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Information needed for research for book, please help me!

  1. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    I'm busy working on a book and need some info about the American system as I've never had the opportunity to go there myself.  So, if any of you out there can please give some input, I'll be eternally grateful.  I have some questions...
    1.  Have you ever tried to get the state to help with child support after your partner has run off and left you with the kids? 
    2.  Did you find them helpful or biased towards men or women?
    3.  Is unemployment in the states enough to get by on?
    4.  How long can you claim unemployment for and what other benefits can you get to help you?
    5.  Have you had any dealings with social workers and have they been helpful?
    6.  have you found neighbors and family to be supportive when you've been abandoned?
    7.  How has been abandoned by a spouse affected your relationship with your kids?
    8.  Has your spouse running off caused any problems with your kids at school, like effects on their learning and interpersonal relationships with others?
    9.  If your partner has run off, have you managed financially ie keeping up with the mortgage or rent?
    10.  What childcare facilities are available if you wanted to get a part-time job?

    Thanks so much for the help if you can.  If you know of other people who can answer these questions or you can write about their stories that's cool to.  If you'd rather email me in private than put all your dirty washing out here in public, that's cool as well.
    Thanks again,
    Cindy

    1. Lisa HW profile image83
      Lisa HWposted 8 years ago in reply to this
    2. MissJamieD profile image79
      MissJamieDposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I've written many hubs on my relationship, as you know. I've left an abusive relationship and am now on my own. I was a SAHM for 12 years and am now left to my own defenses. I've used the internet as my number one source of support and resource, but social services has helped me with food support and medical support. Some of the social workers are bitchy and rude but I'm lucky to have a "newbie" worker now, who wants to do her job right and make her clients happy. Thank God! And they do help with child care expenses if needed. I would prefer a daycare center over another individual.

      I'm only living on child support right now and my ex lost his job (on purpose), but luckily the state can take his unemployment. I'm going back to school online because single mother's have a high chance of getting grants to pay for it. Why wouldn't you want to have a career when trying to raise children alone? I couldn't do it on a McDonald's wage, with three kids. Nothing against McDonalds, trust me, but it wouldn't cut it.

    3. Everyday Miracles profile image92
      Everyday Miraclesposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      1.  Have you ever tried to get the state to help with child support after your partner has run off and left you with the kids? 

      I have not been in this exact position but my husband has. His first wife ran off with the youngest child leaving him with the older two (by their marriage). She was expected to pay child support based on the fact that he had two children and she had one. Obtaining child support was a struggle for my husband.

      2.  Did you find them helpful or biased towards men or women?

      That depends on a few factors, Cindy. The first thing to consider is the state: some states expect parents to pay a higher percentage in child support while others don't expect quite as much.

      In our case, the first case worker we had was extremely unhelpful. We were living in a homeless shelter and could not get a reduction in child support.

      HOWEVER! Here recently child support enforcement came after my husband for health insurance. He is required to pay for it as part of his child support, but this would have put us back out of our home (again, darnit!) because health insurance is so darned expensive. He contacted his case worker who was wonderful! She had a talk with the first wife, who didn't need the health insurance (her husband works for the state and the children are on his health insurance) and so convinced the first wife to drop the request.

      The agency itself is generally speaking biased *against* men, but individual workers are just that: individual.

      3.  Is unemployment in the states enough to get by on?

      For us, yes. In our state unemployment is a (high) percentage of the income that you were making before you were laid off.

      4.  How long can you claim unemployment for and what other benefits can you get to help you?

      This varies from state to state. For us it was 6 months.

      5.  Have you had any dealings with social workers and have they been helpful?

      Social workers are individuals. Some have been incredibly helpful and others have been downright harmful to the family environment. It really does depend on the individual person. The social services agencies here generally are *not* particularly helpful.

      6.  have you found neighbors and family to be supportive when you've been abandoned?

      My husband did, yes.

      7.  How has been abandoned by a spouse affected your relationship with your kids?

      His ex refuses to give him contact even though it was court ordered that she *must* do so. At the moment he has *no* relationship with his children.

      8.  Has your spouse running off caused any problems with your kids at school, like effects on their learning and interpersonal relationships with others?

      YES!

      9.  If your partner has run off, have you managed financially ie keeping up with the mortgage or rent?

      He did when he was on his own and when he was married to his second wife. He and I had trouble but that was after child support kicked in.

      10.  What childcare facilities are available if you wanted to get a part-time job?

      He had a woman who had an in-home daycare. Fabulous Moolah's daughter wink

    4. MagicStarER profile image93
      MagicStarERposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      1.  Unemployment is 60% of the gross income averaged out from what you were earning in the previous 12 months, starting back 3 months ago and going back a year.  If you did not make much, did not work full-time, or did not work all the time during that 12 months, you won't get much.  If you were lucky enough to have worked full-time at a fairly good-paying job during that whole 12 month period, then you will get more.  Maybe even enough to live on, until you can find another job.  Due to the present economic crisis, the Federal Govt has extended the period of time you can receive Unemployment Benefits.  If you don't have a lot of big debts, you can live on it, frugally. The Unemployment office also provides Vocational Rehabilitation, helps you find a job (maintains a list of job openings), and classes in job-hunting skills. (mandatory)

      2.  In the US, if you are not receiving unemployment, or if your unemployment check still leaves you beneath the poverty level, you can apply for welfare, food stamps, Medicare, WIC, and child care assistance.  I believe there is a limit on 2 or 3 children as far as the welfare part (which is cash).  As to food stamps, it is for all in the household, currently $200 a month per person (after a recent raise starting May 1, 2009, up from $176 a month, by Obama Admin due to the economic depression) WIC is for pregnant mothers, and for families with small children - it gives vouchers for milk, formula, juice, cheese, beans, rice, cereal, etc. You get Medicaid for yourself and for your minor children under the age of 18, which provides basic medical care, prescriptions, vision, and dental care. There is also a program for vocational rehabilitation, and extra grants for single parents going back to school.  If you get a job, and are still under the poverty income limit, then you can get child care assistance.  You get your own babysitter, and the state pays for it, up to a certain amount, which pays it all, here in KY. 

      (This is all good for single parents of minor children.  However, there is NO welfare, NO Medicaid, and NO vocational rehabilitation for unemployed or underemployed adults under the age of 65 with no minor children.  If you fall into this category, you are just SCREWED!  This group goes without any assistance of any kind, not even medical, dental, nor vision care!  All they can get is Food Stamps.  And this is the group I advocate for endlessly!)

      Single mothers and all those whose income falls below the poverty level are eligible for subsidized housing, either Section 8 Public Housing, or HUD (a federal program that pays your rent in a HUD-approved house or apartment other than public housing, up to a certain amount) Providing you don't have any felonies or a history of drug use on your record.  If you do, then you can't get housing assistance.  (They are trying to get a law passed to require urine testing for Food Stamp eligibility, too!  I guess they think people who do drugs are not human and should not have a place to live nor food to eat!)

      People who fall below the poverty level are also eligible for Federal Energy Assistance and weatherization, though LIHEAP, during the winter months.  This is based on how many people are in the household. 

      As far as I have ever been able to tell in my area, social workers are just doing their job, according to the laws they are required to follow.  Most are very business-like, but impersonal.  Some may have thinly disguised racial preferences...  There is a lot of paperwork and documentation involved in getting any kind of assistance, and this sometimes is an obstacle for families in crisis or transition... 

      As far as whether there is help from friends or family, that probably depends on where you live and who you know, and what your personal network is...  As a rule, it is families that help.  In some areas, like in the South, families are more helpful to each other.  In others, not as helpful.  Friends, while a very few may want to help, are limited by their own straitened circumstances, and are having a hard time keeping a roof over their own heads.  Helping a friend may be completely out of the question for most people.  Any help they can give, is negligible and doesn't "fix" the problem.  Let's face it, nowadays people are just too selfish to care about what their neighbor might be going through...

      There are many local charities and churches which try to fill in the gaps, by giving free food, clothing, furniture, and helping with utility bills.

      Despite the help available, many whole families are now homeless and living in tents under bridges.  There has been a massive increase in homelessness in the United States due to the economic depression and no jobs are available.  Churches are providing meals.  But communities are ill-prepared to handle this enormous need for shelter and assistance, especially due to the ill-timed Bush Administration's huge cuts in Federal and State subsidies for charities that provide for the poor and homeless.

      I hope this helps you.

      1. MagicStarER profile image93
        MagicStarERposted 8 years ago in reply to this

        Hah!  This looks like it will be my next Hub article!  Thanks girl!  smile  (smiling from ear to ear!)  I was wondering what to write about next!  I'm working on a real technified one that requires a lot of boring research on viruses...  (still smiling!)  smile

        1. MagicStarER profile image93
          MagicStarERposted 8 years ago in reply to this

          By the way, to answer a previous question of yours:  Yes, for the most part, single fathers are legally eligible for the same help that single mothers are entitled to, and yes, they do receive this help.  Providing they ASK for it.  I know a lot of women who are paying child support here in KY, and some of them really received a raw deal of it!  You might even say the tables have turned!

    5. Moonchild60 profile image84
      Moonchild60posted 8 years ago in reply to this
  2. Inspirepub profile image88
    Inspirepubposted 8 years ago

    Cindy, you might find you get a better response if you post this in the "Family" forum, and if you put something in the heading of the post to indicate the book is about families.

    I don't live in the US, so I can't help any further than that, but good luck ...

    Jenny

  3. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    Thanks Jenny, will try there as well.

  4. profile image0
    Janettaposted 8 years ago

    While I can't help with all, I can giveyou a couple answers--hope they help smile

    3.  Is unemployment in the states enough to get by on?
    Barely. You get an amount based on dependents (kids) but it is about 30% less (or more) than what you would bring in if you were still working

    4.  How long can you claim unemployment for and what other benefits can you get to help you?
    I think the time is generally 6mo- a year (not sure) but you can get extensions. We have a lot of plants closing around here right now w/ a lot of lay offs so many are being given extensions. There are A LOT of rules to comply with, so it can be kind of tricky.

    Also, there are ,depending on your financial status, several Government programs for assistance. Food, child care, welfare. Not sure on all the programs available or all the guidelines, I just have a general idea. There is an income level associated for each--number in household and amoutn you bring in per month I think.

    6.  have you found neighbors and family to be supportive when you've been abandoned?
    Not personally, but have known people who have had good and bad experiences here. It all depends on their individual families.

    10.  What childcare facilities are available if you wanted to get a part-time job?
    Several actually--it depends on how much you can afford to pay out. There are free programs such as HeadStart (similar to preschool-can go from 6wks to 4/5-I think) and PreK-a pre kindergarten calss for 3 and 4 yr olds through the local school districts.

    There are also a long list of professional and home daycares for a fee.  The cost to enroll babies and young children varies by region. Around here, one child in a professional, school like environment, daycare facility will cost upwards of 150 dollars a week. Some are a little more or less depending on the specific facitlity. There are also many state licensed in home daycares as well. They can range from twenty dollars a day per child to 100 dollars a week on average. Both accept children 6wks to 5 yrs. Babues tend to cost more in some places.

    I hope that helps. If u need any more info or clarifications--just ask! smile

  5. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    Thanks Janetta for taking the time to help with my research!  Much appreciated!

  6. profile image0
    Janettaposted 8 years ago

    no problem--glad I could help smile

  7. Rochelle Frank profile image89
    Rochelle Frankposted 8 years ago

    You might find some info you need by gooogling:
    "unemployment insurance benefits by state"

  8. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    Thanks Rochell!  Will try that as well.

  9. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    Lisa, thanks so much for the thought and time you put into your reply!  It's greatly appreciated!

  10. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    So Jamie, would you say that men are able to get the same help and support as women if their wife abandons them and their child?

    1. MissJamieD profile image79
      MissJamieDposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I think they would in my area, yes. But in other places, no.

  11. Lisa HW profile image83
    Lisa HWposted 8 years ago

    cindyvine, not that you asked me; but your question is one, I think, that needs to be addressed with great care (based on my own "general exposure" to society in America).

    When women are said to "abandon" their husbands and families it's safe to say that an awful lot of people have nothing but contempt for them.  That, itself, can seem to contribute a particularly sympathetic attitude to husbands left with children.  I'd almost venture to say that husbands and children "victimized" by wives/mothers who leave may get more sympathy and support.  It was only one episode of one tv sitcom; but the show, "According to Jim" had an episode where his wife was out of town, and Jim was playing up his helplessness to get all kinds of cooking and cleaning help from women in the neighborhood.  It actually was, I think, a good picture of how much sympathy men can get.

    The catch to this is, though, that people who understand what may make SOME wives leave often know how abusive husbands operate.  Either through subtle manipulation or out-and-out threats (or something in-between) they may "set up" the situation that means driving the woman out (in fear of what may happen to her and/or the children if she stays).  (I knew someone who was a foster mother, and she had more than one foster girl with mothers who "left" - only to later discover that this wasn't the whole story.)   People who are more than familiar with how these things can occur may lean toward being more suspicious of fathers left with children (often because those men can be "so nice" and "so sympathetic" once the object of their wrath is no longer in the picture).

    This is purely a guess, but I suspect that in the US there may be a difference in attitude between states ("traditional-thinking-leaning" states versus less) and individual communities (cities versus some suburbs versus other suburbs versus rural).

    I thought that mentioning the above thoughts may help you know some of "issues" in determining the overall picture of attitudes in the US.

  12. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    Thanks for the detailed reply EM.  How would I find out about Minnesota?  Their unemployment etc.

    1. Everyday Miracles profile image92
      Everyday Miraclesposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      I will try to put you in touch with a friend from MN who can hopefully get you that information. He's a young, single college student but he might be able to find someone who can help you!

  13. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    Interesting, Lisa.  I know when I was in New Zealand, I had a few friends who's wives had run off and left them with the kids and they found that because they were men, the government didn't help them get child support from the women saying that as men they should be breadwinners, and all dealings they had with inland revenue were nightmares, whereas if a woman was left with her kids, the state would offer all kinds of hand outs and deduct child support from the man's salary.  I'm particularly interested in Minnesota and how helpful they'd be to men over there.

  14. profile image0
    Whikatposted 8 years ago

    Hi Cindy, are you looking for stories from both sexes or just males who have been abandoned? If you are looking for stories where the dad has abandoned the kids and refuses to pay court ordered child support let me know. I can give you a personal experience of the process and how it has affected my kids via e-mail.

    1. cindyvine profile image87
      cindyvineposted 8 years ago in reply to this

      Whikat, thanks, both perspectives would be good!

  15. lafenty profile image87
    lafentyposted 8 years ago

    My husband took off nine years ago, leaving me with four kids to raise.  I never got a cent of child support and the state (California) did little to try and track him down.  When they did finally find him, all he had to do was claim he wasn't making any money and they dropped the case.

    As far as unemployment goes, I found that it was barely enough to live on, but it does depend on how much you made during the previous year.

    As others have mentioned, the US has a pretty good welfare system, but it is mostly geared to those with dependent children.

  16. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    Thanks so much, wonderful info!  A hub on it would be great!

  17. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    Thanks for helping out with info Moonchild, keep it coming guys!

  18. mayhmong profile image75
    mayhmongposted 8 years ago

    I know social service isn't the best type of people to help you out much. Well, for these particular guys anyways...Grrr...But the ladies are much more helpful.

  19. cindyvine profile image87
    cindyvineposted 8 years ago

    This is interesting, seems to be a big problem the world over, affecting both men and women left as single parents.  The partner who leaves often manages to walk away and get on with their lives and have more children, yet the partner left with the children have to make so many sacrifices.  I'm now looking at the university bills for my son I am going to have to pay, thinking that's going to be three years where I won't be able to afford to leave my house to even go down to the supermarket.  I got separated when my son was 6 years, so for 12 years I've footed all the bills, he has never ever paid one cent child support, and has remarried and divorced and having a very good life without having to pay for the children he fathered.  Today I am having an angry day about the unfairness of this.

 
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