Continued from previous blog entry
I left the house at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday to head for the food stamp office. It's a 20 mile round trip and I have some concerns about whether or not I'll be able to make the gas last for the whole month. I'm down to 30 dollars total for food gas and miscellaneous expenses until I get hired somewhere.
I arrive at 12:45. Recall that the clerk told me on Wednesday that she was going to keep my application form there at the office and preferred that I don't take it home with me. She stamped it with Wednesday's date so that my food stamps will be retroactive back to that date.
Somehow I managed to find a free place to park that is good for 2 hours. I watch the clock carefully so as I don't get ticketed. When I arrive at the food stamp office again there is no one sitting at the receiving desk. There are 3 glass windows that you need to yell thru, perhaps they are bulletproof glass. I'm surprised that there is a security guard but he is not sitting at his post. I walk up to glass enclosure.
clerk 1-"Next window please"
I walk to the next window. There is no one there. No one acknowledges that I'm there. I yell over to another clerk. Maam, where I am supposed to go?
clerk 2-Just stay right there, and I'll be there in a moment.
E-"You guys asked me to come back today before 3 to get screened."
clerk 2-"Please wear this visitor sticker and have a seat"
I take my seat. I'm surprised that there is a very comfortable leather sofa. I walk up to the bulletin board to read the flyers. I hear some man yell to someone "Are you following me?" I do not turn around. After I'm finished reading the flyers I head back to my seat. "are you following me?" a client asks me!
Me-"Following you from where?" (his face looks vaguely familiar)
man-"the public library"
I realize it's the creepy guy who hangs out at the library. I ignore him and head back to my seat. I'm thrilled to see that there is a play room for the small children. In the many years going to food stamp offices around Baltimore, I always wondered why there was no play area for the children. Because a big part of the misery of waiting for one's turn in the Baltimore city offices was listening to parents verbally abuse their bored children. Mothers were known (especially at north avenue) to drag their kids to the women's restroom and beat them in there so the security guard can't see them beat their kids..........................................
1.5 hours have passed and I'm bored out of my skull. I guess there are 10-15 folks at all times in the wait area. They come and go, and many are seen before me even though they have arrived after me. I wonder why but I don't complain out loud. I go back up to the window.
ME-"Maam, I just want to let you know that Elana Snyder is going to move her car so she doesn't get towed" Please let the caseworker know that if she comes out to call my name while I'm outside."
clerk-"I'm so sorry that this is taking so long"
When I return I ask a male client if he has heard anyone call my name. "NO" He said.
I'm growing worried. It's 2:40 and I was told that all screeners leave by 3.
I walk up to the window where I encounter a very nasty, very defensive "Miss Beasley"
ME-"Maam, I'm growing increasingly more concerned that I won't get seen today, can you give me an update on when someone will be out to see me?"
Miss Beasley-"WELL, WE ONLY HAVE ONE CASEWORKER! MAYBE WE'LL SEE YOU TODAY AND MAYBE WE WON'T....................AND IF WE DON'T YOU'RE JUST GOING TO HAVE TO COME BACK TOMORROW!"
me- (I am furious and I raise my voice which is really rare for me) I AM NOT COMING BACK HERE TOMORROW. I DO NOT HAVE THE GAS MONEY NOR DO I HAVE METER MONEY TO KEEP DOING 20 MILE ROUND TRIPS SO THAT YOU CAN "MAYBE" SEE ME! I WANT TO SPEAK TO A MANAGER!"
Miss Beasley-I AM THE MANAGER!
(Now, I'm really furious and realize that yet again, I am completely powerless over my situation. I storm away and sit back down)
case manager Ms. Smith comes out from the back offices. "Who is that?" She points to me and gears her question to another clerk.
Security Guard-"Who are you?"
"I'm Elana Snyder"
"What's your name MS Smith asks me.
"I'm Elana Snyder"
Security Guard-"Miss Snyder I'm going to make sure that Ms. Williams DOES see you today.
Elana Snyder-"Thank you very much. I don't mind the waiting, but I don't want to be told that maybe they'll see me and maybe they won't.
Ms. Smith-"Ms. Snyder's paper work has been lost. I've looked everywhere.
Ms Smith to me-"What's your name again?"
I'm elana snyder I say for the umpteenth time.
It's 3:10 p.m. and Ms. Williams emerges from the offices. "Are you Stephanie" she asks?
I'm Elana Snyder
Ms. Snyder I'll see you now. she says.
she leads me to the back room. Ms. Smith is back there. "Maam what is your name?"
I'm Elana Snyder.
Ms. Snyder I'm so sorry for the wait and that we lost your paperwork. you know that never happens.
(People hate when you don't say "oh i forgive you" so I intentionally did not say "I forgive you" in fact I just completely ignored her.)
I rolled my eyes. then I told my caseworker that I was rolling my eyes because I had been asked 25x what my name is.
We get back to Ms. Williams office. We are just beginning to work on my case when there is a knock on the door.
It's Ms. Smith. "I found Ms. Snyder's paperwork" "MS. Snyder I just want to apologize and let you know that mix ups like this never happen here at social services"
(I ignore her and wish she get the hell away from me so I can get on with my day)
Ms. W. is professional and kind thank goodness. She says "Miss Snyder, you already have an open case in Baltimore (but I haven't had any baltimore services in 3 years I think) so that has locked up the computer. We are going to have to fill out this 7 page form manually.
I've brought all of my paper work with me and wonder if it is still the case that social services does not care about your auto expenses and they don't use that when calculating how much food stamps you get. I would find out that even though 85% of my disability check goes to car payment, car insurance and gas, none of that will be taken into consideration when determining my monthly food stamp allotment!
After about 30 minutes we are done. She is only counting my rent, bge, phone and prescriptions in figuring out my payment! What are you gonna do?
I'll have my EBT food stamp card in the mail in 7 days. In the meantime I have to figure out how to make 30 dollars last indefinitely.