Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Food Stamps Interview: Are You a Fleeing Felon?

There is nothing quite like the food stamp application process. Never have I spent more workable hours sitting in a crowded waiting room, wading through layers and layers of paperwork and waiting for hours on end.

First you sign in at the electronic kiosk. Woe is you if you've never done this before! You will be forced to enter your SSN in just under a minute using a defective computer. If you fail, you must not pass go and start over. Don't you love technology?

Then you sit for an hour---if you're lucky. Once your name is called, you're asked whether you're seeking food stamps, medical insurance, or WIC. Return to your seat and wait another hour.

Once you're finally called into the back room, wade through pages and pages of paperwork about your finances. Get asked if you're a fleeing felon. Laugh, and realize that the question was serious. Stutter a little, and answer no. Get your AmeriCorps living allowance classified incorrectly twice, nearly have a heart attack at $8 in food stamp benefits for three hours of waiting, and ask to see a supervisor. Get your living stipend classified correctly, and receive $200 a month in food stamp benefits.

Wait for half an hour longer in the waiting room to be issued an EBT card. Silently rejoice, and flee from the cramped waiting room as fast as your feet will carry you.

Until your six month interview.

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