Always The Same, That’s Not My Name


In July, I got a letter from the State Department of Human Resources informing me that I needed to reapply for food stamps before August 15. Being the master procrastinator that I am, I kept delaying until almost the last moment. About a week ago, I asked my dad to take me today or tomorrow to the Social Security office to apply because, according to the State, I could apply through their office because I am on SSI. Last night, dad and I decided to leave for the SSA office at about 9:00 AM this morning so that we would have a better chance of being there before the rush.

This morning, we drove out to the other side of town and began the adventure of looking for the SSA office. It’s always difficult to find, and today was no different. (It’s on a street in between Madison Square Mall and Research Park, so it’s easily hidden.) We finally found it and got in the very last parking place. I was checked in by 9:26:51. (They print it down to the second on the slip you get with your number [Z259].) Then we began the waiting game. I finally was called about fifty minutes later, which isn’t really all that bad for their office.

The guy asked what I was there for and I told him. He quietly began typing away on his computer. About five minutes went by before he walked away and came back with an application that he said I needed to take to the county DHR office. I already had that same stupid form at home–only the one at home was partially filled out, whereas this one was completely blank. Dad suggested we take the form home and go by DHR tomorrow, but I stubbornly decided that we needed to get it done today.

After making a brief side-trip to drop off some old clothes at Christmas Charities Year Round, we went to DHR. I walked in the door with my now filled out form (thank goodness for the pen in the car) and was given a sticker with 28A on it. I was told to photocopy my license and Social Security card. When I sort of panicked and told the guy that I didn’t have my Social Security card, he told me to just copy my ID and be prepared to bring it the next time I came. (I have no clue where the card is because a. I know the number and b. I know that carrying it makes it that much easier for a person who sees it to steal my identity.)

I copied my ID and people watched while I waited for this new number to be called. I got a bit frustrated with a woman who had 4 kids (they looked like her grand-kids) who were running wild and trying to get candy, soda, and chips–even though they had twenty cents between the four of them. She didn’t even try to get them under control. She just seemed blissfully unaware that these adorable little terrors munchkins were acting a fool. I was glad that they didn’t have money for the vending machines because I can’t imagine them being even more hyped up.

Eventually, my number was called, saving me from completely losing my mind from those kids. The social worker got the copy of my ID and my application, while frowning about my lack of SS card. (They didn’t put anywhere on the letter or the form that I needed to bring it with me.) She looked me up in the system and said, “You’re re-upping?” I told her yes, then she said, “Oh, you didn’t need to fill out the form. You just needed to call us to do that. We’ll call you if we need anything from you.”

I spent all that time for nothing. I got up early for nothing. Well, I guess it isn’t for nothing exactly. Just getting the re-application notice in will keep me in the system through September, so that’s something.

There were a few things I noticed today, other than the out-of-control-severely-in-need-of-discipline-and-possibly-ritalin children.

  1. A lot of people at the Social Security office didn’t seem to realize that any person sitting near them when they checked in could learn their Social Security number if they chose to type it in on the touch-screen. I used the keypad for that part to keep anyone from seeing. (Obviously, paranoia is a big thing with me.)
  2. A lot of people using the office had Social Security numbers that began with numbers like 418, 420, and 422, which makes sense because those are typical of Alabama residents. It was odd, though, because a lot of people in Huntsville aren’t from Huntsville and aren’t even from Alabama, so seeing that many Alabamians was odd.
  3. After seeing one person I went to college with working at the Social Security office and another still working (six years later) at DHR, I was a little relieved to have not graduated with my social work degree as it seems that the only job that the BSW got them was for clerical work that could have been done by any person. It seemed a bit of a waste considering that they had to go through at least 4 years of school, then licensing exams and all they end up doing is paperwork. I know what they do is hard work and is essential, but it made me kind of sad for them.
  4. Some people don’t know that when wearing a white almost see-through top, they don’t realize that wearing a neon orange bra might not exactly be a good idea.
  5. Speaking of bad sartorial decisions, some people don’t realize that shorts that don’t cover your ass are inappropriate. I didn’t want to see your vagina. You may like showing it off, but it might be better for you to do that in other (less public) situations.
  6. Oh, and you know the über-conservatives and blowhards who love to call anyone on any kind of public assistance fat, uneducated, and lazy should know that the Madison County DHR office, which is funded by a state run by über-conservatives and blowhards, only offers junk food and sugary, caffeinated beverages. There was one slot out of sixteen for drinks that had water, and it was sold out. The rest were sodas. And the candy/chip machine had absolutely no healthy options at all. So, for all of their shaming of the eating and lifestyle habits of the poor, the State of Alabama doesn’t seem to be doing much to encourage the impoverished to eat or drink healthier. Instead, they make money off of the bad eating habits that they love to ridicule. Basically, their hypocrisy is showing and it is as much of an eyesore as that neon orange bra.

In case anyone from my family is reading this and judging me for being on Food Stamps, like what happened last year, I have two words for you: FUCK & YOU. I know that you think I brag about being on them and that you think that your lack of an education entitles you to judge me because I’m disabled, but it really doesn’t. So, yeah. If you want to give me a hard time, whether it is to my face, online, or in any other manner, you can just forget about it because I don’t really give a shit what you think. You’re just being shitty to be shitty and that’s, well, shitty of you. Find someone new to judge, like maybe yourself.


About Janet Morris

I'm from Huntsville, Alabama. I've got as many college credits as a doctorate candidate, and the GPA of some of them, too. I have a boss by the name of Amy Pond. She's a dachshund. My parents both grew up in Alabama.