By Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer
Jessica Compton’s relations of 4 may don't have any funds source of revenue until she donated plasma two times every week at her neighborhood donation middle in Tennessee. Modonna Harris and her teenage daughter Brianna in Chicago usually don't have any nutrition yet spoiled milk on weekends.
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Extra resources for $2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
They did send me a letter. ” How could she not be eligible, she wondered, without even one cent in cash income and a child to provide for? Her aunt’s explanation is simple: Hasn’t she heard? They just aren’t giving it out anymore. To Modonna, that seemed as good an answer as any. “I don’t actually know anybody who is getting it. . ’” Despite her now desperate circumstances, Modonna was deeply reluctant even to go to the DHS office and apply for the cash welfare program. Finally, after much persuasion, she relented.
With no college degree and a sporadic work record, the best position she could find was a daytime shift as a cashier at Stars Music downtown, which paid $9 an hour. She would hold that job for the next eight years. Modonna loved the work. “I learned so much at Stars,” she recalls. The mother-daughter pair found a tiny studio apartment in the South Shore neighborhood, near Lake Michigan, and for a while things were good. The two scraped by on a combination of Modonna’s paycheck, a small amount of SNAP, and whatever child support Brian managed to provide.
Low-income working parents often get tax refunds that are far greater than the income taxes withheld from their paychecks during the year. These tax credits provide a significant income boost to low-income parents working a formal job (parents are not eligible if they’re working off the books). Because tax credits like the EITC are viewed by many as being pro-work, they have long enjoyed support from Democrats and Republicans alike. But here’s the catch: only those who are working can claim them.
$2.00 A Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America by Kathryn J. Edin, H. Luke Shaefer