Employment is usually something that people have to avoid the use of food stamps.
This is not so for employees of one of the largest fast food chains in the world.
Nancy Saldago worked for McDonald’s as a cashier for 10 years before she walked off of the job in protest of the low wages she received.
According to CNNMoney on Thursday, Saldago called the McResource line provided by the company to ask about certain resources including how to pay for utilities and medical expenses.
The call was recorded by the advocate group Low Pay Is Not OK, but Saldago told the representative that she was recording the call for her sister.
Saldago’s franchiser in Chicago did not pay for his workers to use the service, so she could not technically receive assistance.
"It made me mad [that I couldn't get help from the McResource line] because I thought that all the McDonald's employees qualified for it," she said in a report by the Huffington Post.
The working mother earned $8.25 per hour for her work and was struggling to take care of her family, which prompted the call.
The resource operator did try to refer Saldago to several forms of public assistance to help her buy food, including the SNAP program and food banks in her area.
“You definitely should be able to qualify for both food stamps and heating assistance,” the operator told Saldago during the call.
She also was referred to ways to pay her heating bill and advised to sign up for Medicare as her form of health insurance.
The report states that more than half of fast food workers rely on public assistance programs like the one Saldago was referred to because of their low wage and high costs of living.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s reported five percent more in profits than last year, at around $1.5 billion overall.
Statistics like this are why many workers protested that wages be raised to $15 per hour rather than minimum wage, which Saldago supported.
McDonald’s representative Lisa McComb defended the company’s pay scale based on the jobs people work.
Those jobs range from entry-level part-time to full-time, from minimum wage to salaried positions, and we offer everyone the same opportunity for advancement,” McComb said.
She also defended the hotline and its ability to assist people dealing with issues including elder care, grief and other programs and that the recording was not an accurate portrayal of its usefulness.
This video is not an accurate portrayal of the resource line as this is very obviously an edited video," she said.
The United States reportedly spends an estimated $7 billion per year on public assistance, with McDonald’s taking advantage of more than $1.2 billion of that.