Tuesday, January 03, 2012

California comes up with an ingenious way to fix its mistakes

CalWORKS recipients losing due to parent payments
California's CalWORKS welfare program is meant to help the state's neediest families. The cash assistance, usually a few hundred dollars a month, is available only to people with children who have trouble meeting basic needs such as housing, food, clothing and medical care.

One of those people is Fresno County resident Clarence Ayers, who receives $334 each month to help raise his 14-year-old great-granddaughter, Irene. So Ayers was shocked when officials informed him in July that they would be cutting Irene's monthly stipend to make up for nearly $3,000 CalWORKS mistakenly paid her mother more than a decade prior, some of it before Irene was born.
These officials are making a child financially responsible for their mistakes. The amount that her great-grandfather was receiving for her each month wasn't even enough to raise a child down here in Louisiana. With the cost of living in California, I don't know how they were managing to survive. As if that's not tough enough, now they are slashing that because she happens to be related to someone that they claim owes them money. If you read the rest of the article, you'll find out that it's even worse than that. The state won't even tell them why they've decided that her mother, who was a child at the time, was overpaid.

This is why I am saving so that my daughter can travel after graduating from high school. She needs to see what life is like in other places. I can't let her live her life with this stupid belief that "Amurika is da best nation on the planet!" This is certainly not the best that the world has to offer, not by a long shot.

My aunt came to the United States to try and live here for a few years while her youngest daughter is in college here. She was so miserable that she returned to Cochabamba in less than a year. My sister just moved back to Japan for a while. She plans to come back, but she needed a break so that she could go home and get some much needed health care and to work and save up enough money to supplement the lousy pay that she makes as a music teacher and as a chef at a small restaurant in New Orleans. One couple that I'm friends with are thinking about how they can save up enough money to return to the homeland of the women, because it's next to impossible for a transgender woman to find legal employment in the good ol' state of Louisiana.

I could go on and on. It seems like anyone with options is getting out of here like birds before a hurricane. I don't blame them. I'm just about at the point where I'm about ready to do the same.

It's a bitter feeling, because I was raised to be proud that I come from a people that have survived here for thousands of years. The idea of leaving fills me with guilt. If things get worse after I'm gone, would it be, at least partly, because I abandoned the land? I feel as if I should be willing to stay here and just find some way to make a life for myself and my family no matter how bad conditions become. After all, my life isn't even close to being as difficult as what some people in this country are forced to deal with.

1 comment:

Aaminah said...

I feel you so hard. Of course I can't really go anywhere for a few more years anyway. Although that somewhat depends on who the next President is... I mean, hard decisions may have to be made for sheer survival. But as an indigenous womyn, it is especially hard to make those decisions. I think of all the people I have had so much respect for, freedom fighters in their own country, who later make the decision to leave their home to come here. Some of them go back better off later. Many feel stuck here and ashamed to return home with nothing to show for their perceived abandonment of home. A part of me wondered at what could make them leave lands and families they were so clearly tied to by heart strings. But I am beginning to really understand the need for escape. The need to save ourselves by whatever means we can. But abandoning the land is one of the hardest parts of it for me.