I think you're completely right about welfare being thought of as long-term and unemployment short-term. I didn't think of it that way. We are on the same page with the unemployment concept. I wrote in my own blog that a person who is unemployed is seen differently than a person on welfare because an unemployed person was probably laid off from their job- meaning they were not necessarily doing poor work. More likely, there were issues within the company and they needed to let some people go. I like how you said we have this notion that some people are "inherently predisposed" to be on welfare. Like it doesn't matter what they do, they cannot avoid welfare and will forever be on it. You also bring up a good point about Social Security, in that it is "based on someone's work ethic and the fact that they have worked all of their life." Welfare, on the other hand, is given to those who may or may not have (had) paying jobs. Both unemployment and social security revolve around someone who worked for pay at one point and are assumed to have continued to work if they could have. I think the key here is the concept of work for pay. Many women on welfare are single and work really hard to keep the family together, which often does not include work for pay.
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When welfare and social security began it was aimed at helping poor rural whites. Social security provided aid for people to go to college and encouraged urban migration and industrialization. The changing demographics of the United States has shifted public opinion of who is deserving of welfare/public aid.
I think for many Americans the historical roots of welfare and public aid have been forgotten. Many people don't think back to what their families may have received that has helped to better their situations.
Now, more people believe the media hype that paints poor people of color as undeserving of public aid or welfare. There is so much stigma regarding public benefits, and I think with the change to TANF, many people have a skewed vision of how much public aid/welfare is actually available and how much it really helps. For example, welfare to work programs don't help people pay for childcare, and encourages low wage, dead end work.
In conclusion, we should be more focused on preventing poverty than trying to find quick fixes. We need to train, educate and help people - not trap them (and their future generations) in a cycle of poverty that gets so entrenched that it's impossible to escape.
The real people who suffer from these public illusions on worthiness are predominately mothers and children of the American minority. These honest people are already in desperate conditions and to add insult, they are unfairly being labeled as that shit 1% of bad apples. Reform was and is the answer to the 1% but the other 99% have to suffer the same consequences. When Welfare Reform was approved we essentially approved to force disadvantaged single mothers into fulltime labor that nobody else will take for barley livable wages in a structure set up to keep the poor in their place, still poor. The conditions of receiving assistance are not set up to be helpful to anyone but hotel owners who can treat their welfare employees like shit because if they quit or are fired they are essentially booted out of am=any possible assistance. I don't see spending time with their children; education, daycare and becoming informed on issues directly related to them anywhere on the governments agenda. I do see however on the agenda an attempt to
cover their asses in front of voting citizens by allotting a small pathetic amount of money into interests that the informed community deems "important" at the time and, endeavors that will only succeed in making the rich, richer.
I think part of the reason why we distinguish welfare from other programs that provide public benefit is because of the stigmatism attached to welfare. Abelda and Tilly made a good point when they said that "non-AFDC families themselves are becoming more desperate, and resent the limited assistance that welfare provides to the worst-off" (81). This resentment leads to animosity towards those considered to be the "worst-off." Welfare "reform" has been continuing throughout the 1990s up to today, as the AFDC is now restricted to TANF, or Temporary Aid for Needy Families, to stress that it is temporary. TANF also gives states more control over how they restrict giving out welfare money and what needs to be accomplished before they will provide anyone with welfare. These restrictions are not helpful to the families and single mothers that are struggling to survive.
One service offered as a welfare service in Minnesota is food stamps. It is specifically allocated to be used only for food by the recipient; many families above the poverty line have fewer problems with obtaining food and more problems with paying other bills, so food stamps do not apply to them. Another service that would not be considered welfare would be universal health care. Abelda and Tilly mention the importance of universal health care and higher earned income tax credits to help remove the necessity for welfare. With the option of universal health care, enormous chunks of paychecks will not be allocated towards health expenses for the impoverished families.
Another problem that goes along with welfare and the necessity for single moms to work is the inability for women to find or maintain jobs, discussed in some of the earlier articles we read. The article by Williams discusses the difficulty of obtaining a job as a woman in both white-collar and blue-collar work. Stereotypes are made about women, such as women are unable to maintain jobs due to the fact that they can become pregnant and have children. These stereotypes take away from the actual skills and work ethic of women, minimalizing their opportunities and pay rates compared to men. It is frustrating that, given these circumstances, many women and so-called feminists are unwilling to help the single mothers on welfare, as discussed by Mink. Instead of being able to support the single moms with their lives working in and outside if the home, many of the "feminists" in the U.S. House support the Personal Responsibility Act. It comes down to being able to "improve women's position in the labor market" through the measures discussed by both Mink and Abelda and Tilly.
After reading the articles about welfare that were assigned this week I could see a difference of how people viewed welfare and other public assistance programs. Society's perceptions on people who receive welfare are usually lower class females, white or colored individuals. "Over 95% of adult welfare recipients are women" (301). Many people see individuals who take welfare are lazy and just don't want to work, therefore living off this money. Welfare is designed to help recipients who are suffering economically, most recipients' fall into the category of being of minority, lower class females, usually a single parent trying to support their children. I agree with Dujon, Abelda, and Tilly because I believe there are flaws in the welfare system. One concern is that welfare is used to help people look for jobs and to seek a better a better life. We need better government regulation to ensure that people on welfare need it and are the ones actually receiving it.
Other public programs such as Unemployment or Social security are looked at as more a positive light because they are helping out individuals on a short-term basis or ones who were previous wage earners of the middle class. They are not just receiving and living off free money from the government. One public assistance program my friend is currently on is the WIC program it is a nutrition program for women, infants, and Children. She is a young, middle -upper class mother, who needs assistance during this part of her life while she is not working, allowing her to raise her child. She can only be on his program of a short amount of time but will eventually return to the work force. Social security is also look at as a non welfare program because you have to earn this from previous yearly wages.
Welfare programs are state regulated programs for those who live under the acceptable means of living determined by states governments. There are multiple programs that fall under the category of welfare; one that I am familiar with is food stamps. I did research on food stamps and how they contribute to childhood obesity in the U.S., so I am familiar with the ways in which this welfare program works. This program supplies families with food, without having to spend their income on it. There are a lot of restrictions that come with the food stamps, which often times prevent a healthy well balanced diet. Other programs include medical assistance and school breakfast programs. These welfare programs require that families fall within certain guidelines to obtain the "benefits" that these programs provide. In contrast we have public assistance programs like social security and unemployment. Unemployment essentially provides money to someone who is temporarily out of work, but this is not considered welfare because of the separate guidelines that you must fall under.
In this case I think that race, class, and gender are part of the distinction of welfare and non-welfare programs. When people think of welfare, many assume that the individuals receiving the benefits are not working, when facts show they would actually like to work, just often times can't find a job that will support them, when they have to pay for healthcare and childcare. And when you think of unemployment, you assume the individual is an affluent white who ran into some bad luck and lost their job.
Over all I think there are a lot of changes that need to be made to make these welfare programs effective. It goes beyond helping families meet the basic requirements of decent living conditions. Men and women should be supplied with affordable education options so that they can be educated mentally and socially to enter the work force.
I think we distinguish welfare from other programs because welfare is aimed at poor people, who are usually women and often of color. Welfare is for those specific populations that are not favored in our society. Other programs, like Survivor's insurance, affect people of all races, classes, and genders. Like one of the authors pointed out, welfare was not on the forefront of feminist's minds because it did not pertain to most of them; they were upper class, whites who did not need to worry about welfare. There is just such a stigma around the word welfare. The first thing that comes to mind is incredibly poor people who are probably lazy and may want to take advantage of the system. I realize that studies show otherwise, but that is what comes to mind when I think of welfare. A person who collects unemployment, on the other hand, is a person that I would have sympathy for because it probably means that they were laid off and are doing everything they can to find another job. In trying to understand why I have these beliefs around welfare and other forms of public benefits, all I can come up with is that the gender, race, and class hierarchies that we have influence how we view welfare as opposed to other programs For example, the person on unemployment is most likely male, since men have traditionally had (paying) jobs. Of course we're going to learn to feel bad for them; our male-dominated society would not allow us think that men were lazy like the women on welfare.
It seems to me that certain welfare programs are targeted at certain races, classes, and genders. To me it seems there is a certain stigma surrounding welfare programs, while the other programs are not welfare as they are set up for other types of people. "Survivors insurance" definitely sounds "better" simply because it is not a welfare program, and it seems to me that this is aimed at white, middle to upper class individuals.
It also appears that welfare programs are aimed at women with children and are aimed at them not to marry for more benefits. One can see that lower-class individuals (and some middle too) who benefit from this program the most are being pushed not to marry regardless of having a long term relationship whereas the middle class and the upper class are shown the ideal life is having one with marriage in it.
I think it's ridiculous that certain programs, welfare or not welfare, have been created and aimed at certain individuals and decipher largely in stigma and much else.
As Albelda and Tilly point out, recipients of AFDC income support are singled out as being lazy and undeserving compared to benefactors of other government programs. These negative stigmas are completely unfounded--for example, recipients often work and "on average, have fewer kids than other mothers" (pg. 80). And, despite receiving a very small portion of federal and state funds, these so-called "welfare mothers" are frequently in the center of debate over welfare reform.
It is possible that a lot of the criticism surrounding AFDC stems from the recipients being overwhelmingly single mothers. According to Albelda and Tilly, 40% of working women would be unable to support a family above the poverty line if they ended up as a single parent. This suggests that social constructions already work against the interests of working mothers. In addition, a disproportionate amount of AFDC recipients are minorities. Simply put, it is hard for welfare recipients to stay afloat, a struggle detailed in Dujon's memoir.
. I've spoken before with friends who are critical of welfare and welfare recipients. The response that I hear most frequently is that they support government programs such as tax breaks for big corporations because these corporations "work hard", contribute a lot of money to the government through other taxes, and provide jobs. They then argue that they have a hard time with their tax dollars financially supporting the unemployed, or others that are not contributing as much in taxes as they are.
Another example: as the readings discussed, unemployment tax is not considered standard welfare, even though it is a government funded program. Because employed workers pay into taxes as sort of an insurance policy if they become unemployed one day, it is easy to see unemployment compensation is kind of an "earned" right, especially because it requires the recipient to be actively looking for a job.
As Mink discusses, welfare programs are by no means feminist policies; recipients are subject to treatment and laws that force them to work away from home and away from their kids, and to maintain a relationship with the father of their children. Through these regulations, the government has demonstrated very little understanding of, and empathy towards, the pressures of being a poor minority woman
In sum, I believe that critics do not support welfare because they do not consider a woman working if she is at home with her kids. Despite efforts to place a value on this work, it is difficult for the male-dominated society that we live in to value the efforts of motherhood, particularity when racial and class burdens also come into play.
Welfare has always had a bad connotation in today's society, even though it is meant to help families get back on their feet. It is true though; that some people take advantage of this, some people get on welfare even though it is not completely necessary. This is the bad side of welfare, when people exploit it when they have the means to create some other kind of income. It is not fair to the taxpayer to provide some families with money when they could help themselves. Social security is like welfare for when you retire. Taxpayers still pay for it, but it is not considered a bad thing. I agree with this distinction, because the people that get social security have worked their whole lives and deserve a break.
There are racial, gender, and class assumptions when differentiating welfare and social security. It is a common that when people think about someone on welfare they think on non-white, low class, and usually a woman with children. This, of course is not always the case, but it is a stereotypical one. These labels and assumptions make it more likely that non-white, low class, and women with children families will decide to go on welfare because it is almost a cultural norm. They almost get a privilege to be on welfare because it is so accepted that those kinds of families would have to get the help.
Welfare is given to women or single mothers who can't really support their families. Not everyone is like Dujon because maybe they think of welfare as free money and they won't even bother to go find a job. There are negative and positive sides to being on welfare and I think it depends on the family and how they are surviving in the society. Women who are not on welfare also deal with the same things because it is hard to find a job to satisfy their needs. They learn different ways of life about managing their money and all sorts of other responsibilities at work and home. I think it's such a big problem to explore and find a conclusion that sometimes people leave out these few little things that matter about family and survival. Everybody has their way of life and being on welfare or not should not matter as much as looking at your family and how you are living right now and how that will change later.
A non-welfare program is Social Security. According to the qualifications of Social Security, one has to have a medical condition that has to be approved by the government as a disability, and had to have earned "Social Security work credits, which are based on total yearly wages or self-employment income". Basically, one has to have worked legally and have paid their taxes in order to be able to be considered for the benefits of Social Security.
One reason why there is a distinction of welfare from other programs that provide public benefits is that welfare primarily serves single, poor, women. Specifically more Latinos and African Americans are under this category. Social Security differs from welfare programs because it is basically for people who have a disability and have paid taxes. I would say that there is a distinction here between welfare and non-welfare programs. According to the Mink, many middle-class feminists do not fight for the rights of poor women on welfare, and it is a class and race issue. Women of the poor class are merely targets, thus allowing for rules and regulations that restrict them in receiving their welfare benefits. Myths that see them as irresponsible, and dependent on the government, only allows for more restrictions. For example, Mink talks about a mother who refuses to reveal the identity of her husband. She will receive 25% less income than usual because of this. The constant monitoring of the government is what is different. For social security, if you have proof of a disability, and have shown that you are legal, and paid taxes, you're qualified, and not viewed as dependent of the government. You have "earned" that money, while welfare recipients have not.
When I was growing up, my household was upheld by a single mother with three daughters on welfare. My sisters' and I were on Medicaid, food stamps, reduced lunch program, and my father was ordered to pay child support (actually lack thereof). I would define how we distinguish welfare programs from other public benefitting programs by the fact that for example Medicaid/Medicare is supported by U.S. taxpayers whereas child support is coming from my own father's income. I remember in my small town that my mother was viewed as the "one that can't provide". I was actually teased in elementary school for having a mother that was on welfare programs. When Albelda and Tilly stated "poor mothers are blamed for almost every imaginable economic and social ill under the sun", it felt as if my whole childhood was summed up into one sentence.
Welfare is a government system in which money is given to individuals with children when there is little to no income being earned. I believe that unemployment and child support are not welfare programs because they are short term low income payment programs, in which the person either worked and is laid off, or is ordered by the court to pay. I don't know if welfare is racially or gender discriminating, because it is provided for families who live below or on the poverty line.
I think the main reason we think of welfare as a separate sphere from other programs that provide public benefit is because welfare has negative connotations in society. We have programs such as Unemployment Programs that are basically the same thing in a sense, yet if you file for unemployment, the underlying idea is that you had a job and circumstances caused you to lose that employment, and that you are actively looking for a new job. On welfare, I think that the assumption is that you don't want to work and would rather sit back and get free money. I used to work with two employees that received unemployment benefits when they lost the jobs they held prior to the one they had currently. One woman actually said that she would never consider filing for welfare because she would be too embarrassed. I think this idea is in most American's minds. For the most part, I think that recipients of welfare do not flaunt their status because there is a stereotype that is associated with welfare. I do, however, think that the system gets manipulated by some people and that the program needs a serious overhaul. For example, welfare should time out just like unemployment. That way, it gives people an incentive to find a job and they are prohibited from free-loading off of the government.
Race, class and gender are all assumptions made when you are talking about the difference between welfare and unemployment. I think it is safe to say that the black population gets lumped into a group of people who are on welfare the most. Statistically that probably isn't true, but the stereotype still exists. I think that most white people in America have this skewed view that they are harder workers than most black American's and can therefore provide for their families. Gender comes in to play when you consider single parents. I think the idea is that single men won't file for welfare, even if they have children to support. However, the assumption that single women have no option but to file for welfare to support their children exists in most social circles. This leads back to the idea of women belonging at the home taking care of the kids and not having an outside job. If this idea is present in someone's mind, then the direct conclusion they would draw is that the mother would be on welfare. The class divide is wantonly obvious. The societal assumption is that people on welfare are a lower class than those not on welfare. I agree with this because it makes sense. If you depend of welfare to get by, clearly you are not living in the suburbs with a nice, dependable job. However, I do think that anyone can end up on welfare, if circumstances arise to warrant their downfall.
I have no idea why we, as a society, distinguish welfare, which as we know is mainly AFDC, from other public funding programs. Welfare exists to help people who have little to no income and their families survive. I believe that unemployment serves the same function. People can be fired or laid off from their job and receive unemployment checks for their lost wages, only if they are actively looking for a job though. The problem is that actively looking for a job is a completely relative concept. Yes, you may have to show that you sent out however many applications or went and completed applications at specific businesses, but that never actually means that one is "actively" searching for a new job. I just find it strange that we feel sympathy for those unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits, yet we condemn those on welfare, regardless of their specific situations. There are people who misuse both systems, but that doesn't make the entire system faulty, like people seem to believe with welfare.
I agree with Abelda and Tilly in their analysis on why and how welfare programs perpetuate poverty which in turn perpetuates and keeps in place a widening gap between the upper and lower classes especially in regards to single mothers. I mean, what are they supposed to do? Many single moms work literally as many hours as they can, but with the lack of affordable childcare along with the lack of jobs with flexible work hours for single moms especially since they are, as we read about earlier, a higher risk employee in regards to their family objectives and responsibilities, these women can barely make ends meat. The real problem is that we don't actually try and fix the situation to help these women and their children get out of poverty, we just give them temporary assistance and condemn them for it. Why not create more affordable child care programs? Why not create jobs that don't discriminate against mothers and offer more flexible hours that accommodate women (and men) with families?
There are many things that could be done to make the welfare system better, but part of the problem is not the system itself, but the way the system is portrayed in such a negative light not only by the media, but by society as a whole. Welfare is no more of a "handout" then unemployment or social security is, but since it is mainly single mothers who are often minorities who are on welfare, it makes it a handout since there seems to be this general consensus that there is no way that they earned the assistance. Apparently single women working 2+ jobs for crap pay just to put food on the table and clothes on their children's backs doesn't qualify as deserving of any help by our government....shows where we place our values I guess.
For a public funding service, I'm going to use Mink's example of Survivor's Insurance. Survivor's Insurance goes to widows supporting children and has no stigma attached to it like Welfare does. I believe this is in part because the government sees the widow as someone who would have had the means to get along when she had her husband. Because her husband was taken from her, it is no fault of her own that she can no longer support her children herself. In the case of Survivor's Insurance, the woman is seen as a victim.
I think part of why welfare reform doesn't work like Survivor's Insurance is because the American government does not want to acknowledge or see that the women who are most in need of welfare (women of color, single mothers, etc.) are being victimized by an interlocking system of oppression that works to keep women underpaid, overworked and women of color stigmatized. The inability to see that women are being oppressed is so that the government can ignore the racial, wage disparity and sexism that runs throughout America. Addressing welfare would mean addressing all of those problems and these things can't be addressed if the government says none of them exists.
Survivor's Insurance operates on a non racial, non class level. (Or at least the way Mink describes it, it seems to.) It does not place blame on the woman, no one says, "Well it's her fault that her husband died, why should we give her money?" But the government does that to women in need of welfare because welfare is a way to patch over larger issues. Survivor's Insurance is easy; "Let us help women who have had their husbands die." Welfare is not easy, it is "Let us fix the wage and time disparities in jobs that exist because of racism and sexism." It's based on inequality and the continuing upholding of inequality and to combat inequality requires a government that is willing and able to see those inequalities and act upon them.
When we think about welfare, we always associate it with low-income and poor people. Such as that the article mentions, AFDC provides financial assistance to families which had low or no income to help them to catch up with the society. However, we can see that this program restricted people from benefiting from the government fund as the condition and location of the mothers affect the eligibility of getting the AFDC. People must meet certain requirement and situation to get the welfare that is provided by the government. I think class different do exist in these situation. This kind of welfare program is intended to help people who are with poor background. It is true that this is a good way to help people in poverty, but they are automatically stereotyped as low-class people when they receive they fund.
I know that there are some kind of welfare and assistance program that designed for the minority and refugee. These programs give us an image that welfare program has shows that the government is designed different welfare according to different target group, helping them in different classes.
However, I think the difference between welfare and other public benefit like unemployment benefit is that people get help from the public benefit are not fundamentally in bad condition, they just need help to overcome a short period. The unemployed people are individually contributed to the program and the authority has to make sure that the benefiting people are currently seeking job instead of just sitting there and waiting for help. They deserve the helping hand as they are going to contribute back once when they find a job and pay tax. In addition, I agree with Mink that Survivors Insurance is not considered welfare. This is because they are widows with a family to support and this benefit is able to help them to transit. The women that receive this benefit are treated better because they are considered as women who lost their husbands and economic support and they are not getting the benefit because of the fundamental poor background. I think these social benefits do not limited to race, class and gender as people of all different race, class and gander receive benefit according to their earnings.
I think that the welfare programs such as the AFDC is a good way of providing funding for low income family who does not make enough money to support their family since single mothers, who do work, yet don't get paid enough to pay for bills and put food on the table. However, the AFDC is given to certain race, class, and gender because single women who has children are able to receive the funding. Women who are poor that are living in poverty and the location where mothers are living affect their chances of receiving the AFDC. For race, I don't think it matters what race the women are, but if they fall in the category of low income and a single mother, surely they are eligible for the government income program. Along with food stamps, single mothers are able and unable to buy food for their family. Food stamps are also another option of help mothers get funding to buy food for their family.
For the unemployment, I also don't think it should be consider as welfare because even thought today's economics is going down during the past months, there are still jobs out there for single mothers to find work. It can be hard to find jobs nowadays, but unemployment happens when mothers either quit or get laid off. And once they find a job, they're employed again earning money in which they are able to provide for their family, unless they are unable to do so. Tied in with Social Security, it also shouldn't be consider welfare because it is base on whether or not the person is able to work by having Social Security. If mothers who are unable to receive Social Security, then they are able to receive the AFDC because they are not receiving any money. I also think Social Security does distinct race in general because it takes immigrants to obtain Social Security because they are not citizens yet. Immigrants either work under the table to get money.
Overall, welfare can be helpful for parents, especially single mothers to have government funding and support programs to help them. But now and then I think people can easily deceive the government by lying that they are making less money and they need help to support their family. It can also be that some parents don't want to work because they are either lazy. And I think being lazy isn't going to get them to where they need to be especially when their children are receiving cares that are not appropriate. Government should actually look carefully and check the family's background because even though they do meet the requirements of receiving the funds, they can actually earn extra money on the side or not making the effort of trying to pursue in finding a job.
I think that it is perhaps the easiest (as well as the most interesting) to explain the differences between what is and isn't considered welfare, is by bringing further attention to the striking comparison that Mink made between welfare and Survivor's insurance. While both programs are to help single women provide for their families. There are two notable differences. First, women who are lacking in a co-parent must provide personal information to receive welfare--such information that may include details about their sexual history. Women who have lost a spouse do not need to provide such "proof" to receive government funds. Second, there seems to be a significant change in respect given to those who receive Survivor's Insurance over those women who receive welfare. People are more likely to look down upon women who receive welfare, because their single parenthood seemingly comes from "mistakes" or "poor choices," whereas a woman who receives Survivor's Insurance received better treatment simply because she lost a husband.
But who's to say this husband was especially committed in the first place or that the children from this union weren't conceived before vows were exchanged? However, it wouldn't matter, because Survivor's Insurance doesn't inquire those who depend upon it.
In my personal opinion, I feel that a lot of the distinction between such programs is based on certain stereotypes and stigmas surrounding gender, class, and race. First, women have forever been stereotyped as inferior workers as men due to their weaker bodies and supposedly "weaker minds." Women have never been given the opportunity to earn as much as men, and thus are much more likely to receive welfare. Furthermore, negativity is imposed upon those who receive welfare, because there is the stereotype that all poor people are lazy and don't look for jobs. They simply just milk the government for all that it's worth.
But can that really be true? Particularly in today's economy when many families are affected by unemployment?
Finally, there is the aspect of race. People who are non-white are far more likely to be among the stereotyped poor discussed above. People of other races don't make as much money and are less likely to have higher education. Or as mentioned a couple of class periods ago, sometimes immigrants who are completely qualified for highly paid jobs are refused jobs simply because they are from a different culture or they weren't educated in America. Thus, gender, class, and race intersectionally combine to make distinctions between welfare and other similar government funding programs.
A single mom who has little to no post-secondary education & possibly not receiving support from the father is going to have more obstacles in her way which will cause more difficulty for her to be able to provide for herself and her child(ren). Most are doing the best they can with what they do have.
Being curious, I looked up the State of MN website that gives information about what the state has to offer people who need it. Here's what I found and here is the link.
General Assistance(GA)-single unemployed adults w/o children. May consist of those who are elderly, ill, injured or otherwise incapacitated.
MN Supplemental Aid-additional supplement for those who receive SSI/Disability
SSI/Disability-those who can no longer do the work they have been doing, are unable to do another form of work due to a medical condition/illness or those who's disability has lasted or expected to last for up to 1 year or result in death.
The above may rank under programs that are not considered a "welfare handout" in most or all of these programs, there is a "qualifying reason" for the person's inability to acquire a job and keep it long enough to be independent from needing help from the government. These programs are all government controlled programs and there are strict qualifying guidelines a person needs to meet before being accepted.
The next may be considered 'welfare handouts"
DWP(Diversionary Work Program)-generally four months, focused primarily on establishing employment for family members who are able to work.
MFIP(MN Family Investment Program)-our state welfare program. If the family's situation is going to take longer than four months they would be place on this program for no longer than 4 years. They are to work a certain amount of hours and/or attend school for vocational training purposes. Technically, there may or may not be underlying reasons that the adults are not able to work which would be evaluated and considered for other programs if applicable. These families are still struggling even though they are on this program which is supposed to get them on the way to being able to obtain work that will lead to financial independence from needing assistance from the government.
I noticed the last two and for while I don't consider any of these programs"handouts" myself thought that these two may be subjected to even more criticism and racism than the other programs that some may consider "handouts" for various reasons.
Refugee Assistance Program-provides similar services as the above for those who qualify under the definition of a refugee.
Indian Child Welfare Program-this brings together the government and tribes associated with the reservations and works to provide services for children/families who qualify. I thought it was interesting that the word "welfare" was attached to this program when it no longer is with the other 2 programs that would be considered welfare.
I think there is a distinction between gender, race and class between the welfare and non-welfare programs. The refugee assistance program applies to people who can qualify as a refugee. The Indian Child Welfare Program is for Native American children/families.
Although the DWP & MFIP program does allow for a 2 parent household to participate, it would most likely be headed by a female or the mother who is responsible for all aspects of what is needed at home and how to get it through working. I do know people personally who have been on the MFIP program and it was not easy to be on. I also know people who barely survive on the SSI/Disability income they receive for medical conditions that they have no control over.
Despite what some people may believe out of their own predjudice and ignorance, while there may be a small portion of people who actually "choose" to live this lifestyle, which for some it has been. Which they say is the reason for the changes that have been made. I cannot believe that most would chose to have to struggle daily and at times skip buying needed medications in order to pay the rent/heat bill. I cannot believe that someone would chose to have a life ending disability over being able to work and remain with thier family.
There is a mess within our government that surrounds these issues. They are as complex as unique as the next person which is what makes it difficult to have a system that is drawn up on black or white terms.
I am in agreement with the Dujon, Abelda and Tilly. They point out some of the major flaws in the welfare system that mostly have to do with gender and class. For instance, working mothers are more likely to be on welfare because they are generally paid less. Also, they have more resposibilities at the home, and are unable to work more. An example of a public benefit that is not considered welfare is Social Securtiy. It is something that is guarenteed to everyone no matter what race, gender or class someone is. However, Social Security isn't considered a government handout. Similar to welfare, people must meet requirements, like being of a certain age. Social Security is also something that is considered to be earned and not a handout like welfare.
Overall, to be quite blunt, I think that our welfare system in the United States is messed up and needs some major revisions. This would make it possible for people that really need it to use it and use it while being able to benefit themselves; hence, the whole initial reasoning behind it. Right now, it is a system that only helps those that are unemployed and in order for them to seek help, they have to stay that way. So, they can't look for a job because they are on it, but they also cannot afford to get off of it in order to apply and seek jobs. Seems like one big game of messed up 'Catch 22'.
On the other hand, I do believe that we have some really good systems out there that help to benefit and not perpetuate the hindrance of the people in our society that need the most help. The one program that comes to my mind first when thinking of systems or organizations that are in place to help people in need is the Salvation Army. This is one organization that has been around for years and was first established as a way to help the soldiers coming back from war to find jobs and re-establish their lives. I don't think that this is an organization that is considered to be 'welfare' because it appears as though you are giving for a good cause and for those people that are striving to better themselves when they once had not been in their current situation. I think that this constrasts with the view of the generic welfare system because people cringe at the thought of giving money to someone that "put themselves in their situation"; meaning that it was the women's choice to get pregnant and her choice to be single while doing it. People will also give more to ads that have children in them that appear to be struggling for a meal or have no roof over their heads. This is another campaign that the Salvation Army runs, especially during the holidays. They show kids getting toys and that sort of thing and show all the heart-retching ads that get people to help out and donate whatever they can. Race, class and gender also play a large part in what is and not considered welfare. I think that people are more willing to give to people that appear to be upholding the "American Dream" ideals (being white, wanting to be upper-middle class, heterosexual, etc) because they are fitting into the normative culturally established ideal of normal.
I agree with Dujon, Abelda and Tilly because I think there is flaws in the federal welfare policy and in some ways it is impossible for people not to live in poverty. I certainly agree with government programs that help people with low or no income but there are still a lot of problems with the current welfare system. Some people cut lines to receive welfare and that cannot happen. The government needs to make sure people who are receiving welfare need it. I think we also need other programs that go along with welfare to help people in these situations, like more low income housing, tax breaks, etc.
Other public funding programs that provide benefits, such as Survivor Social Security, Unemployment, and Disability are designed the same way as welfare. One must apply and meet specific guidelines, like low income, loss of job, death of spouse, etc. and if accepted, will receive money from the government. Still, why are other public funding programs viewed more positively than welfare? Because of the people who are designed to benefit from them. In this case, "The Andersons" will receive unemployment if a parent looses their job. Some public funding programs are designed to help people who have worked and now can't. Some would argue people benefiting from other public funding programs deserve help more than people who collect welfare and have never worked. In my opinion, that is not a valid argument because some people who collect welfare have never been able to work. (No education, substance abuse problem, can't afford daycare, the list goes on.) The general public's negative perception of welfare is because of who benefits the most from welfare. However, these perceptions are not always right or valid.
I think that some public benefits like unemployment are not considered welfare because unemployment is typically looked at as temporary while welfare is predominately looked at as more long term assistance. I believe that the general public thinks that race, class, and gender does not specifically pertain to unemployment because they do not put responsibility on a person who is collecting unemployment. Mostly, in order to meet eligibility requirements, it is prohibited for one to be fired from their own job or because of some other misconduct. In order to receive unemployment, there is a preconceived notion that one was not responsible for the loss of their job. I think that welfare is looked at differently and they put responsibility on a person for having to receive welfare. It may not be someone's fault that they are on welfare but a lot of people look at the situations that led them there and believe that someone on welfare may be inherently predisposed to receive it. This is tied along with race, class, and gender because quoted in Ableda and Tilly's article it is said that "children, people of color, and single mothers are most likely to be poor"(page 80). So therefore low class, single mothers and minorities are more likely to receive welfare. I think that race, class, and gender is part of the distinction between welfare and unemployment because unemployment is served to assist anyone who has lost their job and meets eligibility requirements whereas welfare is mostly distributed amongst poor single mothers and mothers of color and only given to a small group of people.
There is also a difference between Social Security and welfare. In order to be eligible for social security, one must have had a prior work history in order to be eligible and welfare it is given to those who meet the need for financial assistance. I believe that Social Security is not looked at as welfare because it is based on someone's work ethic and the fact that they have worked all of their life and welfare is given to people with low income who have not met the standards for the typical work ethic. So, Social Security is given to anyone who has had meets the requirements, and welfare is still only distributed among a small group of people, primarily poor single mothers.
As I was reading this week's material and thinking about the comparison between welfare and other public assistance programs, I found myself thinking about individuals who receive welfare and unfortunately had similar perceptions as many people towards individuals who are on welfare. However, when thinking about individuals on other public assistance programs, I found my perceptions of these recipients were significantly different. Society's perception is that individuals who receive welfare are lower-classed individuals, white or colored, but usually women. It is perceived that the welfare benefactors usually are responsible for the care of multiple children whose father or fathers are unknown. Many of the benefactors choose to not go to work as it is "easier" to stay at home and receive the government aid than it is to find a job and report to work on a daily basis.
Welfare is defined as government aid that is intended to help individuals who have very little to no income. Most welfare programs are aimed at helping children, the elderly, or the disabled - those who are unable to financially care for themselves because of their inability to enter the workforce or return to the workforce to financially support them. For example, Aide for Dependent Children, Subsidized School Lunch Programs, Child Support, and Medicaid insurance programs are programs that are intended to benefit children. Parents of children must provide proof of eligibility to receive these programs. In the process, individuals, as reported by Mink, give up some of their right to privacy. Effort must be shown on a regular basis that the parent is attempting to obtain work outside of the home in order to retain their eligibility.
In contrast, other public assistance programs, such as unemployment insurance benefits and Survivor Benefits through Social Security are benefits for individuals who at one time contributed to the funds through working outside of the home. Employers pay into Unemployment Insurance at the state level so that if an individual is let go from their position, they can apply for unemployment payments. Similar to welfare programs, individuals must meet eligibility guidelines including reporting earnings and demonstrating effort towards finding a new job. Survivor Social Security Benefits are payments made to a surviving spouse. Payments into the funds are made each paycheck by the deceased spouse. Similar to welfare programs, the surviving spouse must meet eligibility criteria to continue receiving survivor benefits. In both of these examples, the recipients of the benefit contributed to the public assistance fund as a result of working outside the home. Public assistance benefits, such as social security benefits and unemployment benefits are available to all individuals, regardless of race, class, and gender as long as the recipient worked outside of the home and contributed to the funds through their employment checks.
Perceptions of individuals on public assistance is more positive because these individuals are perceived to have "earned" these benefits versus receiving government "hand-outs" through welfare programs. While public assistance benefits are available to all individuals, regardless of race, class, or gender, many individuals receiving these benefits are typically lower to middle-class individuals who have been wage-earners in the past. In comparison, many welfare recipients are lower-class individuals as these individuals have not had the opportunity to work outside the home and provide an income for their family.
Welfare, as discussed in these pieces, is defined primarily as AFDC: income support for people who have no or very low earnings. yet, as Mink mentions, Survivor's Insurance (related to Social Security) is not considered welfare, and recipients are not subject to the same requirements and surveillance as recipients of AFDC. Abelda and Tilly point out that AFDC functions for recipients similarly to the function of unemployment for those who are eligible for it, yet unemployment is not considered welfare either.
The taxes that state and federal governments collect are distributed to a wide range of programs and services that benefit people who live in the U.S; some programs benefit a small number of people, while others are intended to serve the entire population. So why are some of these programs considered welfare while others are not?
In this blog post, I'd like you to consider how and why we distinguish welfare from other programs that provide public benefit. Be specific; address one or two ways in which public funding of a program or service for public benefit is or is not considered welfare. Are assumptions about race, class and gender part of the distinction between welfare and non-welfare programs? Again, be specific. You may find it helpful to refer to earlier readings that discuss how public perceptions of the responsibilities, rights and privileges of various groups are shaped by race, class and gender.