Welfare cuts hitting some Midlands families hard

By Rochelle Dean - email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Department of Social Services is making some big cuts to deal with budget problems, and that's forcing some families to make tough choices.

"Having three children in a shelter, I never wanted that," said Lorie Melton, who says she's been trying to make the best of a dire situation, scraping by to take care of her three children.

That was until she received a letter from the Department of Social Services last month informing her that they were cutting her welfare benefits by 20 percent. Someone getting a check for $270 will now only get $217.

The Department of social services says they regret having to take the action, but that the increase in financial help has forced them to make the cuts.

It's a tough pill to swallow for Melton, who can't work with a sick child and depends solely on DSS. "Could they rely on $260 a month if it was them in my shoes?" she asked. "They are making it harder and harder for us to provide a good environment for our children."

Jennifer Stucker, who also lives at the Hannah House, says she is in the same boat, trying to figure out how to feed two children on a barely there budget.
"IIt's heartbreaking you think that you're telling your kid no and that makes them upset and then you have to sit there and look at it and say I wish I could but I can't," said Stucker. "It's a juggling act that I can't master, I just can't."

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