This is the tale of two households.  Both have suffered the loss of their mother within the last couple of years.   Both consist of two people.  There the similarities pretty much stop.

Household A:  A man & wife.  She is disabled and he is "long-term unemployed."  Both are under 60.  They drive a car (low end) bought, owned and insured by her brother.  Their brother provides them with in-kind goods: food, clothing, utilities, home maintenance (the part the husband cannot do himself, and he's pretty talented at it)., auto maintenance, gasoline, etc.  Technically, they qualify for food stamps, which his $250K republican mother suggested they apply for (instead of offering help to her son in the form of a check) because "I help my workers (farm) get them all the time."  NOTE:  the husband is pretty sure these are mostly illegal migrant workers.  They have not bothered to apply, however, because in Texas, a married couple with no resident children, on the average, receives food stamps for three months only, and the check is pretty small.  The maximum they could receive them, from their understanding, is sic months anyway.  Not worth the time and effort put into the application process.  When I say "pretty small" I mean around $100 a month.  Instead, they grow fruits and vegetables (organically), herbs, shop sales, using coupons.  The dryer broke; the husband fixed it.  He mows the grass, despite having high blood pressure and living in Houston, where it already 80+ every day. They bought grass plugs and re-sodded the lawn after the recent drought themselves.  Yes, I mean they went outside, dug up the hard packed clay, put in sand and manure and planted the plugs.  six they did manually.  Then they found a tiller on sale for $129.99 + shipping, the brother paid for it, and the rest they used the tiller to plant.  Mind you, they aren't re-sodding from lawn edge to lawn edge, just placing plugs in the worst spot about 6" apart,  expecting the plugs to grow and fill in the sod.  They do not have a working dishwasher.  They eat beans, soups, make their own stock from the chickens  & vegetables they cook, wear very inexpensive clothing (the most expensive thing in their wardrobe was a winter jacket at $29.99.  They have low energy light bulbs, conserve electricity (and going with very little air conditioning is not always pleasant), conserve water, collecting roof run off for their garden and lawn.  They have a "full charity" card at the county hospital/clinic system, but they do not use the services routinely.  They got it for an emergency situation only.  They have a small inheritance/saving account (originally less than $15,000 and now just under $3000.  No maid, no gardener, the only outside help with the housework being a friend of the wife's.  The wife engages in online activities to earn money, win prizes, sell used goods, and generate any income she can.  She gets free samples, haunts clearance racks and "as is" sections.  So far this year, she has scored $500 in a grocery gift card, two "free Big Macs for a year with the purchase of a value meal" cards, about $40 in free birthday food for the two of them, a $5 Walmart gift card, a $10 prepaid American Express gift card, and a lot of free food through the use of coupons combined with sales and store discounts.  They have also donated to Toys for Tots, the local food bank, disaster relief clothing drives, Salvation army clothing drives, and other charities through "click and we will donate" drives, the purchase of brands which donate part of the purchase price to charity.  They routinely pick up school supplies at little to no cost to donate to the local schools, take their newspaper and cardboard to the school for its paper drive, save and donate Box Tops for Education, Labels for Education, and other such programs.  They randomly give food, shelter,  rides, coupons, and such to the homeless, those with less than they have, family, friends, & neighbors. Expired coupons go to the American miliitary overseas.  They do not attend church.   They vote Democratic mostly, and consider themselves to be liberals.

Household B:  Two sisters, one of whom is mentally challenged and autistic.  They own & live in a house on a piece of property worth over a million dollars,   One is almost 65, works as a substitute teacher and is applying for full-time jobs.  She is bipolar.  The other receives SSI and is applying for food stamps, and has a small job working at Ellington Field one Saturday and one Sunday a month (the costs to get her there and back uses up a lot of her earnings).  There is a trust fund for them.  They have cards to the county hospital/clinic system, although not at "full charity," but the next step up (instead of $4 per dr visit, they pay something like $8.  They use the services routinely. including the pharmacy where their prescriptions are $8 (instead of $30 at WalMart like household A's, which the brother pays).  They have someone to cut the grass.  If their dryer goes out, they call a serviceman.  Recently, the one who drives had a wreck, totaling her Toyota Camry Hybrid, which she replaced with a brand new Toyota Camry hybrid.  Guess who picked her up at the accident scene, took her home to call the insurance company, out to the dealership to get a loaner, and to the hospital to be checked out?  She did give them $5 for parking, which was $10, and also treated them to a lecture about "taking the money out of the mouths of a retarded woman and her unemployed sister."  Note that earlier this year, she was hospitalized and they drove her sister out to visit her, ferried her cell phone (a Verizon plan with a monthly fee instead of the prepaid rarely used cells Household A uses), drove the younger sister to visit their (then still living) mother in the hospital, to work, to the grocery store, picked the older sister up from the hospital, took her to get her car from the shop, followed her home to make sure she was safe -- never asking for a penny, never being offered one.  For this they get a lecture?  Twice they have had to pick the sister up from the house and house her overnight  because the two of them got into a fight, once they were called by the police to do so.  This at a cost to of about $200 (which the brother paid).   Twice now they have driven the mentally challenged woman to her job and picked her up (both days she worked).  These sisters don't use coupons, discounts, store loyalty points for gas -- nothing.  It's "too much trouble."  Constantly the older sister moans about their impoverishment to household A.  The mentally challenged sister uses the Metro-lift service, except when she needs to travel outside its service hours. They have "scholarships" to the local Y and work out regularly.  They grow nothing, and the younger sister does all the housework.  They eat frozen dinners, go to church across town, sing in the choir, and do what they want to do.  the older sister says an Internet connection is too expensive, while she wears her late mother's diamond rings easily worth $10,000 and wears designer clothing.  Only one votes, but she votes Republican always and talks down about "people on welfare."  Hellooooo?  

I give up.  The system is crazy.  Can anyone explain it to me?
 


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