Action Needed: Rule Revision of Categorical Eligibility in SNAP

Over the summer, the Trump administration proposed a rule change that would end “broad based categorical eligibility”. Categorical eligibility allows each state to opt out of federal rules when enrolling people in SNAP and other assistance programs. For example, under BBCE, states can choose to allow income above the federal limit. This has been important in areas where cost of living is higher. States can also opt out of the rule that disqualifies people for having assets or a savings account (federal rule limits $2,250, or $3,500 for senior citizens). Again, states may choose to ignore this because of cost of living or just common sense circumstances. Like if someone owns a jet ski but it’s the middle of winter and it’s not exactly prime time to sell a jet ski, the case worker probably is not going to count that as an asset. Or more practically, the federal asset rule also applies to vehicles, as in the ones people use to get to work, school, and doctor appointments.  It’s common sense to opt out of this rule especially in rural areas or places public transportation is sparse.

BBCE also enables states to enroll people in SNAP (or other safety net programs)  automatically if they’ve applied for other benefits which eliminates a lot of time & labor fr both recipient and workers.  If the categorical eligibility rule is eliminated, some people will automatically be dropped from receiving SNAP if they were receiving it after applying for another program.

Overall, this change is expected to impact 3.1 million people currently receiving SNAP, including some children being kicked off the free school lunch programs.

Public comments are still open HERE for the next 10 days (closed on 9/23/19) . I don’t know how much faith I have that public comments will be really listened to enough to change this policy but it can’t hurt. Always get after your reps on these issues,too.
Since Trump has been in office, it’s estimated that 6 million people have been dropped from SNAP. This isn’t a reflection of a healthy economy that’s ensuring folks have enough on their own to get by. It’s a direct result of policy shifts already instated such as stricter work requirements that prevent underemployed and under earning, unemployed, and even disabled people to qualify.

Help me smile. Literally.

I wrote almost exactly five years ago about a trip to the dentist and outlining all my dental woes.
You can read that HERE.
To sum it up, it was a lot of work and expensive. It’s actually more now.

5 years later, my situation is even worse and at a point where it’s critical I get the dental care I need. I spent the month of May and some of June in excruciating pain.
I’ve been on antibiotics twice in the last 2 months to try to get infections under control. At this moment, I’m doing better and relatively pain free but it’s tenuous. What I can eat is limited.
My overall health literally depends on getting this dental work done.

My daughter started a gofundme to fund my dental care. I’ve looked into every imaginable option besides this and have come up with no other solution.
My insurance still has a $1,500/year coverage but will only cover a percentage of some of the individual procedures and the endodontist requires payment up front anyway. The total estimate of all work done is around $9,000. (Seriously. Also, whatever happens with healthcare in America after 2020, please let’s fight to make dental health a part of whole health. This is ridiculous)

I have an easier time asking for help for everyone else and the world in general so it’s hard but I’m putting this link here to the donation page and thanking all of you in advance for your help, no matter how small, and even if it’s just sharing this widely. Every dollar helps and I’m immensely grateful for it.
Thank you all for listening & supporting ❤
If you’re not loving gofundme right now for whatever reason, I also have a Paypal link :

rent rant

I’m two days late paying rent but the landlord hasn’t even cashed my May rent check yet. At the end of April, they cashed both March & April. You know who can hang on to multiple rent checks for over a month? People who don’t need money. They’re adamant that rent be paid that 1st week …but then just hang on to the checks? And try to charge $5/day late fee. More money they don’t need and won’t put back into their rentals to fix basic shit and make it less of a dump.

Life | Electricity

Last week an electrician finally showed up to fix the things we’ve been asking the landlady to deal with since Spring. Withholding rent got her attention. His comment about one of the issues: “Thank god we fixed this now. That was a fire waiting to happen”.
This is what I had been saying, my huge concern. I felt vindicated by his ominous remark. Do all landlords poo-poo tenant’s complaints as over reaction? I felt that way.

One of the fixed issues was dead outlets in the kitchen. The fridge was plugged into one of the dead outlets, obviously a major pain in the ass. We had it plugged into a power strip stretching from an outlet that would work. Not ideal so it was nice to have that fixed. For a whole week or so,anyway. This morning I woke up and the fridge was warm, kitchen outlets dead once again.
My porch is a makeshift fridge today until husbeast comes home from work and helps me move the fridge to plug it in to that power strip again. Lucky it’s a cold day. We’ve had  unseasonal temp all month.

I wonder how many more months it will be before the landlady decides to send the electrician back to figure out what the hell is up with the wiring? Can’t wait to find out.
We put that apartment search on hold since it seemed things were getting resolved but maybe the hunt is back on.

Of course we just finally sorted out HEAP and had 175 gallons of fuel delivered. It would suck to lose that. We almost didn’t get it. I don’t know how more people don’t freeze. $660 for minimum delivery and that won’t last the entire winter at all. HEAP has a one time per season allowance and limited funds. We had problems getting it because our SNAP worker sent all our info to the HEAP unit but they didn’t have it and we had to start a whole new applications, submit documents,etc. One worker told us it was too late to apply and we didn’t meet the deadline. Another worker approved it. Let’s sprinkle blessings on that approving worker.

[this post brought to you by the happy chaos of having all my adult offspring home for the hollerdaze and The Cornell Elves program]

Was reading this kind of a bummer? I have a sanity saving art intensive Facebook page that helps: Witchcrafts
There’s a blog,too! The Lucky Fish

Other places to find me:

If you like the work I do here at Poor as Folk, please considering being a supporter through Patreon. Your support will help keep the lights on and the content flowing, as well as help me develop printed publications such as cookbooks and zines designed to help low income folks. Even if you can only pledge $1 or $3 per month, that is SO appreciated! If even half the readers of this blog pledged that small amount, it would be significant enough to bring change and growth in my own life.

I also sell things online and you can support me in that way,too.

Life+Food| Turkey Week


I started writing this last Tuesday. Thursday has come and gone and I promise I’ve fed the kids.

I have a weird nostalgia about community dinners on Election Day. I recall not really liking the food even when I was a kid. Chicken & Gravy with Biscuits. Not my fave back then. The pies were the best. Obviously. Made by local ladies. Pretty sure all made by ladies exclusively. I’m not being exclusionary. It was the 70s and 80s. The women did these shindigs. Older women. Lots of old people at these things.
It’s hard to find one of these dinners these days and I’ve really wanted chicken and biscuits ever since the midterm election.
I’m still not feeling 100% and I’m trying to make cooking as easy as possible so this meant biscuits from the cans that scare the bejeezus out of me, even though I know that pop is coming, shredded chicken from a $5 rotisserie chicken, and a jar of gravy.
It was delicious comfort food but mostly filled an emotional need I had.
I really miss my grandparents lately.

I don’t remember how my Grandma dealt with feeding people the days leading up to Thanksgiving but it was probably actual meals instead of yelling at them to make a PB & J because I’m not cooking. One night I made loaded nachos and called it a casserole. Everyone was happy.

I also “upcycled” the chicken carcass I had bought for the easy chicken and biscuits after stripping all the meat off and made an amazing ramen broth that fed us for days. This is a new weekly thing I now am expected to do. And will, gladly. In the winter, I tend to make a pot of soup on the weekend that will stretch through the week. If I make a pot of broth for ramen, it’s a lot more versatile that a specific soup my picky eaters might not be super fans of. They can throw whatever toppings they want in it with a marinated soft boiled egg. Buying all the basic ingredients for ramen – mirrin, soy sauce,fish sauce,rice vinegar – is NOT inexpensive but I’ve added them to my cupboard little by little so now they’re on hand. By portion, homemade ramen can be super cheap.

Monday was our food pantry day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people there waiting in line to get food. Small families were given a ham, bigger families got a turkey. There wasn’t really any traditional Turkey Day trimmings but there was some decent produce and people were encouraged to take extra bread to make dressing/stuffing. No herbs but there was celery and carrots. Everyone was given a dessert as well.

I donated a bag of winter clothes to the free clothing program there. A woman came in while I was there to donate a bag of maternity clothing and I helped sort it. It was all wonderful stuff, great quality & trendier brands. I’m so stupidly emotional lately that it made me cry. My daughter has been spending her Saturday mornings at a homeless shelter/soup kitchen and she gets so upset when she has to sort through clothing that was donated and most of it is literal garbage. She has to wear gloves when going through it and feels like she needs a Silkwood shower when she’s done. So, a bag of great stuff for low income pregnant women is like treasure. I wish I had caught up with the donor just to tell her thanks, even if I’m done having babies and won’t need things like that. That shit is important.

Turkey Day morning we awoke to frozen pipes. We had planned to go to my son’s anyway and thankfully we had cooked and baked a lot the day before.
I covered this whole frozen pipe nonsense and issues I have with the landlord and our housing on Twitter
The day was awesome and chill. We went home to frozen pipes but we’ve roughed it without water before. We’re pros.
It finally thawed Saturday morning.
It took me all weekend to get caught up with laundry,dishes,cleaning.
My traditional post-Turkey Day Turkey Soup was postponed until today. Turkey Ramen can be a thing,correct?
Better be because that’s what’s happening.
I sent a lot of leftovers home with adult offspring so we don’t have much turkey left so this will be just right.

Tomorrow I’m looking an an apartment that’s for rent.
When I was around 9 or 10, we lived in a trailer park and a neighboring trailer burned down in the middle of the night. Faulty wiring was the cause. The family hadn’t been home. It was a holiday weekend and they were visiting family. I just remember watching that trailer burn. Literally burned to the ground. It all happened so fast and there was absolutely nothing left of that place. If they had been home, who knows if they’d have survied. It was one of the scariest things I ever saw as a child. Obviously it left an impression. And the idea that landlords can be informed that there’s big time electrical issues in a place they’re renting and do nothing is doing nothing to help me feel humanely about landlords.

Relevant linkage

> “Went through a 40 pack of water cooking Thanksgiving dinner” #Flint- Mari Copeny

> Help kids in Flint, Michigan have a nice Christmas

> A thread by Rebecca J. Kavanagh about working arraigments for people arrested on Thanksgiving  (ex: someone stole a generator… a lot of public housing residents don’t have heat)

> Easy Chicken Ramen (uses a bit too much rice vinegar in the broth, imo)

> Real Ramen – all Jun’s Kitchen videos are deeply satisfying to watch

> Elevated Top Ramen





Links|Nov 12-18

Things that are probably relavant to your interests if you’re hanging out at this blog

× What to do if you suddenly become homeless – some good basic tips
× Laziness Does Not Exist (but unseen barriers do)–  “It’s really helpful to respond to a person’s ineffective behavior with curiosity rather than judgment.” If you’re inclined to label someone’s behavior as lazy, there’s probably factors you’re not aware of that deserve consideration (not that it’s anyone’s job to concern themselves with so things but anyway…)

× Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Learned Her Most Important Lessons from Restaurants 

For Ocasio-Cortez, food is political, and the most tangible indicator of our social inequities. Sure, as living beings we all must eat to survive—and there’s unity in that—but what we eat and how much and where it comes from and what we must do to get it varies widely. “The food industry is the nexus of almost all of the major forces in our politics today,” she says. “It’s super closely linked with climate change and ethics. It’s the nexus of minimum wage fights, of immigration law, of criminal justice reform, of health care debates, of education. You’d be hard-pressed to find a political issue that doesn’t have food implications.”


× As Jeff Bezos Earns $191K Per Minute, Why Are NY & VA Giving Amazon $3 Billion in Corporate Welfare? – Answer: Because Cuomo is a turd

× New York Assemblymember Ron Kim wants to block that $3M handout to Amazon and use it to resolve student loan debt instead – I like this idea better.

× Barbara Lee on Iraq, Poverty, and Getting A Seat At The Table – 
an excellent profile of Representative Lee by Rebecca Traister. In the 70s, Lee was a single mom on welfare and says since becoming a Congresswoman, she wants to focus on poverty and low income families.She also touches on the EACH Woman Act which repeals the Hyde Amendment (which disallows Federal money to be spent on abortions for low incoe women, restricting accessibility.

Life |No Money November



I was thinking the other day about how November is the worst but I realized I say that about most months. Not usually summer months. The bad months tend to end in “brrr” or have the weather that is brrr.

Winter is informally here. Weather doesn’t care about calendar dates. I cringe when I hear the furnace kick on, hoping there’s enough in the fuel tank to keep us warm until HEAP helps out. I might have to have fuel delivered before we get HEAP. It’s a minimum delivery of 150 gallons=to around $575 so I’m trying toIMG_0328 (2) hold off. The heat is turned to minimum comfort & I’ve turned the trailer into a winterized cocoon. I could have paid for fuel if I had a dollar for everytime I said to someone, “Put a sweater on! Where are your slippers?”.

I really hate being cold so trust me,kiddos, this isn’t because I like it. And remember that last place we lived that was probably a Truman Show like social experiment to see if a modern day family could live in 1820? This is loads better.

Hand-me-downs have made it so that the only winter clothing I’ll have to get is boots for the smallest one. He has little Timberlands ($3 at a yard sale!) but he really should have regular winter boots.I tried to take advantage of a BOGO sale at Payless Shoes this past weekend and they had no boots. The salesperson said, “Well, we might get some in the next few weeks.” Might? You’re a shoe store in the frozen tundra of upstate NY. You should start putting boots in stock in September,silly.

Fortunately-unfortunately, my husbeast has been getting a lot of overtime hours so we should at least have funds to go buy non-BOGO deal boots this week.

I say unfortunately because he’s stressed, sore, and tired. Also, we did reapply for SNAP and got approved but it’s only $59 for the month because they were looking at the OT. I made zero dollars the last few months while recovering from my health nonsense, otherwise I’m sure we’d have been denied. In January, husbeast gets a 50¢/hour raise. I’m guessing for sure we won’t qualify anymore. Although maybe without the overtime,we might? I guess we’ll see. I hate the uncertainty of the safety net.

This area – the space where teetering income that keeps us from qualifying for assistance and from actually being enough to make all the ends meet – this is the scariest place to be. We’ve been here before. We’ve risen just above it at times only to fall below it again and again. This is where the most instability always is. It’s scary as fuck.


[this post brought to you by my new-to-us free refrigerator and a five day visit from my NYC-living daughter]

September happened?

Happy October,ya’ll.

I don’t even know what happened to September but I’ll try here to figure it out.

September started out poor as usual. We had to borrow $500 from our teenage daughter to pay rent, for crying out loud.

Our electric bill was $1.32,though. Manageable.

I could not tell you a single food budget related thing except that because my husband worked overtime , we made $62 too much to recertify for SNAP.

My health issues continued but finally, I had a magic procedure done, which involved an overnight stay in the hospital and soooooo much pain for days.

My husband took a week vacation PLUS family leave time to basically be me for recovery time. He’s back to work as of yesterday but I’m still  recovering honestly. I’m still weak and have zero appetite. No more pain and I can feel that the procedure is working to kill off that life and soul sucking fibroid I had named Tammy but I’m still not 100% fully functional.

The day after I had the UFE,aforementioned teen daughter who graduated from high school in June a year early, moved to Brooklyn with her boyfriend who is now working at a certain late night comedy show that’s on TV Saturday nights . Live.

I’ve been very emotional about this. She’s my youngest daughter, my baby girl, except that she’s not really. She’s an incredibly smart,capable,brave young woman who is just fine without her Mama in the big city. *sniffles* But also, all my daughters(and one son)are grown and scattered to different cities and all I have at home now are these two stinky boys who spend way too much time playing video games and I swear they’re speaking an entirely different language from me sometimes.
(But according to their teachers, they are also fine young men who are kind and smart and all of that so yay )

So that was September.
I have just one basic goal for October and that’s to continue to mend and get back to work. EASY PEASY.