Food Stamp issue – one Marine’s story

By Irene Whiteside
May 26, 2011
I’d like to bring you a story about Food Stamps, and what our veterans are REALLY going through.
Especially since that episode with the lottery winner who is still using food stamps.
Let me give you some background first – – – it’ll take me a bit to get to the Food Stamp issue – bear with me.
I volunteer with Operation First Response where we help wounded veterans with financial needs during the time after their injuries, until their disabilities are rated by the VA – sometimes which can take years!
During this time, they are without any kind of pay, as their active duty paycheck is suddenly halted.
The case I’m following now and writing to tell you about is John Sullivan, a veteran who we have been helping.
John Sullivan lives in South Bend, IN, and served proudly in Operation Desert Storm in 91. He was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC from 1984-1988.
This is during the time of the contaminated drinking water issues at Camp Lejeune.
John has uncontrolled seizures, neurological issues, tumor (brain), serve disk disease, just to name a few.
He is currently housebound with home aid care (they give him a whopping 6 hours a week), and his wife, Eileen, cares for him the rest of the time.
This makes her unemployable, as they have 2 daughters, Megan 8, and Christen 13 (who has autism, related to the contaminated drinking water, and receives $674/month from Social Services, their only source of income at this time. Christen was recently molested on a school bus, and a case is pending over this issue.)
John is wheelchair bound now, and unemployable. The case has been up for review at the VA for over 14 months.
Congressman Joe Donnelly, who is a Ranking Member on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee, refuses to meet with John’s wife Eileen, after multiple requests, stating that he “doesn’t have a white chariot to help every one of the many who need help.”
Eileen has been desperately trying to comply with all requirements of the VA to get John rated (seeing doctor after doctor), and of the Food Stamp program.
They are facing foreclosure on their home (an issue that the American Legion has been of great assistance with), and currently is OUT OF FOOD!!!
Now, the Food Stamp issue – after visiting the local Food Bank, they were given food, but are only allowed to receive food once a month. They said that if she volunteers, she could get more.
So, for the few hours a week that John receives home care, she goes to the food bank and volunteers. But it’s not enough.
She has worked with her Trustee in trying to get their Food Stamp application expedited, and runs into compliance issues over and over (they keep adding more.)
This past Monday, they gave her another list of documents that she needed to send in, which she did immediately. Now, yesterday, Wednesday, they said, now they needed his medical history. Another delay of precious days without food.
I listened in while Eileen was on the other speaker phone with the Trustee, begging for assistance (again!) with the Food Stamp people, asking how much more will they suddenly need for her to produce to get this through?
Apparently, because of the lottery winner, they are slowing down the process, being even more overly cautious.
Now, briefly, about the case of her daughter and the molestation on the school bus – Social Services came to their home, discovered the distinct lack of food in the house, and threatened to take away their children if they didn’t produce more food.
Add to that, apparently their home care for John is about to be cut down to 2 hrs/week. Honestly, our veterans deserve MORE than this kind of treatment.
A side note: Cong. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) is running for Senate
Source: Irene Whiteside

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