Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

It Can Happen to You

It can happen to you.

I just say this as a warning, because we all think it can’t happen to us. Because we live in a nice area, in a nice town, in a nice house, with things and stuff and whatnots.

It can happen to you.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. My six figure job wasn’t supposed to go away, and we were not supposed to be living off a supplemental income. We were supposed to be getting a new boiler and upgraded plumbing and perhaps paying off my maternity leave. We were going to head to California to visit with family and friends. I was one week away from buying tickets.

Instead, I am trying my best to keep my head above water.

My children don’t know because they are too little, and my husband doesn’t quite understand because he believes it will just work itself out. He doesn’t get that I am the one that is working it out.

This past week I have spent about 20 hours registering/applying and verifying information for us to go onto food assistance benefits. SNAP and WIC.

GULP.

I am now someone who has taken assistance from the government beyond unemployment. And I can’t tell anyone about it. Because I am embarrassed. Because I see the Facebook posts every day commenting on the state of welfare, and who takes that assistance and what do they really buy with it.

I can tell you, my family cannot live on $3.87 a day per person per meal. We just can’t. SNAP is not meant for that, it is meant to be supplemental. However, my husband’s paycheck goes to everything else we need to survive. Not food.

Make no mistake, I make the same judgement too. I’m privileged. I went to a great four year college. I live in Fairfield County. I have two cars. I have my kids in daycare. I have highlights!

And it is all a facade.

I look for a position 10-12 hours a day. Chirpily marketing myself on LinkedIn, posting great family photos on Facebook, re-Tweeting inspirations. I make calls and have to take a deep breath and hold a smile while I talk so I don’t sound sad or depressed or angry. I respond to jobs, reach out to recruiters, talk on the phone all day, pulling myself up one hurtle from another. Sounding fantastic, happy, perky, and inspirational. I am so excited to talk to you, let me help you. Let me be a part of your life. Let me.

Let me find a position that will take me off of SNAP and off of WIC and off of energy assistance because someone really less fortunate than I am deserves it. Because I don’t deserve it. I somehow screwed up and am here.

During my severance, I got my salary which was awesome, and we cut a couple expenses. Then unemployment and we cut some more. Then the tax return was really high, so we got to breathe a bit, then I sold some stock shares from a former company.

We are looking at one mortgage payment away from we can’t afford to live in this house. We’ve opened up credit cards and transferred balances. I’ve put all my former 401K’s into a pile and started figuring out what we need to take out with huge penalties to survive for the rest of the year. I have asked for a bridge loan from my folks to just keep our phones on so we can keep up appearances.

A couple weeks ago, our car tire blew. $250. Normally, that’s a non issue. $250 would be a weekend of expenses; dinners out, cocktails and maybe a movie. $250 now is a chunk of change.

It can happen to you.

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9 Responses to It Can Happen to You

  1. Avatar
    Erica February 18, 2016 at 9:44 AM #

    Would love to help.

  2. Avatar
    K. Seaman February 18, 2016 at 11:06 AM #

    Common required verifications for TANf/SNAP/Medicaid assistance:

    – Enumerations: SSN Cards for all, birth certificates for all, Photo ID’s for adults. They may or may not have an ID form for the kids.

    – Household member verification – they may or may not require what we call a “third party statement” to have someone outside home verify the people who live there.

    – Shelter costs – current copy of mortgage bill, property tax, homeowner’s insurance.

    – Utility costs – copy of all current utility bills. We count electric, gas, water, trash, telephone.

    -⁠ Daycare costs -⁠ verification of monthly daycare copay.

    – Earned Income – at least one month (last 30 days) of all current paystubs for all jobs. If you recently left a job, verification of end date, reason for leaving, and last month of paystubs will likely be requested. If possible, ask employer for a letter verifying this information (faster option) or the agency will likely have an Employment Verification form for you to sign, which is then sent off to the employer for verification (the slower option). If your company posts employee verifications through an employment verification site, such as The Work Number, request they update it if you have ended employment recently.

    – Unearned Income – verification of any financial support currently being received, or if on unemployment- verification of weekly amount. If that ended recently, verification of end date of benefit.

    – Any other programs – such as utility assistance, WIC – current verification.

    Also, check with your local agency to find out about any other assistance programs available, such as daycare copay assistance, shelter assistance, utility assistance, WIC, etc.

    Once you have assistance, be sure to report any changes timely. If you have a dedicated caseworker, ask if you can contact them directly via phone, email, fax and obtain these numbers. Keep in mind caseworker assignment may change, so also obtain a list of general contact info, such as agency call center, main fax, agency email.

  3. Avatar
    Cassidy February 22, 2016 at 11:00 AM #

    Oh momma, I’m sorry you are here. My husband was laid off three times within five years (we started to joke he was the kiss of death to companies) but I can honestly say each and every time is has lead to something better. Blessings in disguise they say-it didn’t always happen right away but I can look back now and say that going through those terrible times was a tipping point towards positively in our life.

    I am throwing out every ounce of positive energy your way and hope you find something soon. You sound like a very smart and capable woman, thank you for sharing your perspective and hopefully opening some other individual’s minds.

    • Fairfield County Moms Blog
      Fairfield County Moms Blog February 24, 2016 at 12:55 PM #

      Thanks for your positive response!

  4. Avatar
    Rochelle February 23, 2016 at 3:12 PM #

    This is difficult. Not a position any of us want to be in. This hits home for me. I can relate as I found myself in the same position when my husband died. I remember thinking what every one else I thought “was thinking”. The worse of me. I had to be on child care assistance program. My kids qualified for medicaid, so we had that also, this way I could afford food and other necessities. My son was in and out of the hospital all the time due to severe asthma/eczema/allergies…Talk about a blessing to not have to worry about medical bills at that time. People who really loved me and my boys knew and always told me “I am doing the best I can for the position I am in” And that’s the POINT right there. I am not on it anymore. No need. I did not use and abuse it. I used it out of the necessity of my family at that time. That was a season. This is your season. You will not be on any assistance for long. USE what you can to get You through the situation. There are people who use and abuse and this has given the stereotype. Its easy for me to talk about now, now that I am not on it. But I know at the time….I didn’t tell anyone, unless I knew I could trust you. {side note: I remember being at church listening to a mom bickering about people on assistance. I knew she was not worthy to know my situation with the judgment she passed so quickly. And yet her and her family get farmers assistance for their farm?}
    Much Love to you and all the other families who are faced in situations that can seem so humiliating, yet what a blessing we have programs in our nation to help us through. Including the farmers.

    • Fairfield County Moms Blog
      Fairfield County Moms Blog February 24, 2016 at 12:54 PM #

      Thank you so much for sharing your story!

  5. Avatar
    Kari January 5, 2017 at 9:41 PM #

    Thank you for sharing…. we are living this right now! It sucks but I might need to hit assistance offices soon!

    • Fairfield County Moms Blog
      Fairfield County Moms Blog January 5, 2017 at 9:46 PM #

      You got this and always know you are never alone!

  6. Avatar
    Momma February 18, 2017 at 8:35 AM #

    I know you might be embarrassed but please get in contact with your schools social worker. Not only might your children need someone to talk to about the new and changing situation but they can help you find more assistance (sometimes faster because they know who exactly to talk to). They are discreet.

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