As a homeowner and employed individual, Stephanie has admitted that she sometimes struggles with guilt and shame to be on the receiving end of a program that seems too good to be true. But for Stephanie, the benefits have been great. For years, she was having to ask herself “What don’t I do? What can’t I have?” And while the guaranteed income hasn’t changed this entirely she says that she is now stable in only one full-time job, is able to slowly start paying off her debt, and is now able to make time for family.
Stephanie is a single mother in Tacoma, recently a grandmother, and a survivor of an unsafe relationship. Stephanie’s oldest daughter and first grandchild live apart from Stephanie but are still in need of consistent support- whether that’s financial or in babysitting hours, the new family can use all the help they can get. Stephanie’s middle child, now 21 and a college student, had to move back in with Stephanie because of the COVID-19 pandemic. So, Stephanie now lives with her 12, 14, and 21-year-old children.
Stephanie was a gracious recipient of the Child Tax Credit and was one of the millions to be disappointed in its harsh cut-off date. Stephanie says she feels grateful that the GRIT payments began right after the Child Tax Credit program ended and adds that she was beginning to look for a second job in order to make ends meet and start chipping away at her debt, but that the GRIT program has allowed her to stay at only one full-time job.
Quotes from Stephanie:
"It was a huge leap to get past the guilt and shame of 'who am I to accept this?'" Bartella said. "There is that assumption that you always have to be doing something to be deserving of receiving, and it's just strange because we are always doing something. We are." - KNKX story
"I just work one full time job and that's great," Bartella said. "It allows me time to go to my parents' house on the weekend and help out with them. My daughter just had her first kid and so I'm a grandma and I get time to be with him." - KNKX story
"There's that fear that if this isn't real, and I had to pay it back, I don't have it!" - KNKX story
"I was still putting my utility payment on my credit card," Bartella said. "I was still like making all these decisions of what don't I do? What can't I have?" - KNKX story