Tuesday, June 10, 2014

'Welfare For Life' Is a Shameful Myth

It is often said that there are "too many people on welfare their whole lives."

The fact is, however, that this notion is a total myth perpetrated by those who are ignorant to the realities of poverty in America today.

Often, willfully ignorant at that. The issues of poverty can be complicated enough, but there will never be any solutions so long as there are people who choose to be prejudiced against those who are less fortunate. This myth is one of the most fallacious, derogatory lies, yet it is so often repeated by those who don't know or simply don't care what the fact really are. You see, for those sort, it's really about doing harm to the poor, as a sort of "tough love" vendetta over the fact they citizens must pay taxes. This mantra is repeated time and time again, as if people who are poor are simply lazy, and somehow enjoy a life of untold sorrow and misery.

Well, rant over for the moment. Let's cut to the chase here. Here are the FACTS about welfare, as they have stood since the Clinton Administration reforms of 1996. This information is taken verbatim from the New York State website, and can be found at the following link:


What are the two major Temporary Assistance programs?

Family Assistance (FA)

Family Assistance (FA) provides cash assistance to eligible needy families that include a minor child living with a parent (including families where both parents are in the household) or a caretaker relative. FA operates under federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) guidelines.

Under FA, eligible adults are limited to receiving benefits for a total of 60 months in their lifetime, including months of TANF-funded assistance granted in other states. Once this limit is reached, that adult and all members of his or her FA household are ineligible to receive any more FA benefits. The months need not be consecutive, but rather each individual month in which TANF-funded benefits are received is included in the lifetime count.

Parents and other adult relatives receiving FA, and who are determined to be able to work must comply with federal work requirements to receive FA benefits.

As a further condition of FA eligibility, each person who applies for or is receiving FA, is required to cooperate with state and local department of social services in efforts to locate any absent parent and obtain support payments and other payments or property. Non-cooperation without good cause could result in lower FA benefits.

Safety Net Assistance (SNA)

If you are not eligible for other assistance programs, you may be eligible for SNA. SNA is for:

Single adults
Childless couples
Children living apart from any adult relative
Families of persons found to be abusing drugs or alcohol
Families of persons refusing drug/alcohol screening, assessment or treatment
Persons who have exceeded the 60-month limit on assistance
Aliens who are eligible for temporary assistance, but who are not eligible for federal reimbursement

Recipients of SNA, who are determined to be able to work must also comply with work requirements to receive SNA benefits.

Generally, you can receive cash SNA for a maximum of two years in a lifetime. After that, if you are eligible for SNA, it is provided in non-cash form, such as a two party check or a voucher. In addition, non-cash SNA is provided for:

Families of persons found to be abusing drugs or alcohol
Families of persons refusing drug/alcohol screening, assessment or treatment
Families with an adult who has exceeded the 60 month lifetime time limit

Is there a limit on how long I can get TANF-Funded Temporary Assistance?

There is a 60-month limit on the receipt of Family Assistance benefits funded under the federal TANF program (the former Aid to Families with Dependent Children (ADC) program), some Safety Net Assistance (SNA) or the Child Assistance Program (CAP). Additionally, a payment for regular maintenance needs under the Emergency Assistance to Families with Children (EAF) for the month of December 1996, or any month thereafter, are included in the 60-month count. Participants in CAP are also restricted to the 60-month lifetime limit.

Additionally, cash Temporary Assistance in New York State is limited to a cumulative period of 60 months for any adult. No cash assistance (FA or SNA) benefit is granted to a family that contains an adult who has received a combined total of 60-month benefits under FA or cash SNA.

What is an Emergency?

An emergency is an urgent need or situation that has to be taken care of right away. Some examples of an emergency are:

You are homeless
You have little or no food
Your landlord has told you that you must move or has given you eviction papers
You do not have fuel for heating in the cold weather period
Your utilities are shut-off or are about to be shut-off, or you have a 72-hour disconnect notice
You or someone in your family has been physically harmed , or threatened with violence by a partner, ex-partner or other household member

If you and/or your family are experiencing an emergency situation you may be eligible for emergency assistance. Some examples of emergency assistance include, but are not limited to:

Payment of shelter arrears
Payment of utility arrears
Payment of fuel and/or cost of fuel delivery
Payment of Domestic Violence Shelter costs
Payment of Temporary Housing (Hotel/Motel) costs

More information is available from the official source linked above.