Sunday, April 24, 2011

Workfare's fair?

I got this notice in the mail earlier last month. It's telling me I have to go to an office to work for my food benefits. I've been on food stamps for over a year while I scour to find employment and I have never received this before.

Don't get me wrong, I actually think it's fair to work for the benefits in exchange for some sort of service, and I was more than willing to go. The closer I read over the form, though, I got confused.



Minimum wage in California is $8/hr. For the total of benefits I was getting in conjunction to the hours I would need to work, I would be making $6.50. What? That can't be right. Then I wondered if they knew about this. Or if it mattered to them.

I mean I get it, I'm in a tough spot, but I never thought that even government assistance would not follow the wage laws in the state. Maybe this was after taxes. If that's the case, that sucks even more!

I called my service worker because I got the form three days before I was to show up at this place and I wanted to know if I could reschedule. She told me that I didn't have to go. Why I'm not sure. I didn't ask about any of it.

This month has been food experimentation. I've been playing with some recipes from Veganomicon with varying results. I'll post more on that later.

3 comments:

  1. I've been forced to undertake workfare and it is utterly demoralising, both for myself and for the people who I was working with. As an introduction to and an approximation of paid work it is totally ineffective since it provides none of the benefits associated with having a job, namely a wage, a sense of community and belonging, a chance to improve your circumstances, opportunities for training and further education, a positive self-image, status and acceptance in society...and justice. It is just so wrong.

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  2. Wow, I'm sorry A. Lee. That was my fear as well. A lot of the programs, though I'm grateful, are no better in helping the human condition than sweatshop work.

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