That New Food Stamp Article Going Around (and a work update)

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A friend on Facebook posted a link to a Salon.com article. I usually hate Salon.com because the articles always feel one step above a blog post article but usually with some wacked-out perspective and awful titles.

This article wasn’t much different. The whole genre of “another person scratching the surface of being a has been and feeling sad about being on food stamps” is becoming played out, even for a person currently on food stamps, and the only reason I was glad I clicked through to read it was one small difference.

It had a great quote in there that covers a sentiment I don’t think gets nearly enough attention.

In the case of SNAP, Milam says there is an incentive to work built into the system, which decreases benefits as a person earns income, but at a staggered rate. In practice this means that someone will benefit more by working and having their assistance reduced slowly (or stopped altogether when their income becomes high enough) than by remaining on SNAP long term. (Click to read the full article: We’re the Face of Food Stamps.) 

I’ll never be able to get all empathy-style for the poor lady who wrote this article who was tragically embarrassed by her running group and couldn’t just be up front and tell them that she’s on the food stamps so maybe we shouldn’t look at that other person we’re talking smack about as a loser.  This quote, however, hit me smack in my heart. We are those people living in the weird in-between place. My husband is working and we get Food Stamps. We simultaneously pay taxes into the system and benefit from those taxes going in so we can buy food with help from the government. 

In addition, because Mr. Brickie is still making 40% Apprentice wages we continue to qualify for Medicaid. Even though we get insurance through his employer. This means that all the copay bills we receive are getting sent back out to be billed to Medicaid. This is such great news for us, because my ER visit would cost us over $500 out of pocket and seriously, if we could afford that we wouldn’t need Food Stamps in the first place.

But this in-between world is frustrating when you try to explain it to people who are either against Food Stamps altogether or feel that everyone on Food Stamps is leeching the system. They don’t even know what to say when they learn we’re paying into the system at the same time we benefit from the system. Mr. Brickie is about to get unemployment for winter and we always have the taxes taken out, even though we are pretty sure we’re going to get it all back in our tax return anyway.

It’s another way that someone decides to put me in the “exception” category and continue thinking about welfare mamas the way they always have, instead of believing that I just might be a much more normal, typical user of the system.

Like I said in a prior post, I’m hoping the tax return is enough to set aside a first/last/deposit as well as pay off all our credit cards. Just in case, I’ve started working online again because if I can just make our car payment every month I know we’ll be okay. My goal is to help keep our heads above water until Mr. Brickie gets to 70% Apprentice. I’ve calculated it over and over and his pay rate when he is a 70% Apprentice is the magic number where we won’t be on any government assistance and we will be able to afford all our basic needs (including gas and tolls for Mr. Brickie to get to work). 

In the meantime I signed up with Amazon Mechanical Turk (a.k.a. Place with the Weirdest Name Ever) and I’m doing surveys and whatnot. Hitting it like I’m mad at it has earned me over $100 in less than a week. I keep on plugging away and hoping that the articles from a certain person come up because he likes my writing and gives good bonuses. The big downfall here is your eyes will cross and you’ll have trouble focusing and you may drool on yourself after your hundredth psych survey. You will find that being asked, “Do you feel others are out to get you?” ten times might actually lead you to believe that someone may, in fact, be out to get you. (Just for a minute until you realize you slipped and fell into a pile of crazy.)

I’ve signed up and submitted a writing sample at WritersDomain.net and after a couple days I received an email saying my writing sample was accepted and I am now officially on the waitlist. So I hope that comes through soon.

I got a referral to another writing company through a friend and found a list online of content mills that I’m going to go through today and apply to any or all of them that sound like they will pay enough and want the right kind of articles that will make it worthwhile.

I feel like someone chucked me in a time machine and sent me back to 2008 when I started writing online from home. In times of crisis, I guess we all go back to the last place we can identify that we were good at something and could build from that place. It’s like my life’s version of a System Restore Point. Or something like that.

If there’s any place you write articles for online, shoot me an email or message me on Twitter or Facebook and let me know. Unless your first thought was, “She should apply for About.com!” If you tell me that mess I will come to your house and poo on your porch. No lie. Keep your unicorn in your garage where it belongs. Don’t trot those rainbow farts anywhere near me. 

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