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Food stamps

I am destitute. Don’t have a dime, living on my Social Security check, crawling from day to day and making it I don’t know how.

My daughter, a good, loving offspring works successfully in The System. Unlike me, she has become enured to its spiritual violence. (If you don’t know what I mean, then you are, too. At a certain level I envy you.) She has taken on The System on my behalf.

An hour ago I got a phone call from the NJ Board of Social Services. They conducted an interview of me, which constituted my application for food stamps. At its conclusion the interviewer asked what had become of my existing food-stamp card, issued in 2014. As I had never had a food-stamp card in my posession, I couldn’t tell her. She told me I had to inform the Food Stamp Card Replacement Hotline that this card was lost, so that they could cancel it prior to issuing me a new one. I had to ask her for a phone number for them. She gave it to me without looking it up.

I called the FSCR Hotline, selected the proper option and was asked for my case number. Since my case had been created by my daughter and no one had mentioned it, I had no idea what this number could be. The nice lady accepted my Social Security number and went off to retrieve the case.

When she returned, she told me to call the NJ Board of Social Services and inform them that I had reported the FSCR card for cancellation, so that they could issue me a replacement.

The NJ Board etc. received my statement. The nice lady who received it acknowledged that I had delivered it and told me I would receive mail from them telling me what their decision would be concerning my application.

At first, I was dumbfounded at the back-and-forth phone calls. It seemed so archaic. In fact, it did hearken back to an era of paper files, of taking a form from one office to the next, having it initialed and eventually carrying it back to the original office for final excecution and filing. But it wasn’t that at all. My spavined legs were not abused by marble-floored halls and standing in line. I got to sit in my own rooms, progressing on my own tasks while still attending to the business of bureaucracy. I was informed of every step in the process and was able to confirm each step as it was taken with no loss of time or efficiency on any part. In the end, it was the finest evolution of process I have ever seen. I hope one day to meet the devisors of this procedure, shake their hands, and publicly thank them for their effort.

One last reflection:
When my interviewer had first mentioned my posessiing a food-stamp card, I told her the only time I could recall applying for food stamps was in 2017. I had been told then that my Social Security monthly payment exceeded their guidelines for food stamp disbursal by something like $15/month and I was therefore ineligible for their program. In that visit to the NJ Board etc, no mention was made of any previous contact of me with the NJ Board.

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