Texas Health & Human Services

Texas Health & Human Services Review

Reviews: 1


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Published: 15 December 2017

Posted by: Anonymously

I came to the complaint site because I don’t know where else to turn. My parents raised me to be a hard worker and I got my first job at 16. I’ve lived a traditional, old-fashioned lifestyle – got married when I was 20, my husband joined the military, we had our first child at 21. We were married for 21 years and had three children together. Five years ago I discovered he was a philanderer, and he’d been fooling around on me every time the military sent him away on assignment. Once he realized I knew what was going on, he decided to get a divorce. He left me and our three kids and we have only seen him a few times since. I was working a full time job and two part time jobs when he left, but had to quit the part time jobs so I’d be home with the younger children at night. Three years ago I was hit by a driver in the parking lot at work – she hit the gas instead of her brakes and sent her car barrreling at me at a high rate of speed. Not long after that I had to take medical leave but returned to work on light duty. When the economy took a down turn a few months later, my employer laid me off saying they’d have to replace me since I couldn’t do heavy lifting now. I’ve been unable to find full time work since. My family survived because I cashed in my 401k early and had two large tax refund checks sent back to me. But the money finally ran out last year and I put our house up for sale. No one wanted it unless they could get it for less than the value of the loan. Several realtors told me I’d have to replace the appliances, replace the flooring, and make repairs before anyone would buy our house. So I’m stuck in a house I can’t afford. I could walk away from it, but then my children would be homeless. I called 211 and applied for food stamps. Right away I was asked if I was white, what part of town I lived in, what kind of car did I drive. Finally the case worker said, “”You live in a nice part of town, don’t you? Why don’t you just sell your house?”” So I explained the situation to her, and told her the house was currently on the market but had no buyers. She said, “”Well, you have a car, don’t you? Why don’t you sell it?”” I told her it was a 2001 Buick without air conditioning worth less than $1200.”” She said, “”If you need money, sell your car!”” Finally she did approve food stamps for my family, but at a much lower rate than we qualified for. I took what she offered and was happy to have it. Then when the card came in the mail, it didn’t work. Many days on the phone and the SNAP employees would laugh and chuckle as they told me that it wasn’t there area since they only handle the eligibility and if I had problems with the card I’d have to call the business who handles the actual SNAP card transactions. I called them. The SNAP debit card workers said there was nothing wrong with the card and it was functioning properly so I’d have to call my case worker because the problem was at that end. Back and forth, around and around this went with no one taking responsibility and the SNAP workers put it into notes that I was nasty and uncooperative when I never raised my voice or spoke ugly to anyone. Finally, a manager at the SNAP debit card office told me “”off the record”” that the problem was my case worker had intentionally put in the wrong social security number for me. He knew this because the number was mostly zeroes. Had he not told me this, I would NEVER have gotten that card to work. As it was, I had to enter an incorrect social security number to activate the card. Now, finally the card worked. For a little while. Every couple of months I have to supply the case worker with an application for renewal. I’ve done this many times in a short amount of time, supplying all the paperwork they asked for, and on time. I even sold my car – our last saleable asset. Without notice, the benefits were cut off the day before Easter. I know because I sent my children to the store to get food for Easter dinner. The card had no benefits. When I called to find out why, the SNAP employee seemed delighted to tell me that our SNAP benefits had been terminated since we didn’t get our renewal paperwork turned in. (My daughter is the one who walked the paperwork to the mail pickup box and we all know that renewal application made it there on time.) When I asked the woman why we had to renew so many times, she said, “”It’s up to the case worker. She can have you renew your application as often as she feels necessary.”” “”But all the information is the same, nothing has changed, and I have done everything I was asked to do, and if we don’t qualify, I don’t know who does,”” I said. She replied, “”Well, all I can do is send you out another application so you can start over but I must warn you it will probably take another thirty days for your paperwork to process. Do you want me to send you another application?”” (She laughs as she asked this.) Yes, I am frustrated. All those years I did everything a good citizen should do, paid my taxes – property taxes, school taxes, income taxes, sale taxes. But it was just a shake down. There’s no government there for people in need. Those state and government benefits are for those with the authority to bestow them on their friends, family members and political allies. It certainly isn’t for women like me, or my children. And yes, I think my children would be better off without me at this point. I’m holding them back since I’ve failed miserably to support and care for them in the way intended. .

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