I recently talked to a individual, age 70, who was enrolled in the Texas Food Snap program.
Although we had talked before, I really did not know how to justify what he was going through in order to receive only $15 a month for nutrition assistance. He showed me the forms he receives in the mail every two months, in order for him to remain on the program. It consisted of 10 pages (both sides) of questions, which I was overwhelmed with. Many of the questions were the same ones as two months before, and quite intrusive with one’s personal life. I guess they think he might split the $15 he gets a month to divide a hamburger between himself and another person, which will not provide enough money for a coke to drink, along with the burger.
Of the 10 pages, some of the threats of prison time and massive fines refer to the sharing with a friend or common law relationship. Their questions ask the year of one’s automobile, if any, and pry into their personal life and help from anyone. Obviously, these questions are designed to disqualify poor individuals from any food assistance at all.
I advised him about the nature of the questions and the political party in Austin, which was responsible for implementing such disgusting and disparaging restrictions on the needy.
I advised him to write to the Department of Human Services in Washington D.C., and to Attorney General Eric Holder about the discriminating questionnaire, and include a blank copy of all the printed pages, inside the every-two-months packet he is required to complete.
I believe if a person is gay or lesbian, this is a constitutional violation of one’s civil rights. I also believe if I were a woman and had to experience the denial in Texas for the extension of Family Planning and preventative health services, I would be extremely unhappy.