In the last post, Tips for Homeless People- Part one I pointed out the first five tips that you should consider when working with the Department of Human Services. I know firsthand how this process can be alarming and humiliating. It’s not fun to talk about either but I hope that through my experiences I am able to help you to save you time and frustration.
Here are 5 more tips:
- Medicaid does require birth certificates. I do not know exactly why that is but this program does. If you lost your birth certificate and you are in the same state that you were born, it is likely that the social services system can locate your birth certificate through an internal system. If not, they CAN process your paperwork without it to get you immediate care but you will be turned off in somewhere around 45 days if you do not bring in the necessary documents.
- If you receive Child Support, it is my recommendation that you do not get a welfare check. It is a waste of time, and you are adding more noses into your business than necessary. It depends on how much money you receive but if you report it, they will just take the support. You may as well just get the CS, and factor that into your income while you are looking for employment. In other words the welfare system is designed to take the child support check to recoup the government’s money. If there is no financial benefit in getting the welfare check, and only you would know if you can do without it, then you may want to choose wisely to avoid unnecessary time spent, paperwork handling, and systems processing.
- Remember that this is temporary. The little bit of benefits you get cannot take care of you, it just keeps you above losing your mind. They don’t owe you anything, it’s help! Regardless of what you go through now, there is a reason that you are going through all of this. I can’t tell you why, but I understand having to work through the process. Stay focused. If nothing else it will make you a more well rounded compassionate, supportive person. I wanted to slap somebody every time this was said to me so forgive me if it is cliche’- ish. Truthfully, I still don’t really understand why I experienced what I did but there were some sure things that I learned. I do believe that we all have individual messages from God just or us when we experience trials and tribulation. Whether you’re applying for a welfare check, food stamps or medical assistance, these services will help you while you work on the details of your whole life, so that you can be stable and go back into society the way that you want to.
- Residency- Many times they will ask you where you slept the night before. Your default answer, cannot be in the car, because you have to beware that they will attempt to report you if you have children. I would not trust anyone who has a mandatory reporting responsibility attached to their job. I normally don’t curse but I will here. Where you slept last night is a dumb ASS question for a homeless person. If a friend who lives in Virginia says you can stay there Friday, but somebody in DC say you can stay there Sunday, and someone in Maryland says you can stay with them on Wednesday, it should not matter. They do this to try to avoid helping you. They will give you a spill about Federal requirements blah blah blah… In my opinion, you should simply reiterate that you are homeless and you stay wherever you can. They have to help you, but you can not go in there bearing your soul. The more you talk, the more talk yourself out of help. Period. This does not mean that there are not good workers, but often times you are in a position where you don’t know how to get the help that you need, and they are focused on a series of questions to categorize you. They are sometimes called interviewers, and that is exactly what they are doing. Remember that the questions are to build a case, period. It is an assessment whether you realize it or not. Your answers determine whether they think that you have an emergency situation or not. There is only one problem. Regardless of what there assessment says, they don’t know if you’re one week or one day from giving up. Do not be moved by this system, it is only useful if you can navigate through it to get help so that you can have a starting point again.
- Assets- We are living in a time where people have lost their businesses, homes, and other valuable assets. Your car is NOT an asset, it is a liability. The only thing that I was able to keep when I lost everything was my car, and it was my bed sometimes. I am not telling you what you should or should not mention when you go to Human Services, however what I am saying is that your car is NOT an asset. My mom told me about this lady that fell on hard times but she had her car before falling on hard times, and she sued social services in court and won. They denied her claims for disability and other help because they said her car was worth too much money and she needed to sell it. Likewise, a shelter suggested that I sell my car because it was worth more than $1500 but by selling it I would still owe on the loan because of the depreciation. Do NOT fall victim to the opinions of others. Remember that at the end of the day you have to make sure that your choices align with the vision for your life. I would also add that if you are afraid of getting a job because the job will not be enough to sustain you, and your fear is being terminated from all of your benefits, ask your worker during your initial application consultation what the income limits are. Some workers may tell you to just report everything however, some jurisdictions are different and it’s plain on paper. For example, you may not have to report your income if you make less than a certain amount which means that you could keep your benefits the same and still work while you look for your dream job to take care of your family. When you find the right job, you will no longer need the benefits.
Take your time, breathe. Your time is coming. When advocating for services, keep your peace, and your calm. Be strong and assertive. Remember to state what your situation is, and they have to take you for what it is. If you’re sleeping on couches, staying wherever you can. Just say that.
*Please stay tuned for more tips in the next blog covering your Homeless status and Subsidized Housing.