A bridge over a beautiful waterfall

A bridge over a beautiful waterfall
Nature brings magic

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Thursday Thoughts - Public assistance

I hate being on public assistance. It's one of the reasons I'm going back to work. I've tried it. It doesn't sit well with me. I feel humiliated every time I pull out my SNAP card to buy my groceries. It's been necessary to survive while I've been out of work on disability and Himself hasn't been able to bring in much in the way of money. But it's still embarrassing.

I've paid into the system for most of my adult life, so it's no surprise that when I absolutely needed it I took advantage of it. But there are so many people out there in worse shape than I am who are on it who would also like to get off of it. There are those stereotypical people who work the system and stay on welfare all their lives. That's going to happen with any such system. But the vast majority of the people on public assistance don't want to be there. They want to be able to afford food and medical care on their own.

The other problem is there are too many people who are working who need public assistance but because they make "too much money" they can't get it. People are having to choose what bills to pay and what bills to put off just to put food on the table. The working poor can't afford food or medical care, and yet the government says they're not poor enough to need help. Yet they are.

There are people who need public assistance who can't get it. And there are people on public assistance who shouldn't be on it but are because they know how to work the system. How is this fair? We need to overhaul the public assistance. I don't believe we should do away with it. I've needed it and been grateful, if embarrassed, to have it. But we need to make it a fairer distribution of goods and services, so more people can be helped who need it and those that are abusing the system can be removed.

One of the first things I'd like to see implemented is drug testing for those who apply for public assistance. That way those who abuse drugs are taken off the system. I think the authorities should be alerted to their positive drug tests so the proper people can get involved to help the families. I don't necessarily think they should go to jail, but concentrated help to get them off of the drugs and back into being productive members of society should be implemented.

I think if there are children in the house, the limits for food and medical assistance should be different than if it's just adults in the house. I think the bar should be set lower for families with children, though I think it should be lowered for adults too. Just not quite as far.

I'd like to see programs like Medicaid made available to everyone, not just families with children and disabled adults. I'd also like the limit to be different because even now there are people with disabilities who are on permanent disability who "make too much" to get on Medicaid. Even if it's only by a few dollars, they can't get the help they need. And to get on Medicare for them takes two years unless they're in their mid 60's.

Get the help out there for people who truly need it, and get those people who are abusing the system off of it. That's my opinion on public assistance. I'd love to hear yours.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. The system needs an overhaul. It is a valuable assist to those in temporary need (if they qualify), but is too easy to have families on generational welfare which defeats the purpose and unevenly distributes funds. On the other end, I too have known people on public assistance who would like to get off of it but are too afraid (or unable) to live without it.

    I like your idea to set specific regulations for drug tests and to make accomodations for families with children. A restructuring of the system should sift out those who abuse the system, assist those who truly need help, and enable those on public assistance to wean themselves off of it within a reasonable timeframe.

    However, the underlying problem is that philanthropy was never meant to be the domain of the government. Generosity should overflow from the hearts of the people to their neighbors. But our society isn’t perfect. Thus, when given lemons, we must make lemonade.