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Welfare and food stamps helped this homeless single mom get back on her feet
At one point, Land was taking a fairly full load of 15 credit hours per semester and her work hours dropped below the 20 hours per week required to qualify for food stamps.

"I lost my food benefits when I desperately needed them," she said. "You make progress and then get pushed back, as though you are being put 'in your place.'"

She felt the system made it nearly impossible to transition off welfare. Once one advanced toward the cusp of the poverty line, "you could gain $100 in income, and lose $500 in grants."

This, she said, is where the perception of welfare recipients being lazy comes from. Leaders from across the political spectrum have also acknowledged this stigma, including President Obama, who said in a 2011 town hall, "I've seen it, where people weren't encouraged to work, weren't encouraged to upgrade their skills, were just getting a check, and over time their motivation started to diminish."

Land said she wished her school credit hours could have been put toward welfare's work requirement so that she could have still "earned" her benefits. In her eyes, getting a college education was helping her to become self-sufficient.


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