Cheating the System

WARNING:  Rant Alert!

Money revolvingSince I found the DOC in 2007, I can’t begin to count the number of people that I have seen post on various message boards that they lost their job and can’t afford to buy insulin.  They have a job but no insurance and they can’t afford to buy insulin.  They have a job with insurance but it is crappy insurance, the co-pays are high and they can’t afford to buy insulin.  Sometimes those same people that can’t afford the insulin also don’t qualify for help because they are working.

If it is not the person themselves, it is someone posting that their son, daughter, brother, sister, friend, significant other or whatever relationship I forgot, asking how to help their loved one afford insulin.  I once saw Mike Lawson post that he had to decide between buying insulin or making his car payment.  It is pretty sad that anyone has to decide between buying the insulin they need to stay alive or paying for the car that gets them to the job that gives them the money to buy that insulin.

The first time I changed jobs after being diagnosed, I not only found out about diabetes in the workplace, but about insurance.  My new boss was a small company and I had to apply for insurance individually, not as a group.  Even though I was in good health and running 10 miles a day at the time, I was turned down because I was diabetic.  Over the years, I changed jobs several times.  Sometimes I had group insurance, sometimes I went without insurance and sometimes I purchased an individual plan and paid for insurance on my own.  Most people worry about salary and vacation time when they change jobs, but PWDs worry about what their health insurance will be like.

None of the above are positions that anyone should find themselves in.  I get very angry when I hear about people that are having a hard time affording insulin and then I hear about someone “cheating the system.”

The other night, one of my neighbors knocked on my door.  She was all upset because her daughter (who is a drunk and doesn’t work because she is always drunk) was cut off from all the benefits she was receiving – she was getting help from HUD to pay her rent, she got food stamps and she got Medicaid.  She also has a 5 year old little girl that I do feel sorry for.  Mom was upset because the drunk daughter has been having her boyfriend living with her.  The boyfriend is also a drunk but he does have a job.  He was not reported as a member of the household nor was his income counted in the benefits that she received.  She was turned in and lost all her benefits.  I guess you can tell from my opening paragraph that I have zero sympathy for her.

Angry smileyAccording to Mom, “heads are going to roll.”  She seems to think it was harassment that someone turned her daughter in.  There was no mention that what her daughter did was illegal.  There was no mention that the drunk daughter should take responsibility for her actions.  As far as I know, no one put a gun to her head and forced her to open the door and allow the boyfriend to live there. She knew he was not supposed to be living there.  She knew that she was supposed to report any changes to her residence and she did not do that.

Several times during our conversation, I stated, “she was cheating the system.”  I almost fell off my chair when Mom responded with, “everyone does it.”  My response was, “no, everyone does not do it.”

I Googled “welfare fraud in PA” and discovered that she could potentially spend 7 years in jail because of what she did.  If she does go to jail, she will still be getting free room and board, but at least she won’t be drinking.  The little girl might have 7 years of a half-normal life.

And most of all, someone more deserving of receiving help might actually get it.


6 thoughts on “Cheating the System

  1. This makes me want to kick that neighbor woman in the head. Thanks for posting this, Kelly. Yes, it hurts us all in some indirect way when people take advantage of the system – whatever system we’re talking about.

  2. In this case, you’re absolutely right. She was cheating the system and, conversely, someone who needs the help can’t get it. Unfortunately, adding more checks-and-balances to the system ends up delaying assistance to the person who needs the help even more. Sometimes that happens, and sometimes the case you describe happens. There’s no moral honesty anymore.

    The tax system is the same. The highly skilled accountants find ways to put money in various places (tax-free and tax-deferred accounts, and others) to ultimately give less money to Uncle Sam. It’s as if cheating the government has become a desirable — and in this case, legal — talent. Personally, I have no problem paying my fair share of taxes, the operative word being “fair”; I (idealistically) trust the money is being used fairly as well.

    It’s as if it’s legal to cheat the government on one side of their ledger book, but not on the other. If both sides could be fixed, perhaps that “everyone does it” statement wouldn’t be as credible.

    • You are right Scott, there is no moral honesty anymore. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that she said them, but she talked about telling her granddaughter not to lie so they did surprise me. I don’t know what the answer is as far as having checks and balances.

      I recently saw on CNN that some accountants are now charging by the amount of the refund. They are deliberately cheating on the return to inflate the client’s refund and getting a larger fee. The past couple days, I have been hearing about thieves getting people’s Soc Sec number from hospitals and doctors and other places, then filing fake returns to get refunds. They put them on debit cards instead of checking accounts. The IRS likes the debit cards because it is easier for people that don’t have checking accounts. So they are wasting a ton of money giving thieves easy access to refunds.

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