Reader Rant: the View of a Food Stamp Worker

by on January 12, 2010 · 35 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, San Diego

foodstampcouponsEditor: This was sent to us as a comment from an anonymous food stamp worker to this article posted back in February of 2009. We wanted to elevate it so more would see it.

by a food stamp worker

I would just like to clear up a few things. I am one of those horrible Food Stamp workers some of you like to complain about, so I do know a little bit about the subject. The rules for FS are created by the Federal Government, not case workers. Please do not blame us for doing our job.

I, like you, need my job, and breaking the rules will cause me to be fired.

Food Stamps does not care what color you are, that has no bearing, it’s only income. I would like to point out that nobody is “entitled” to benefits, people might ‘qualify’, but free food is not a right. Case workers are human, overworked, tired, stressed, they do make mistakes, if you think one has been made, appeal, the number is on the back of the Notice of Action.

The income that we are required to use is Gross, not the net.

For instance, my gross is $1906 biweekly, my net is $988. It’s not uncommon for me to see people with paychecks just like mine screaming that they only have $1800 to live on, when their gross is much higher because they have 401k, deferrred comp, meals, tips, even money directly deposited into a savings account. (Which they tend to forget to report).

I agree, the $2000 property limit is ridiculous, but that’s why they exempt cars. They know it’s not possible to make that property limit with a car. Really, the $2000 just means money in the bank that you have access to. Someone posted a list of property, yeah, you have a lump sum. We expect you buy food, you have stocks and bonds.  If I were hungry, you betcha I would cash them in and feed my family. And my bank account goes down to less than $20 before every payday.  I wouldn’t expect someone to give me free food just so I could keep my bank account fat, I use that money to feed my family.

I know that the drug felon rules are hard on some people and some really don’t deserve to have it that hard, but the history of FS shows that many drug felons misuse their FS, sell them for cash to buy drugs, etc. We are not “doing this to your 5 year old” – you did this to yourself, nobody made you be a drug felon.

And that whole thing about the investigator going out, that only happens if there has been previous fraud or you’ve actually lied to us in an interview. I, personally, have never had to send one out. So whoever says that’s happened to them, well, that would be because of the fraud you commited before, once you lie to us, we don’t believe you anymore, and we DO document everything.

One of the other interesting things about FS which really has nothing to do with anything, is that many people use their FS in ways we would not expect. We have clients that use all of their FS in mini markets, 7-11 stores, etc, where a gallon of milk is twice the price of a normal grocery store and/or they buy prime rib, lobster, crab, imported cheeses, etc. with their FS. I watch them all the time in the grocery store, then they call us and tell us that they are out and need more.

And lastly, having someone crying because their children are starving makes you feel pretty bad, until you see them in the store buying a carton of Marlboros an hour later.

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

yippiereborn January 12, 2010 at 4:15 pm

“Food Stamps does not care what color you are, that has no bearing, it’s only income. I would like to point out that nobody is “entitled” to benefits, people might ‘qualify’, but free food is not a right. Case workers are human, overworked, tired, stressed, they do make mistakes, if you think one has been made, appeal, the number is on the back of the Notice of Action.”

many of the complaints people have about food stamps relate directly to this comment. Firstly, many people who are denied benefits for unknown reasons believe there is a racial stigma attached. Maybe its not true with this case worker, but there have been enough people who make the complaint that it has to be considered legitimate in some circumstances.

Also judging by this article, there is clearly a lack of understanding by case workers as to why the program exists in the first place. the federal government believes that everyone should have access to healthy food, thus the food stamps program exists for the lowest-income households who can’t afford it on their meager incomes. so yes, it is a right, and , no, not everyone qualifies for it – only the poorest segment of our population.

Clearly, someone applying for food stamps for the first time has to overcome this case worker’s own misrepresentation of them from the get go. Most food stamp recipients are not “…someone crying because their children are starving” who is going to go and buy “a carton of Marlboros an hour later”, but judging by this article, that is the way each new applicant is perceived when they walk in the door.

Theres nothing on here about why California has more strict rules and regulations than every other state, and why San Diego County remains DEAD LAST in ELIGIBLE households receiving food stamps they qualify for. All it is is one county employee’s own biases about a job that should be held by someone with a little more class and humanity.

This is wholly offensive.


Corinth Butler October 15, 2021 at 3:50 am

It’s only offensive if you can’t see reality.


not a redneck in east county January 12, 2010 at 7:45 pm

you know, i feel like i had to go away and come back before i could comment on this because i was so upset, but it didn’t help. i’m still pissed.

my daughter applied for food stamps after she had her baby. someone came to her house and did an inspection, she had not committed a “previous fraud” or lied on her interview. what is there to lie about if you have nothing?

almost every other month they send her a letter that tells her they are going to stop her benefits because of some stupid bureaucratic nonsense that they say she has neglected to do, some paper she didn’t supply, which then leads to numerous phone calls only to find out “ooops, their mistake! so sorry!” it is a constant battle. they don’t document everything, it seems they only document the things that will cause someone to be denied and seem to lose everything that proves someone is eligible.

you said “my gross is $1906 biweekly, my net is $988”, this must be a typo or you need to check your w-4. $1906 biweekly… i wish i made that much money, if i did my daughter wouldn’t have had to apply for assistance. maybe making that much money can make you insensitive to the very people you are supposed to be trying to help.


processor August 22, 2014 at 2:13 am

I’m a processor too. My net biweekly is around $850. I know my gross is nowhere near $1906.


Adam January 13, 2010 at 9:03 am


Burn-out happens. It is hard to remain ‘sensitive’ to the deluge of similarly affected, needy persons. Simply put, we can not do enough. But can we do more?

Data alone indicates San Diego County can do better. Yes, there are those who ‘work’ the system, but such systems of social service would not exist without validity. Food Stamps do exist so that people have access to food. Just as it is a horrid shame for a parent to deny their infant their right to food (this is severe neglect, and an undeniable criminal offense), it is no less shameful for San Diego County’s seeming ambivalence about the hunger needs of it’s citizens.

Chronic hunger yields irritability, depression, motivational apathy, and desperation enough to motivate one toward crime. Does denying felons food make our community any more safe? Do hungry persons make the best impression, on job interviews that could liberate them from their financial dependence?

My work is not financially rewarding. I live ‘month to month,’ and am not eligible for Food Stamps. Anonymous writer, I envy your salary, but not your persepctive. It must be difficult to do your work, with so little compassion for those you are employed to help. I sincerely wish you a more egalitarian perspective, and greater work-satisfaction.

We can all do better.


Shelly January 13, 2010 at 3:53 pm

I echo many of the comments made above. The negative attitude and stereotyping displayed by this county case worker’s rant, must make it difficult for him/her to interview potential food stamp beneficiaries in an unbias way. I truly hope that this case worker was ranting out of frustration and is able to leave those biases at home when he/she goes to work.

By wrongfully denying food stamp recipients (out of error, frustration, or lack of care), affects everyone living in San Diego. Many people are neither case workers, nor families seeking benefits, but food stamp benefits affects their every day lives. The USDA reports that for every $1 spent in food stamps, the local economy is stimulated by $1.84. Everyone from farmers, to grocers and food transportation workers benefit when people are receiving and spending food stamps.

The federal government sets the guidelines for eligibility, but they also foot the bill for the benefits. By wrongfully denying food stamp eligible people, San Diego County is missing out on much needed stimulus dollars that are left on the federal table. Why not make use of this federal money to help our local economy, by encouraging anyone eligible to apply for food stamp benefits?

To learn more about food stamp eligibility call 2-1-1, San Diego’s social service referral line or view the County website at

If you believe you have been wrongfully denied food stamps call Legal Aid Society of San Diego at 1-877-LEGAL-AID (1-877-534-2524) for help.


Ron January 13, 2010 at 8:59 pm

I also am an eligibility worker for the County, although not in the Food Stamps program. I can tell you that the sick attitude of my co-worker here is not the majority view amongst us. But, hey, this is San Diego, remember? And guess what, about a third of the folks who work for the County (in all job classifications) are Republicans. Many of those people are decent on many issues, even pro-union (especially when any self-interest is involved). But some are outright tea baggers and morons.

The tone is set by the totally Republican County Board of Supervisors. No matter how much lip service they give to public service and human rights (like the rights of life, liberty, and happiness, which logically cannot exist without food) the people in charge of our County government really do think poor people are “less equal” (to borrow from George Orwell). This attitude does spread throughout the County workforce, to an extent.

What makes it NOT the majority attitude amongst County workers is the fact that we also get heaps of disrespect from our superiors, overworked to the point of LOTS of folks having health problems, and paid MUCH LESS than our counterparts in almost every other county in our state. So, we instinctively reject a lot of the garbage we hear from above us in the County hierarchy.

Correcting the effects of County workers with idiotic prejudices is more difficult in situations like Food Stamp applications because (1) the abuse comes down on an individual or a family or household and the victim(s) is not connected to others in the same situation and is forced to contend with appeals and such on their own, and (2) the victim is often already lacking resources to muster to fight back with.

Groups like the Welfare Rights Organization and Legal Aid Society need a lot more support (money and volunteer time) from the progressive community.

Food is a basic human right.


lane tobias January 14, 2010 at 9:05 am

Thanks Ron, for setting the record straight. It is the belief of many people, particularly some in the OB Rag community, that changes in the way County employees and executives view their jobs is directly correlated to the leadership. I know the County is doing somewhat of a good job looking into ways to increase food stamps participation, but maybe the biggest step will come when changes are made at the top.


steve billinghurst January 15, 2010 at 11:40 pm

by a food stamp worker wrote,
…whoever says that’s happened to them, well, that would be because of the fraud you commited before, once you lie to us, we don’t believe you anymore, and we DO document everything.

Michael Moore, in his movie, Sicko, covers this very notion of a supposed lie. In practice, the DENIAL mechanism is front-loaded to blow you out of the pool of qualified applicants forever. You shouldn’t have to worry about being denied because you lied. The system should pro-actively try to give away everything it has allotted for some good works, but it doesn’t. It’s vindictive.

As a food stamp worker, you could sit across the desk from someone and in all confidence assist them in applying while making sure that the final paperwork that goes in has all the proper information, rather than to antagonize, threaten and interrogate them, before you duck in the back and come out again with the denial determination in hand. The way the system is run, you hope they lie.

I do not get an overwhelming feeling of confidence trying to speak sotto voce to someone who is behind bulletproof glass.

In the health care field, another predatory American institution, a woman failed to disclose a previous yeast infection. Once she placed a claim, the staff went over her app until, compared with her doctor’s records, the discrepancy was discovered. Had she not seen a doctor about the earlier infection, they would have denied her since any “prudent” person would have sought treatment, and she did not. So, that is with or without documentation, a denial is still forthcoming.

San Diego is not inhospitable climatically, but to have cash to leave is a necessity, because this place is murder. The county wants to place the idea in your head that the destitute and homeless better pick up and move along.

During the interrogations, police repeatedly told Crowe they had evidence proving he killed Stephanie. No forensic evidence linking Crowe to the murder has been reported to have been found; it is legal for police to lie during interrogations.

Here’s another slant on lying. I just had to revisit the conviction of Richard Tuite. I have never thought they got the right man. They let him escape and everything. San Diego does have some of the most brutal killers in ever seen in world history—James Huberty, Andrew Cunanan, Brenda Spencer, Robert Alton Harris. I bear it a grudge. I have grievances. Hang in there, Brenda.

Steve B.


Nancy January 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm

As a former govt. worker myself, I can understand the food stamp worker’s lament to not be blamed for the program regulations she/he has to deal and the stress she/he deals with having heavy caseloads and not enough workers, BUT it sure sounds like there is an attitude problem also, as many have already mentioned.

The worker blames fed. regs but doesn’t seem to be aware that California, and San Diego Co. in particular, goes far beyond what the federal regulations require to PROCESS the applications, and someone has already mentioned that maybe the fact that our Co. Bd. of Supvs. is made up of all Republicans has something to do with that.

There was a December article in the Union-Tribune that brought out what our county does that only a couple other states require, plus other reports that I’ll refer to that indicate that our country is definitely putting our local food stamp applicants
“through the wringer” and shortchanging and denying those that do legitimately qualify. We all know that we live in a tourist town, which means that there are many retail and service jobs that pay little money, and that it can be hard to pay bills in our expensive city. That’s partly why programs like food stamps came into play. No one should be made to feel like a criminal for applying, or should it be assumed that they’ll buy something with them that this worker thinks they will, or that they’ll shop where groceries are more expensive. Couldn’t it be that maybe the applicant doesn’t have a car so can’t get to a less expensive grocery store, or that lugging a few bags of groceries on a bus to feed a family of 4, let’s say, might just be too hard to deal with?
The worker said “I watch them (the applicants) all the time.” when shopping. Does he/she shop at the non-grocery stores and does he/she follow them?

The facts are :
1) our county gets the money from the federal govt. for all the money paid to those eligible and partially pays, along with the state, for the co. workers’ salaries, and yet SD Co. spends 34% of gthe Food Stamps money it receives from the state on anti-fraud programs, while other counties spend an average of 13% of their resources.

2) SD Co. is the ONLY county in the U.S. to require that all applicants have unannounced home visits by a Dist. Atty. investigator, despite this having benefits or benefits reduced in only 1.3% of the cases. Think of the cost the investigators get paid.

3) California is one of only 3 states that require fingerprints for those eligible, and this costs $11.4 million a year while state auditors have revealed that there is no evidence that fingerprinting reduces fraud. The county can ask the state for a waiver to this rule.
4) $1.00 of Food Stamps generates $1.84 in economic activity ; $1.00 of FS generates up to $.47 spent in a grocery store; $1.00 of FS generates $2.25 in local taxes.

5) 2 million houselholds (about 6 million people) in CA go to bed hungry each night which is about 1 million, mostly children, in SD Co. in these current times.

6) SD Co. can hire more workers to ease the burden of the current workers,but they choose not to.

These are just of few things that this worker should be aware of, and they can be verified by looking at

I’d not like to be in a FS applicant’s position with this worker as his/her attitude would probably show.



Toni Botello February 9, 2010 at 12:29 pm

I was a food stamp worker for five years and I loved my job. I liked my clients and was happpy to help them whenever I could. In Texas, the data that we input into the computer program for food stamps determines whether anyone is eligible for food stamps or not. No information with regard to race, religion, color, national origin or sexual orientation is used to determine eligibility. What gives the clients that impression is the negative and sarcastic manner in which SOME food stamp workers treat their clients. I cannot, and will not , repeat comments that I have heard in the break room from the workers about their clients. Some people just should not work in this field. Sure, there are cheaters, bums and parasites among them, BUT the majority of the people who apply are honest folks just trying to make ends meet. We should all hold our judgement because there is no way that we can know all the facts of why someone lives the way they do.


Shelonda August 26, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Well said, Toni Botello. The caseworkers are sitting behind a desk 8 hours and have not idea what an applicant is going through or a client has had to endure just to get up to the food stamp office for an interview or provide the paperwork that they carelessly lose. People truly do perish for the lack of knowledge.


Nancy February 9, 2010 at 1:21 pm

Thanks for your comments, Toni. Sounds like you’d be a nice worker to be on the side of the desk when someone applies for benefits here.
You may have been following the articles that the Voice of San Diego has had in the last week regarding the FS and other needs-based programs that are here in California. Yesterday the U/T had the article about recommendations from the Caring Council and Supportive Parents Information Network (SPIN), but I seriously doubt that the County will deal with their suggestions. It appears that our county has some definite unfriendly roadblocks that the applicants have to put up with before they know if they are eligible or not. Other counties are more user-friendly. We should contact our Co. Bd. of Supvs. to see if they will act on the recommendations. OB’s rep is Greg Cox.


hippiereborn February 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm

I think based on the Bd. of Sups comments in those VOSD articles, SPIN is going to get the ol’ cold shoulder. Thank you Toni for verifying what many of us here in San Diego believe is a major problem…..on top of the many barriers most other states and even counties in California dont have in place.


Nancy February 10, 2010 at 1:16 pm

The issue is getting much attention; today KPBS’s “These Days” had an hour on the social services problems; the writer from Voice of Sand Diego was on along with a rep from a county agency that painted a nice picture of what the county is doing, but didn’t touch at all on why there are so many complaints about the way these programs are not working for so many. They also talked to a woman who told of her unsuccessful attempt to receive food stamps due to their not calling her back to reschedule one of the appts. You can go to to join in their dialogue.
In today’s U/T, Michael Stetz covered the food stamp problems also, highlighting how the county is losing out on so much federal dollars. He mentions how businesses are losing out, and he actually talked to a grocery stores about their trying to promote the program, but of course they can’t. Good article.
Tonight the Bd. of Supv. will report on the “state of the county”, and Gloria Penner from KPBS said that the spokesperson (think it’s Pam Slater) definitely should be addressing the issue since it’s been discussed now by the media. I would have loved to call in (not possible today) and mentioned the OB RAG coverage. We have to g et rid of the current Bd. of Supv. They are clueless.


Frank Gormlie February 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Nancy, thanks so much for helping us keep track of this issue. Keep on keepin on.


lane tobias February 10, 2010 at 2:32 pm

I second that Nancy. I actually got to listen to the piece as I was typing up notes on client meetings – as the radio segment wound down, I had to write in notes about a client who has been denied food stamps 4 times in her lifetime….each time unemployed and under the income limite, and for seemingly no reason at all. The client is appealing – but her story is obviously not unique.

Lori Saldana for Supervisor!


Cheryl May 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm

I am also an Income Maintenace Caseworker for the PA Dept of Public Welfare. I must say that I do agree with a good portion of the article. The worker was simply stating the truth about gross income, resources, breaking the rules,etc. I’m not sure about the drug felons and the lobster and steak. Anyway, I do like my job, but it is stressful. I have 1059 clients on my caseload, so it is overwhelming. I am an on-going worker (recertification, etc) and the only reason a person/family is denied benefits is if they are over the income limit or they do not comply by handing in the paperwork that is required or fail to have an interview for SNAP. I don’t have the power to close someone “just because”. I wish I had more time to write, but I am off to my third job as a part time factory worker. (second job is with the Air National Guard).


Greg Patrick December 28, 2012 at 7:55 am

Someone better read the rules on 401k. They have to be reported but cannot be counted until you can withdraw them without penalty. Same with other retirement plans. You can keep other items like stock, savings, checking, etc if the the total amount is under $2,000–under $3,000 for any disabled household member in your household. Also, the under $3,000 may also apply to seniors depending on your state. Houses are excluded. Cars very by state.


michele April 3, 2014 at 7:39 pm

I am disabled and I am outraged that I have to call and tell them every month that I did not receive my child support. I was shorted over 150$ in food stamps in the past 3 months. I was also wrongly denied medicaid. I this the 20% deduction for working people is unfair. I have all the same expenses as a working person plus added expenses due to being disabled. As a widowed disabled single mother I find social services unconcerned with the most vulnerable in society. They always have an excuse or blame it on a computer. I am sick and tired of the harassment. I am sick and disabled. I didnt ask for the love of my life to die or get a spinal disease. When you are disabled you are constantly harassed by citizens and the government. I am really tired of it.


Cheryl September 5, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Hi Michele,
I’m a caseworker in PA, so not sure how this works in your state. In PA, it is the responsibility of the client to report changes in income. I would have no way of knowing if any of my 1553 ongoing clients did not receive child support (or other income). While we do get alerts for some income from other parties (SSA, the VA, unemployment, earned income, etc.), child support is not one of them. When a client reports changes in income, we have 10 days to make that change which would affect their SNAP the following month.


Mindy June 2, 2014 at 4:31 am

People,who pay taxes are entitled to all public benefits! So don’t say that it’s my money I earned it so I say what is to be done with it.. I prefer it to be spent on the poor than wars and government vacations. Don’t diss people for being less fortunate instead study what the distribution of wealth is in huh is country


jazzyph June 26, 2014 at 12:36 am

If you didn’t report your monthly income but you caseworker finds out your working, what will happened. What , if you had to provide her additional informationand haven’t but she still continued your case and still recieving the same amount.. there should have been a decrease somewhere , I Know !


jazzyph June 26, 2014 at 12:40 am

Should , I stiil give her check stubs , although she did send in a verfication wage form to my current job , that I lied about not working at?


Shelonda August 26, 2014 at 4:56 pm

This caseworker obviously is a paycheck away like the people she cares nothing about assisting and her prebiased perception makes it effortless for her to ignorantly deny someone that may rob her later. Every one has their day to be on the other side. The grass isnt necessarily green on her side either on a mental note. I pity for her because the way times are this situation may hit close to home. What is most disappointing is that benefits are always successfully provided to those individuals or families who come into the office with pajamas on or half dressed, unemployed live in boyfriend dragging along, no motivation to work obviously because hes freeloading, mother frustrated at the kids who didnt ask to be born, cursing them out and slapping them around, while they take a chainsmoker break outside and tell others to tell them when the caseworker calls their number. Those are usually the ones that get benefits and the severance package that comes with it: a nice two story home rent free, $400 free food while their kids go hungry, free cellphones and a nice vehicle to drive in with their children’s child support or disability check. It use to be quite frustrating to deal with rude caseworkers( some dragging, displaying a runway show, belittling and being unnecessarily sarcastic to mannerable clients, while they hold a conversation with the boisterous ones), UNTIL I realized this program is meant to torment some and handicap others. Not all caseworkers are immoral and rude, but I’m sure there are enough to contaminate the entire nation. To bad the US seems to be the only place that has that problem. Because others wish they had a caseworker or someone that care enough to give them a pebble of rice and mudcakes. We have the resources, but lack a critical source, not supply, to render the services to others without distorted judgment. Sadly, others have no resources or sources. People volunteer their time to help them because they care, but when caseworkers are paid, they rarely care to help. To make such a comment,”Free food is not a right”, shows the mental state and deficiency in this caseworker. Free food is a privilege, but also is an entitlement. God would not have created it if we were not entitled to it. It is the greed of man and people in general, their desire to generate capital from any necessity, turn it into profit for gain when its provided for nutrition for humans not net gross for pockets.Perhaps, because caseworkers feel that they are entitled to dictate how one lives and breaths personally, their tainted rules have taken precedence over state policies and rules. I was attending college, applied and I didnt qualify, I appealed, won and they had to back pay, then they dig up with a law to make me pay it back. You guys need to reevaluate why you work there in the first place. No one put a gun to your head and if you just applied because you needed a job, then no one else is to blame. Every person is different and because you are on the other side of your second hand donated desk stressing about your caseload and your perception of what others may be doing has NOTHING TO DO with your required duties or tasks. I dont believe any job application asks for your opinions concerning the personal perception you have on different races or classes of people so you should not drag those to work imposing unfairly on others’ RIGHTS. If you lose your job. which is bound to happen soon once this governmental assistance ceases, I bet you will be the first person to say ” I worked and paid taxes, I have a right to food stamps!” You also be reminded of your careless comments on here that you obviously were not too stressed or overwhelmed to post. Just as you think free food is not a right, neither is a job, but you have one, so you may want to be considerate of others simply because you could be on the other side one day. Wisdom is far more valuable than assumptions any day “anonymous caseworker”!


Michele September 11, 2014 at 1:58 pm

Well, the saying about walking a mile in someone’s shoes works both ways. I have been a case worker in Texas for over 12 years now. Eligibility can be approved or denied on many factors, but your race or gender isn’t one of them. We don’t make the rules. It’s hard to NOT be burned out in this job when you have people cursing you out because they don’t like something you tell them. I’ve had people lie to me about their children having cancer and being ill, just because they thought it’d speed up the process to get medicaid. I’ve had clients lie about everything and anything, then get upset because they got caught lying. No, not everyone is lying. Not everyone is a bum living off the government. But unfortunately, enough of them ARE, that it can really make you a cynic about people. I have never been on government benefits. It isn’t because I’ve never needed them-right before I got this job, I was living out of my car. But I was perfectly grateful to just get food from my local food bank. Because I was actually hungry for food. When you offer to refer a client to a food bank if they are not eligible for Snap, most of the time they turn up their noses. “I don’t want THAT.”
Well then. You must not be very hungry. I’ve lived off beans and rice before, and you’re not better than me. Steak and shrimp are luxuries, not necessities. So are cokes, and chips, and …you get the picture. This is not a bashing of hard working people who have full time jobs and just can’t make it. This is a letting off of steam, because you only know how it is to be on one side of the desk. I’ve been down and out, and I never applied for benefits, and I was grateful for the rice and beans and Peanut Butter I got at a local food bank. I wish everyone would be the same, and when I am confronted with people who complain about FREE HELP, it angers me. Let’s just end the snap program altogether, then. That way, there won’t be rude case workers for some people to complain about, and you WILL have to learn to love rice and beans.


Debbie August 8, 2018 at 7:13 am

Michelle, I guess that would make you out of a job then.
My daughter works full time and gets benefits. But the ” overworked and stressed” at the FS office here ( actually the lazy and gossiping ) screwed up her paperwork , saying she didn’t turn it in when she had the stamped receipt. I have zero sympathy for your cushy ass job , where you can screw up and others suffer instead of you.


Dawn Tucker June 8, 2016 at 11:33 am

I understand you are doing your job.But as a food stamp recipient.My ccaseworker Ms.Banner at The Taylor, Mi office isn’t. SHE has not returned my phone call to reschedule my phone interview for my 6 month review for food stamps.And as a real result my food stamps was reduced from $190 to only $29 .I only make $700 a mat my job and she is fully aware because I sent in my pay stubs to her like I was supposed so I can reschedule My phone interview.she had enough nerve to sent me a letter saying I missed my phone interview. I waited by the phone and she never called that day.Or even bothered to call me to reschedule my phone interview. I even left a voicemail to request a hearing. SHE hasn’t bother to

returned my call regarding that.I. am sick and tired of being treated like I am Nnothing.with My paycheck. I have to take a cab home from work. That’s 60 sollarsdor two weeks. Because buses don’t run late.Also after what I have to pay for.My check is gone after what I have to use it for.I have no money left oover for grocery .that $190 for food sstamps helps me greatly. And I certainly don’t buy steak with it or shrimp. I am not one of those who take the system for granted. I DO work for a living. I JUST don’t make enough to survive.I’m below poverty. And.I need you to get a hold of my my caseworker for me.because rright now.I am depreseed and ready to give up on life if. Cant buy food.please contact her bbecause she won’t return My calls. $24 for FOOD Stamps can’t buy groceries. ITS impossible and won’t last for a month.


L.culver September 8, 2016 at 9:40 am

My daughter gets food stamps. She has called her case worker many times with no return call. She sent in all her paperwork for her 6 month review and today she find out her case has been closed. When she called they told her caseworker received paperwork that wasnt filled out at all that is why her case was cancelled. They told her the fastest way to open a case was to reapply on line. But it could take another five to 8 days to see if she qualifies for emergency help. First off I seen her fill out her paperwork and mail it. So either they lost it or just forgot to process it. I just think this is a bunch of bull crap. Not everyone tries to get help because they really need it but she has been working part time and many health issues. I think these people just don’t care because they make enough to live their lives, why should they worry about anyone else. Also why do they keep changing caseworkers without letting you know and apparently they don’t return calls like they are suppose to so I think they need to start doing their jobs.


Robotnik February 5, 2017 at 4:28 am

I work in the service sector, and people come in where I work ready to drop in a night what poor people get in a month in food stamps. My customers are no different than what these case workers here describe: they lie, whine, and are ready to throw temper tantrums at the first hint of not getting their way. They treat me with disrespect constantly and put minimal effort into understanding the rules and policies of our establishment, even when following this procedure will result in their benefit. Sure, this has made me cynical about people. But the big difference is that, while my customers must be treated with respect and deference at all times, the money they spend actually entitling them to act like moronic babies who must be coddled, for those trying to get benefits they are legally entitled to, the slightest slip-up or “misbehavior” of a welfare applicant is just further proof of what parasitic scum we all are.

As a service worker, I naturally qualify for food stamps. It needs to be clarified that by applying for benefits I qualify for, I am legally entitled to them, and you shouldn’t be allowed to work in their dispensing without understanding this. I applied for food stamps shortly after moving to California, when after a long job search was only able to work 15 hours a week. I applied online, and submitted all of the necessary documents. I waited, and heard nothing. I received no mail, no phone call, no email. The website is a joke, and literally every time you click a link saying it has the information you need, it sends you to a page with no information, just more links to the page you started from. If there was a place for me to go or an appeal process to follow, I had no way of knowing it.

Anyway, I left it at that for a couple years, until finally I realized no really I need to get on food stamps. I went into the office, and filled out the long paper application, having to go back a second time to make sure I turned it in with all the correct documents. I had to wait a couple hours in the office waiting room, the awful voice repeating the same call numbers again and again. My randomly assigned case worker was not there, and a nice lady helped me turn in my application, and told me to wait for the case worker to call me. I never saw this woman again.

I begin to receive copious mail this time, literally hundreds of pages, most of it telling me nothing. What info is there mostly pertains to my application of two years ago, some of it mixed in with the info on my recent application. My case worker does not call, but at least this time I know who he is, and give him a call. He proceeds to argue with me about where I work, how much money I make, where I live and with whom, and every time I tell him that he’s referring to an application from two years ago, he just says “this is what you put on your application.” I schedule an interview with him.

This is one of the most bizarre experiences of my life. My case worker immediately starts ranting about Obama and how difficult he has made things. He tells me that he doesn’t know how to use the kiosk and won’t get any documents I submit there, and when I ask him to find out how to use it he says “who can I ask? You tell me who to ask and I’ll ask them!” He tells me I have to use the postal service to mail him documents, because even the mail slot in the office is more than he is willing to learn. He tells me, at length, how easy it is to fudge through the examination to work there, and laughed at the idea that they thought he was qualified. “Qualified for what!?” he said. He tells me his supervisor is just as clueless as he is when I press him to actually try to find out the parts of his job he doesn’t understand, and he says “You want me to ask Obama?” while gesturing to the computer, which he says he can’t use to look up my application, while acting as though I have provided no information to him. I remind him that at my job I would be expected to find out if I didn’t know how to help a customer, and he says “Sure! You work in the private sector!” Every conversation I have had with him has been like this, and every time I need to renew either food stamps or Medical, something goes wrong, and he refuses to help me with anything.

I continue to get ridiculous amounts of mail. Sometimes on the same day, I get two identical notices saying my benefits have changed, with different amounts on each. I have been told to pay back food stamps I already got, then had my benefits increase, without my having done anything. Each of these says it is because “my information has changed,” only to show the same information I provided on the original application. I got kicked off Medi-cal with no explanation whatsoever and it took me 4 months to get it back.

I have called the supervisor numerous times, never getting any response. I even met with the “client advocate,” who was almost as erratic as my case worker (she stopped mid-sentence to ask me to replace my chair to its former position after I had adjusted it by about one inch). She told me to contact his supervisor, again, and that “we’re understaffed…” She told me I can not request a new case worker, ever, no matter what.

Finally, abruptly, for whatever reason, I received a notice of a new case worker. The worker’s phone number, however, was just the office’s main number, which is automated. So I have to go in again, deal with the near universally rude staff, who are all smiles while chatting to each other or friends who drop in to chat, while rolling eyes at me, avoiding eye contact, interrupting me, and telling me to talk to whoever sent me to them in the first place. I now have my case worker’s phone number, but she doesn’t return my calls, even though for no apparent reason my food stamps renewal was “lost” and I stopped getting benefits. They just have no record of it, apparently. I’ve been spending hundreds of dollars on groceries I can barely afford, so apparently this clown crew of incompetents making government salaries is saving the state at least a few bucks.

If I were truly desperate, getting and maintaining all the benefits I am legally entitled to would be like having a full time job spent at the welfare office, and you need to show more respect for the people who are trying to figure out your nonsensical bizarro world. You would be fired from most jobs I’ve had for the behavior I have seen by nearly everyone I encounter. As far as I can tell, county workers have nothing to fear in terms of accountability, for anything or from anyone. Inevitably applicants appear bewildered by the nonsense we encounter, and I’m sure it’s very easy to tell yourselves that we must have done something wrong, and anyway we don’t really deserve it anyway, do we? We should just make do eating rice and peanut butter, because this is America, and goddamn if working people should be able to eat real food and go to a doctor, without some bureaucrat making it as hard as possible. And that truly is your job, to deny benefits, not to distribute them. Your role is to be an obstacle, not a facilitators, and don’t you forget it for a moment while you’re judging us for even having the tenacity to put up with your bullshit. There are a lot of problems with the system, its rules and policies, the political meddling of indifferent politicians, but there also clearly is a culture of crass buffoonery in the offices themselves. Enjoy it while it lasts.


Jennifer April 21, 2017 at 9:38 pm

I do agree with the comments below. The GROW requirements need to change too. I had been receiving SSI since 2003, and just recently had my cdr last year the social security administration decided I was no longer disable, so I had decided to sign up for Cal fresh and Cash Aid and the Grow Eligibility Worker give me some paperwork that’s require to be eligible for General Relief. I was given a form to do six job searches . I had kept trying to tell her I didn’t have a up to date revise job resume or cover letter, because companies now requires applicant to upload their resume and cover letters online or websites. Unfortunately, the carpal Tunnel syndrome did return in my right hand so I wasn’t feeling well . I’ve made several attempts to contact my eligibility worker at my local County office, she would never answer the phone and also left several voicemails she never did return any of my phone calls. Than 4 weeks after trying to reach her I receive a notice of action by mail saying my General Relief have been denied just because I didn’t following one of the requirements and didn’t return the Job Searches form. How am I suppose to do the jobs searches if I had told the eligibility worker I needed job resume assistance since I had been on SSI since 2003 and haven’t work? Why doesn’t offer the job
training program before asking participants to do the six job searches in California ?


Josette estiverne July 19, 2017 at 5:25 am

What can I do for my case worker the money they make on my EBT not right


Sheron nolan August 10, 2017 at 9:32 am

I understand what the caseworkers deal with. I totally agree with the requirements. My question is, why are case workers horribly rude to people that are hard working but need assistance at times. The case worker was not being disrespected but the case worker was condemning and had a terrible attitude toward the person. There’s no reason for anyone to be treated with disrespect.


J November 18, 2019 at 9:26 am

I would like to make a complaint about a very rude person who hung up on me. Who do I contact? Do your job, cool. I understand that. But after being on hold over an hour and taking 45 minutes for an interview and I have questions I should but be hung up on because after MY patience, she had NONE. I AM LIVID NOW. I was on hold all morning and I get hung up on?!?!


Peter from South O October 15, 2021 at 9:57 am

First off, I doubt that the writer is as she seems. “Food Stamps” is a term that no real worker would use . . . the program here in CA has been called “Cal Fresh” for years.
The last paragraph of the “reader rant” says it all: callous ignorance of what it takes to walk a mile in the shoes of a recipient. Why do you imagine that some of the Cal Fresh beneficiaries spend money at mini-marts and 7-11s? Have you not heard of the food desert concept? If you are elderly or infirm do you think that jumping in a car and driving ten miles to buy milk or eggs vs. walking a block or two is a sensible solution?
I challenge this poster to prove that he or she is not misrepresenting themselves and is in fact just a plain, ordinary right-wing Regan-style bigot with no connection whatsoever to the assistance program.


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