The Unequal State of America: a Reuters series

By KRISTINA COOKE, DAVID ROHDE AND RYAN MCNEILL
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA, DECEMBER 20, 2012
The U.S. federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars a year on aid to the poor. There isn’t enough to go around for Shaun Case.
The 34-year-old Indiana native has learning disabilities and endured a childhood of abuse. Relatives say he was thrown through a plate-glass window by his grandmother when he was a teen, leaving him with a permanently numb left hand. Social workers consider him well enough to work, though, and he never qualified for disability benefits.

So, in the past decade Case has scraped by in temporary jobs, never making more than $10 an hour. Now, he’s out of work again. He gets no unemployment benefits; he wasn’t in his last gig long enough. He can’t get Medicaid because he has no dependent children at home. Until October, his only help was $200 a month in food stamps. Because of a paperwork error, the government cut him off. With or without food stamps, he has to scrounge for cash, selling plasma at a blood center twice a week for $30 a pop.

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Categories: Age, Americas, Crisis, United States

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