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.


  1. I do hope things get better for all three of you. I know it is a worry.

  2. Oh dear I hate reading these things - and yes its so sad but true. Do these people even realize there is an employment problem?? Here's hoping something good comes along for all of you very very soon.

  3. It's a hard spot to be in. My dad is an immigrant who came here many years ago and has been a citizen of the US since the early '80s. He never once asked for any handouts, but worked his ass off to provide for himself and his family. He's still working his ass off to care for us!

    It's difficult to see the system working for everyone but yourself. Especially when we've paid taxes for so many years and worked so hard for so long. You can sure as hell bet no one would be helping your daughter out if she moved to another country, the way we do here. It's one thing to help those in need, and another to give free handouts to those who certainly don't deserve them!

  4. I am SO sorry! Just a thought but the Hilton Reservations Center is setting up reservation centers in homes... meaning if that is a possibility where you live they would interview you, if successfull they would train and install the necessary equipment in your home... Just an idea.

  5. Is there any volunteer-ish work there? Chris worked at a food bank and picked up used needles in parks when he first got to Vancouver. It didn't pay much and it was only a couple of days a week but it kept him in food and smokes :-)

  6. It is the same over here Kate - and very frustrating

  7. So sorry to hear what you guys are going through. Unfortunately, those people who know how to work the system ruin it for those that really need the help. I'll be sending positive thoughts your way!

  8. That's tough for all of you. My husband was out of work for 2 years. It felt like an eternity. Experience and great work ethic don't seem to mean anything to employers anymore. Good luck to all of you. Hugs :)

  9. I am sad to read you are having to deal with this. You are in my thoughts and I am hoping that you will find what is needed immediately. I see people struggle with this and I am grateful no not be in that positition today. It can happen to anyone of us

  10. im sorry kate, i hope you and jamie have better luck appealling....times are tough!! hugs!

  11. I was in the car today getting off of the freeway with the kids. We were at the stoplight and I looked off to the side. There on the corner holding a cardboard sign was a cute woman in her mid to late 20's dressed in a little black velour running suit, and well put together. Her sign read "Single mother having a hard time. Please help me out if you are able. Thank you and God Bless." I was so choked up I could hardly drive. Here was someone who looked exactly like me. She could have easily been at the party I'm going to tonight. And there she was on the corner asking for help while I was driving by. I have no idea why fate hands us the cards it does I just hope that there are enough people out there that are like you and I that are honest and really try. Hopefully when we're in need someone is able to help us out in turn.

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  13. Hey Kate, everything OK? Not so many posts from you lately.

  14. I have no idea why you think tattoos or race should disqualify someone from receiving benefits they've paid into (having tats myself, being a very hard-working individual who always moved about the world with extremely high ethics).

    Meanwhile, one of my elder sisters works for the "system" you describe and she also regularly complains about unfairness -- how immigrants (who are not Americanized) from all skin colors consume so many of our tax dollars as recipients of welfare, etc.

    That gal with the tattoos you described my have been happily married to a Seventh-day Adventist preacher who molested her siblings (as happened to me) so she suddenly finds herself as a single parent trying to make ends meet on a job that barely pays more than minimum wage. {{You just never know someone's story}}.

    Be thankful for the lessons your Jamie is learning from all of this. Life has certainly taught me that if I don't plan for myself -- take care to pull myself up by my own bootstraps -- nobody else is going to be able to do it. It's a powerful lesson: the necessity of independence.

  15. That is one of the sad facts about this country. The way it is set up, huge groups of people are just left outside the door with zero help---as far as I'm concerned, those people are just as worthy and justified in the help----but left out to fend for themselves. Wishing you a solution, soon rather then later!

  16. ST - One of the reasons I took Jamie was for that learning, but you have to know the whole story. Thousands in tats, Blackberry, name brand clothes & shoes, hundreds spent on gel tips and streaks for her shouldn't be able to live like a Rock Star one day and collect benefits the next. Can you say fraud?

    Hi Lou - yes, thank you! I was taking a break and trying to make money on a buy & sell site. Thanks for asking. *hugs*