Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Childfree Person Falls Through the Cracks

Earlier this month I wrote a post titled “Are We a Family?” Most childfree couples say “Yes, we are!” However, our social institutions sometimes don’t see it that way and some of the government agencies that are set up to help families in need overlook the families of two.

An example of this came to me by way of email by a woman I will call “Susan” (as she didn’t want her real name to be used). Susan wanted to share “a terrible experience” she recently had when a horse-related accident left her with limited use of her right arm.

I was collecting unemployment at the time from an earlier work lay-off. [My husband and I] were struggling financially and I was without health insurance when the accident occurred. I had four surgeries post accident to repair my shoulder/clavicle/arm. Though I was fortunate to not break my neck or lose my arm, the accident changed my life.

To make a long story short; with no health insurance and limited income, I turned to DSS/Medicaid for assistance. This was extremely defeating to me, but the system is there to help people through crisis (even though it’s widely abused). However, what occurred during my DSS interview was disturbing to me. I was unable to qualify for Medicaid because my unemployment earnings were too high for this county's cut off ($706 for a woman with no children).

During the interview I was also screened for any possible social service help that I might qualify for, and I qualified for NONE...... however, a social worker came into the [cubicle] where I was being interviewed and told me I qualified for ONE program - "Reproductive Counseling". I immediately asked if this included any gynecological services (pap smear etc), and it did not. Upon questioning exactly what this program was, it was explained to me that it is a program offered to all women that consists of counseling on abstinence and safe sex! The irony; I'm 40 with NO children....and I got to that age birth-free BY CHOICE. Did they think I'd be interested??! Hell no.

The moral of the story is--if I had been pregnant or had any amount of children, I would have qualified for many services that I desperately needed due to consequences from my accident. To me, this sends a 'back door message' to get pregnant so the system would WORK FOR ME! How ridiculous!
When I read Susan’s story, I wondered “How did this social worker come to the conclusion that a person seeking help with a limited mobility disability and medical care access would need reproductive counseling?”


Ms. Chapman said...

My guess at the answer to “How did this social worker come to the conclusion that a person seeking help with a limited mobility disability and medical care access would need reproductive counseling?” is "because of your condition, you cannot afford children. Therefore, we must help you to NOT have children".

GordonGartrell'sMuse said...

My guess is that
1) It's some manditory stuff the social worker had to share


2)the social worker may have dealt with people in the past whose mobility issues and/or lack of medical insurance didn't stop them from screwing around, ending up pregnant, and then becoming clients because they can't afford to take care of their spawn. This may sound crazy to some, I know, but having listened to more than my fair share of anecdotes from past/current social workers I wouldn't be surprised if this was part of it.

Either way it's upsetting to think that Susan couldn't get the aid she needed just because she hasn't plopped out some kids.

931dm said...

What kind of backwards goverment would give such a low priority to helping those that most likely provided the most to fund such programs?

And isn't the social safety net supposed to be based on compassion for all human beings in need? This is so sad, and it's just the tip of the iceberg of anti-CF discrimination.