Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Fuel assistance is getting harder to get

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for the fuel assistance program, but at this point it's almost becoming a hazing ritual.

We're having the same problem we've had in past years where they don't seem to understand that people in our household have per diem jobs where we might go several weeks or more without any work from that job. Someone in our household works in the arts and will get paid by a particular employer sometimes one or two times, or sometimes for a string of several weeks but then not again. The employers are often one person, who doesn't appreciate writing a letter stating you don't work there every couple months when trying to apply for something. Or the jobs are through a friend of a friend, and you can't even track down the company that sent the stack of checks to the gig with the person who pulled together the artists. ABCD and DTA and Masshealth and all of them of course don't get this, and say to call the HR department. What HR department? The "business" is one guy who put on an event once. You'd think they'd realize they're dealing with poor people. We often have weird and inconsistent employment. We're honest and we save everything and we file our taxes correctly, with the dozens of W-2s and all. Any reason these places can't accept tax forms instead of paystubs? They need to harass us to properly document a few hundred dollars from somewhere -- which we're being honest and telling them happened -- when you know they have applicants who make much more under the table.

In addition to that problem, they seem to have some new requirements. Now, instead of just submitting your Schedule C for self-employment, they want you to request a transcript from the IRS and send that, except they don't tell you that until they deny you for sending the normal copy of the Schedule C.

They also want proof that one young member of the household is a citizen. They haven't needed this in past years for this person or anyone else. I have to order a copy of that person's birth certificate, unless anyone knows a better way to prove citizenship for a child.

Is it even worth it for the $400 or whatever? I'm thinking I might just find something to sell on eBay to pay for fuel this winter instead.

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