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The mothers on the "SYSTEM," what do you think of them?

I have read through many post, journals and questions and there seems to be this idea that the vast majority of people who receive assistance (WIC, food stamps, FI/AFDC) are lazy poor uneducated women with 5+ children who never work and collect EIC checks when tax time comes around.

My question is, where did this image come from? From what statistics are you garnering this information? All I can find is that someone saw someone in the store and assumed they know everything about her life and her financial situation from a brief glance. Or that someone knows of one person (usually their neighbor's son's best friend's cousin's co-worker's niece) who fits this criteria. But, unless you have been a recipient of assistance, what do you really know?



Asked by lilmami81 at 8:39 AM on Oct. 22, 2008 in Money & Work

Level 6 (110 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (105)
  • I think the majority of moms on gov. assistance are doing the best they can for their families. I have worked with social services and been an elementary school teacher for 8 years. I have seen MANY families who receive gov. assistance. I worked in 2 schools where over 50% of the kids received free or reduced lunch. There are some people who abuse the system and get benefits that they don't really need, but most of the people getting that help really need it.

    Answer by annabethsmommy at 4:10 PM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • I think they are getting this info from people they've actually known to abuse the system. or like when you see someone with food stamps get in a really nice car at the store.

    I get assistance and drive an '08 kia was a birthday present, I did not pay anything for it. It actually prevents me from getting a lot of assistance since it's in my name, it counts as an asset.

    Answer by Anonymous at 8:47 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • Yeah, but is it fair that people judge you based on that? That they don't feel that you are worthy or that you are abusing the system simply because you have a vehicle. I read that only 57% of eligible households actually receive food stamp benefits. Many of the people who are sucking their teeth at you are probably eligible but haven't applied because they feel that they are "that kind" of people.

    BTW, I encountered the same issue with my vehicle years ago. I had the car a couple of years before I needed any help and they said that it was worth too much.

    Answer by lilmami81 at 8:55 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • no, totally not fair for people to judge based on what people are wearing or what kind of car they get into.

    I just know people look at me funny when I get in the car at the store.

    I also don't think people understand what it means to qualify for assistance. Medicaid for a pregnant woman is something like you have to make less than 130% of poverty level, so you can make more than poverty level and still qualify.

    If it weren't for my mother, I know I would not have survived at times. I tried working and refusing "the system" I made $9,000 total (hubby and me) in the year 2007. (because of pregnancy and birth of baby I could work full time) Did not get any assistance programs, didn't even have my nice car then. poverty level at that time where I lived was $13,000. When I filed my taxes, the lady at HRBlock actually asked us how in the heck we survived.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:04 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • I wish i knew where to find the little email that went around a while back. It was a story about a lady getting a cart full of food on food stamps and people in line making fun of her... she left the store crying. Someone came in and asked where she went in a hurry like that... Her brother had died in Iraq and she had taken over the care of his kids. In the story, the people in line that had made her cry pitched in money and paid for her groceries and took them to her with the help of the guy that knew her. I know the story was probably fake but it really makes you think about how you judge people when you don't have the whole story.

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:06 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • ITA. Most of the people who receive help are low wage workers. Many people fail to realize that there is no such thing as a welfare check that people get their whole lives-there is a 60 month lifetime limit and you can only receive it for 24 months at a time. Or that recipients of many programs are required to file for child support (which they should) and so that is where income comes from many times.

    Answer by lilmami81 at 9:08 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • I get WIC and Food Stamps at the moment. My husband works 50+ hours a week and I run my own business... At this point we are earning about $2000 a month. Both of us have health conditions and most of our money goes in to that, unfortunatly. I have actually not been recieving any treatments at all because of the cost, I'm Bi-Polar and Schizopgrenic. My husband has a kidney condition and some other health issues that keep him on a HUGE amont of life sustaining meds... So the help is just that. We don't sit on our asses or "milk" we just need a little help at the moment. I'm doing everthing I can to dig us out but the medical bills keep comming and he needs surgery again. I don't honestly know what I'm going to do... I would love to get out of the system but just don't know how!

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:11 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • I used to get assistance and no longer do. I have known many women who just plan to live on welfare forever. they see no reason to work why work if the government will pay you to stay home. I know a few who were like me in a bad situation got out of it and moved on.

    the steriotype comes from the women you see there. our office had the skankiest dressed women with dirty wild kids running around. I hated going would always be me and one other ladie in jeans and tees with our baby on our lap and 6 or 7 women in clothes three sizes too small boobs hanging out with the wild kids.

    I know we shouldn't judge and I am not saying they were bad people but the steriotype comes from them'

    Answer by Lyndall at 9:14 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • yep, I had to file for court ordered child support from my oldest's father to receive any assistance even though he was paying me and helping. I had to explain to him that I had to do it to get other help that I needed like housing assistance.

    I totally get your reasons too anon 9:11. my hubby is bipolar/schizo. It takes a lot of meds that don't come in generic yet. We'd go broke in a month if we had to pay out of pocket for it all. and without it, I don't even want to imagine what you would possibly do!

    Answer by Anonymous at 9:15 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • Honestly I know very few people who live "off" the system. Most are just people that can't make ends meet due to cost of living versus their income. Granted I do know a couple people that are content to do nothing and get benefits for it. But these people are rare. Honestly, I am sick of seeing people bashed for being on WIC (which is a nutrition education program not a "free food" program) and food stamps. I would look more to their state's spending and which officials have their pockets stuffed with your tax money. Truth is these programs do help and I think anyone who seeks help is doing right by their families. There are many more out there who don't or can't get the help. But I never judge people who are on assistance of any kind. The people I mentioned misusing the system are people I know and have known for some time. Not a judgment toward them just a statement of fact.


    Answer by Maidenwolf at 9:20 AM on Oct. 22, 2008