Work for Welfare?

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GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4115
Work for Welfare?

Do you think it is a good idea for people to do some kind of community service in order to receive welfare?

(At time of posting a poll linked on this article asking the question Should People Be Required To Perform Community Service To Receive Welfare? shows over 97% voted yes)

A bill has passed in the Michigan Senate that would require those receiving public assistance to do some ?volunteer? work. Another bill, which passed the House Commerce Committee, requires drug testing, revoking benefits for welfare recipients who refuse the test or who test positive.

?What [the legislation] does, it says, in order for your to receive your cash assistance, your welfare check, you must provide some kind of community service to the community,? said the volunteer work bill?s sponsor, State Senator Joe Hune, who represents Livingston and Shiawasse counties in Mid-Michigan.

Hune says he was inspired by a constituent who began to volunteer while on welfare ? and that community service evolved into full employment.

?The whole intention is to make certain folks have some skin in the game, and I don?t feel that there?s any problem with making folks go out and do some kind of community service in order to receive their cash assistance,? Hune said.

State Sen. Vincent Gregory, D-Southfield, thinks the bills take aim at people who are already suffering their lowest moments.

?These people, they already need as much money as they can get, they wouldn?t be asking for it if they didn?t need it,? he said. ?It seems that this philosophy that everyone must have skin in the game, you know, it?s like you may have some financial issues, you may be down and out ? That kind of philosophy to me ? if you?re healthy bodied, I can see it ? but for a lot of people, I just think that it is very intrusive.?

How, specifically, would the programs work? Hune said he purposely designed the bill to be ambiguous.

?We ? kind of left it up to the Department of Human Services to implement it, kind of how they see fit,? said Hune. ?Sometimes when the legislature puts something in action and puts too many details in place, there can be problems with the system.?

The legislation would not affect those on food stamps.

The volunteer bill now heads to the House of Representatives? Families, Children and Seniors Committee, while the drug testing bill heads to the full House for a vote.

?A lot of people are embarrassed to even be there (asking for benefits), and they have this put on them ? It?s this feeling that ?This is what the public wants.? But the public doesn?t want to see people beaten down,? Gregory said.

Bills Would Require Michiganders To Work For Welfare, Pass Drug Test ? CBS Detroit

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

No, I don't agree with it.

Unless someone is disabled or elderly, the intent of welfare is short term...correct? If they are busy with community service, how can they actively pursue work? When I went through a brief period of unemployment, I spent most of my days online viewing job openings or updating my resume or buying the local paper to scour for an opening. Job fairs and such are daytime events.

If they are disabled and elderly and cannot work can they effectively perform community service? Maybe/maybe not.

Drug testing...also disagree with. Until drug testing is a requirement for all employment then I would never back drug testing for welfare recipients.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

Obviously poor people are more obligated to be charitable with their time than rich people.

Holy WTF. This is an abuse of power IMO.

ETA: I really hate this common mentality of "What else can we make the poor people do". Its not ethically right to 'make them dance' just because the govt has something that they desparately need.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3186

I agree with Kim and Jessica but I think they could offer the OPTION of volunteering and put people in touch with groups that could help them. If they could volunteer and do some skill building at the same time, as a voluntary thing, that would be great. But forcing people who are looking for jobs to take time out to volunteer and to "make them dance" as Kim says just feels wrong.

If we need better screening for who gets welfare, that's a separate issue.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

Wanna walk through the pearly gates? Be poor! You will donate your time to community service, never be able to touch a lick of alcohol or a cigarette, and you can only eat healthy items. The poor will soon live out the rich folk with all these knee jerk reactions to the welfare system. Long live the poor!

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

Oh and pretty soon someone will propose that gay couples shouldn't be allowed to receive welfare.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

And what about those on welfare to supplement their minimum wage full time jobs? Do they have to do it too? I hope they don't have kids because those poor kids will never see mom and dad.

mommytoMR.FACE's picture
Joined: 04/10/09
Posts: 781

"Jessica80" wrote:

And what about those on welfare to supplement their minimum wage full time jobs? Do they have to do it too? I hope they don't have kids because those poor kids will never see mom and dad.

Poor people don't deserve to see their children as often as the non poor.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

"mommytoMR.FACE" wrote:

Poor people don't deserve to see their children as often as the non poor.

Stupid me. I forgot. They should have to work a 40+ hour week and then perform community service.

I hope their kids are able to be left alone. No day care is open for that kind of time.

raingirl28's picture
Joined: 09/03/07
Posts: 1347

I guess it's different in Canada. Up here if you want to receive social assistance for the short term (Ontario Works), you have to agree to let them help you find a job. If you don't agree or fail to comply with their requests to find work, you lose benefits. Happened to my sister and her hubby. He's perfectly capable to work, but he is just lazy and doesn't want to. The program told him over and over, sent him letters, told him he had to attend job seminars and workshops, etc, but he refused or just didn't go and they cut him off benefits. I totally agree with their decision because I've known his family since we were kids and he can work fine, but he just doesn't want to. (But on a side note it sucks for my parents as they rent one of their rental units to them and now my sister can't pay rent and thus my parents are having financial issues...**sigh**)

Obviously different circumstances would dictate different coverage/requirements. If you are on social assistance because you can't work due to a disability, then I believe they try to find you work that you can do. If you refuse to do work that medically you can do even if disabled, they can also cut off your benefits. You have to prove you are looking for work or doing something actively to get off benefits at all times to keep your coverage up here as far as I understand.

I guess what you are asking though is volunteering. I don't know about forcing, but I know people who are on social assistance who could definitely benefit from such a system. I don't know if they do anything like that here, but volunteering is an excellent way to build your resume and often leads to full time work (I've received so many jobs from volunteering). If I found myself out of a job for whatever reason and the government was doing what they could to get me off benefits so I could work again, then I would totally take whatever they offer! But that's me maybe? I don't see anything wrong with the government forcing it on people, especially since I know so many people on benefits who are just sitting on their butts for no reason doing nothing day in and day out.

My (same) sister though is on social assistance benefits to take care of my severely disabled nephew as it would cost more for the government to supplement care for him than to pay my sister social assistance to do the job. In that case it makes financial sense and she doesn't have to look for work because of the situation. Although, she isn't really planning for the future at this time and eventually my nephew will need to be put in long term care when he's too big for her to care for. He's currently...9...and she is already having trouble lifting him out of his wheel chair or doing his personal care because he flails around a lot and she's not strong enough to restrain him. She is stubborn like her husband though and I suspect that when she is faced with the situation to find work or lose benefits, she will lose them because she has issues with authority.

So in all...I agree that people on some kind of benefit should be monitored closely to ensure they are trying to find work and/or volunteering.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4115

As long as the proper exemptions are given for those who have a valid reason they are unable to do it like disability, childcare, transportation and things like that I see no reason why those who are being given a handout shouldn't be required to do some kind of community service in return. Those who are working don't usually qualify for benefits but if they did that should also be an exemption, as I'm pretty sure it would be as thats pretty obvious. I doubt they would require 40 hours of community service per week, so if someone is actually looking for a job there is no reason they couldn't do some community service along with it, it might even put them in contact with someone who is hiring. I'm sure they could find something that could be scheduled in a way that it wouldn't interfere with their job search.

I guess I am in the 97%.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"raingirl28" wrote:

Obviously different circumstances would dictate different coverage/requirements. If you are on social assistance because you can't work due to a disability, then I believe they try to find you work that you can do. If you refuse to do work that medically you can do even if disabled, they can also cut off your benefits. You have to prove you are looking for work or doing something actively to get off benefits at all times to keep your coverage up here as far as I understand.

.

We are currently applying for Disability for Rob due to his leg. Up here if you are a Person with a Disability designation you do not have to seek work. You can, and are allowed to make $900 on top of your monthly payment. If you exceed that then you have to go off disability because you obviously can work. In order to be on disability you have to have the doctors backing that you cannot work any job adequate to support yourself (over $900 a month) due to medical reasons that will exceed 2 years.

If you are on welfare then you have to be job hunting at all times. The only exceptions are single parents of young children.

fuchsiasky's picture
Joined: 11/16/07
Posts: 955

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

As long as the proper exemptions are given for those who have a valid reason they are unable to do it like disability, childcare, transportation and things like that I see no reason why those who are being given a handout shouldn't be required to do some kind of community service in return. Those who are working don't usually qualify for benefits but if they did that should also be an exemption, as I'm pretty sure it would be as thats pretty obvious. I doubt they would require 40 hours of community service per week, so if someone is actually looking for a job there is no reason they couldn't do some community service along with it, it might even put them in contact with someone who is hiring. I'm sure they could find something that could be scheduled in a way that it wouldn't interfere with their job search.

I guess I am in the 97%.

I don't see them being so accepting of exceptions and making things work with current jobs. I think that the option should be there. I think that people should be monitored to see if they are just lazing around. But to require it would place the burden on all regardless as to whether it is needed. Why not just put it in place for those who need it and deal with it on an individual level?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4115

"fuchsiasky" wrote:

I don't see them being so accepting of exceptions and making things work with current jobs. I think that the option should be there. I think that people should be monitored to see if they are just lazing around. But to require it would place the burden on all regardless as to whether it is needed. Why not just put it in place for those who need it and deal with it on an individual level?

Why wouldn't they make exceptions? That makes no sense that they wouldn't make exceptions for those who are working or have an appointment for an interview or something. The article says they left it up to the Department of Human Services to implement it, kind of how they see fit. It is much better to require it for all and make exceptions than to just make it voluntary, which is no different than it is now. How would you put it in place only for those who need it? Someone decides that this person is lazy and needs to do community service and at that point they require it just from that person? They have the option to do community service now.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

I'm in the 3%.

Joined: 03/14/09
Posts: 624

Sure!

But! Let's make sure that everyone else who is subsidized by the government has to pick trash by the highway like criminals too!

On WIC? Before you pick up your bottles or formula, spend a couple hours with a baby strapped to your back in orange coveralls picking up after litterers.

Professional housewife who doesn't pay taxes? Make up what you would be paying for the roads you use and the defense of your country by shoveling dog **** into a plastic bag.

Corporation who screws over the government for corporate welfare? Your CEO and CFO should be pulling glass bottles out of the sand on beaches and at parks.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

Yeah come to think of it, I think people who pay taxes in general should be required to do volunteer work then...because in reality, you pay in, partly so you can use the system if you ever need to. Its there for you too. A lot like insurance that way.

So everyone needs to start doing their part immediately. You have to pay into the system AND do volunteer work.....just in case you ever need to use it some day.

That seems way more fair to me.