Have We Now Let Down Those That Need Help The Most?

I wasn’t planning on writing a post today, but after receiving an email from ABIN-PA, I felt compelled. It seem that the Department of Public Welfare for the state of PA has eliminated its cash assistance program to about 65, 000 people as of August 1, 2012. WHAT?

Before you begin a round of applause, please consider a few facts here. The general cash assistance program provided its recipients with a whopping $205 a month at most. That’s right, I said $205.  Could you live on $205 a month? Okay, so let’s say your food is free, because you receive about $150 a month in food stamps…..so at least you have peanut butter, jelly, and ramen noodles for a month. Then let’s say your medical expenses are covered, because you have Medicaid too. Fine. And I will even go one far-fetched step further and assume you have free shelter…..which actually might be a homeless shelter. Okay. How are you supposed to buy soap, shampoo,….. or if you are a female of child-bearing age god forbid, tampons? Tampons aren’t cheap.From where I stand, this cost cutting measure is going to end up increasing costs to the taxpayers, not saving money. Why, you ask? Well here is one reason why.

Picture this, you are a mom in the above scenario. You lost a bitter custody battle with your ex. You are disabled with a serious degenerative disc disease in your back and declared unable to work. Because of this physical disability, you developed mental health issues which now have left you spiraling downwards without a job or a home. You rely on the few friends and family that still are in your life and they help by making appointments with professionals that can help you. You dutifully attend your medical and psychiatric appointments and reach out further to the DPW for help getting back on your feet. You are assisted with food stamps, free medical visits, reduced prescription costs (notice I did not say free), and temporary homeless shelter. But the shelter rules stipulate you have to leave the premises by 6 AM every morning and return by 3 PM to get in line to secure your spot for that evening when the doors open at 6PM. You need a few dollars for basic human necessities, like transportation and the above mentioned tampons, but you no longer have ANY MONEY AT ALL. You wear out the resources of the few people who still remain in your life, as most of us are truly struggling financially now. Your mental health is deteriorating due to your situation. You feel hopeless. Lost. A Burden. Unwanted. Suicide becomes more than a passing ideation from time to time. What would you do?

The person I know in the above scenario did the only thing they could think of…..they started “selling” their medication on the street for cash to survive. I am in NO WAY condoning this behavior by writing this, but we do have to recognize that it is a reality. Now this person has less medication than the doctor felt she needed to get back to a place of wholeness, and the withdraw effects become clear to everyone around her. In a moment of clarity, she makes the decision to go to a psych hospital where she feels she will at least have food, shelter, and the proper meds even if it is for a short time. This will give her breathing space to safely gather her thoughts and get help making a plan to get back on her feet. But before she finishes going through all the red tape involved with getting a bed in a psych unit, she gets arrested for selling her meds and winds up in jail.

I ask you, which is cheaper…..$205 in cash assistance or incarceration? $205 in cash assistance or X number of days in a psych hospital? $205 a month in cash assistance or yet another motherless child growing up in our already complicated and isolating world?

I agree that the system is broken. I acknowledge that abuse of the system exists. I am painfully aware that state and local budgets are stretched to within an inch of rupture. But is this really the answer? The people affected by this cut are our mothers, our brothers, our sisters, our fathers, our friends, our loved ones, our lost. Can we really strip them of this meager help without providing solutions? I guess we did. How sad.

Come on people, we can do better.


10 thoughts on “Have We Now Let Down Those That Need Help The Most?

  1. This is terrible. A big system forgetting its made up individuals, who occasionally need help…and now can’t get it. Jail, and hospitals is where these people will end up – which costs SO much more per person and they still won’t receive the help that they need. Very sad.

  2. First, this is completely horrible. Especially for abused wives.
    Second, my state the cash assistance rate is $700.00 per moth.
    Third, there are many abused women with children. What will they do? Where will they go?
    Myself, traveled PA from one side to the other, noticed that PA is suffering financial from the following:
    EPA requirments – as PA is a coal mining state
    Government regulations – as PA again is a coal mining state

    I have driven through (up and down PA) into the mountains. Many towns are desserted as a result of the EPA and and coal mining regulations. Keep in mind most families made a living from coal mining, as have in other states, which iclude WVA. and VA.
    Coal mining though looked down upon by environmentalist is a source of payment for coal miners. The coal has to come from somewhere? Correct?
    Obama with his EPA agenda has made such states, poor states……in afffect rendereing this coal mining a horrid abomination. However, coal mining in the mountains is a source of revenue for the poor in rural areas..
    I, myself have driven throuth the mountains of PA, only to find many desserted towns due to Obama’s agenda and EPA regulation….

    So, we then asked this question:
    Is China so EPA inclined? No….The US is suffereing from such EPA sanctions while China with NO EPA SANCTIONS IS SUCCESSFUL!

    We must ask ourselves…what is the answer.

    God gave us coal to mine…PA is a huge coal mining state, and thus myself seeeing the devastation and desserting of coal mining towns….we must rethink the EPA goals.

    Pennsylvia is a coal mining state, we cannot allow such a travesty to go on…..coal miners have made their living for many years from the coal mining industry, and to shut such things down now, is causing for the coal mining workers to have no work….duh?

    Coal miners have a job to do just like everyone else. There is coal to be mined, as God gave us, and as such let the workers do their jobs.

    Pennsylvania is coal mining country Obama! Now, families are breaking apart and not eating due to your EPA philosophy, which you were not even born in the United States…..so, Obama go back to your own country…it has been proven you were not born here…as you admitted in a taped recording, you were born in Africa. That being said, Americans fought and died for this country, especially those, that guard the coal mines and Appalachia…I suggest Obama and other conservatives you take a hike, and go back to your own country.

    Liz has seen the economic devastation of Pennsylvania for herself, as she has traveled all over the state, and it is a travesty…..


    • Thanks for this info….anyone wanting more click on Liz’s blog and check it out.

      • Well, perhaps the lawmakers need to get beat up by a man, then have the man take all their money and leave them with babies to feed. A common occurance in PA, and in my state. I am sure it is common in many others too. Here, we have many programs to help single mothers and abused women. Housing, and programs to take them underground, food stamps, health insurance, and they can get an apartment for free, just until they get a job and get back on their feet. The program here actually requires the women to go to a workforce program, where they get free computer training, etc. The program helps them with child care and to find a good job.
        PA should do the same…

  3. […] https://wellcallmecrazy.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/have-we-now-let-down-those-that-need-help-the-most/c… Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like this. Leave a Comment by LizEccentric7 on August 23, 2012  •  Permalink Posted in Opinion, Rants […]

  4. […] Have We Now Let Down Those That Need Help The Most?.C […]

  5. LizEccentric7 says:

    Sorry – I am passionate about PA….and EPA stupid red tape…ranted a little there its just the coal mining towns in PA make me want to cry, when I see how poor the families are now from over-regulation.

  6. Very well said. I’m in England, and it’s about the same here. I’ve felt the effects too. I was in a car accident. It wasn’t may fault. I suffered a brain injury. I couldn’t work. I lost my job. I’m running out of money. I’m not getting any better. Homelessness is on the horizon. I’m depressed and suicidal. The doctor wants to put me on medication. I can’t afford medication. Every time I get close to receiving some sort of money they want to know more. They want to write to somebody else. They want to know how long I ‘think it might go on for.’ Well how the hell should I know? If somebody had cancer you wouldn’t ask them how long they ‘think it might go on for.’

    Thank you for writing this. There is a huge stigma attached to receiving welfare and disability and people need to see what it’s like, a day in the life of somebody who needs this help, before they make their judgements. Sadly our new conservative government seems to be under the impression that people like me are good-for-nothing scumbags, hence huge cuts to the system.

    • Thank you for sharing this, it took great courage on your part. I admire that. I feel like our systems are broken and we are entering dangerous territory where conformity and compliance are valued way more than individuality and creativity. I don’t have a magic wand to make it all better, but I do have a voice and the opportunity to cause a small ripple in the ocean of change. My thoughts and hopes are with you. Keep on going.

  7. Thanks for sharing wellcallmecrazy. I’m so happy to find someone SYMPATHETIC/EMPATHETIC to the underprivileged in society. Whenever I visit American news sites or facebook the poor get trashed. It’s heartbreaking. Luckily I have a parent willing to help me out or I’m sure I’d be homeless or on welfare. It’s a dismal scenario being mentally ill these days-heck it’s always been dismal-but it just seems like we’re getting worse as a society. Governments cut back on social programmes and funding/support before touching anything else. First to go in any ‘austerity’ budget are the funds to help the disenfranchised. What’s it going to take before people wake up and see how badly needed social supports really are?

Thoughts and Musings Welcomed!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s