The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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psa: future posts on benefit programs in Texas (and other things)
children of dune - leto 1

I forgot that I meant to do a PSA on entitlement programs and benefits at the state level every six months from now on, since this is relevant to pretty much everyone's interests when it comes to elderly/disabled family members and in this economic time, not a bad idea to know what can happen and what you have access to.

Trust me, if you are in Texas, this is potentially relevant to your interests, please read below the cut.

I'd like to be able to focus on what precisely people would like to know so I can research it before posting, so if you have any questions that you'd like overviewed or covered about Medicaid, programs for nursing home care, Food Stamps, TANF, SNAP-CAP, or any state-level entitlement programs, please IM me, email at, or hit comment here so I can remember to cover it.

Most of my information is specific to Texas, as that's what I know, what I trained for, and what I work daily with, but I can track down out of state resources if HHSC has a relationship with them. I probably can't answer specific questions on whether someone is eligible, or if I can I couldn't do it officially, but I can direct you where to go to find out. I'll also answer directly if it's something I don't know enough about to cover with any degree of accuracy and will try to find exactly where that topic is covered.

The post will cover all state level entitlement programs that are available to Texans as administered by HHSC that I know enough to give a full explanation. It will not cover ones I don't know about--and there are a lot of those--but I can look if there's something you've heard about that you want to get more information on but haven't been able to google, since um, state websites are freaking pre Web 2.0 half the time and not great for finding specific information sometimes.

There are no stupid questions. To become a caseworker, I had to do a three month intensive course, eight hours a day, five days a week just to get an overview of policy on Food Stamps, TANF, and Medicaid, and I was a benefits clerk in the local office first so I was already familiar with it. A Medicaid Eligibility Specialist, who works with elderly and disabled medicaid/recipients, has to do a different three month intensive course. I was and am fully trained by the state to determine benefits for Food Stamps, TANF, and Medicaid, even though at this point, I'm a tester for the programs that caseworkers use to decide eligibility. Under normal circumstances, there is no possible way most people who aren't second generation caseworkers (which I am) or in the field could know most of this. There are literally no stupid questions.

I cannot determine benefits, but I can explain how benefits are determined, and I can give an overview of how an interview will work, what's expected of you, and what you can expect and demand of anyone who interviews you. I can explain your rights as an applicant and what and what isn't within policy. I can explain who to contact if your rights are violated and where to go for assistance. I can explain appeal and hearing policy, but only in a limited extent since I'm not a hearing officer.

If you feel this is embarrassing or think anyone will think less of you, before I was a caseworker, before I was a tester, I was a twenty-one year old single parent who was on Medicaid, Food Stamps, and TANF for the first six years of my son's life. I am the daughter of a caserworker who was also a casereader for policy errors, a policy specialist, and one of the architects of the current program that determines benefits. Bootstraps are a myth, shame belongs to those without compassion, and there is nothing wrong with using the programs that in fact my tax dollars are joyfully helping to fund. Whoever said otherwise, anywhere, can fuck themselves. This is what I am and what I do, and it is a privilege to get people to the help they need, and it's your right to have access to these programs that you are entitled to. Don't let anyone, anywhere, tell you anything different.

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That varies by state interpretation of policy, and what's called policy clearances, where a policy specialist will read the horror that is Federal food stamp policy and try to figure out what it applies to in questionable situations. Email or IM me your zip code and state and I can read the handbook for that state to see what the requirements are. Or just your state, actually, the zip is only if you want to know what office to apply to.

In general--if you are in higher education, you need to be working at least 20 hours a week in some way, even work study, but it's more encompassing than that and has a lot of stuff that falls under employment and work study. When I know your state, I can read their policy and see what's what.

Insurance--the US sucks for this. For some states, they have womens' health programs, like Texas does, that covers reproductive assistance. There are also city, county/parish, and state level programs, but your best best is to google your city and see if they have a clinic system. Houston has one and some other places, where you can apply at the clinics depending on income and get sliding scale payment options at a variety of loosely affiliated clinics. You can also check at specific clincs and hospitals for options, since a lot have programs for those without insurance.

Thanks so much, I'll pm you for more info.

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