I'm not a parent, but state assistance is WORTHLESS period.... My only source of income is my Social Security Disability check. Anyone else who gets Disability will know just how laughable what they give you is. What I get puts me right on the poverty line.
Now my s/o works at McD's. By law, since we are not married, when we apply for benefits we're supposed to be processed individually. Oh, they happily process us as a single person family, but because we share a house, they combine our income. I've done research. Technically they're not supposed to do that, but of course they use a loophole. Separate we both qualify. If we were legally married we would qualify. Together as individuals we don't qualify.
I did eventually manage to get both medical and food stamps. I was so shocked when I got the approval letters I fainted. I apparently found the right way to arrange the facts where they couldn't use one of their tricks. In the state of PA they have 30 days to process and application by the way, and every time I've applied they took the entire thirty days, which was really frustrating when I was sick and in desperate need of medical attention.
And of course no one told me I'd have to go into the office to get my food stamp card. I was given to a case worker that is very hard to get a hold of. I tried asking the front desk secretary, but she said she didn't know and I'd have to get in touch with my case worker, whom I'd left 4 messages for in the space of two weeks and hadn't gotten called back yet. I didn't get my card until I just up and drove into the office.
Oh, and guess how much I get a month... $89. You try getting groceries with that kind of limit. And that's monthly, not weekly. The best part is if your grocery bill is over what you have on your card, you can't use your card. I was hoping it would just take what was on the card and I'd pay the remaining balance. Nope....
So yeah, I'm glad your relatives were actually helped by the government, but a lot of people aren't so lucky. We live comfortably, but we live paycheck to paycheck. My s/o recently had issues with Pay Pal where some fucktard got a hold of his checking account info and his paycheck was just barely enough to cover what he was overdrawn, so everything that gets paid at the end of the month didn't get paid.