We Need To Get a Few Details Straight on Welfare

What is with the hate? I am not sure that you and I are thinking of the same things when I talk about Welfare. I read all kinds of stupid and angry posts about Welfare Queens, and Lazy Dogs who don’t know their fathers applying  and qualifying for welfare (No joke, my own Grandmother FaceBook Liked one of these this morning).

So here are some numbers from the  US Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Commerce, CATO Institute in September 2013.

70% of families on Welfare leave the system BEFORE the 5 year lime limit.  BEFORE. Either they are dying or finding employment. Seeing as I have only had one client die in the almost 7 years I have worked in welfare: I am going out on a limb and claiming these moms and dads found work. I speculate they found these jobs because of a little program called Welfare To Work = aka GAIN.

GAIN is where we talk about how to find meaningful employment that will offer a paycheck large enough to lift an entire family out of poverty. GAIN is where we sent moms and dads to training to jump the skills gap and land the much-needed jobs. GAIN is where we hold their hands and teach parents how to find reliable child care and how to speak in a job interview and how to compact their stress ( Specialized Supportive Services) into manageable bundles so they can take on and keep employment.  The best way out of Welfare is through the Welfare to Work Program.

Please note that there are many white people on Welfare. This is not a program for minorities. It is a program for low-income moms and dads.

Welfare does not remove the incentive to find employment – are you kidding me? I have signs everywhere in my office to remind folks that my entire job is to have them find good paying employment that will get me out of their lives or at least off their backs.

Welfare Statistics  
Total number of Americans on welfare 12,800,000
Total number of Americans on food stamps 46,700,000
Total number of Americans on unemployment insurance 5,600,000
Percent of the US population on welfare 4.1 %
Total government spending on welfare annually (not including food stamps or unemployment) $131.9 billion
Welfare Demographics  
Percent of recipients who are white 38.8 %
Percent of recipients who are black 39.8 %
Percent of recipients who are Hispanic 15.7 %
Percent of recipients who are Asian 2.4 %
Percent of recipients who are Other 3.3 %
Welfare Statistics
Total amount of money you can make monthly and still receive Welfare (ummm – what’s this, Sonya asks because family size comes in to play) $1000
Total Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than an $8 per hour job 39
Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than a $12 per hour job 6
Number of U.S. States where Welfare pays more than the average salary of a U.S. Teacher 8
Average Time on AFCD (Aid to Families with Dependent Children)
Time on AFDC Percent of Recipients
Less than 7 months 19%
7 to 12 months 15.2%
1 to 2 years 19.3%
2 to 5 years 26.9%
Over 5 years 19.6%
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3 thoughts on “We Need To Get a Few Details Straight on Welfare

  1. There are still some major problems with these statistics:

    in 39 States Welfare pays more than an $8 per hour job (only Washington and Nevada have a minimum wage higher than $8/hr at present) – why work at minimum wage when one can make more on welfare not working? Hey Gubber-ment, pay people not to work yer good at that even paying them not to plant and grow food we all could then eat!

    In 6 States Welfare pays more than a $12 per hour job – ok, how does one sign up! This is getting good for sitting on one’s ass all day and maybe ticking off some check marks at an education center somewhere for another unused skill!

    Teachers, well they are just under paid and under appreciated no matter how you look at it!

    4.1% of the population on welfare

    Total number of Americans on welfare 12,800,000

    Total government spending on welfare annually (not including food stamps or unemployment) $131.9 billion

    (a quick google shows salvation army had between 2-3 billion in income in 2012, what could they do with $131.9 billion…. or even if that was divided between 50 like organizations (of which there are not likely 50 that exist nationally) it would double each of their incomes, what then?) I think they’d do better at it than stealing it by taxation from those that earned it to give to those who did not! Charity and private industry seem to function better than taxation and theft!

    and now a little math:
    131.9 billion / 12.8 million = expenditure per recipient / year = $10304.6875, this does not include food stamps and other subsidies paid on top of basic welfare payments.

    What are the statistics on time value of money and return upon taxpayer investment of $10,304.69/recipient/year? It is claimed that this investment creates taxpaying workers. Do the taxes they return to the system offset services rendered? If so, after what time period?

  2. You are forgetting the vast majority of that $131 billion is spent on services towards helping people out of poverty – transportation, childcare, etc.

  3. Hi HiLA! Thanks for your article! I really agree with where you’re coming from here. I have a question though — is there any chance you could tell me specifically which government programs these “welfare” statistics refer to? And is there a government webpage address you could possibly give me where I can look at these stats? I need to be able to discuss them intelligently and I always see these specific stats being thrown around in discussions — but I’ve never been told specifically which of the 79 (or 125, according to CATO(?)) American social welfare programs these statistics represent. Thank you for your time and thanks for the thought-provoking article!

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