey. At least that is clear and simple But some people stay on Cash Aid from the 7th month of pregnancy until their child is 18 years old.
WTF? Or until the baby graduated from High School. 
How can you stay on Welfare for over 18 years Easy. Say you were in a domestic violence relationship. Or that you are too emotionally disturbed to hold down a job or really benefit from the program. How can we push you out of the nest?
OMG Oh, my goodness indeed. See me? I am saving the world over here.
Do you really feel like that? Of course.
You’re sick. No. no fever, I feel fine. Thanks for the concern.
How are you really helping them? I am not. I make sure they have the resources to help themselves. Poverty sucks. People will move on  at their own pace. All I can do is offer options.
Like what? I will pay for child care so they can work, or I pay for books, fees and supplies for vocational training or college.
Vocational Training? Sure – you know, so people can be hair dressers and such
Very few hair dressers live far above the poverty line and there are no medical, dental, vision or life benefits with that position usually Well, then I hope each of them is the next Vidal Sassoon or Jose’ etc. I realy can’t be bothered to make sure it will make them rich or middle class. I just want to say I have “X number of clients participating” and then hope they can keep their heads above water off Welfare.
Seriously? Seriously.
Why didn‘t I hear that you pay tuition? Are they required to use their cash aid for tuition? No. The tuition at a public Community College will be waived and Federal or other financial aid will cover it at other types of schools.
When I went to school, I paid Tuition Well, you should have had a child an not been able to afford it.
Speaking of that… when new children come into the family – what happens? Usually the Medi-Cal and Food stamps increase but not the cash aid. After all – birth control is free on Medi-Cal.
Did you say “usually”? Well yes,. Some children are exempt from the Maximum Family Grant.
Meaning they qualify for raising the family cash aid amount Sure, if they show proof they were on long term birth control like a shot or IUD – or they can say they were raped and then we take their word and cover the baby as well.
OMG I know. Aren’t we nice? And – we have thousands of families leaving welfare each year.
How many of them leave before their time limits are up?How many stay on despite the time limits

How many are forced off or “timed out”?

I don’t know. But aren’t I nice?

 

 

 

 

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