In the world of social assistance programs there are two kinds of people, those that support and believe in the Welfare system and those who oppose it. People have many stereotypes about someone collecting welfare and one of the most prevalent is that they think that anyone who is on the system is just like that one example they saw on the news of someone who was caught defrauding the system.
Most people on welfare don’t know how to commit fraud because it is so hard to do. I have heard people on welfare say that they “wish they knew of all these loops holes” because they have never seen them themselves. As do many case workers, many do not know how someone could fraud the system because there are so many checks in place that if you step one toe out of line you will be sanctioned and hurt even more than before. Pretty much Welfare fraud is rare and almost always caught.
Every 3 months you basically have to reapply for benefits, they have access to your bank accounts, they have access to your DMV records, unemployment records (So they can see if you are getting unemployment and welfare at the same time),and they come by your house randomly to make sure you are there, because anyone on welfare should have no reason to not be at home. While you are on the system, you are required to do at least 32 hours a week of “welfare to work”, other states might have a different name but its all the same, if you do not comply you will be kicked off the system. All this for $589 a month and $420 on Food Stamps.
People call for drug testing of people on welfare but many apparently don’t realize that it had already been done in Florida (story) and proved that only 2.6% tested positive (story). It cost the state almost $100,000 to do this. Another quite controversial part of that law was the fact that Gov. Scott profited directly from these drug tests because his wife owned one of the few that won the contract to perform these test (source). So even though the facts say that tests on them is not only a breach of their 4th Amendment but it costs taxpayers more in the long run.
Now many people who have read this I am sure might see that people are getting a free $1000 a month, but at the cost of no privacy, not really treated with respect and many people still calling you lazy and some piece of crap. Plus you are only allowed on the system for 5 years, after that you get nothing. Plus many people think that if you have another child that you are able to get benefits for that new kid; nope, wrong again. If you have a child and have not been off welfare for 12 months, that new child will not get any new benefits and you will not get an increase in your welfare amount. That is the life of a “Welfare Queen”.
Now I have seen the people sitting at the Health and Human Services (HHS) before, driving nice cars, using the latest iPhone and wearing nice clothes and having designer bags, my wife was one them. Her Aunt got a new Coach bag and gave my wife her hand me down. Now someone would have looked at her and though “well there is an example of a welfare queen abusing her money” but they would have been wrong, it was used and it was a gift. But that is the stigma that someone on welfare has to fight with everyday.
One of the other things that many don’t realize that many people on Welfare still work, many have 2, even 3 jobs but still make so little that they still can qualify for food stamps because if they don’t they and their families will starve. Many work harder than any of the people who are screaming at them and calling them lazy. Many don’t hardly see their families but they do it because they have too. About 7 million Americans had part-time jobs (source) and about 2.1 million have 2 part-time jobs (source). All the while they are accused of being lazy bottom feeders who take advantage of the system.
This brings me to, well, me. The title of this article was chosen weeks ago, while I was laying in bed with my wife, in tears about our current financial situation. I make about $2200 a month, my rent is $997 (This was the cheapest place I could find that wasn’t the most poverty-stricken area), power bill is $125, my internet is $40 (I can’t afford TV), my cell phones (our only means of communication) are $135 and lastly my insurance is $45. These are my only bills, I have no car loan, no credit card debt and no other debt to speak of. Gas costs me about $70 a week, to get back and forth to work and also taking my daughter to and from school. That leaves me with $578 for food, savings, entertainment, clothes, laundry detergent, toilet paper, deodorant, shampoo, soap, dish soap, ect. ect. ect. I normally have about $75-$100 a week for food and groceries. Normally at the end of the month I have about $40 left over, and normally something will happen that I have to use it. I have tried to save money but it is just not possible.
Now I make a pretty good wage but I fall under the part-time employee, I only get about 35 hours a week. My health care is paid for by the state right now, but after January 1st I have to front the bill and according to the websites it will be about $85 a month. Remember I only have $40 a month left over. I was on welfare but found a job, I got what is called “Transitional Medi-Cal” and that will soon be gone. Keep in mind that I have a medical condition where I need new supplies every week.
Now my wife has tried to find work but there is just nothing out there. She found a position that was for 1 week, while someone was on vacation but once they came back that was it. So she has been trying to find something else but she can’t find anything. The only reason I was able to find this job was because the person who I replaced thought he could get a better job so he quite this one and went to the higher paying but farther away job only to be let go after 4 weeks. I lucked out because he tried to get something better.
Now while on Welfare, there was hope, hope that once I started working, once I got back on my feet that everything would be better. Boy was I wrong. Now that I am working I have no hope, all I have is stress and despair. I get mad easier, I flip out on my daughter over stupid stuff and then my wife has to tell me to calm down. I come around after I breathe but ultimately I am miserable. My wife is miserable, my daughter is miserable. Yet I am working. The best part of my job is the fact that I am a temp. So holidays, I don’t get paid, I just lose money so for Thanksgiving, the day you are supposed to be grateful for what you have, I was pissed because I was losing out on not 1 day, but 2 because my company takes Thursday and Friday off. Who in their right mind is upset for having a day off? A poor person. That’s who.
Well the Great Depression 2.0 is here, and when I say depression I mean that most of the population is depressed and sick of it. When will enough profits be enough so they can start paying a decent wage again? How much money and power does the 1% really have to have in order to say that they have won at the game of life? How many people have to suffer before real help will come? How many people will keep voting in people who only care about the 1%?
Only 2 members of congress I feel really care about the middle, working and poor classes; Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. I hope one of them runs in 2016 because the middle class needs representation. The 1% has 533 members voting for them, the middle class has 2. Lets start flipping those numbers and start making America great again.