We have just found out that Teen Parent is ineligible for food stamps, WIC, or any aid but medical. She's nineteen, with a toddler of her own.
She lost her part-time job when we moved, and hasn't been able to find another. Pup Daddy was able to get work at a sandwich shop. He receives about 22 hours a week, at minimum wage. Needless to say, they can't support a family on that.
Teen Parent applied for AFDC and food benefits. She told them, truthfully, that she and her boyfriend rent a room and buy their own food.
In spite of her being over the age of majority, she was informed that she cannot rent a room from her mother. As long as she is under the age of twenty-two, the head of household, (me) must apply for AFDC and food stamps. If my income is too high for such benefits, then I am obligated to house and feed her and her children with no help from the government.
In the eyes of the government, giving her, Pup Daddy and their child a room to live in means that I also must provide them with utilities and groceries.
She cannot be a 'renter' in my house because she is related to me. Having my offspring under my roof makes me somehow responsible for all of her needs, even though she is past the age of majority.
If she moves out and pays the exact same amount of rent for the exact same amount of space to a stranger with the exact same income as I have, she will be given WIC, food stamps, rental assistance, and medical. The stranger would not be asked to reveal any of their personal information. For me to be her landlord, I am required to apply for welfare. I must reveal to the government every penny that I earn, every dollar that I spend for various utilities and other necessities, where I work, how much I have in the bank. We will be denied, of course, because my income is above what is considered to be poverty.
Since I am related to her and she is under the age of twenty-two, the guidelines assumes that we shop and prepare meals together. The way they lay it out, I should either be prepared to share my food with her for the next three years, let her go hungry or kick her out. They will not provide her or her child food while they live with me.
I am sure they don't care if I don't feed her or her child, but they are making it clear that as long as I am around, *they* will not feed her or her child.
Because of this new development, tension mounts. Pup Daddy glances at me, spoon in hand, before filling his plate with a second helping of rice and lentils. Teen Parent's hand hovers just for a second longer than usual as she reaches for an apple for Rat Pup to gnaw.
According to the branch of government that dictates Aid To Families With Dependent Children, her child falls under my head-of-householdness when it comes to food and utilities. Yet, according to the Internal Revenue Service, her child is not one of my dependents unless I am given legal custody of the child by my daughter. The result is I am obligated to support this child and any others that my daughter may produce before reaching the age of twenty two, but I cannot write off these dependents as tax deductions.
So, the government discriminates based on landlord's relationship to the renter? The 'guidelines' force me to either kick my kid to the curb or grudgingly spread my already-thin finances thinner in order to not just house, but feed, clothe, and provide heat and hot water to her and any children she may produce.
Would somebody please explain to me how this works?