Is the Welfare System Being Abused?

June 22, 2011
I have a good friend who is receiving welfare benefits from the government and he is a college student. He isn’t looking for a job and doesn’t plan on getting one until he graduates college. He told me that doctors say he has OCD but in all the years I have known him; I have never seen any sign of his condition. In my opinion he seems quite capable of some kind of employment. I asked him why he doesn’t get a job and he told me that if he works over twenty hours, he can’t receive benefits from the government. I believe that motivates a person to not look for employment. I wonder how he receives these benefits from the government. Does the government need a stricter policy on the people who should receive benefits? In my opinion, I believe the government should have a stricter policy. I feel that the United States thought the welfare system was going to bring help and relief too many citizens, but in reality it has become a nightmare. Welfare should be given to those who have a serious mental condition or physical disability. People who cannot find work shouldn’t be on welfare because they tend to become lazy in finding a job and some just stop looking simply because they get money from the government. The government should limit the length of time a person who is unemployed can receive welfare benefits, motivating these people to find a job within a period of one year.

In the United States the largest social welfare program is referred to as OASDHI, which stands for Old age, Survivors, Disability, and Health Insurance (Cohen 1). OASDHI is a federal social insurance program that provides monthly benefits to qualified retirees, their dependents, their survivors, and disabled workers. OASDHI also is responsible for a program called the SSI, which stands for Supplemental Security Income. The SSI makes payments to people with low income who are age 65 or older or are blind or have a disability. It is said that three-fifths of the states provide supplementary funds (Cohen 2). Social welfare started out as a success in the United States and has slowly declined in the past few years (Cohen 3). In order to save money the government is abolishing a lot of the welfare workers jobs but realistically it is actually costing the government money because with less welfare workers to keep track of what the welfare recipients are doing there is more people receiving welfare that may not be entitled to it but receive it because there is less welfare workers to police the system.

Instead of abolishing welfare workers jobs, some states are considering doing drug tests on welfare recipients. Kasha Kelley serves in the Kansas House and she is starting to believe that welfare recipients should be tested for the use of narcotics. She thinks that welfare recipients are spending their money on drugs and not necessities (Greenblatt 1). Kelley wants to pass a bill which will result in part of the state’s welfare recipients being drug tested. The bill has passed in the House, but has not won Senate approval. In most welfare programs if someone is suspected of using drugs, they will be referred for treatment or screening (Greenblatt 1). The whole point of testing welfare recipients to see if they are spending their money on drugs is to make sure that citizen’s tax dollars are going where it is suppose to. Kelley hasn’t given up on getting her bill passed in the Senate. Kelley states: “This bill has everything to do with helping people that are addicted to drugs get their life back” (Greenblatt 2). In Arizona they passed a law where welfare recipients are asked three questions related to drugs. If they answer “yes” to any of the three questions asked they will be sent for drug testing. If they test positive for the use of drugs they will lose their benefits for a year (Greenblatt 2). I believe that welfare recipients should spend their money on certain items. They should not be buying cable television, cigarettes, or beer.

Although some welfare recipients may be spending their benefits on drugs, some recipients have more children to receive more benefits. By the 1950’s people who were receiving welfare benefits were not widows. In fact, most had never even been married. A lot of criticism was said about the system and the new way people were viewing it. By the time the 1960’s rolled around the New York Times quoted that “the problem of poverty cannot be solved with a welfare check” (Tanner 1). Studies have shown from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that there has been an increase in out of wedlock child birth; most of which are teenage mothers who are receiving monthly benefits (Tanner 2). A single person who has a child gets more benefits than a married couple who has a baby. Studies show that a single person is motivated to have more children because they get more benefits if they have more children. A person who is working minimum wage makes one hundred dollars more than a person who receives welfare benefits each month.

Although there are many single parents who are receiving welfare benefits, the government is trying to come up with programs to counsel poverty level couples to keep them from getting divorced. They are also trying to encourage single parents living together to get married in order to alleviate the problem of single parents who rely on the welfare system (Straight 14). The biggest amount of homelessness is children from single parents who rely on the welfare system. Half of the female single parents are homeless because they are trying to flee from domestic violence (Fleisher 2). I believe that the government should create more programs to keep people together as a family. The government also needs to create more jobs because the lack of jobs is causing more people to be in poverty, thus relying on the welfare system.

Finally the government tried to create a program called Welfare to Work. The United States government came up with a new way to help citizens find a job and wean them off of welfare. Unfortunately the program ended September 30, 2004. To encourage states to participate, federal programs provided assistance and funding for transportation, vocational training, child care, and substance abuse treatment assistance for welfare recipients. The program ended because states did not have enough money to keep funding the program. Welfare to Work created over 240,000 jobs for citizens. In conclusion, I strongly feel that the government has a lot of work to still accomplish on getting the welfare system under control, from drug testing, creating a stricter policy, and counseling poverty level couples to keep families together during hard times.

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inkblot13 said...
Jul. 23, 2011 at 7:24 am
Great job Morgan! And I'm with you on welfare should be given out more strictly,, I have an uncle who won't work so he can recieve welfare. Even though if he doesn't get a job, he will never have custody of his two (adoarable) daughters.
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