There’s a famous black and white Depression era photograph that symbolizes Oklahoma in a lot of people’s minds – a poverty-stricken family with all their worldly possessions packed atop their car as they leave the Sooner State behind and head for better times in California.
Oklahoma has come a long way in the last 80 years, but that photograph still hits far too close to home for too many of the state’s residents.
An article in the Tulsa World said, “In fact, if anything, the consequences of poverty are growing worse in Oklahoma. Consider this shocking statistic: Currently about a third of Oklahoma’s population is receiving government assistance for food or health care. And that figure is expected to grow in the coming year.”
A large percentage of Sooner state families and individuals are facing terrible hardships in today’s shaky economy. Sadly, the number of Oklahoma residents who have turned to public assistance is at historic highs.
There have been several rounds of state budget cuts and now the specter of federal budget cuts looms large. Financial security is now a distant memory for many families.
The Department of Human Services, the U.S. Census Bureau, the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy and the Oklahoma Policy Institute all warn that poverty is at a crisis level in the state.
Consider this: Oklahoma’s poverty rate of 15.7% compared to the national average of 13.2%. And we’re sad to report that the official poverty rate for children in the state is a shocking 22%.
The Tulsa World says, “More than 30 percent of Oklahoma African-Americans are poor by the 2009 federal standard; nearly 22 percent of Indians, and nearly 29 percent of Hispanics.“ Unfortunately, a third of Oklahomans are now on food stamps or Medicaid. The number of Oklahomans on food stamps has grown more than 62% since 2002. Medicaid enrollment has grown by 43% since 2002.
There is a ray of sunlight, however. The Lifeline free cell phones from the government program has now come to Oklahoma and those citizens who need it most can now benefit from this fine program.
Unlike most other states, Oklahoma chose not to allow the Lifeline free cell phone program to be absolutely free, but requires some payment, we suppose so that the phone recipient has “skin in the game.” But here’s the good news: for only $1 you get a very generous 1,000 minutes or 1,000 texts! We’ll take that over 250 free minutes anytime.
- Reachout Wireless
- Assist Wireless
- Terracom Wireless
- Yourtel Wireless
- True Wireless
- Life Wireless (Unlimited calls/text for $1/month)
- Tag Mobile
- Budget Mobile
- enTouch Wireless
- Wireless for Hope
You may be eligible if you receive benefits from any of the following programs:
- Aid to Families
- Federal Public Housing Assistance/Section 8
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps)
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LHEAP)
- Supplemental Security (SSI)
- Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)
- Ok Sales Tax Relief
- Vocational Rehabilitation (Including hearing impaired)
- Bureau of Indian Affairs General Assistance
- Tribally Administered TANF
- Head Start (income qualifying/ residents of Tribal Lands only)
You may also qualify if your Total Household Income is at or under 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (see eligibility)
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