…well, at least they have an office and desks and it LOOKS like they’re working because they make you wait so long so surely they must be doing something super important back their in those brown fake wood paneled rooms, right?
Today I went to the DHHR (Department of Health and Human Resources) to sign up for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), more commonly known as Food Stamps. It was not, however, a SNAP.
How long do you think is a reasonable amount of time for an office visit, given that all of the paperwork has been submitted on-line and all of the supporting documents are neatly stacked in the order in which they are listed on the request letter?
Apparently an hour and a half, including the 30 minutes after my appointment time that I sat in the lobby waiting to be seen.
How many letters should one need to provide stating that a living allowance does not count as wages, that VISTAs do not earn a wage, and that VISTAs are not considered to be federal employees?
Hint: 3 is not sufficient. They still insist on putting my measly $788/month down as wages.
I don’t mind so much for me, though I do wish I’d taken a book (I hesitated at the last minute and left it behind), but it annoys me that the system put in place to help people is seemingly designed to waste time, be inconvenient to people with less flexible jobs than mine, and to make people who ask for assistance feel stupid and unimportant.
While I may be living at the poverty level for a year while I work as a VISTA, I am not really experiencing poverty, so to speak. I don’t feel the shame, guilt, stigma, fear, hopelessness, or complete lack of control people in poverty often feel. I have a safety net, a backup plan, an education, the knowhow to ask for what I want and figure out how to get it, and a group of people who will support me and help me get what I need. In fact, today Meg from the VISTA office gave me her old shower curtain rod because she’s remodeling and I joked in passing that I needed one. It was a nice surprise to find it in my office after my lovely and productive visit with Ethel, my SNAP worker.
And NO, for the fifth time, I have never been charged with a drug-related felony, or any other felony for that matter! (In case you didn’t know, if you are convicted of such a felony, you are banned from the program for life, so behave yourselves!)