April 27, 2012

Social Sevices?

Disclaimer - This is a very personal post.  I wouldn't normally share this information because my family's financial status (in my opinion) is really not anyone elses business.  The reason I'm choosing to write this on my Blog is simple.  I realized that telling my friends and family wasn't enough.  What is happening to my family is probably happening to other families and if someone doesn't put it out there it will just continue to happen.  I have chosen to put it out there, everywhere and everyway I can.

My family receives medical and SNAP (food stamps) benefits from the state of Connecticut.  I work two part time jobs to support my family.  Just recently my benefits were discontinued due to a mistake my stare worker made.

In February I received the redetermination paper work, which I filled out and made copies of all the appropriate paper work for proof of income.  The paper work was all due to the office by February 20, which was a holiday and the office was closed.  I drove up to the office on February 21 at 9am to drop off the paper work.  After that I never received anything from my worker saying I was missing anything or that my paperwork wasn't filled out correctly.  I did keep a copy of everything I sent in, a lesson my dad taught me.  We continued to receive our benefits for the rest of February and March. 

On April 2nd I received a notice in the mail that our benefits would be discontinued on March 31st because they didn't receive my redetermination paper work.  I called my worker the next day to find out what had happened and her voice mailbox was full.  I called her again on Thursday April 5th and left her a message saying, "Hi my name is... and my client ID number is...  I received a notice on Monday April 2nd saying my benefits would be cancelled on March 31st because you didn't receive my paper work.  I would like to know what is going on.  I dropped off my paperwork at your office on February 21st because your office was closed on the 20th.  Please call me back at ...  Thank you"
She called me on Monday April 9th and left a message because I wasn't home.  Her message said I was missing a pay stub from one of my jobs.  This doesn't make any sense.  I sent in all my pay stubs with copies at home to prove it.  Also in the past if something was missing I received a notice within a week of turning in my paperwork and NO notice was ever sent to me this time. 
As soon as I got home and listened to the message I called her back and left a message asking what pay stub she needed.  I was hoping to get the whole thing resolved quickly.  I left both my home and cell phone numbers for her to call me back.  I have never received another call.  After waiting most of the day I decided to just drive up there and drop off pay stubs from both of my jobs, instead of waiting on her.  I also called again to let her know I had done this, but again her voice mailbox was full.  On Tuesday April 10th I called again first thing in the morning.  Voice mailbox full.  I called four times that day until I could leave her a message that I had dropped off my pay stubs at the office.  Wednesday April 11th I received paperwork in the mail from my worker.  It tells me I need to send pay stubs from my second job and fill out a paper for anyone who lives in my home that is not included in my "finacial family". 

I filled out the paper work and I had to wait until I got paid again on Friday April 13th for a more recent pay stub to send in.  I dropped everything in the mail on Monday April 16.  I also tried calling my worker to let her know I had mailed everything back.  Voice mailbox full.  The rest of the week was busy and hectic, so I forgot to call her again.  I did assume she would get the paper work and everything would be back to normal.  On Tuesday April 24 I hadn't heard anything or received anything in the mail, I decided to call my worker.  Voice mailbox full.  I have been calling her all week and every time I call the voice mailbox is full.  I finally got through today to leave a message.

I also called the general line to the office.  It is automated, as everything is nowadays.
  • If you know the 4 digit extension number dial it at anytime.
  • If you know the last name of your worker press 2 for the staff directory
  • If you know your workers 4 digit number press 2
  • Our fax number is...
  • Our office hours are and other info
  • press * to go back to the main menu
  • press 4 for our fax number
  • press 6 to have an application mailed to you
  • press 7 to find out when benefits are scheduled
  • press 8 for information about protection for elderly, child support, or other benefits
  • Stay on the line to leave a message in our general voice mailbox
I stayed on the line to leave a message stating I would like to speak with a supervisor.  I was hoping that would help me in someway, but the general voice mailbox was full.  I have just gone online to see if I could find the direct number for the supervisor of the office.  After much searching on their website I have found that person's number and I'm going to be trying to get in touch with her directly.
I am unable to go up to the office and wait to speak with someone because they only allow walk-in appointments from 8am to 11am.  These times don't work for me because of my jobs.  Even if I plan to have someone put my youngest son on the bus in the morning so I can be there at 8am, you can be waiting for an hour or more to see someone face to face and talk.  It is a half hour drive and I have to be to work at 9am.  I need my jobs and cannot afford to be late.
We have been with out our assistance for 27 days.  That is an extremely long time for someone who lives paycheck to paycheck.  My family hasn't gone hungry in this time.  I won't let that happen.  But I haven't been able to pay my bills and I'm behind on my rent, so that I can put food on the table for my children to eat.

I realize that my worker probably has a very stressful and somewhat difficult job.  But what I can't understand is how this place can allow their voice mailboxes to be full at least 75% of the time.  I don't understand how a mistake on my workers end is allowed to effect my family in this way.

~Earthy Mom


  1. Its a pretty common occurance unfortunately. Our benefits have been reduced because my DH was not informed that he had to turn in a paper with his work time (He has a job assignment so we get cash assistance). At his previous assignment the supervisor was responsible for turning it in. At this assignment the supervisor evidently doesn't do it herself. Though DH was just informed the other day that he isn't the one that's suppose to fill it out. So because the supervisor at the assigned work place made a mistake we are missing about $100 on our food stamps and cash assistance combined. So it'll take about a month to resolve it. Lovely huh.

  2. I am so sorry you are going through this. This is really a very common thing and the procedures are badly broken. I hope you are able to get this worked out quickly. I know how scary it can be when you have to make the decision between food and housing.

  3. It seems like this is happening to everyone, i signed up to get assistance with the heating bill which was ridiculously large each month, i brought in everything, faxed whatever else I was missing, i go back to check on my status and they tell me I'm missing stuff, which I immediately called BS on because I fax confirmation from just about everything, someone had it on their desk and had to put it in the file and update the computer if I hadn't stressed to the woman what was happening I would have left there without anything done because the first woman kept insisting I needed to get the stuff again. Sometimes it is sheer laziness on the part of people who work there.

    I hope yours gets resolved soon.

  4. This is such an outragious story! I am so terribly sorry you have to go through thsi with your family! I am up in Canada and we personally have never had to deal with the government that BUT I have friends that have and the system here is just as bad. Single dad (friend of ours) had to wait 5 months after his wife abandoned him and their son to get any sort of assistance. Due to medical reasons he hadn't been able to work in years and that is how the goverment treated him. Truly my blessings and thoughts go out to you and your family! Loves and Light!!!

  5. Thank you everyone for your support. I knew I couldn't be the only person to have problems with the system. But it makes me so sad to know others are going through the same thing. I wish there was a way for us all to change the way things are done.

  6. This is just wrong on so many levels. It is wrong that there isn't a better system in place to let you know the status of your application. It is wrong that the worker has so many cases to handle that they obviously can't keep up with them (maybe they need more employees handling this). It is wrong that their office hours are so limited that you would have to miss work to resolve this problem quickly, when it is better if you are able to work enough to be self-sufficient without help from the state! The system is so broken. I am sorry that this is happening to you and your family. I hope you aren't offended by this, but I am praying for you.

    1. You are right the whole system is wrong. I wish I was able to be self-sufficient without having to rely on the help of the state. Thank you for your prayers.

  7. I hope everything works out soon. Times as these are scary.

  8. I hope everything works out for your family. I understand where you are coming from. We also receive SNAP from the state of PA, and medical for my kids and me for the duration of my pregnancy. We had our recertification last December and I informed them that my husband's insurance plan through work was changing and instead of being the manageable $98 a month for me and him, it was going to be $400 a month, a very difficult amount to manage on one income. They told me not to worry, that they would count that as a required expense (which it is) and the SNAP benefits would not be altered. In March, we received a notice that not only did they not count the insurance as an expense, but they reduced our SNAP by over $100. I am a very crafty person, so we have not gone hungry, but I must say it takes a lot of creativity and patience to feed a family of 5 (and me pregnant) on what little we get. The life of the working poor is very hard.