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UPDATE: THIS FILE LAST EDITED 9-2013

ASSISTANCE

1O1

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A PUBLICATION FROM THE...

SIGHT LOSS
INFORMATION
DETECTIVE

.....ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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SHOULD THE READER WANT TO SUGGEST ANY ADDITIONS OR CORRECTIONS FOR THIS BULLETIN, PLEASE SEND YOUR IDEAS - GO TO LINK, SEND A MESSAGE, NEAR THE TOP OF THIS WEBPAGE.

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NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED AS AN ENDORSEMENT OR RECOMMENDATION, AND IS PRESENTED SIMPLY AS A CONVENIENCE TO THE READER. BECAUSE OF THE CHANGING AVAILABILITY OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES, THE COMPLETENESS OF THIS LISTING IS NOT GUARANTEED.

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HISTORICALLY, BLIND UNEMPLOYMENT HAS BEEN 70%, BUT OUR POOR U.S. ECONOMY OF THE PAST FEW YEARS HAS UNDOUBTEDLY CAUSED THIS NUMBER TO INCREASE.

SUBSEQUENTLY, THE PROCESS OF GETTING FULL PUBLIC AID (FOOD + CASH + MEDICAL) MAY MEAN YOU HAVE NO SPENDABLE ASSETS AND HAVE LOST WORK INCOME, SOCIAL SECURITY PAYMENTS OR SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME.

HOWEVER, YOU CAN OWN THE HOUSE YOU LIVE IN, THE BUSINESS YOU OPERATE, THE CAR YOU RIDE IN, A MONTHLY PENSION AND UNLIMITED PERSONAL POSSESSIONS, SUCH AS CLOTHING, APPLIANCES AND OTHER HOUSEHOLD INVENTORY.

FURTHER THANKS TO OUR DIGITAL REALITY, IF TRAVEL TO YOUR PUBLIC ASSISTANCE CENTER IS DIFFICULT, MANY LOCALES OFFER ONLINE FOOD AID APPLICATION AT THEIR STATE GOVERNMENT WEBSITE.

HOWEVER, THIS ONLINE PROCESS DOES INCLUDE AN OFFICIAL INTERVIEW, BUT IT CAN BE BY-PHONE RATHER THEN IN-OFFICE.

NOTE THAT THIS WEB FORM COMPLETION CAN TAKE MORE THEN AN HOUR.

ALSO, USING THE INTERNET TO APPLY FOR FOOD HELP DOES GIVE GREATER PRIVACY BY AVOIDING IN-CENTER VERBAL INTERVIEWS FOR COMPLETION OF VARIOUS OFFICE FORMS.

0. THE BEGINNING

KNOWLEDGE IS KNOWING, SO FIRST STUDY THE TOP OF THE FOOD CHAIN:

NATIONAL HUNGER HOTLINE
PHONE: 1-866-348-6479

- REQUEST ONLINE LINK VIA E-MAIL FOR FREE BROCHURE - HOW TO GET FOOD HELP
WEBSITE: WWW DOT FNS DOT USDA DOT GOV
SCROLL TO: HEADING - NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

- NOTE E-MAIL ALERTS SIGNUP

SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAM BROCHURE
PHONE: 1-800-221-5689 (USDA)

NEXT, KEY QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED OF YOU AND BY YOU...
- WHAT MONTHLY FOOD EXPENSES
- WHAT MONTHLY SHELTER AND UTILITY EXPENSES
- WHAT INCOME CAP AND CASH-ON-HAND CAP

1. MONEY NO NO'S

IN ORDER TO GET COMPLETE SUPPORT THE RULE IS NO SAVINGS, NO STOCKS, NO BONDS, NO 4O1K, NO IRA, NO BUSINESS SALES AND NO REAL ESTATE SALES.

HOWEVER, THIS HARD RULE ONLY APPLIES TO GETTING ENTREE TO BOTH THE ONE-TIME EMERGENCY CASH AND MONTHLY CASH SUPPORT IN ADDITION TO FOOD NEEDS.

2. YOUR PAPERWORK

AT YOUR STATE HUMAN SERVICES DEPARTMENT OFFICE (OR SIMILAR AGENCY NAME) BE PREPARED TO PROVIDE THESE DOCUMENTS:

- YOUR STATE DRIVERS LICENSE OR YOUR STATE I.D. CARD
- YOUR BIRTH CERTIFICATE
- YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY CARD
- YOUR CHECKING, SAVINGS AND CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT NUMBERS
- YOUR CURRENT ELECTRIC BILL
- YOUR CURRENT WATER BILL (IF APPLICABLE)
- YOUR CURRENT HEATING BILL (IF APPLICABLE)
- YOUR RENTAL OR LEASE AGREEMENT (IF APPLICABLE)
- DETAILS ON ANY LOAN CONTRACTS (HOME, CAR OR PERSONAL)
- YOUR CURRENT AND TWO PREVIOUS MONTHS PAID INCOME (IF APPLICABLE)

3. YOUR ASSETS

WHEN APPROPRIATE PROVIDE INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR HOME TITLE AND CAR TITLE, OTHERWISE, AGAIN BEFORE GETTING PUBLIC ASSISTANCE ALL SPENDABLE ASSETS NEED TO HAVE BEEN EXHAUSTED EXCEPT FOR A MODERATE LEVEL OF PERSONAL CASH.

4. FOOD STAMPS AND FOOD BANKS

WHAT YOU GET IS A STATE DEBIT CARD TO BE USED IN COMPLIANCE WITH SECTIONS 6. AND 7. BELOW.

PLUS, YOUR REGIONS FOOD GIVING LOCATIONS HAVE VARIOUS BUT SIMILAR QUALIFICATIONS. ADDITIONALLY, THE STATE CENTER WILL OFFER REFERRALS OR SEE SECTION 8. BELOW. REMEMBER, FOOD BANKS ARE NOT LIKE STORES AND YOUR CHOICES ARE USUALLY ONLY WHAT THEY HAVE IN STOCK OR WHAT THEY ARE WILLING TO GIVE YOU WHICH OFTEN IS A PREASSEMBLED FOOD BOX. BESIDES RESTRICTED MONTHLY WALK-IN ACCESS, DISABLED RECIPIENTS SHOULD ASK ABOUT POSSIBLE HOME DELIVERY SERVICES.

5. RENT & UTILITIES

WHEN AVAILABLE, SOME APPLICANTS MAY BE GIVEN PAID-DIRECT HELP FOR PARTIAL OR FULL RENT, ELECTRIC AND LANDLINE PHONE BILLS. THIS MEANS THE STATE WILL SEND PAYMENT DIRECTLY TO A LANDLORD, TO AN ELECTRIC COMPANY AND TO A PHONE COMPANY.

6. HOT MEAL NO NO'S

ONLY UNPREPARED, EATABLE ITEMS SUCH AS FRESH, FROZEN, CANNED AND PACKAGED PRODUCTS CAN BE PURCHASED WITH THE STATE DEBIT CARD. NEITHER TOBACCO, ALCOHOL OR MOST ENERGY DRINKS ARE NOT OKAY. LIKEWISE, THE NON-FOODS BELOW OR RESTAURANT AND DELI MEALS ARE NOT AUTHORIZED WITH ONE EXCEPTION. UNHEATED DELI FOODS LIKE COLD SANDWICHES AND COLD SALADS AS WELL AS TAKE-AND-BAKE PIZZAS MAY BE COVERED EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE READY-TO-EAT.

7. YOUR PRIORITIES

FOR MOST CONSUMERS A BASE CAMP IS THE STARTING POINT. THEN AFTER PAYING FOR SHELTER, FOOD IS NEXT ON THE LIST BUT SOME OF THE FOLLOWING EVERYDAY ESSENTIALS MAY NOT MAKE THE CUT:

- PERSONAL HYGIENE (SOAP, TOOTHPASTE, SHAMPOO, ETC.)

- TOILET PAPER AND PAPER TOWELS

- OVER THE COUNTER (OTC) DRUGS (PAIN-KILLER, ANTI-INFLAMATORY, SLEEP AID, ETC.)

- SUPPLEMENTS (VITAMINS, MINERALS, HERBS, ETC.)

- LAUNDRY SUPPLIES

- CLEANING ITEMS

- PET FOOD

- CELL PHONE

HOWEVER, ONE POSSIBLE EXCEPTION MAY BE LIMITED TRANSPORTATION BECAUSE BUS PASSES AND EVEN TAXI FEES ARE SOMETIMES PROVIDED.

8. SPENDING DIARY

HAVING LIMITED FUNDS MEANS MAKING HARD CHOICES ABOUT WHAT TO BUY AND KEEPING A DAILY EXPENSE LOG BECOMES AN INDISPENSIBLE TOOL. THE TIGHTER THE MONEY THE TIGHTER THE MONITORING SHOULD BE.

9. OTHER CHARITIES

BESIDES MEALS ON WHEELS (FOOD HELP FOR 60+) AND COUNTY ENERGY ASSISTANCE (PAYMENT HELP FOR ARREARS), DIAL 211 FOR OTHER COMMUNITY SERVICES NATIONWIDE.

IF YOUR LOCALE DOES NOT YET OFFER DIAL 211 THEN CONTACT YOUR PUBLIC LIBRARY TO IDENTIFY NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS YOU MAY NEED.

10. FINAL THOUGHTS

HERE ARE SOME TIPS, TRICKS, TRAPS AND TRIGGERS TO KEEP IN MIND...

- BE CAREFUL THAT YOU DON'T RUN OUT OF MONEY BEFORE YOU RUN OUT OF MONTH

- CASH IS THE ONLY REAL WAY TO INSURE FINANCIAL PRIVACY ONCE YOUR BANK ACCOUNTS ARE ON FILE AT A STATE AGENCY

- PERSONAL MONITORING OF YOUR FINANCES NEEDS TO INCREASE AS THE SPENDABLE AMOUNT DECREASES

- STATE LOOK-BACK OF YOUR CREDIT RATING AND HISTORY MAY HEIGHTEN WHEN BALANCES ARE HIGHER AND LESSEN WHEN TOTALS ARE LOWER

- FOR APPLICATION PERSPECTIVE, MOST INTRUSIVE IS STATE, NEXT FOOD BANKS AND LEAST IS MEALS ON WHEELS

- LASTLY AND SADLY, BE PREPARED FOR SOME POSSIBLE LEVEL OF HAT-IN-HAND DISCRIMINATION BY STAFF AT ANY OF THE ABOVE ENTITIES

SPECIAL NOTE:

REMEMBER, THE CLERKS OF THE WORLD CAN SOMETIMES BE UNREASONABLE SO ASK FOR A SUPERVISOR IF YOU ENCOUNTER WAY TOO MANY HURDLES

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