Hardship and Welfare

January 30, 2012 § 4 Comments

Myrna Cardenas of “Latinas on the Fault Lines of Citizenship” is a sad example of what being an individual on welfare is like. Her difficulties in obtaining welfare were complicated by the fact that she thought she had proper citizenship documentation, but found out when she applied for welfare that she was not a citizen. However, even after obtaining the correct documents, she was still shuffled around by caseworkers.

While I think much of her experience with the welfare system was influenced by her status as Latina mother, I think some of her difficulties are universal. Such as the fact that recipients of TANF are cut off after five years. That single mothers on welfare are likely to live in poor and crowded conditions. Isn’t that what we expect of people on welfare? It hardly seems fair to me that these mothers must deal with the threat of having their children removed from their homes, especially since there are serious problems with Children and Family services in just about every state. Would their children really be better off?

Shouldn’t the welfare system (and other social services) be expanded rather than lessened? I think the idea that people are taking advantage of welfare is a created myth. Maybe one individual out of thousands. But, honestly no one enjoys hardship. No one wants to see their children go hungry, live in squalor, or lack health care.

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§ 4 Responses to Hardship and Welfare

  • I can attest to the difficulties in obtaining food stamps or any type of governmental assistance. When I was a child my family had to jump through bureaucratic hoops just to eat for the month, and this was with a disabled person and a child in the house. Later in life when we applied, they refuse to take into account things like child support being taken out of my fiance’s check, saying he makes too much when he is receiving less than 50% of each check. Furthermore, they do count it on the other end, so if you get too much in child support you may not get food stamps either. However, on the Indiana website they claim to allow for child support in deductions, but I know from personal experience this is a flat out lie. In the past when I did receive food stamps, our family had to reapply several times because they initially deny most applicants to save money (this is what I was told by my case worker). The last thing in the world anyone wants is to not be able to feed their kids, but unfortunately the systems put in place to prevent that occurring are limited, if not completely broken.

  • amandamanbear says:

    Thanks for your comments. I think there are many misconceptions about welfare, including how accessible it is. I know when I was very young both of my parents were on unemployment for a short time, but then they both got jobs and were no longer struggling. However, I often wonder what it would have been like if they had not been able to make enough with their jobs, and I’m begginging to think they would not have gotten enough help.

  • boilerup0924 says:

    I feel that being a minority who wasn’t a legal citizen is what made it really hard for Myrna to receive the assistance she needed. I like the fact that you pointed out the “universal” points that occur to anyone trying to receive assistance. Most people believe that it is just minorities and a racial thing to receive Welfare or food stamps, but it is a problem most races face. Its sad how the government is always trying to promote helping third world countries and bettering the living conditions of other people, but are quick to deny or misjudge there own people-Americans. The Welfare, Medicaid, and Food stamp programs should be given better funded and different regulations so that there aren’t people abusing the system, but those that truly need it receive the assistance.

  • smschutt says:

    I would have to disagree with you on the part where you said that you think that people taking advantage of the welfare system is a myth. There is one person in every crowd that has to ruin something good for everyone. Everyone else in the world takes it into there own hands to blow this issue out of proportion and make it seem like it’s a big problem when in reality it happens less often then it does happen. It just happens that the people who are in need of welfare get the shaft because of the people before them who are riding the system for all its worth.
    On the other hand I agree with you when you mentioned her race as a major factor in receiving welfare for her family. Yes, she might not have been a documented citizen but her children were, and wasn’t the whole reason for her needing welfare was for her family. I think the welfare system needs to look deeper into these family issue rather than what you see at face value. Myrna Cardenas son was even working to help keep their family afloat.

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