I’ve been exposed to the welfare system my entire life. I’ve witnessed people get disability/SSI that they didn’t need and I’ve seen people that truly couldn’t work without being in pain be denied benefits. I’ve witnessed people that were on drugs and who didn’t even try to work receive a healthy package of food stamps and free housing.
My sister, who is a single mom, tried to improve her condition by getting a job that paid a little more, only to see her food stamps cut down to $28 and her housing program get slashed by more than the raise she got. She is now worse off after getting a better paying job than she was before. The current system incentivizes people not to improve their situation and encourages people to play the system.
There are several things that the entire welfare system has to improve. The guidelines need to be revamped to reduce the number of people eligible for disability/SSI. If a 20-something-year-old, who is capable of working can receive disability/SSI, then something is off in the system. The government could potentially require some beneficiaries to work part-time. There are people out there with certain diseases that make it hard to work a 40-hour work week, but some can still work part-time. Those that fall into that category shouldn’t be out of the workforce completely.
Furthermore, there are families where children also get disability/SSI. A lot of times those children are no more expensive than a normal child. For example, if a child has Perthes Disease, there might be increased medical cost. If the family cannot afford care, they should receive help. But does that child really need an income? Or does a child with ADHD or a learning disability really need benefits outside of direct help for the certain condition?
A child shouldn’t ever have the need for disability/SSI unless the parent has to lose income tending to the child. Children receiving disability/SSI isn’t as big of a problem as the situation of adults getting benefits undeservingly, but it’s still a problem. If the point of children receiving SSI is to “lift many families out of poverty and especially out of “deep poverty,” then why do only the children with a condition get it, and not every child that lives in poverty? If the point of the program was to reduce poverty, then it only helps certain families, and there are better ways to reduce poverty than a government handout to the child.
Regarding the situation for people who can work, but are just down on their luck (by choice or not), there are simple steps to straighten out the current system. First off, the food stamps and the housing program shouldn’t just be ripped off like band-aids. The point of any welfare should be to help those who, at the time, need help. As it stands now, you can live better by keeping a low paying job and receive food stamps and housing subsidies, mainly if you have children than some people working full time. The benefits should be slowly reduced over time so people can adjust to their new situation without being worse off than they were before trying to improve their situation.
The idea of people taking advantage of welfare and living idly is one that some say doesn’t exist. I’ve seen it firsthand, more times than I’ve wanted to. A single mom can avoid working and get more money for food than a working family has, not to mention free housing a lot of times. This has to change.
As a nation, we should want to help people get ahead, but they have to want to get ahead. Nobody that is able bodied should receive welfare without first showing they are putting in the effort. Nobody should be able to not work and have it easier than people that work 40-hour weeks.
To fix this, we must require welfare beneficiaries to work. For single moms, daycare could be an option. Also, there should be a time limit where a person can receive benefits. After said time, the benefits run out, unless it’s proven they are trying to fix their financial situation. There are various ways for that to be proved, and the details can be debated.
The welfare system needs to be reformed to help people that want to help themselves and to help the people that truly cannot help themselves. Welfare shouldn’t be a living, it should be a support system to help people get ahead while they are at their lowest.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.