Grandma no longer gets around like she use to in her prime. Instead, she sits at home watching the old tube, knitting a blanket-waiting for a relative to stop by and keep her busy.
She lives modestly off her $1300 payment from social security. But, after her housing payment, food, electric, heat, cable bill, phone bill–she barely has any money left. So when you get that $13 and a birthday card-be thankful.
Your mother helps take care of her, so you both go over to grandma’s and bring in her mail. You can hear her yelling “1200!!!, 1200!!!” at the television as The Price Is Right contestants are asked to guess the retail price.
Then, all of sudden grandma begins yelling something else but this isn’t at the TV. “769 dollars, oh lord.”
Pony Up Grandma
Last month, the Illinois Department of Human Services sent out a notice to 85-year-old, Lola Shaw. The noticed stated that Shaw had received food assistance 32 years ago, in which the state made a mistake by overpaying her. The DHS maintains that Shaw owes the state of Illinois $769 in overpayments, oh lord.
What Took So Long
Illinois was undergoing some major house-keeping, including an audit of older and current cases. Apparently, they’ve never done an audit, because after 32 years they finally tracked down “GrannyThief.”
The Federal law says that states can chase after a debt no matter how long the time period. After three decade, I guess the hell . But, grandma’s memory isn’t all that good, understandably so. This is where it gets interesting…
“I don’t remember ever receiving any food stamps.”
Dawn Berry is the daughter and caretaker of Shaw. Berry told WQAD “I was living with her at the time (1985) because I was going to college, and I don’t remember ever receiving any food stamps.”
There’s a good chance Berry and Shaw are correct-considering the fact that the department is historically custom to making errors. Unfortunately, for Shaw, the state can start drawing money from her social security benefits, and her husband’s pension, even as she contests the charge.
“She doesn’t have the money to pay for this in the first place,” says Berry.
Stories like this get people like me agitated with the government. And as most Americans feel aversion over the government’s poor performance, examples such as these won’t help win anyone into favor considering the opulent amount of welfare fraud cases that go unnoticed, while they pick pocket our elderly. In other words, there must be bigger fish to fry.
Berry thinks so. “It’s really sad the state is so hard up for money that they are coming after our sick and elderly people.”
I agree, Dawn, certainly the state has better things to do than to go after the disadvantage. If I was Lola, I would pay them in pennies. Make them count every bit. “Will you take 74,900 pennies dear?”
In 2012, a USDA official said that food stamp fraud costs the taxpayer $750 million per year. CNS.com
$5.7 million in food and cash assistance fraud during the year 2015 in Massachusetts. -Masslive.com
Illinois is in the top 5 states (#3) with the worst debt. Perhaps, this is how they will deal with their pension debt by going after 85 year old citizens.-Truth in Accounting
As of 2014, 46.5 million food stamp recipients in the U.S. – Cheatsheet
Illinois has the fifth highest amount of people on food stamps, but ranks in the middle as far as food stamps per capita. -Cheatsheet
Mississippi is the highest state in food stamps per capita. The Lowest is Wyoming. Data from 2015. -CheatSheet
More from Derek Wood:
Derek Wood is a political pundit, cultural critic, and freelance writer for Distract. Media
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @derekswood1, Facebook: D.S. Wood
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