Ethical Issues That Surround the Welfare System

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Ethical Issues that Surround the Welfare System
Daniel Pexton
SOC 120
Instructor: Sherri Boyd
May 11, 2012

Ethical Issues that Surround the Welfare System
In the last 15 years the welfare system has gone from a government run system, to a state run function. This actually promotes a better welfare system that is in favor of all who are involved, including the tax payers whom ultimately fund it. Creating a program that helps prevent drug use while on welfare, and promoting families to find jobs helps everyone in the long run. The real ethical dilemma comes from the effects on families who are on welfare, and have it taken away due to time constraints. Ethical concerns created by welfare affect the families on welfare, as well as the tax payers whom fund the program. The state run programs are attempting to create fairness for all involved in the process and those who support the program. Some of the concerns come from the government having the ability to control someone’s life; being able to tell someone how to spend their money, time and efforts. If the choices made are not satisfactory to the state, then they will take away the welfare benefits. The virtue ethics theory is the most beneficial to this program; with the ethical egoism contrasting it. Welfare programs are now run by the individual states, with varying stipulations per state. Most of the changes have promoted families to obtain jobs, and to stop receiving welfare, to curb the use of multiple children for more benefits, and to prevent money from being used for drugs. Many states now have a time limit on how many months you are allowed to stay on welfare. There is a federal law for the amount of months those on welfare are allotted; however, many states have extensions. “The 60 month time limit on federal assistance applies nationwide, but not all families are subject to the limit. The survey of states found that about 55 percent of all families currently on welfare are subject to the federal 60-month time limit. Of those not subject to the federal limit, most are ‘child-only’ cases, which now account for about one-third of the national welfare caseload,” (Bloom, 2002). This time limit was a controversial addition to the policy because many believed it was unfair to put families on a time limit. A reason for the adverse feelings to this policy is: “The program does not provide a viable alternative plan or link to a plan for those who are unsuccessful at transitioning to self-sustaining employment,” (Hilderbrandt & Ford, 2009). However, the US government was attempting to make families more independent and to get them off of welfare in a shorter amount of time, as opposed to hindering their growth and progress. According to the report Welfare Time Limits an Update on State Policies, Implementation and Effects on Families by Farrell, Rich, Turner, Seith & Bloom (2008) states with stricter policies on time limits (for example, no extensions to families) were less likely to have families go the full 60 months on welfare. Those states also had more employment agencies working with the families on welfare. “Large portions of time-limit leavers continue to receive food stamps, Medicaid, and other assistance after exit, although, as more time elapses after the time limit, fewer families continue to receive these benefits,” (Farrell et al., 2008). The states that had stricter time limits were also found to have recipients that were more aware of the policies and the effects on their families if they reached the time limit; on the other hand, states that granted extensions did not routinely inform recipients of the time limits (Farrell et al., 2008). There were higher reported financial struggles, and in some states marital hardships, for families who were terminated due to time limits, however, the hardships were relieved over time (Farrell et al., 2008). States that have implemented the time limits have less people on welfare...
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