Thursday, November 7, 2013

Taking Handouts

I have an issue with people taking government handouts who don't really see them. I would definitely take a handout to keep a roof over my head or to feed my kids, if absolutely necessary. By absolutely necessary, I mean that I had no other options. I would take a job at a fast food place or stocking for retail or driving truck before I would apply for assistance. I would take a second job on nights or weekends. I am capable of working and I'm good at it.

For housing, I don't know what would have to happen for me to be on assistance for housing. I could always cash in my retirement plan to buy an older trailer house or small house. If I was 20, single, and pregnant with my third kid, I can see how I wouldn't have these options.

For food, I would do what I had to do to stay away from food stamps or WIC. Both are good programs and have their own purpose. For food stamps, I feel its designed for those who aren't capable of working like those with either disabilities or the elderly. For WIC, I think its designed for those whose children would lack proper nutrition without it. For the girl who gets pregnant in high school and doesn't have family support, this is a good program. I also firmly believe that the WIC program steers those at a lower income level away from breastfeeding because the formula is free. (Statistics back this up.)

In their own way, these are great programs for those who truly need them. It's the people who work the system for their own benefit that irk me. Are they really working as hard as they can and using these programs as a last resort? Or is it just easier to get the benefits and call it good?

Does this annoy anybody else?

ETA: This post was inspired by a blogger who had a plan to retire very early, have a million dollars and take $40,000 as annual income to qualify for the tax subsidies of Obamacare. If you have a million bucks, should you really be taking a tax subsidy that the rest of us are paying for?

11 comments:

  1. I won't go to Wal-mart at the first of the month. Cart after cart of groceries filled with crap and convenience foods, Soda, chips, cookies, pizzas and all paid for with food stamps and the kids are over weight and the parents are in Rascals because they are so heavy. It disgusts me. I think they should be given commodities and be forced to cook.

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    1. Kim, the convenience foods are my pet peeve because they are so expensive. That's the stuff that's been cut out of my budget. It seems like when I look at these peoples' carts, they are doing very little cooking.

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  2. Food stamps should be more like WIC. Where there are only limited healthy options. I know someone on food stamps and she told me that she purchases the most expensive milk because she can. She also buys all name brand food. Where as I have to budget, make lists and buy mostly generic items since I have to pay for my own.

    I've never been in a situation where I needed help so I don't know how far I would go. We did take my niece in for about 5 months and she qualified for WIC. The social worker encouraged us to go and get her on it and use it and we did. So maybe I'm a hypocrite. We wouldn't qualify ourselves for our children but we used it for our niece. It was embarrassing to go to the register with those things and try to find the foods that were approved. If I ran into someone from work at the store I would hide them. But we were also paying for additional child care, food, etc. Had to buy furniture and clothes for her and the government didn't make her father pay any child support to us for everything we did. They also gave him custody back and then he completely cut us off from her and refuses to let us see her or even send her a card. But that's a whole other story.

    I don't know how I feel about the millionaire trying to qualify for Obamacare. I don't understand all the ins and outs of it. Medical care can be extremely expensive and a million dollars probably wouldn't last very long with a major long term medical crisis.

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    1. I think this is exactly the situation that WIC should be used for. It sounds like your niece didn't have many options. I think food stamps should have more restrictions like WIC also.

      I'm not saying that a millionaire shouldn't buy health insurance through Obamacare. I just don't think they should get the tax subsidy to make the plans more affordable for them. Through Obamacare, there aren't restrictions on preexisting conditions so it should just be the same price for anybody their age. I just vehemently disagree with them taking the tax subsidies.

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  3. Always a tricky question, as it is such a judgment call to see who "really" needs certain types of help. We often don't know the entire story when we see what's in people's carts or their physical appearance. There are many disabilities that are invisible, and in the cycle of poverty, there is evidence that people haven't been taught cooking skills, or multiple other circumstances that could be justifiable to some if we bothered to know the background stories of many people. I know everyone has a story of someone who appears not to really need a certain benefit, but I tend to believe that people who are truly "taking advantage" are in the minority. Perhaps I'm a bleeding heart, but I work with many people who, to a stranger at a store, appear that they "should" be able to work, but due to their pain, brain injury, or mental illness (or all three), they really aren't fit for competitive employment. Just my two cents worth.

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    1. I get that not all disabilities are visible. I think that those abusing the system are likely in the minority but it is that minority that bugs me the most.

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  4. This is a tough one and one that isn't so black and white. I was on assistance when I divorced my ex and had two very small children - both under 2. Working two jobs as a single parent was not possible - I would have been working for childcare. I decided to go to school and work during the breaks. I had a small amount of child support, took loans and accepted WIC and took housing. My rent was $7 a month and it was based on my income, so that should tell you how much child support I got. I used this for 6 months until my situation changed.

    I think it is a great tool as a bridge. Many people find themselves in tricky situations for a while, but as a life long crutch - that is different.

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    1. I think this is what the system is for. To help you get on your feet. You used it as needed and bettered your situation so you didn't need it. I'm not advocating that those that need it shouldn't get it. It just annoys me when people who have a new car are taking government handouts.

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  5. I work in a grocery store and see the abuse of WIC and foodstamps. Yes, there are some people who do need these programs but there are plenty out there abusing the system. They have money for cig's and liquor but they use their foodstamps to buy high priced ($8.99 and higher per pound steak), king crab legs, soda and bakery cakes at $24.00+. I realize they have the right to buy this but it is especially irratating when they are buying these items with their foodstamps and an older person is behind them buying dried beans and a soup bone and using change to pay for it because they do not have any extra money.

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  6. I can pretty much guarantee you that I qualify for some of the government freebies. I have several friends who got WIC and have medicare for their kids (that's the free health care right?) If I quit my job and just hubby worked we could qualify for a lot more. BUT I won't let the government help me if I can still take care of myself. If I NEEDED it, like my child was hungry and similar type circumstances then I wouldn't be stupid. But like you said I can work. I can take care of myself. My numbers might let the government call me needy but I think I need to be responsible for myself and my family more than I need free stuff from a government that can't even afford anything they're spending money on. In other words, I might have a smaller income than many. I might be working to get out of debt. I might dream with all my heart that some day I can be a stay at home mom. But I'm not going to get my food or anything else from the government while I'm fully capable of taking care of myself. I don't want "help."

    I know a TON of people abusing the system!!! I can't stand it.

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  7. How funny, I just wrote today about the reality of people that are actually on assistance: http://un-supermom.blogspot.com/2013/11/why-i-gladly-pay-taxes-to-support.html. I work with low-income customers, and while we do have our entitled people, most are first-time recipients and only taking assistance as a last resort. I talk to people every day who scrimp and pinch to make ends meet on their own because they are too proud to take assistance.

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