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girlofscience's avatar

Would you ever go on food stamps or some other related form of government assitance if you fell on hard times?

Asked by girlofscience (7532points) August 7th, 2008

In Jeannette Walls’ memoir The Glass Castle, her extremely poor family refused to ever make themselves a “charity case,” as they claimed would happen upon using government assistance.

What makes people decide it is appropriate for them to use such forms of assistance? Does it have to do with pride? Laziness?

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13 Answers

tinyfaery's avatar

I’ve had hard times. I never sought public assistance because of the huge hassle. But it was just me—no family, no kids. I might have done differently had I been responsible for the lives of others.

SuperMouse's avatar

I would absolutely go on government assistance if I fell on hard times. It is there as a safety net for families when they need help. I would accept the assistance and work as hard as I could to improve my circumstances so that I wouldn’t need it indefinitely. I think some people, like Tiny Faery, don’t want to deal with the paperwork and others might feel ashamed. I see no shame in needing help, everyone needs help at one time or another.

jasongarrett's avatar

Absolutely. I’ll swallow my pride if that’s what it takes to keep my family fed.

loser's avatar

I would! I’ve paid onto it long enough!

lindabrowne1's avatar

I would. . .at 59 years’ old, self-employed my whole life, making decent money—two years ago I fell on hard times—used all of savings for surgery co-pays and medical expenses. Now I am applying for social security disability. It doesn’t feel bad. . .it feels right on, because, as @loser said, we pay into the system and it is there for us. Yes, it is a hassle sometimes but I think worth it.

marissa's avatar

If I had to use government assistance to feed and house my family I would, but I would do everything I could to get myself out of that situation and back on my feet. I would not let my children go hungry because of my misplaced pride. However, with that being said, I would not use the system just because I qualified, I’d use it only if I actually needed it. (Technically, I could be getting money from the government right now, but we certainly don’t need it, so I won’t take it.) It isn’t ‘free’ it comes from taxes and that money doesn’t just appear with a wave of a governmental magic wand. Since I’m already on my soap box, I will also say that I think more people have to take care of each other, rather than leave it to the government. I’m teaching my children that we all have a choice to make, we can either help take care of each other or only concern ourselves with ourselves. When we go to the grocery store, I have them pick out something they would like to have in our cupboards, we get it and then donate it, so that some other child in need can have it to eat. There are several other similar things that we do.

marissa's avatar

Linda, I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties. Your situation is what the system is there for. I wish you the best.

dalepetrie's avatar

I think it’s a part of our American culture to think if you can’t make it in the land of opportunity, you’re not trying. I think however that discounts reality and is essentially passing judgement on something to which you can not relate. So there’s a stigma, and I’ve known a lot of people who thought they were “too proud”. Indeed, I personally would do everything I could before resorting to that, but if you have no way to feed and shelter your family, letting pride stand in the way is ridiculous.

marissa's avatar

I agree wholeheartedly Dale

buster's avatar

Hell yeah. Food stamps are like free money. When I first moved to Oregon I had a hard time finding a job and I moved out there with only $800 to my name. Times got lean for me quick. I applied and got a foodstamp debit card worth $156 a month. I had plenty to eat then. It lasted a couple months until I got a job. They adjusted for my income and I got $10 a month after getting a job. A couple months later I got a raise and they cut it out completely. I needed it, used it until I got on my feet then moved on. I didn’ t lie about my income so I could stay on the program or use when I could finally afford to live without it. I wasn’t ashamed someone would see me use it. No one can tell it looks like a debit card nowadays not actual paper stamps like they used to have.

I have abused it in the sense I have had neighbors in the past who where drug addicts. They would spend a whole welfare check in three days at the first of the month. All they had left is “stamp money.” Stamp money is money on your foodstamp card. Sometimes they let me use there foodstamp card. I would give them $40 and buy $80 or $100 in food on their card. What I just described goes on all the time and is illegal.

pekenoe's avatar

Certainly, I worked hard for 40+ years, paid taxes and SS. If I needed and qualified for help I would take it.

VS's avatar

I find no disgrace in accepting help when it is needed. The biggest disgrace to me is refusing help when it is available. Sometimes this is due to pride or some people see it as weakness to accept government assistance. Nope – I worked, paid taxes, never took anything from the gov and if I need it, I qualified, and it was available, I would take it. Short-term only.

mollydrew's avatar

I worked since I was 15 years old until I was 58 years old, I raised 4 children who were not my children, I luckily was able to care for my family. If my situation had been different and I needed help to feed my children or to keep them warm, ABSOLUTELY I would ask for help. MY CHILDREN ARE MORE IMPORTANT THEN MY PRIDE.

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