Ohio Woman Kicked Off Welfare For Not Reporting She Was In A Coma
43-year-old Kimberly Thompson found out that she would no longer receive government assistance while she was lying in a hospital bed.
“They basically cut me off of benefits for not reporting I was in a coma,” she said.
[su_center_ad]Thompson worked for ten years packing boxes in Columbus warehouses for $10 or $12 an hour while raising a 15-year-old daughter in a trailer which she shared with a relative.
Then last May Thompson underwent a hysterectomy. Unable to return to strenuous warehouse work, she applied for Medicaid, welfare and food stamps, and enrolled in a computer repair job-training program. But a month later, an untreated infection she’d contracted after surgery worsened, and her organs began to shut down. She spent the next month in a medically-induced coma.
When Thompson woke up, she learned that her cash assistance through the Ohio Works First program as well as her food stamp benefits had been terminated—more than $700 per month in total. Administrators said the county imposed a sanction because she had failed to complete the mandatory work and training requirement for receipt of government assistance. Thompson called the Franklin County, Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services to tell them she was in the hospital. A worker there told her she had two days to verify her hospitalization. Frail and unable to move—she’d had seven toes amputated and says she lost some cognitive capacity—she was unable to get to the county office.
“They told me I’d lost the benefits because I didn’t go to class,” said Thompson, who since her illness speaks in a trembling voice and gets tired in minutes if she moves around. “How are you supposed to go to class when you’re in a coma?”
Under federal welfare reform laws, at least 50 percent of single-parents enrolled in the Temporary Aid to Needy Families program must have a job or be engaged in education or job training. States such as Ohio that fail to meet these numbers face federal fines.
Unfortunately, cases such as Thompson’s are not uncommon.
Watch courtesy of NBC: