The Abuse of the Welfare System

Topics: Welfare, Welfare trap, Unemployment Pages: 24 (9679 words) Published: February 12, 2006
Welfare was established by the Social Security Act of 1935, and administered by individual states and territories for the government to help poverty stricken children and other dependent persons. Wicipedia defines welfare as " money paid by the government to those who are in need of financial assistance, are unable to work, or whose circumstances mean the income they require for basic needs is in excess of their salary" (Welfare (financial aid)). This program helped many families survive during The Great Depression and still helps families survive today. Welfare, which was once meant to help individuals reenter society, has been abused and manipulated. The abuse of the Welfare System has become a serious problem. Many dependent persons rely mainly on welfare for their sole source of income to support their family, rather then finding a job and supporting their family with earned income. This abuse of the Welfare System spans generations, enabling families to abuse the system instead of using the system how it was meant to. The Welfare System is not flawless and often people depend on the welfare checks and food stamps to live their life on, abusing what is keeping them alive. Welfare is ill treated in many ways. Often someone will live in poverty collecting government issued checks because welfare benefits are better then working benefits. Other times one is forced to live unemployed because of their situation. These situations include giving birth, out-of-wedlock, to children and benefiting from them. Another form of abuse on the welfare system is just plain laziness and not obtaining a job that will provide a source of income. While working and earning an income is a great feeling, the benefits are not as good as receiving welfare. Many people receiving welfare cannot find a job that could replace the checks. Some individuals on welfare take part time jobs, thus causing their situation to be not as severe and reducing the amount their welfare check is for. For example, Robert Lerman states in Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the Issues, "If a mother and child on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) have no income of their own, they may qualify for an average of $500 a month in cash benefits. If that mother takes a part-time job, say at $300 a month, her family becomes "less needy" and her welfare check is reduced (to offset the increase in her income)."(Sawhill). Lerman then goes on to state "The higher the benefit reduction rate (equivalent to a tax on earnings), the weaker the incentive to work. This incentive is further weakened because other earnings benefits (notably food stamps, housing assistance, and Medicaid) are also reduced as earnings increase."(Sawhill). So if someone can receive more money and benefits from welfare then a job, they usually pick welfare. Benefits such as food stamps and Medicaid also cause welfare receivers to not want to work. Not only do they receive food stamps, but also they sell them for money. James C. Ohls states in Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the Issues "…there is undoubtedly some trafficking (clients exchanging stamps at a discount for cash)."(Sawhill). Abusing the food stamp benefit can only cause the government to abandon the idea. This form of abuse is causing one to take away from society rather then add to it. Also, people are abusing the welfare system, not by being in a situation to receive welfare but by having out-of-wedlock children and benefiting from them. This often causes those children to become poverty stricken and to continue this chain. As stated in "Welfare System Abuses Children," "…[the welfare] system that encourages children to have children…."(Welfare System Abuses Children), this is causing teens to start having children to receive more money from the government, which not always goes to the children. It is common for a woman on welfare to give birth to their first child as a teen (Sawhill). Also stated in Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the...
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