So today I had yet another appointment at the Department of Social Services that made my palms sweat and my throat close up. Once again, the person on the other side of the desk was looking at me like I was running a scam and treating me like a second class citizen, before taking the time to properly assess me or my situation.
This stuff makes me crazy. He asks, “so where is your husband?” I reply, “we seperated nearly four months ago, he is not a part of this household.”
He says, “you are claiming the children? All three children?” I say, “yes.” He says, “you’ve only got one with you.” I say, “the other two are in school.” “Oh,” the man says.
Later in the conversation, “I’m going to need your latest pay stub.” I respond, “I work on call so my pay stubs aren’t a fair indication of what I can really expect to make each week, I worked full time in my last pay period but the time before that I worked less than forty hours in two weeks. What I have is a statement of my average pay over three months…”
He cuts me off. “I’m going to need that last pay stub.”
The interview suddenly gets a lot shorter and I get booted out of the cubicle with a printout reading if I don’t give up my last pay stub I lose my benefits. This has happened at every single quarterly review.
I’m poor. I realize I’m poor. And I realize that I, in part, chose to be this poor. I chose to be a single mom, that is true. I chose to do so knowing that I would be “taking advantage” of the American Taxpayer in order to do so. But I’m also not trying to stay on the dole for the rest of my life. I am using the opportunity afforded to me by Joe Public in order to better myself and my children and move forward. But yet, the average social worker appears to look at me as just another woman who is gaming the system to keep from having to work full time.
So, yet again, I’ll go back tomorrow, at a different time of day, and ask to speak to someone else. And I’ll give them the printout of my average pay, and explain the situation, and they’ll apologize and wish me luck with my life.
And I’ll use the taste of bile in my mouth as fuel to get me through the hard days ahead.
This is not going to be my life forever.
My children won’t be raised to believe that this is part of “normal” for us.
One of these days I’ll be rich enough to resent paying taxes, by God. I’ll be rich enough to resent it, but I won’t.