Boys and Girls Ultimate: State Championships
Teams must qualify.
Jason Davis and I decided to take on the task of filing for welfare, specifically cash and food assistance. In order to qualify for either of these, everyone in the household must be a citizen or at least allowed in the country as a permanent resident and have a social security number. Also, you need to show that you are either employed or are trying to be employed. Then, it all comes down to how much assistance you qualify for, which depends on your total income and how many dependents and disables are in the household. Welfare is only a temporary assistance, and before you are given any assistance you must fill out paperwork showing that you will work towards sustaining yourself after the welfare has run out. When trying to go through this task of learning about the process and making the flowchart, Jason and I focused on the paperwork at first. As soon as we realized that the paperwork doesn't actually explain anything clearly, I went digging into the website for Pennsylvania welfare and benefits. I found lists of the qualifications of the different types of welfare, and I went about connecting them. So, we finalized the flowchart and just finished up the paperwork.
If anything, the paperwork was pretty straightforward, but tedious. It was all the expected questions about your demographics and your income. But, the only way you could really fill out this paperwork is if you had all your information in front of you on your utilities, health issuance, and information on every person in your household you are applying for. However, the paper work did come with explanation pages that outline certain information (which is why there seemed to be SO MUCH paperwork). If I really wanted to apply for welfare, going through the process of getting all that information and making sure it was all accurate would have taken a lot of resources.
The most confusing part of this whole process is determining what kind of welfare you qualify for. Jason and I looked at the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families because our made-up person had a family with children. However, there is also General Assistance, and depending on how you stand with TANF and GA, you get certain benefits in food assistance (SNAP). If you don't qualify for TANF, you may qualify for GA. But, it doesn't make it exactly clear where the line is drawn. I figured out that the difference usually is that if the only reason you do not qualify for TANF is if you do not have any dependents or if it is because you are in certain circumstances where you cannot work (for a good reason), you could qualify for GA. It really isn't clear, so you would have to apply for both and just wait and see what you get. It was really frustrating. It needs to become more clear for people as to what they should actually apply for.
So what have these systems become so frustrating and complex? I'm almost certain people went a little crazy with the "What if?" game. Going through the original paperwork, they might have seen a certain part and thought "What if this person is in the situation?" Obviously that part needed to change so it fit the needs of everyone applying. However, the people never went back into the systems after the What If game was played to see if they could simplify or make the different paths more distinct and clear.