TUKWILA, WASHINGTON — Demicka Gilmore has a 15-year-old daughter with bone cancer and a 21-year-old son who is disabled. They were homeless for the past few months, until she started a GoFundMe page that momentarily gave them the promise of a better future. That is, until the government gave her a choice: keep the donations or lose your government assistance.
Gilmore was at one point living in the basement of a church in the Seattle suburb of Tukwila, Washington with her two children until some 300 strangers responded to her GoFundMe page and donated more than $15,000.
But the family's excitement about their newly acquired good fortune was short-lived as government officials from the Social Security Administration and the state's Department of Social and Health Services were quick to pounce on the cash. According to the government, the donations count as income, and the amount of donations Gilmore received pushed her family over the income allowance allowed for people using government benefits.
If Gilmore keeps the money, King 5 News reports that her family will lose their food benefits from the state as well as their federal medical assistance, which is what's funding her daughter's chemotherapy.
Gilmore told King 5 News that she could pay for everything out of pocket with the money she received from donations and then reapply for federal assistance after the money is out, but that "defeats the purpose of people's generosity."
It seems like the government is asking Gilmore to choose between two situations in which her family loses out. Either way, neither the donations nor the government benefits by themselves will be enough to cover her family's needs.