Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Required reading for anyone who thinks people with SNAP, WIC, etc. shouldn't have smartphones

If you missed it, this is a good post explaining how circumstances can change, and how it doesn't make any damn sense to sell your car and clothes and home at a huge loss because you suddenly can't make ends meet as well as you once could.  

I would expect that anyone reading my blog is not of the mindset that anyone getting government anything shouldn't have a mobile device, but just in case any poor-people-haters decided to swing on by, I wanted to explain a few things. I was also thinking it would be a good idea to have all this info in one place for handy sharing the next time some jackass on my facebook feed starts talking about how they saw someone with a food stamps card using a smartphone.

1) It's none of your business. Really. This should be enough, but since it isn't for some people...

2) It might not be their phone. Or SNAP or WIC card. They could be picking up things for a friend, a relative, their clients at the group home where they work, their foster kids, their grandkids. It could be a phone they have through their job. Who cares? 

3) Mobile devices are no longer ridiculously expensive. Several mobile plans have a low-end smartphone as their free phone at this point. An iPhone 4 or 4s can be purchased on eBay or amazon for $20-$30 at this point. People are routinely giving away iPhone 4s and 5s to their friends for free to use as an iPod for their kid or to use as a backup when their phone broke

4) You don't even need phone service on the device to use apps or check e-mail. People might have a device because they're using it to e-mail their job or check their kid's school grades. You can use apps anywhere you're connected to wi-fi, and you can compose e-mail, write notes to yourself, listen to music, etc. without any network connectivity. Home internet can be as little as $9.95, or you can pool together with several people in your building to share wireless. Or just piggyback on all your neighbors who don't know to put passwords on their networks.

5) A lot of low-income folks don't have a computer, cable, or home internet. They may have a device connected to phone service, and it might be the only way they receive phone calls, pay bills, send e-mails about work and school, and stay in touch with their kid's teachers. If the phone was cheap or free and the plan is $50 a month, they're likely spending a lot less than you on technology.

5) Oh, and just in case I do have someone reading who thinks that people who get WIC, SNAP, Medicaid, etc. should have their income and expenditures scrutinized, I'll just mention that I really hope they feel the same way about people who take mortgage interest tax credits, student loan tax credits, and so forth. It's all free money from our tax dollars, but some of it just somehow gets viewed differently by some people.

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