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Welfare Moms - Should we be supporting moms so they can stay at home with their children? - Page 21

post #401 of 792

So serenbat, am I understanding you correctly when I say that it seems that you are not opposed to welfare being available for those who need it, and you are also not opposed to people applying for benefits if they are not earning enough to pay for everything their families need on their own -- so long as, of course, those people giving honest information on their applications, and are not intentionally cutting back their hours in order to stay in a lower income bracket and get more assistance?

 

If so, then I think you are actually in total agreement with most or all of us on this thread. I feel sure that nobody here is in favor of welfare fraud or any other kind of fraud, for that matter.

 

Now I'm really puzzled as to why you've seemed so pissed toward me throughout this thread.

 

I can understand being angry about fraud, but it sounds like reporting it is a fairly easy thing for you to do. Since you're obviously working so hard to make the system better and fairer for everyone, here's to hoping you won't keep feeling such a need to lash out at people. Is it that you'd like to be in a position to directly punish the fraudsters yourself, and just reporting it and letting the authorities deal with it feels kind of hollow and unsatisfying? So you're still looking for anyone you can find to vent your anger on?

 

I guess the world is full of people who get pissed off at one person or group and take it out on a completely different person or group, but I hope you'll start to realize that doing one good deed, like reporting fraud, doesn't just cancel out a decision to verbally attack other people.

post #402 of 792
Wow! Much has been written since yesterday!

Mammal mamma -- Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Your summarization of my point was beautifully written, and showed you did think about my words! I am grateful that you did, and sorry I did not return the favor!

In addition, mammal mamma, your latest post shows we agree on much! I appreciate the effort you made to move to compromise.

In general, sometimes people are quick to jump to conclusions and react emotionally. I have done this in the past, myself. I had replies in mind for some other posts, but I think it is better if I leave it with the positive note.
post #403 of 792
Quote:
Those articles cited a 7.5% fraud rate, which is definitely too high, but still leaves over 90% of recipients in the needy-and-honest category.

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 

post #404 of 792

Not at all, but I am of the belief that the baby shouldn't be thrown out with the bath water! Fraud should be dealt with, and harshly, so that those who truly need and qualify for this assistance can receive it.

post #405 of 792
I have to admit that when I see that 7.5% fraud rate, I wonder how many of those people don't need it & are truly trying to steal money from the gov't., and how many do need it but just happen to be slightly above the cut-off & fudge their numbers a bit to make themselves appear eligible. Obviously neither is legal or acceptable, but I have a lot more compassion for someone who truly needs it but just didn't quite make the cut-off without lying.

My gut tells me that the majority of people aren't scamming the system when they have tons of income or money in the bank. People who scam just for the sake of it could much more easily just find ways to steal money or food directly, without going through all that paperwork & identifying information. I'd venture to guess that the majority do need it but don't qualify for whatever reason, and they think it's OK to lie a bit since they are so badly in need. I'm not condoning it, but I understand it, and it feels very different to me than someone with $70K in income just leaving that off their application. Though even then, you don't always know the whole story... maybe the BF with the $70K income was abusive and wouldn't allow her to touch any of that money or something.
post #406 of 792

pek64, thank you for your thoughtful response. It sounds like everyone is basically agreed that a) people who need assistance should be able to receive it with no shaming or disrespectful treatment from others and b) all kinds of fraud are bad.

 

I think the reason that some of us seem so opposed to each other may be rooted in the reality that some of us prefer to assume positive intent in situations where it's at all possible to do so, and some people prefer to assume negative intent if they can latch onto any words or behaviors that could possibly be construed as an indication of wrongdoing.

 

Now, obviously, if someone's bragging about how she's given false information so now she has tons of extra money and can get her nails done every week, that's definitely not a situation where any reasonably intelligent person could assume positive intent. The speaker herself doesn't even want you to; she's trying to impress you with her devious ability to put one over on the authorities and get whatever she wants.

 

And if you currently have three people in your life who are bragging about how deceitful and slick they are, I can see how that could kind of throw you into a new "normal," one in which you can't help but perceive anyone who gets assistance in this negative light.

 

I think the answer is to surround yourself with new people, if this is at all possible, because your intense obsession with b (from the top paragraph) is causing you to forget about a -- treating people respectfully.

post #407 of 792

double post
 

post #408 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by crunchy_mommy View Post

I have to admit that when I see that 7.5% fraud rate, I wonder how many of those people don't need it & are truly trying to steal money from the gov't., and how many do need it but just happen to be slightly above the cut-off & fudge their numbers a bit to make themselves appear eligible. Obviously neither is legal or acceptable, but I have a lot more compassion for someone who truly needs it but just didn't quite make the cut-off without lying.

My gut tells me that the majority of people aren't scamming the system when they have tons of income or money in the bank. People who scam just for the sake of it could much more easily just find ways to steal money or food directly, without going through all that paperwork & identifying information. I'd venture to guess that the majority do need it but don't qualify for whatever reason, and they think it's OK to lie a bit since they are so badly in need. I'm not condoning it, but I understand it, and it feels very different to me than someone with $70K in income just leaving that off their application. Though even then, you don't always know the whole story... maybe the BF with the $70K income was abusive and wouldn't allow her to touch any of that money or something.

 

Also, that $70k in income was the total amount that the boyfriend earned over 3 years! I don't know if they have kids, but 23k a year is not a lot--but is obviously still too much for them to have qualified for food stamps. They could have gotten WIC legally though!

post #409 of 792

imho - all fraud does not mean the same thing. i am absolutely for those trying to beat the system when the system does not work for them. 

 

kinda unrelated i know many people on SSI who make one dollar more on what they are allowed and they are kicked out of getting medicaid (or is it medi-cal). anyways i know more people who work at SS and they tell me so many people dont get on who should but they have no idea how to get help with paperwork. 

 

i would assume the same is true with welfare. the case is 'easier' when you have kids, but when you dont, the system is so so so much harder. esp. if you are homeless. 

 

so while there is fraud, there are also many people who qualify, who should be on welfare - but are not. 

post #410 of 792
Quote:
 People who scam just for the sake of it could much more easily just find ways to steal money or food directly, without going through all that paperwork & identifying information.

actually in most states it's the opposite- the punishment for embezzlement is much greater and it is easier to forge "paper work" vs retail theft of food, again, depending on other factors the punishment is also less for these types of crimes- and much harder to prove and takes far longer thus allowing more in return- small business are also involved with food assistance fraud- that happens to be a factor as well- really it's quiet easy and takes much longer than you would think to be caught even when there is a tip you are committing the fraud

 

my state, you must now only own one car and show more income because we have such a problem with fraud

post #411 of 792
Quote:
imho - all fraud does not mean the same thing. i am absolutely for those trying to beat the system when the system does not work for them. 

this really sums up why I feel the way I do irked.gif

post #412 of 792

I don't understand why it is so difficult for the agencies involved to cross-check the applicant's reported income with the individual's income as reported to the IRS or the Department of Economic Opportunity. I feel like that would at least help with the 70% of fraud cases that are due to under-reporting of income.

post #413 of 792

That last article cited talked about people using food stamps to buy beer. Ok, so that particular store wasnt set up properly and someone was using their food stamps for beer. That only means that their food stamps would run out faster and they would later  have to pay cash for food. The net result is the same. That doesnt mean that the person buying the beer, doesnt need food stamps.

 

Seriously, there is always someone who goes on about welfare recipients, like there arent bigger problems out there. The poor are bad full stop, and there will always  the poor, and how they are treated is an important matter of public policy. 

 

I think the original question of this thread  "welfare-moms-should-we-be-supporting-moms-so-they-can-stay-at-home-with-their-children", is a very interesting one, that only one or two people on this thread have actually tried to address.  Not that some of the discussion hasnt been interesting (minus the predictable welfare bashing stuff...sorry serenbat)

 

I want to say that it is in the interests of children to be with a primary care giver, usually their mother, and that a civilized society helps make that happen.

Is there a way to do this fairly? Is there a way to do this without  also restricting opportunities for women outside of the motherhood role? I dont know. But im interested in a society that promotes the wellbeing of its young and vulnerable. 

post #414 of 792
For those who want to keep debating the fraud issue, I've started another thread. http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1373192/public-assistance-debate
post #415 of 792

ps i agree that fraud in any area, as well as in the area of welfare, is a bad thing.  Its against the law, as well it should be.  

post #416 of 792
I'd like to see the following in public assistance programs.

1. Work from home options, for those whose children are in school, or able to work on their own some, if homeschooled. This way they wouldn't be working just to pay for childcare. And it gives those with young children a chance to be the caregiver.

2. Raise the amount you can make before benefits start disappearing. As well as the amount you can earn and still qualify in the first place. This one applies to social security, as well. My father was retired, and got a job working for a small business. He quit after one year, because he discovered he had to pay for the privilege of working. He had to pay so much in taxes, it took away all he had earned, *and* some of his pension money. That's excessive, in my opinion.

3. Fund the programs by taxing the $100,000+ earners more, and the $40,000- earners less. In other words, shift the burden. It would mean taking away some tax shelters.

4. Actually visit the recipients, and confirm need, on an annual basis. This *hopefully* would reduce fraud. (Edited to say that this has already been declared a bad idea. Please read the other posts before repeating the flaws.)

5. Provide unsecured loans for those who want to start a business, which would make them an income other than public assistance. We need to boost the economy. Let's help those who want to work for themselves.

Pet food cannot be purchased with food stamps. I heard that fresh produce was not covered years ago, but thankfully that changed. Are there other changes needed?
Edited by pek64 - 1/26/13 at 7:25pm
post #417 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

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.       

post #418 of 792
If you are separated or divorced, I believe the father of the children is asked to pay for the assistance. Now, if he doesn't work, taxpayers have to pay.
post #419 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

I'd like to see the following in public assistance programs.

1. Work from home options, for those whose children are in school, or able to work on their own some, if homeschooled. This way they wouldn't be working just to pay for childcare. And it gives those with young children a chance to be the caregiver.  Do you mean publicly-provided opportunities?  Work from home opportunities already do exist but only in businesses in which there is some profit in doing so, so there is nothing stopping a mom from working this way.  The ability to care for children at the same time can be severely limited if you need to provide sustained attention and focus to the work in order to actually be a productive worker, and supervision can be a problem depending on the work.  Businesses are already doing what they can to provide this due to demand from employees but I do think there are some major practical hindrances in many fields.  Most people I know who work at home have done so only after establishing a solid relationship with an employer, do it only for a portion of their work time, and still need child care help if they have young children.

2. Raise the amount you can make before benefits start disappearing. As well as the amount you can earn and still qualify in the first place. This one applies to social security, as well. My father was retired, and got a job working for a small business. He quit after one year, because he discovered he had to pay for the privilege of working. He had to pay so much in taxes, it took away all he had earned, *and* some of his pension money. That's excessive, in my opinion.  So more people should be able to receive benefits?  Increase welfare overall? Do you mean food stamps?

3. Fund the programs by taxing the $100,000+ earners more, and the $40,000- earners less. In other words, shift the burden. It would mean taking away some tax shelters.  Isn't this already true as far as tax brackets?  Even standard deductions make a bigger percentage difference the lower your income is.  Currently a married couple with three children making 40,000 per year gets over 2000 back in EITC, so an extra 5% of their income in addition to standard deductions and other deductions like the child tax credits that reduce taxable amounts by a much larger percentage if you have a smaller income.    ...I'd need to know which tax shelters currently exist and why before knowing exactly what I think of them.

4. Actually visit the recipients, and confirm need, on an annual basis. This *hopefully* would reduce fraud.  I would be horrified if I had to let someone visit my home this way. I would feel invaded.  I am a very private person.  Would they be checking to make sure I was poor, or making sure I cared for my children "properly" or what?  Yikes.  I'd have to feel twice as desperate to ask for help if it involved that.  I know I'm weird but not everyone feels okay, especially poor people, with having the government look closely at them.  People wouldn't seek help because they were afraid that the fact that they are bad housekeepers would draw attention or that someone would think their children were neglected if their were'nt enough bedrooms or something.  It's a tricky thing to "audit" someone's life, and also expensive to implement.  Why not use and improve existing digital "paper trails" since there are so few ways to avoid being a part of that and it can potentially be made more and more efficient over time.

5. Provide unsecured loans for those who want to start a business, which would make them an income other than public assistance. We need to boost the economy. Let's help those who want to work for themselves.  There are some programs in existence to promote small businesses with favorable loans.  Usually you have to do a lot of homework to create a business plan and show that your market is adequate, and I think there is financing available in many cases for those who have that kind of solid plan.  For those who don't, those unsecured loans will be defaulting left and right.  I own a small business, and I hear people talk about extremely unrealistic business ideas all of the time.  I see such unrealistic and financially unsustainable businesses fail after a year or two when their startup funds run out.  How would such a program prevent creating a multitude of these?  I think if a business proposal is plausibly sustainable and thoroughly-researched then it can already find investors.  It's basically harder and requires many more skills to succeed in small business than to succeed as an employee in my opinion.

Pet food cannot be purchased with food stamps. I heard that fresh produce was not covered years ago, but thankfully that changed. Are there other changes needed?  Part of me would like to make certain percentages of sugar content excluded, but I truly feel that people should make their own choices instead and that such rules are too controversial to pin down.
post #420 of 792
Quote:
Originally Posted by mammal_mama View Post

So serenbat, am I understanding you correctly when I say that it seems that you are not opposed to welfare being available for those who need it, and you are also not opposed to people applying for benefits if they are not earning enough to pay for everything their families need on their own -- so long as, of course, those people giving honest information on their applications, and are not intentionally cutting back their hours in order to stay in a lower income bracket and get more assistance?

 

That's not how I read what serenbat is saying, at all. You continue to give her credit for generous impulses when her words do not indicate any such thing. She has consistently complained that government at any level is providing any kind of aid for any low income parents, on the grounds that they are undeserving because they are asking for it and because other people in the society have to pay taxes to cover the cost. And it's a bad example for their children, who need to learn to shift for themselves MORE than they need food. 

 

If you want me to do that annoying thing of quoting every post to prove my point, I will, but I think it's pointless. She said it all already. 

 

If the problem is that some people are low-income yet not eligible for aid, then you don't say that we should make the eligibility standards tougher, because obviously we should be giving aid to the people who are struggling at that borderline. We have to extend aid further, not punish more families for being poor. 

 

In any case, there aren't welfare programs designed to help moms stay at home with their children. Period. If some moms make ssi or food stamps or even TANF work for them that way, they must be amazing managers to do it. Certainly they're not on a picnic when they have to go to the various offices to sign up or even when they use WIC or food stamps to pay for their food.

 

I totally understand why some moms here choose not to use TANF or WIC or food stamps even though they are income eligible, and why some do. It's an equation--how bad is the experience of signing up and getting the benefit, how tough would it be to FEED YOUR KIDS without it? 

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