Welfare

Welfare is a government program that provides money, medical care,
food, housing, and other things that people need in order to survive. People
who can receive help from these welfare programs are children, elders,
disabled, and others who cannot support their families on their current
income. Another name for welfare is public assistance.

There are many organizations that supply this public assistance. Such
as Salvation Army and other groups. Public assistance benefits help many
people who live below the poverty line, an income level is established for
families. If your income is below this you would be eligible to receive this
help.

Welfare in the United States

Federal and state governments in the Unites States serve the poor
people through about 60 public assistance programs. Most people receive
help through one of the four major programs. These programs are Medicaid,

Aid to families with dependant Children, Social Security, or Supplemental

Security, or the food stamps program. I will discuss the four programs
individually.

Medicaid provides free medical care to the poor people. Funds vary
from state to state. In some situations, people who may be able to pay daily
needs, but can't afford large medical bills may also be able to receive

Medicaid. Some services paid for are bills such as doctor's visits and nursing
home care. Most Medicaid funding comes from the federal government.

The rest is supplied by the state. Each state runs their own Medicaid
program.

A.F.D.C. provides cash benefits to dependent children and the parents
or the guardians taking care of them. Most families that qualify for A.F.D.C.
have just one parent in the home. About 80 percent of these families are
headed by a woman. A.F.D.C. also pays benefits to two-parent families if
both parents are unemployed. Most A.F.D.C. funding comes from the
federal government. The states provide the rest of the money and administer
the program. The sizes of families' payment vary from state to state.

Next is Social Security Income. This provides financial Aid to people
in need who are at least 65 years old, blind, or disabled. The federal
government finances and administers social security income programs in
most states, though some states supply the federal payment and are able to
run their own programs.

Finally, the Food Stamp Program helps low-income households buy
more and better food than they could otherwise afford. Each participating
household receives a certain number of coupons called food stamps. The
stamps are issued by the federal government. The number of stamps a
household receives varies with the family's size, income, and expenses.

Cooperating grocery stores accept the stamps like money for food purchases
only.

There are other programs such as energy assistance and public
housing. Energy assistance, which is federally financed but administered by
the states, helps people pay fuel bills. Public housing provides low cost
rental apartments in government owned buildings.

State and local governments fund and administer their own general
assistance programs. These programs provide financial aid for needy people
who do not qualify for other types of welfare. People waiting to receive
assistance from other programs also may get temporary emergency aid from
general assistance.

Back in the early days, welfare resembled the English system. Social
governments were responsible for helping the poor. But the colonies and
later the states, sometimes helped the local government provide aid. The first
federal welfare program, began after the Revolutionary War, they provided
pensions to war veterans. During the Civil War these pensions were
expanded to cover soldiers' widows and orphans. In the early 1900's,
primary responsibility for providing welfare benefits shifted from local to
state governments. During these years, states enacted programs to aid
dependent children and the elderly.

The criticisms of welfare ranges over a number of social and economic
issues. Some people criticize welfare programs for not providing high
enough benefits to eliminate poverty. Spending on welfare would have to
increase greatly to eliminate poverty, and many people believe the cost is
already too high.

Many critics of the welfare system charge that providing a steady
income to needy people encourages idleness. Actually, most welfare benefits
go to elderly, blind, and disabled people and mothers with young children.

But welfare does discourage some recipients from working harder by
reducing benefits if their income increases.

Many people also criticize the welfare system for being too complex
and costly to administer. Each program has its own eligibility requirements
and ways of calculating benefits, and these rules vary from state to state.

Public officials collect detailed information about applicants to determine
their eligibility for benefits. This process is time-consuming and costly.

Some people cheat the system by not reporting all the income they
earn. But suppliers of services to welfare recipients account for most of the
fraud in