As for the two debated lines, consider the lyrical structure. The "Good Times!" refrain is the answer in a type of "call-response" (coro-pregón) arrangement. In the first and last parts of the song, the alternating male and female lines are each answered with the response.
"Any time you meet a payment": In the first part, the lines mention positive things: "Any time you feel free", "Any time you re up from under", etc. Meeting a payment, that is, putting off your debtors for another month, is one of those small bits of happiness a poor person in a ghetto may experience. But to "need" a payment? That is, by any estimation, a bad thing and wouldn t fit with the other lines. More importantly, if you listen closely you ll hear that he is clearly singing "meet", not "need".
"Hangin in a chow line": Listen, I have seen the YouTube clip with the Bergmans and I understand they wrote the tune. But one of two things is going on here: either their memory of this 40-year old song is cloudy, or they did indeed write "hangin in and jivin " but for some reason the female singer sang "chow line" (perhaps an error in communication?). But in any case, the singer is indeed singing "hangin in a chow line". If she was trying to sing "jivin ", she mysteriously swapped out both the "I" vowel and "V" consonant sound, saying something more like "jowlin " (whatever that means). Impossible.
But again, back to the lyrical context. The lines at the end of the song, where this line appears, are negative statements replied to by the "Good Times!" refrain. This is a clever device that supports what the show was all about -- facing these negatives in life and hoping for and treasuring the good times spent with family. "Temporary layoffs", "scratchin and survivin " -- something positive and comforting like "hangin and jivin " just wouldn t fit here. "Chow line" was a very well-known term in the 1970s (though it isn t heard much now). To be hangin in a chow line (implying long waits for food, a likely scenario in Chicago s South Side, then and now) is the dark reality, a symbolic rock-bottom level that those in poverty would often fall toward. It s almost like these lines are listing the fears and realities of ghetto life, but with the glimmer of hope that good times are ahead.
I m sure I have overanalyzed this, but it s quite simple. A careful listen will reveal "meet" and "chow line". I m sure the Bergmans, octogenarians who wrote reams of lyrics a lifetime ago, couldn t tell you half the stuff they wrote with much accuracy. But they did pen a great tune and all-time TV classic, whatever those damn lyrics are!