Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Can't prove I'm poor

There's some kind of state program here in Alabama that helps poor people pay for propane in the winter. I tried to get in on it last year but couldn't find my Social Security card. Alabama requires you to show your hard copy Social Security card for everything. I'd lost mine 20 years before moving here but never needed it for anything. Nobody ever asked to see it. But I couldn't even get a driver's license in Alabama without showing the card. Had to get a new one from Michigan.

Anyway, I tried again to get in on the free winter gas program. Chickenfight Girl gets it for her family and her elderly father-in-law. She's the one who told me about it.

Went down there today to do the initial paperwork - having found my stupid Social Security card which they didn't even ask to see today. This time, there was a different kind of paperwork I was unable show them.

My problem is that I cannot prove that I am poor.

I told them I was self-employed. They said they wanted to see my employment records. Employment records? I don't need no stinkin' employment records! This dude paid me $20. This lady paid me $20. I sold some silver jewelry. I sold some crap on eBay. I don't have any records other than my PayPal account and some chicken scratch on my calendar.

She looked at me, exasperated. There was no little box on her paperwork to check off for me. A little lightbulb went off above her head. "Do you get food stamps?"


The little lightbulb exploded above her head.

Truth is, I collect no government stipend of any kind. No food stamps. No unemployment. No disability. No nothing. I either scrape up $250 a month or stuff starts getting shut off. If I come up with more than $250, I can buy something extravagant like cheese or popsicles.

The lady behind the desk rolled her eyes and sighed, as if to say how could she help me if I wouldn't even help myself. "You really should get food stamps."

I just wanted to fucking scream "I DON'T NEED FOOD! I NEED PROPANE! ME WANT PROPANE STAMPS!"

But I kept my cool as she flipped through page after page of regulations, looking for the one that applied to me. Finally, I was told that I had to go to all the people who had paid me twenty bucks here and twenty bucks there and get notarized statements so as to provide detailed records of my income in December.

Fuck it. I may just cut more wood.


Thomas Higgins said...

Get that propane and start sssssssslllllllllloooooooooowwwwwwww
roasting that chicken.
With your high rooster hatch on my mine I got to thinking about cost of hen (pullet) chicks. Through online sources I see they cost about $3.60 plus shipping. Not a bad cost for a chicken feast providing you can feed them on deer carcass. Have you ever bought chicks?
PS please send proof of lack of employment or table reservations will be cancelled.

meieresque said...

You don't know me I am a friend of Angela Remirez and have lost touch with her. She lived in my basement in Spokane. Could you please have her contact me?

I read of your issues with living in a rural area and a different state and I have some idea how frustrating I recently moved to the Kau desert on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is very rural and so different from the last 36 years in the city. I too am poor. Have a bigger budget than you but am care taking a house so I can afford to be here.

Any way good luck getting some propane. I told some one once yes it is only 4 dollars of food stamps you qualify for but that is 2 gallons of milk. (it was along time ago) Play the game get the help you need and deserve.

Jackie said...

Meieresqe: send an email to jackie at ranchospenardo dot com and I'll put you back in touch with Angela. She also has her own blog: lifeinspenard.wordpress.com. I don't think she has contact info up there but you could always leave her a comment.

Thomas: Never bought chicks. There's a goat/poultry auction twice a month about 2 miles down the road. They have lots of baby chicks in the spring but, if I was going to buy chickens, I'd rather get older ones. It takes months before those baby chicks turn into laying hens. And you usually can't tell if they're male or female so a number of those baby chicks will turn into roosters anyway. Besides, if I bought baby chicks, I'd have to be their mama. It's so much easier (if not terribly productive) when I let the chickens be the mamas.

Anonymous said...

OMFG! It figures.TO POOR TO GET HELP. That is growing problem these days. Sorry to hear that bs. We are stressing out cause Josh is gunna get a raise. Not enough to help us finantialy but enough to make us not qualify for Denali Kid Care anymore, that is the kids health insurance! And Hatcher will lose his Free Lunch program qualification. HUH! Keep your chin up...good ppl are thining about you!

siouxzun said...

not sure why that last comment, by me! doesnt say it was me...