Thursday, July 26, 2012
Question and Answer Time- Goverment Goodies
Q: If you are a conservative, why do you push food stamps and welfare? If you can't afford kids, you shouldn't have them.
A: Because it is there, and it can mean the difference between eating beans and rice three times a day, or worse, such as flour gruel; and vegetables and other proteins. Because kids are accident prone, and need insurance, and too many companies won't let Grandma and Grandpa get them some. Because Grandpa's pension doesn't always have enough money to buy the grandbabies school clothes and supplies.
These are not planned children in the household of their parents. These are children who for one reason or another can't cannot live with their own parents, either parent. Their grandparents might need a helping hand until they can figure this out. They are saving the taxpayers as well as state and federal agencies millions of dollars in foster care money in the long run.
There are some states where the law and procedure dictate that grandparents MUST apply for TANF, food stamps and some form of Medicaid/ Kid Care for the grandchildren of whom they have custody. It is mandatory because then the child support system of that state attempts to collect child support for the grandchildren. There the grandparents have no choice. If they want custody, they must do as their state bids them to do. I'm not saying it works, as from my own experience, I know it doesn't. I'm saying it's sometimes required to get anywhere with child support.
These grandparents or other family members are not Lulubelles and Juniors trying to get what they can out of the System, then starving the kids and sending them out half-naked. The Lulubelles and Juniors no longer have custody, nor do their spouses or significant others. Grandma, Grandpa, or even Aunt and Uncle, suddenly have the responsibility of a child, or a group of children.
I recommend such grandparents who are raising grandkids take help from all the sources that can help them, if they need it. This would include local food pantries, clothes closets, churches, Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul Societies, and other private charities, along with the local public schools and anybody else who sees fit to assist them fairly and equitably.
The government funds in question don't go to Grandma and Grandpa. They go to the kids. Legally, the guardian of the child or children is known as a representative payee or RPY. Grandma and Grandpa have to account for those funds, either through the government agency from which they collect the money and goods, or to the court that has jurisdiction over the grandchildren. It is tighter scrutiny than simply being a custodial parent. When the Mister and I were guardians, we had to bring report cards, and the children themselves, to court once a year, so the judge could see they were well-fed and not abused, as well as an accounting of every dime we spent on them.
One of the things I will do if I ever win the lottery is set up an organization that gives grants to grandparents raising grandkids, for everything from emergency beds to reasonable vacations. Until that time comes- and it's not likely, as I don't play the lottery on a consistent basis, which means twice a year or less- I recommend grandparents raising grandkids utilize all possible resources available to them, in an effort to keep their precious grandchildren from harm.