"I don't think anyone grows up to say I want to be on public assistance," Groves told CBS News correspondent Cynthia Bowers.
But unable to find to work after being laid off from her job as a baggage handler at O'Hare, she found herself in line at the welfare office.
"There's so many people in there, and just the wait," she said.
Lots of new people are in line because for the first time in 15 years, welfare numbers are up in at least 26 states. In Illinois it's 3 percent, but in South Carolina that number is 23 percent; in Florida, it's 14 percent and in California, it's 10 percent.
The demand for social services is increasing at a time when states just don't have the money to meet the need. Around the country state revenues are down by more than 6 percent. That could add up to more than $180 billion in shortfalls over the next three years.
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is rallying the troops trying to push through a 50 percent income tax hike to close his state's $12 billion budget gap.
In the meantime Illinois is cutting back on subsidizing funerals for the poor. In California where the deficit is $24 billion, tens of thousands of jobs will be cut. New Hampshire, $30 million in the hole, wants to sell 27 state parks, and in Hawaii, state workers are being forced to take three days a month off with out pay.
Not having money is a problem Tacarra understands - but one she doesn't expect government to solve.
"Thank God we do have assistance that we can go to if we need help, but I want to get off of it as soon as possible," she said.
But how soon that will be depends on when the economy turns around - and Tacarra can build a future based on work, not welfare.