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View Diary: Food Stamp Usage Hits New Record (311 comments)

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  •  I can understand the caseworkers' frustration, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryru

    but I think there has to be a better way than hanging up repeatedly during the intake interview and ordering clients to keep their mouths shut, and lieing about receipt of client documents and making false statements to clients.

    Supervisors' supervisors who have reviewed my case are baffled as well. They have acknowledged multiple errors.  

    I'm not really talking about incompetence. I think there is actual abuse of the system by some caseworkers and their supervisors. I don't know all of the laws, but I do know that some DHS staff members in my case have not followed the Administrative code governing the food stamp program. And I doubt I am an exception.

    When does such failure to follow the laws meet the criminal level? And what remedies do people have since people applying for food stamps seldom have the means to a lawyer? If my experience is anywhere near typical, then I think there needs to be a full-scale investigation into how the Dept of Human Services is operating.

    •  That's horrible (0+ / 0-)

      and there's no justification for it.  I've heard many similar stories, and while I'm sympathetic to the stress on workers, it's just wrong.

      Sounds like you've expended all of the energy you can on this, but if you want to do one more thing, I'd suggest contacting your local Congress member's office.  Even if they are a Republican, their staff may be able to do some footwork for you. At the very least, you'll be getting your story on record and someone will be checking into the DHS.

      At best, they can cut through the red tape faster than any other process I've seen. It works where I live, but we're a small state.

      Good luck & take care.

      •  Thanks maryru, I do have one more alternative. (0+ / 0-)

        I can file a grievance. I am trying to decide if I want to spend the energy on it. It truly has sucked so much out of me and immobilized me entirely for over a week.

        There are so many different reasons I can file a grievance. One is that the
        Regional Office director shouted at me that I was not disabled and that the caseworker did not have to speak slowly. I am disabled, I just am not on Medicare. But I have no hearing in one ear and a documented brain injury from brain tumor surgery. All I asked the caseworker to do was speak slowly because she was talking so rapidly that all her words blurred together and I had no idea what she was saying. I explained I had single-sided hearing and could only process auditory speech in slow bits, such as two numbers at a time.

        She refused and when I complained I got this woman who literally shouted at me three times "You are not disabled." and once "We do not have to accommodate you by talking slower."

        If I file that grievance it will go to the EEOC. They may respond differently. As far as my congressman, it's Mark Kirk. I doubt he'd be of any help, but it would be interesting to see if his office was willing to help.

        •  Wow (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          RAZE

          That office needs a good cleanng from top to bottom, sounds like.

          As for your Congressman, I'd go for it.  We have 2 Republican Senators, but their office staff are top notch in helping constituents.  I'm not so naive to think that they don't pay attention to party affiliation when you call, but honestly I believe that their stellar constituent services play a big role in them getting re-elected with lots of Democratic votes.  And I think the Repubs secretly enjoying ferreting out examples of "big government" not working well for us Merikans.

          That said, the quality of the response really depends on the staff in each office and how big their district is.  But part of the staff's jobs is to make those phone calls and do the follow-up that takes up so much of your time.

          Only you can figure out which way would be most effective.  Good luck and I hope things improve for you.

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