La Crisis: The County Line

Coolio’s County Line, the anthem for GR (General Relief) recipients in the early 90s.

According to the Los Angeles Times, one in five Los Angeles residents is receiving public assistance.

One in five Los Angeles County residents — nearly 2.2 million people — are receiving public assistance payments or benefits, a level county officials say will rise significantly over the coming months as the fallout from the recession continues.

County officials warn that tens of thousands of additional frustrated job seekers — unemployment in the county currently stands at 9.5% — are expected to seek aid to weather the persistent recession once their other benefits run out.

Based on the amount of folks I know personally who have recently lost their jobs,  I imagine the numbers will go up even higher. While some may think applying for public assistance is a fairly straight forward process, Coolio’s video isn’t all that much of an exaggeration. According to the article not much has changed down at the DPSS office. Yes, the process for applying can be extremely daunting and maybe for some, humiliating but look at it this way, obscene amounts of your tax dollars are going for wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, might as well use some of the crumbs for yourself. During these times of La Crisis, you gotta do what you gotta do.

First, check the DPSS website to see if you qualify. While I’m not condoning it, sometimes applicants slightly adjust the true value of their assets on the application i.e. your car. Ask people who are waiting in line for tips, most will offer friendly advice. Also, if you’re worried about what people might think when you go to pay for your food at the supermarket, now you don’t even have to suffer the indignity of paying with food stamps, you’re given a debit card to use. These debit cards are also widely accepted at local farmer’s markets so you can really stretch that $176. Obama’s new stimulus plan calls for an increase in food stamps benefits, so perhaps in the future you can even go organic. (Never mind, see here) So what are you waiting for? Put down that cold cup of ramen noodles and get yourself down to the county line. You might even qualify for General Relief.

10 thoughts on “La Crisis: The County Line

  1. I have a friend who is receiving GR money along with food stamp’s and is on unemployment his job is over for the season and he has not had much luck finding a job. He is a 34 year-old white guy so regardless this unemployment rate affect’s all classes and races and many seek the help . He told me that he has to go to classes for the GR money like sometimes every week. You have to go to the classes mandatory to receive the money. In the class they basically talk about how to look for a job,filling out job applications etc. They also provide the people with bus passes and tokens and even 50 dollars to go buy work attire, so you got to be on top of the classes to get the money. I heard they used to have to do community type service to get the GR money as well.They might be more strict on the regulation’s to getting the money because I am sure back in the day people took advantage of those program’s.

  2. Trader Joe’s accepts EBT cards now too, despite refusing for many years. I’ve spent many a morning waiting in the county line, but luckily I haven’t needed to go back for some time now. We need to get some recent applicants to write a post on the current tips and tricks, cuz it was all about knowing what to say. I still have a few og food stamps left, I know i can’t cash them in, but I like having them around. Just in case.

  3. Thanks for the updated info Dona!
    They’ve always made it difficult to receive GR, even back in the day. This myth that welfare is easy to get and you layabout all day living high on the hog is not true, at least not for poor folks. The “welfare” (bailout) bank CEOs get on the other hand is a different story.
    Friends told me that back during the time of the Coolio video, you’d get $212 a month on GR but had to work a mandatory six (8 hours) days a month for the County i.e. Sanitation, Street Services, Schools etc. Basically, you did the work County employees didn’t feel like doing, usually something that involved trash or refuse. So you ended up working for less than minimum wage while someone else collected the real wages and benefits. I can see why they ended this requirement, it was pretty f’ed up.
    As for teaching folks on how to find jobs, well I guess those are good skills to have but there are no jobs to be found! It seems like that requirement can be a real waste of time too.

  4. The bank bailout welfare requires jumping through hoops, but, they provide you with a little extra money so you can hire a hoop-jumping consultant to assist in the paperwork.

  5. @ alienation
    hmmm, maybe they can train GR recipients on how to be bank CEOs? They can’t do any worse than the ones that have the positions now, right?

  6. My mom told me the other day she might have to apply for unemployment because her work at a dr’s office has cut back her time to almost nothing. I was horrified.

    By my current age I had hoped to have bought my folks a house in Hawaii & given them all sorts of money. But I still can barely support myself.

    It’s really upsetting. I mean, it’s my MOM, dude.

  7. At the nicer supermarkets the clerks will say “food stamps or cash” just loud enough so everyone in line can hear. So, the bastards have found a loophole to continue humiliating people on food stamps.

  8. lucinda, don’t be hard on yourself. There are only a few lucky people able to buy their parents a home in Hawaii these days. The Jonas brothers would be hesitant to buy their mom a house in Hawaii with today’s economy. They’d have to get her a place in Hawaiian Gardens, for the time being…

    You sound like a great person who’s worked hard, and your parents know it. They have plenty to be proud of.

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