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Day 260 — Getting Off Government Assistance

Ann SaysWe get on to get off.

I got off last week, government services, that is.

I had been a recipient of unemployment, food stamps and Medicaid (remember, Medicare is for old people).

When I got off the unemployment roll, the change in my income disqualified me for government assistance. Sure, I probably could have kept it going. I think the it’s not hard to game the system if you feel it’s necessary.

But I felt that having a full-time job with health and other benefits marked the first of many positive steps toward recovery.

Reporting my new-found job to the authorities seemed like the right thing to do. With food stamps, I just let my re-certification application lapse, which automatically terminated my benefits but not the amount remaining on my card, which I did use up.

For unemployment, I simply got a notice from the D.C. government saying that my unemployment benefits were canceled. The notice arrived before I got my full-time job. I didn’t bother questioning the government’s logic.

But I do question the logic of Medicaid. My new employer pays for my medical benefits—100 percent, even for a higher-end PPO (preferred provider option).

When I called the company that provides me Medicaid coverage, I said I wanted to report a change in income and that I didn’t need its insurance anymore. A company representative told me she couldn’t take the information over the phone because I was in the process of being sent my re-certification application. She said I had to do it in person.

To me, that’s a bad flaw in the system, like I’m going to use four to five hours of vacation time to trek to a bad part of town to let the authorities know I have a job. No way.

The company will eventually figure it out once I don’t appear for my re-certification appointment.

I just don’t get it.

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