Cash Assistance Cuts-Welfare Myths an...

Cash Assistance Cuts-Welfare Myths and Facts

Posted in the Frankenmuth Forum

Shelia Andrews

Madison, MS

#1 Dec 5, 2011
Busting the Myths on Welfare Recipients
Welfare recipients are lazy and have a poor work ethics.

According to the Michigan Department of Human Services (2003), a parent who is receiving welfare benefits most likely works a part-time job and earns minimum wage. The family may earn an average of $700 to $800 per month, which places them at 50 percent of the federal poverty income guideline for a family of three.

Poor people do not have a decreased amount of motivation, nor do they have poor work ethics as compared to their wealthier counterparts (ASCD 2008). According to the National Center for Children in Poverty (2004),“...83 percent of children from low-income families have at least one employed parent; close to 60 percent have at least one parent who works at least full-time and year round.” Many poor adults are forced to work two, three, or four jobs due to the decrease of living wage jobs. The Economic Policy Institute (2002) states that,“poor working adults spend more hours working each week than their wealthier counterparts.”

Welfare recipients receive benefits for a long period of time.

Families headed by able-bodied adults can collect TANF benefits for only 60 months –a total of five years – in their lifetimes. Nationwide, only about two percent of TANF families reach that limit and lose their benefits each year. More than 70% of women on welfare stay on the rolls for less than two years. 50% of recipients exit TANF in the first year of welfare, and 75% of recipients exit TANF in the first two years of welfare.

Welfare is full of fraud and no one is doing anything about it.

Welfare is not full of fraud. A large number of welfare recipients are innocent women and children who have fled from abusive living situations. In these particular situations the women and children may be left with little to nothing. Therefore, they would qualify for section 8 housing, food stamps, and welfare money in an attempt to begin a new life. Welfare attempts to present its recipients with new opportunities. Some individuals get “lucky” and do not need the benefits long, while others struggle to get on their feet due to the lack of resources available to them (U.S. Census Bureau, 2003).

Most of the people on welfare are unmarried mothers who have extra children so that they can get more money.

Although one in four children under 18 receives welfare benefits, that does not mean that a few women on welfare have lots of children. "The average monthly number of TANF families was 3,176,000 in fiscal year (FY) 1998. The estimated total number of TANF recipients was 2,631,000 adults and 6,273,000 children. The average number of persons in TANF families was 2.8 persons. The TANF families averaged 2 recipient children, which remained unchanged. Two in five families had only one child. One in 10 families had more than three children."

People on welfare are there because they are addicted to drugs.

Welfare recipients are no more likely to use drugs than the rest of the population. In 1999, Michigan created a law that required all welfare recipients to undergo mandatory drug testing. Only 10% of recipients tested positive for illicit drugs and only 3% tested positive for hard drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines. These rates are in line with the drug use rates of the general population. The Michigan policy was struck down as unconstitutional in 2003 (ACLU, 2008).

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