This post is for anyone who would like to know what it's like to have to apply for welfare at the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. I had a horrible day today
I've been off and on public assistance since 1994. Of course there are other less degrading forms of public assistance like financial aid for college. If you include that I've been on public assistance since 1986
The main experience I wish to share is my experience with being on public assistance / welfare I'm probably more educated than most applicants. you might think of a person is literate with a degree in social work that they would have an easier time applying for benefits. Au
I enter the welfare office at 2000 North Broadway at 8:30 a.m. the security guard ran me through the weapon scanner and told me that I can't bring my coffee into the building. No liquids allowed what so ever not even water. Now believe you me CSS is no palace. This is not about worry or fear that something in the welfare office is going to get dirty, but this is one of the many ways that the system controls you. Big Brother!
I go down my entire coffee in the lobby I know that would have helped quench my thirst during the what I call eternal wait
I'm sitting in the lobby and a jeweled and bespectacled guard starts to share a story that has become a routine part of the negativity that you here while you're at the welfare office. She was telling a cop stationed in her area, that she was walking behind a dope dealer who was spilling / dropping hundreds of dollars out of his pockets. She picked up the money and gave it back to the dealer. She told the police officer that there was no way she was going to turn him in because she knew that he would murder her!
So I'm thinking here is the security guard who was supposed to be protecting us and she's giving the money back to the dope dealer!
I'm put through the scanner and I have to put my briefcase on the belt as well as my keys. Somehow I forgot to put my fanny pack on the belt and I set off an alarm. She did not bother to find out why I set off the alarm perhaps because I don't fit the profile of a dangerous person
So I'm told to go upstairs to Harford Heights region and I wonder is that some fictional geographical poverty area?
I try to figure out which form to take there are no signs indicating which form is for what. I guess at which form I'm supposed to use and I feel it in. I turn it back into the front desk at approximately 8:45 a.m. I'm sitting sitting sitting and I'm observing maternal styles. All the women are African American except for one other person the women are relatively nurturing to the newborn but they don't speak to their older children. The clients are a mix of men and women and there is one Asian. All together there are about 50 clients excluding the kids
Every time I approach the desk with any sort of question I get spoken down to. The female employees are all condescending. This is the typical I'm better than those who is poor attitude
Its 10:30 a.m. already and there are women who have come in after me but they are being seen before me. covert reverse racism there is no question in my mind.
I go up and ask what is going on. They say they don't know how long I'm going to have to wait and they don't know why everyone else was seen before me! They went on to say that I'm just going to have to sit down and wait. On and they have left.
I walked to the front desk and I asked again what's going on. They said they have no idea what happen to my application they lost it. They're looking for it and I'm waiting. I'm told that I am supposed to wait for this X yet she is standing right in front of me she is standing right there at the front desk and she sees me.
She walks away from me far away for me then she screams my name out from the opposite side of the waiting room where I can barely hear her. I walked towards her and I asked her why she left me and then yelled from the other side of the room. She said I didn't know that you were Elana
As far as I'm concerned these workers have no brains or consideration its 11 a.m. and she sits me down next to her desk and looks at the computer while asking me for everything but blood my food stamp picture, my food stamp ID my income on and on and on.
The entire process took roughly 20 minutes I told her that I don't have my food stamp ID with me because I never been asked for it in the past. She said that with all the fraud going on there trying to put a stop to it
She print some long long long paper out on the computer but doesn't tell me what it is. At 11:10 a.m. she brings me back to the main waiting area and tells me to have a seat. I asked her how long I'll be waiting she said not long we're going to stop seeing people at 11:30
At this point I see if you worry. It's 11:25 a.m. no one has seen me, and they told me that they're not going to see anybody after 11:30 a.m. .
She never told me who or what it is that I'm supposed to be waiting for. I go back up to the desk at 11:25 and I ask what's going on? And why haven't I been seeing? Almost 11:30 and I was told that you stop seeing people to look at 11:30
The clerk says that's not true. She went on to tell me she has no idea how long I'm going to have to wait
The entire room has cleared out all the client who came in at the same time as I did are gone
Misses XS I can't find your application again, I know that it is 11:55 I wait feeling helpless and disempowered
She told me that she's going to page Mr gaga I said Mr who she said the person who is going to see you. 15 minutes go by no one came out
I went up to the desk again. I asked are you sure that mr. Gaga heard you page him? They said no I'm not. We don't know if he heard the page or not ICMR Gaga come out and he's on his way to lunch he's got his brown bag with him they stopped him and told him that he's going to have to see me!
He can barely speak English I struggle to understand he then asked me what is going on with those receptionist?