For a long time now, social welfare programs have been considered hurtful to people with low incomes by causing them to become less well-off and discouraging them from working, hence generating welfare dependency (Cassella, n.d). Research conducted by Borjas (2016) reveals that welfare programs, particularly among the immigrant population, increase poverty rates among them. There have been various criticisms against welfare programs. Still, in my opinion, such criticisms only symbolize an escape from facing the reality that policies in our governments have placed certain people at a disadvantage, and the government or society refuses to take responsibility for such. Welfare programs provide relief to individuals in their time of need. As opposed to increasing dependency and poverty levels, when welfare programs focus on providing life skills and training to the beneficiaries, they enhance independence and lower poverty rates in such populations. Furthermore, if such welfare programs are not temporary and sporadic, they can support individuals and help them regain their feet and fend for themselves.
I have a friend whose family migrated to the US from Indonesia. They had a tough time adjusting to life in the US, citing challenges such as unemployment, poverty, and lack of proper housing. When they were enrolled in a welfare program, my friend could go to school, and through the Medicaid program, their health care improved, and her parents could find a place to work and live without continuing to depend on the program. They are grateful that they were offered proper support, which made it possible for them to reach where they are. This might be one of the few cases where individuals have come out of welfare programs with a positive story. However, it does not nullify that such programs can enhance individuals’ financial independence when implemented correctly.
Borjas, G. J. (2016). Does welfare reduce poverty? Research in Economics, 70(1), 143-157.
Cassella, K. (n.d). Social Welfare and Policy II. Eastern Gateway Community College.
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Do you believe that our current welfare system hurts or helps people in poverty, possibly enabling them to continue in their current state, or does it provide assistance during a time of need?
* How do you think others view the welfare system?
* Please provide an example if you have witnessed any negative/positive interactions with the welfare system firsthand. (this example does not have to be about you it can be about someone else).
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