Originally Posted by serenbat
are you under the impression that there is only fraud in food assistance area? it's not just one area of assistance and certain states have a larger problem
Food Assistance fraud is higher I believe because it is the easiest to get and the most quickly provided. The intention being not to have too much red tape and wait time for the most critical immediate area of need.
I am personally among the poorest of the working poor and would theoretically qualify for assistance but do not choose to receive it. I still have zero resentment for those who do. Even if they get to be at home with their children while I am working overtime that's fine with me. They are still accepting a difficult situation if they make that choice to be home with kids for a while. They are still poor and it is hard enough without people making harsh judgments! Back when I received assistance, I hated hated hated discussing our lifestyle over and over and over with workers, feeling like I had to defend myself all of the time, having to go to so many lecturing informational sessions.
I felt I had no privacy. Applying for welfare of any kind is pretty uncomfortable. Most people feel very conscious of the fact that they are not paying their own way. I feel hurt on their behalf by a debate like this.
My husband and I run a business and make significantly below minimum wage for our time. We are doing worse financially than if we were working at the bottom of the wage bracket but we do have some freedoms and are doing work we care about.
We sacrificed a lot in income potential to be at home with our children. We once did receive public assistance in food stamps and health care for a few years while I was at home with young children and I did not feel it was wrong. Those benefits didn't raise us out of poverty but took just a bit of the desperation out of our lives. For me to have been employed during that time would have been a far worse picture for everyone involved. We would have still been struggling except my children would not have had that one blessing--the continuity of care and my own stability. My child care would have been subsidized and cost the state MORE than it cost to have me at home with them in benefits. If I had been working in anything available, I would have made less than the cost of childcare. That is usually the case. I also think it is okay to use welfare to help provide greater stability for children in poorer families, and having moms home for a while usually does exactly that. The emotional struggles and anxiety create some major risks, and those children just might need moms at home the most, and may be the ones most likely to otherwise end up in substandard child care situations as well. Some families may be able to provide adequate internal stability while still managing 2 lower-income jobs as well, but some may not handle that adequately and those children can be really vulnerable.
Now my kids are older and yet because of our "lifestyle choices" we are still poor and I am still juggling around being a SAHM because we homeschool and have an autistic child who did badly in the school system. We haven't received any assistance in a very long time, though if we had medical problems we would have to seek help with that. Our actual income was well below $25,000 this year for our family of five at home. The maximum ever for our family (then of six) has been around $35,000 a few years ago. So- still no welfare and I'm still not upset with anyone else receiving it. No matter how hard our life has sometimes been-- and it's sometimes been extremely hard-- I do not mind people getting assistance and who maybe have it easier than me in some ways. It's okay for those people to have it easier and I don't need to fret about the idea that they may be taking something from me. I just don't see my relationships with other people through that lens.
Welfare takes the edge off of poverty and that is all. There are a lot of limits on what is available and for how long already. I am glad for any mama who manages to be at home with children and gets some welfare, because surviving even then is hard but I think there is so much benefit to young children. Other moms will choose not to and that is fine.
I agree with the PP that if you working and barely not qualifying for benefits and have children in the home you should be in a tax bracket that gets an EITC and because of that pay minimal taxes. So I don't think "your" struggle is significantly paying others' way. You could argue that in way I am not paying others' way enough because in theory I could send my kids to school and work something better than my barely-surviving business and then I'd be contributing more. Whatever. Moms should not be made to feel bad for using what is available to make their children's lives better. Perhaps as a society we should create better benefits for all moms but as long as these are the ones we have those who can live slightly better because they can get access should feel free to do so.
I also don't think fraud is a factor in whether we think moms should legitimately receive any benefits while choosing to be at home with children. Nor is wishing benefits could be broader a plausible reason for saying those currently with access shouldn't have that access. They are legitimate concerns but they don't seem applicable to this particular subject to me. The question is just whether moms should stay at home with children by choice and get benefits by choice on the taxpayers' dime.
I also noticed a shift at some point in which the distinction was made about this only applying to moms who are choosing not to take actual middle class job opportunities--and not applying to those with minimum wage job opportunities that wouldn't actually pay the bills. I think a mom has to be either a professional or quite established in a working class/semiprofessional career to have the "covering expenses" type of job. Maybe with one child but with 2, 3, or more kids needing either day care or even just after school care then it seems to me it takes a much higher-skill income to make ends meet by working. And I don't think that many women with those kinds of opportunities are choosing welfare. Many of them may choose part-time work because their skills are valuable enough to find a way to do that, but the "working class" women are often expendable enough that employers don't have a vested interest in being at all flexible enough for a mom of young children.
Among the women I have met who made that choice, the most common comment from them is that they have paid their share in taxes for years and expect to contribute further in the future, and that their contribution makes it quite fair that they would be on the receiving end of such benefits for a year or a few years while parenting young children. I tend to agree.