"We buy a lot of beans, rice and potatoes," said Sewell, who lives in Philadelphia. "Towards the end of the month, you're eating all the box stuff, and a lot more pasta with sauce."
Last month, Sewell landed a job as an audio technician.
The job paid $12 an hour, a lot less than the $25 he used to make before he was laid off.
Sewell asked his employer to lower his wages to $9 an hour instead.
Why? He did the math and found that $12 an hour was just enough to cause a reduction in his government benefits, and could cost him and his family its Medicaid coverage for health care.
At the same time, the income from $12 an hour would not be enough to pay his bills, including the $900 a month he would have to pay for health insurance for his family.
Sewell is hoping to find a job that pays enough to allow his family to get off government assistance.