Old Age Pensions – Part 3

By 1935, both temporary and permanent relief jobs had been established; however, many of these programs were abused. People driving fancy cars drove to relief quarters to pick up their relief supplies. Many ‘jobless’ people had found jobs, but still remained on the relief rolls; other families had one working member while the rest of the family stayed on relief.

By 1935, both temporary and permanent relief jobs had been established; however, many of these programs were abused. People driving fancy cars drove to relief quarters to pick up their relief supplies. Many ‘jobless’ people had found jobs, but still remained on the relief rolls; other families had one working member while the rest of the family stayed on relief.

Changes had been made in the relief programs. Now, with the exception of the crippled and the handicapped people, recipients were required to work out their relief checks. Men could mix grasshopper poison or do street work. Women could help can the vegetables grown in the relief gardens which could be served in school lunch programs.

People who owned dogs or cars were disqualified from receiving relief funds. It was believed feeding dogs was too expensive and that money should be used to purchase food for their family. Likewise, if they could afford to operate a car, they should be able to provide for themselves.

In Missouri, between Sept. 1, 1932 and Nov. 1, 1934 – a period of two years and two months – more than $244,000,000 was paid for relief by the federal government. This represents about $66 for each person – man, woman, and child – in the state which had a population of 3,700,000.

In the Feb. 2, 1936 issue of the Gallatin North Missourian, it was reported the State Relief Administrator, Wallace Crossley of Jefferson City announced virtually all the state offices would be closed on April 1, 1936, as the state and federal funds were exhausted, thus, the Daviess County relief office would become a thing of the past and no relief given with the exception of orders for surplus relief commodities and the quantity of the surplus commodities distributed to each family would be very limited. Relief applications were no longer to be given orders to grocery stores and dry goods stores. The responsibility would fall on the shoulders of the local government and their relief would also be limited through relief commodities.

In November 1938, the amount Daviess County received for old age assistance had grown to over $7,000. There were 34 families with 77 children on the dependent children’s list. Also in the same year, a new bill was passed by Missouri voters to reduce the age to 65 for people eligible to receive old age assistance.

— researched by Wilbur Bush