Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Taboo of Government Assistance

So I have wanted to write this post for awhile. I just don't want anyone to ever feel like they can't get help if they ever need it. Some bloggers I have read in the past have put a taboo on government assistance and it upsets me because sometimes that is the only resource a person has. And they shouldn't feel shame or guilt for taking that assistance.

I definitely have some coupon and budget bloggers that I love. I read them faithfully and I have saved a lot of money over the years. But more than once they have talked about government assistance. How they have never gone on assistance and how they used budgeting and coupons to stay afloat. And that they knew God would take care of them, so they didn’t want to get any kind of assistance.

Here’s the thing…maybe that assistance is one of the avenues God provides. I have been broker than broke. Laid off…homeless. I have lived on the couches of friends and family. You don’t realize how easy it is to go from middle class to damn near poverty. Just take away a few paychecks and you’re there. I lost my job and I had very little savings. I was a single parent at the time. So sure I had to learn to budget and cut back. But I also learned to humble myself and walk right into Social Services with my head held high!

Government assistance is not a cop out. It’s there for a reason. And sure some people abuse the system – but there will always be those kind of people. It shouldn’t stop or shame those of us who really need help from getting it.

If you have zero income there is no amount of budgeting or couponing that is going to help. You need real help! There is no reason anyone should go hungry in this country. There are just too many resources out there. Forget pride – forget what other people think. If there comes a time in your life that you need help…take it. You earned it. Because all those tax dollars you have paid and will pay again – they help fund those government assistance programs.

I was surprised by all the resources out there. I had no idea. Some of those resources I needed then, and some I still need now like childcare assistance.

Check your local government’s website – or stop by the nearest Social Services office.

Some of the resources may include:
  • Family shelters
  • Battered Women’s Shelters
  • Food Stamps
  • Food Pantries
  • Housing Assistance
  • Childcare Assistance
  • Free after-school care
  • Camp Scholarships for the kiddos
  • Church outreach programs
  • Temporary Financial Assistance
  • Assistance with Heating/Cooling Bills
  • Christmas and Thanksgiving – Food and gifts
  • Free or reduced school lunches
  • Car Donation
  • Baby Formula
Some of these resources are available even when you have a decent income. My family is a one income family. I could never afford daycare in my area on top of all my other expenses. Thankfully I qualify for assistance and only pay a small portion of what I would have been paying for childcare.

My point really is that too many people look down on others who take advantage of government assistance. But I don’t want anyone to be going through a rough patch and not to reach out for that help because of pride or fear of ridicule. And don’t think just because you have a paycheck that you shouldn’t need help. If you are struggling to make ends meat and provide for your children – reach out.

And of course once back on your feet it is great to take advantage of couponing, budgeting and bulking up your savings.And to give back your time and resources to others who are in the same boat you use to be in.

Do you have any positive or negative experiences with public assistance?


Post a Comment