Wednesday, July 8, 2009
young, single females need not apply
Jamie and I had a frustrating day recently and I'd like to tell you about it, but first I want to say that I am usually a very friendly, helpful person to most people I meet. I hate that I sound racist from time to time, but like Bill always says, it is what it is.
At any rate, today is my last day of employment with the insurance company, which means my benefits end tonight at midnight. My 20 year old has recently had some medical and dental issues arise, and while it was easy to include her on my coverage before (she was still in HS) it won't be that easy getting her on again unless she enrolls in college. For that reason, I took her down to the social services office. Mostly I wanted her to apply for medical coverage, but there was also a chance that they'd help her with rent & food, since she hasn't been able to find work since Last December.
I have no moral issues with providing Jamie with food, clothing, shelter, medicine, personal grooming products, bus passes and insurance, BUT I just don't have enough money, at least not right now. I had some savings that ran out two weeks ago and so far I've been able to keep food in the house, but my other payments are starting to fall behind.
While in the office, we happened to notice that most of the recipients were workers that were brought into our city three years ago to work at the Olymel plant - Sudanese, and Mexicans, as well as a few women who were disabled, and a couple men who looked like they were about sixty. There was a girl in her early twenties who had large, intricate tattoos on both arms, and a trashy looking couple who reeked of weed.
The M.O. for applications is to call a number from the bank of phones along the wall and submit an application to Social Workers who tell you up front whether you qualify or not.
The woman Jamie got was pretty flippant. "Do you have children?" she asked.
"Well then. You'd better get out there and start looking for a job then." Click.
Yikes. So if Jamie was a drug dealer wearing diamond earrings, or a girl with $4,000 in ink, she might qualify? Because those people were getting cheques every month based on conversations overheard. Jamie might have made a mistake giving up her position last fall, but she has to survive even if she is a 20 year old having a difficult time finding work. I think that the woman on the phone didn't believe that she was actually looking, but I'm the one that drives her around to look.
Bill and I can't even find a job, and we're both excellent employees with tons of experience and excellent work records. She's going to appeal.
On the way home, she was saying, "You know, I'm starting to get it. I always thought you guys were a bit discriminatory, but after dealing with the system a few times you get to see what everyone else complains about. Apparently I need to be a single mom or an immigrant to get any help."
It's sad, but it's true.