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Nine Welfare Myths Exploded

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: abuse, americans, constitution, dishonesty, economy, Govtfearmongering, healthcare, housing, lies, media, politics, propaganda, republicans, welfare myths )

- 1901 days ago -
Every so often Facebook is covered with the little "ecards" and other items that complain about "lazy people on welfare" who have an iPhone, a new car, are buying cigarettes, and are just generally living the good life off of the rest [....]


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Kit B (276)
Monday January 6, 2014, 9:56 am
Image @ PortlandStateUniversity

What The Right Doesn’t Want You To Know About Welfare: 9 Myths Exploded

Every so often Facebook is covered with the little “ecards” and other items that complain about “lazy people on welfare” who have an iPhone, a new car, are buying cigarettes, and are just generally living the good life off of the rest of us who work for a living. Close your eyes for a moment, and develop a mental picture of an “average welfare recipient.” Now use that mental picture as a frame of reference for what you are about to read. If you are like many Americans, be prepared to have your beliefs about welfare and welfare recipients shattered.

Myth: “People on welfare are lazy and sit at home collecting it while the rest of us work to support them.”

Fact: The welfare reform law that was signed by President Clinton in 1996 largely turned control over welfare benefits to the states, but the federal government provides some of the funding for state welfare programs through a program called Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF). TANF grants to states require that all welfare recipients must find work within two years of first receiving benefits. This includes single parents, who are required to work at least 30 hours per week. Two-parent families are required to work 35 to 50 hours per week. Failure to obtain work could result in loss of benefits. It is also worth noting that, thanks to the pay offerings of companies such as Walmart, many who work at low wage jobs qualify for public assistance, even though they work full-time.

The popular perception is that welfare recipients don’t want to work. There are people in all sorts of situations who would probably prefer not to work, but for welfare recipients the law gives them no choice; within two years they have to find work or face losing benefits.

Myth: “People who go on welfare stay on it forever.”

Fact: According to, the vast majority of TANF recipients, 80.4 percent, receive benefits for five years or less. (The site still refers to the program by the old name of Aid To Families With Dependent Children. AFDC is the program that seems to be most often identified with the term “welfare.” AFDC programs were replaced at the federal level by TANF in 1996, but it is still common to hear the program referred to as AFDC.)

Myth: “There’s a woman in Chicago. She has 80 names, 30 addresses, 12 Social Security cards. … She’s got Medicaid, getting food stamps and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income alone is over $150,000″ – Ronald Reagan

Fact: Ah, the “welfare queen.” Ronny loved to tell his stories, and his welfare queen story is one of the most popular. The only problem is, the woman he talked about didn’t exist. There is some evidence that elements of this story may have been based on facts, but the descriptions of abuse by an actual woman were wildly exaggerated by Reagan.

Myth: “Welfare recipients keep having more kids so they can get more benefits.”

Fact: According to a 2010 report released by the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the average family receiving TANF benefits has 1.8 children, which is about the same as the national average. Half of the families receiving TANF benefits only have one child. In fact, the average size of families receiving welfare benefits has declined from 4.0 in 1969 to 2.4 in 2010. Also, some states, such as Delaware and Georgia, make it clear to those who sign up for TANF benefits that their benefits will not increase if they have additional children. Taken from the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services website:

You will get information on family planning. Your check will not increase if you have a baby 10 months or more after you sign up for this program. [Emphasis added]

A Government Accountability Office report (page 45), shows the amount of TANF benefits paid in each state for one to three children. Even in states where having additional children will result in a benefit increase, that increase is, in most cases, $100 a month or less.

Myth: “Where Is The U.S. Headed If More Than 100 Million People Get Welfare?” – Headline of August 2012 column by CNN’s Jack Cafferty

Fact: 100 million Americans on welfare? Cafferty apparently gets his information from a biased source, the Center For Immigration Studies, which is connected to identified racist John Tanton. According to the 2010 federal HHS report, 1,084,828 adults and 3,280,153 children received TANF benefits that year, a far cry from 100 million.

Myth: ”I see these guys all the time, hanging out and drinking, and doing drugs, collecting welfare instead of working.”

Fact: The able-bodied single male with no dependent children who collects welfare in the United States pretty much does not exist, since the primary goal of most welfare programs is to provide temporary support for children and families. Single males can receive certain benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if they are disabled.

Myth: “Most welfare recipients are drug users.”

Fact: That’s apparently what Florida governor Rick Scott thought, too. The state of Florida began drug testing welfare recipients in 2011. About 2 percent tested positive for drug use. According to the New York Times, federal statistics show that the rate of drug use among welfare recipients is about the same as it is for the public at large.

Myth: “Most welfare recipients are minorities and illegal immigrants.”

Fact: TANF benefits were paid out to roughly the same percentage of white and black recipients in 2010, according to the HHS report. In fact, the percentage of black families receiving welfare benefits has declined by almost 7 percent since 2000. Regarding illegal immigrants: those who are in the United States illegally are ineligible for benefits other than emergency Medicaid.

Myth: ”People collect welfare instead of work, and they get rich. They all have iPhones, drive new cars, have widescreen tv’s, etc. I work and I can’t afford any of that!”

Fact: Since welfare payments vary by state and by the size of the family, it’s hard to provide all the pertinent numbers here, but here are some ranges:
◾A family of four can expect up to $500 a month in food stamp benefits. A single person can expect an average of $200 a month.
◾The average monthly allowance under TANF/AFDC is $900 for a family of four. For a single person the average is about $300.

It would be interesting to see what kind of “new car” anyone could buy on that income, or even an iPhone, for that matter. (Remember, despite what Newt Gingrich may have claimed during the 2012 election campaign, you can’t use food stamps for anything except food, so when you’re figuring how much money someone might have for an iPhone or a car, take that money out of the equation.) It is also worth observing that the people who sneer about welfare recipients having those things don’t take into consideration that the person may have had that iPhone or car before having to go on welfare. Along these lines, perhaps the most laughable criticism is of welfare recipients who have tattoos. Tattoos are permanent, folks! How do you know that someone got a tattoo after starting to receive welfare?

One final fact about welfare. Would anybody like to guess who makes up the single largest group on welfare in the United States? It’s children. One out of every four children in the United States receives welfare benefits.

Because the rules surrounding TANF require recipients to look for work, the problem is not with laziness, or a lack of education, but rather with the availability of jobs with good wages and benefits. Were more parents able to find well-paying jobs, fewer of their children would need welfare benefits. In fact, were more good jobs available, fewer Americans in general would need the assistance of welfare.

By: Wes Williams | Addicting Info |

Arielle S (313)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:18 am
Like it's every person's dream to just sit around all day drawing a welfare check. I think all people want to feel useful and necessary - when they put those pictures on Facebook of the "lazy, welfare recipients", I suspect they are actually CEO's of large corporations.....

JL A (281)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:26 am
Ronnie got elected by inventing myths his staff were unable to find evidence much less factual support for and they refuse to die even though his program initiatives removed all possibility of those myths existing...sad how gullible so many people continue to be. Thanks for helping make the facts available for any who aren't ideologues unconcerned with facts.

Sheila D (194)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:37 am
People believe this tripe because they're too lazy to do the research needed to get at the truth. Also getting angry when Social Security is called a welfare program by ignorant people who blindly believe everything hand fed to them by Faux News and the GOPTP Toadies.
Sorry, currently can't give Arielle another star.

Nancy M (147)
Monday January 6, 2014, 12:44 pm
There are many things that people don't realize. Like, if you move in with others, they look at household income. A young single mother who leaves her husband and moves back in with parents will never receieve any help.

Judy C (91)
Monday January 6, 2014, 1:38 pm
As long as this mythology persists, ignorant bigots will use it to villify the poor. I debunk these myths in conversation with anyone, whenever they come up.

. (0)
Monday January 6, 2014, 3:20 pm
It may be some people on welfare's dream to sit on the dole and do nothing for the rest of their lives but they're the very small minority. Most people want to work. Most people want a better shot at life if they can get it. Tell it to the single mother with a child or children in school and maybe there's a dad there or not. Do you think that woman wants to be there? It isn't always so cut and dried. Ronnie Reagan and his L.L. Bean accoutrements aside was a little out of touch with reality at times. He should have stuck to his dog and pony shows while Nancy snored her head off in the next bedroom.

Barbara K (61)
Monday January 6, 2014, 3:40 pm
Thanks so much for putting this info out there, my friend. There are some people who wouldn't believe fire was hot if they were burning up.

Past Member (0)
Monday January 6, 2014, 4:27 pm
Interesting article, Kit. It would also be interesting to go state by state to better understand why people aren't working, why Americans dropped out of high school and never learned a trade or went to college to position themselves to earn a living. I believe once we explore that we can better understand welfare.

Welfare in our country was designed to give "a helping hand up" when a person or a family faced hard times losing a job, due to a disability which would prevent them from working, and then we have to factor in, in real time, the number of illegals receiving taxpayer funded benefits while our own Americans can't find a job. I've often wondered why Obama, facing a deep recession, soon after inaugurated, turned his back on the job engines in our country...where 53% of Americans work....our small businesses. We can only speculate how that would've turned out if Obama had lifted up small businesses with huge incentives to hire and grow their businesses would've impacted the food stamp situation today and, yes, welfare recipients. Instead of helping families keep their jobs by delivering confidence to companies that they could move forward without more tax increases and a healthcare penalty he turned to his legacy healthcare bill. We all know how that turned out, rolled out....burned and crashed.

Our country is totally out of balance from A to Z. We seem more interested in giving illegals taxpayer dollars than our own Americans. We seem more interested in putting a bandaid on welfare recipients rather than fixing why they are where they are in the first place.

So, although I cannot dispute this author's opinion, what I do know is that many cities are doing fine. Why? Because they have jobs and people are working. Rural areas have died or are dying and those states are funding their inactivity and hopelessness knowing a job is not in their future.

I've probably commented before that I took a little river cruise down the Danube a few years ago and what was remarkable to me about European towns is that nearly every single one of them had a full blown factory operating. Factories seem to be built on a river so it was easy to see what was going on from where I sat....and those factories were taking care of the people who lived in those towns. People were working and could take care of their families and they were spending money in their own towns. We've lost our factories due to massive regulations and the jobs went overseas. Did I mention unions killing jobs? Manufacturing is actually up in the US lately but to maintain our competitive edge in manufacturing we need to closely examine regulation and ensure that American superior technology is the cause of higher comparative prices rather than labor costs that are higher than productivity and quality warrant. People, globally, want to buy American so why aren't we chasing this?

America needs to exploit its technological edge and in so doing we can get Americans working again. I'll apologize now, Kit, for taking this in another direction.

Shop rules don't make a better Ford automobile. Solid engineering and competitive pricing do. This is what we no longer have in America.

All this to say, Americans deserve to have jobs, on every level. If an American is a high school dropout, well, they've charted their life path and there's really nothing we can do about that because they are unskilled and the pay they'll face is dismal. Personal choice. However, we can get America rolling again IMO if we can get more factories in rural areas and train these people to work and earn and in so doing support their families.

We are totally out of balance and if we don't elect a President in 2016 and a congress who understands that we have dropped the ball I'm not sure where we will end up as a country. Our country represents sadness for me because of one thousand things that we've abused and misused. We need to get rid of the power of incumbency and the career politician which leads to pursuing policy to remain in POWER rather than policy for the national interests.

We are in a deep dark hole and we have career politicians who are working against the long term national interest.

It has to stop or the nation will continue its decline.

Bryna Pizzo (139)
Monday January 6, 2014, 5:08 pm
Thank you for helping to shed light on the truth about welfare. Diane is extremely astute. (n, p, t)

Katie & Bill D (107)
Monday January 6, 2014, 7:49 pm
Good Article Kit Thank You

Jason R (67)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:49 pm
People in red states were found to be just fine watching the pigs grow, right Diane?

60 million people are under employed since gwbusH destroyed the economy by making the SEC stand down. This IS a depression.

Jason R (67)
Monday January 6, 2014, 10:50 pm
OMG Diane! You are so foxed up!!!!

Past Member (0)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 2:14 am
Jobs, jobs, jobs...where are the jobs since Obama took office? When a government delivers uncertainty to Americans to grow and add jobs we have what we have today. Once certainty is delivered Americans will be working again. Millions of Americans have simply stopped looking.

We are still a strong country. We have had extremely poor leadership over the past six years at the hand of a president who had no idea how to address a deep recession. We've had deep recessions before and we pulled out.

I disagree that we are in a depression. We are a country stunned by incompetent leadership. My dear Dad always told me, "Diane, when you don't know what to do you do nothing. The answer will come to you." Perhaps employers are doing the same thing.

GWB did not destroy the economy. But, that's another thread, isn't it?

Jonathan Harper (0)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 4:34 am

Jason R (67)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 9:52 am
"Jobs, jobs, jobs...where are the jobs since Obama took office?"

Obstructed by your peeps that just voted to make 1.3 million people homeless, Diane. Why don't you know what pr*cks they are?How can you blindly carry their water?

Obama has tried many times to tax the rich so he can create jobs by rebuilding our rusty country.

Where are the jobs your "job creator" are supposed to be creating?

You are soooo foxed up, you can't recognize reality.

Jason R (67)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 9:54 am
Massive job loss started in March of 2007. Obama had it kicked to him along with the great racist obstructors.

Jason R (67)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 9:57 am
In a shocking turnaround, President Obama and Democrats just won a huge procedural vote in the Senate to extend long-term unemployment benefits for 1.3 million Americans -- including more than >>>200,000 military veterans.

Regan Copple (16)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 11:24 am
Diane, it was the GOP who obstructed Obama on the jobs bill & watered down the stimulus so that it wasn't as big as it should have been, all the economists say that, including Paul Krugman.

Illegal Immigrants aren't eligible for MediCare, Medicaid, or the Affordable Care Act, so I fail to see how the government is giving them money. Yet another talking point that turns out to be completely false. Stop believing everything Sean Hannity, & Bill O'Reilly tell you because most of it is bullshit.

I'm also going to explode another myth embedded in that brainwashed head of yours, unions don't kill jobs, unions provide a counterweight to the collective bargaining ability of the companies. Union membership has been declining for years, yet so have jobs? Why is that Diane? This one fact here refutes your assertion that unions kill jobs. Could it because you're wrong, mistaken, spoon-fed corporate propaganda? Probably. Will you ever learn? Probably not.

Keep regurgitating Fox News Diane, you make my job easier repudiating their talking points, regardless of how nicely you phrase it.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 11:58 am

Jobs - what a unique idea. Though my memory and countless numbers of sites on the Internet and business magazines have lengthy articles on the full composition of the JOBS BILL given to Congress some years ago, and that bill has yet to be brought it to the floor for a vote - that would of course be the House.

While I understand that blaming Obama for everything, including the mess created by Bush and inherited by Obama, the jobs bill was designed to put Americans back to work. The bill addresses many incentives for private industry/ corporations, small business and desperately needed repairs and construction for our infrastructure.

Welfare is designed as a limited objective to aid those most in need. While Congress refuses to move on some extremely important measures, people remain unemployed or employed at such low level jobs that they are unable to fully support their families. Therefore, benefits are a continued need. Taking food from children, the elderly, veterans and those who have continued to work at very low paying jobs leaves all them vulnerable to a situation that should not be tolerated by caring people.

We were a strong nation, when invested in this nation, the people, education, the youth and the overall needs for all forms of public safety.

I really don't care to discuss opposing political ideology with you Diane. If the president conceived an idea it is to you, worthless. Therefore, your ability to discuss, objectively is severely flawed.

Many points in your first comment are ideas that most would agree with, we must get America back into the competitive market. This will not happen when the duly elected leader is not able to pass the needed legislation to make those objectives once again have life. This may be called a recession however: for those millions directly affected to the point of loss of home, work and the normal cohesion of life - it is no doubt a depression, emotionally and financially.

We will elected new representatives in 2014 if that becomes a duly elected majority of democrats, no doubt you will still be unsatisfied. Should that election produce both moderate democrats and republicans I still doubt you would be singing their praises. In 2016, we will elect a new president and should that be a democrat. once again you will not be happy camper. I say this not because I can or wish to read your mind, to the contrary that is not a place I would want to find myself. I base this on your constant harping about things that exist not in reality but only in that limited and created world of Fox and like minded bloggers.

Your information sources are working on the objective of: Distraction, Diversion and Division.

You display the symptoms of one who has swallowed the propaganda hook, line and sinker.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 12:40 pm
Kit, what is extraordinary is that you believe everything YOU read. Millions of Americans have dropped out of the job search and aren't showing up on the grid. The real unemployment rate is 11%. Liberals never seem to pass up an opportunity to "ignore" the facts.

The rest of your post is full of Kit talk somewhere between "do you not know who I am to personally attacking me for daring to disagree with you.

Obama has been a terrible leader. You know that. You cannot admit it publicly but the poll numbers keep going down and Obama is somewhere between the toilet and a potty training chair.


Nancy M (147)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 1:16 pm
I wonder what some would say about those working at places like Wal-mart which is now subsidized by us because of the SNAP benefits and other benefits that they receive?

I would what those same people say about the top 1% having their wealth grow by 275% since 1979 (till 2007)while the middle lost ground. And all of THOSE statistics. If you take most of the money and give it to the few, we WILL always have welfare.

Increased productivity and yet lower wages. Now that is a plan.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 3:37 pm

Some are just warm and comfortable being on the wrong side of history, Nancy.

I believe Diane, that attacking you would be very different than disagreeing with your so-called facts. As usual you lack the ability to address the facts in the article, or address the points in comments posted after you. Just as when you ask for links, get them but, do not address them.

Frankly, you bore me.

Anne F (17)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 5:31 pm
TANF benefits were paid out to roughly the same percentage of white and black recipients in 2010, according to the HHS report

Jason R (67)
Tuesday January 7, 2014, 6:00 pm
Diane. We know the numbers are high because the right won't put forth a jobs bill that doesn't privatize SS or kill laws that the people voted for. Underemployment is near 30%. We have no problem pointing out all truths. Bush sent us into a deep depression with the second dip to come.
YOU are a troll.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 2:01 am
I'm on the side of the majority of Americans today. We will vote in November. Perhaps then we can have an adult conversation about the past six years.

No, not a troll, as you well know. Even the left's "polar vortex" is remarkable.

Nancy M (147)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 6:56 am
@Kit, I would just love one person from the "right side" to address those statistics. Never do, never will. Is that Cognitive dissonance?

Past Member (0)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 12:44 pm
I don't put a great deal of importance on biased left wing websites such as "Addicting Info." I'm sure you both understand because had I posted biased right wing information you would be sending this exact post to me.

So, you two entertain each other since you both believe everything you read on your left wing websites. The fact is that the unemployment percentage is a great deal higher than Obama admits. He IS the guy who lied to the American people over 30 times that they would not lose their private healthcare coverage.

Gate's book will soon be out "Duty" and then perhaps the liberals, if they read it, will be formally introduced to the "real" Obama. I don't know what it will take to open your eyes but I know one day you will clearly see the error of his ways.


Nancy M (147)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 1:01 pm
Diane, this article is about welfare, not Obama. My statistics that I have posted over and over again are from the Congressional Budget Office. I have actually seen this issue address in the Wall Street Journal though I cannot give a link at this exact moment.

I guess that means the CBO and the WSJ are now "liberal" left wing websites.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 1:30 pm

The myth of the modern welfare queen

The Myth of Welfare and Drug Use

Facts and Myths About “Welfare”

This Chart Blows Up the Myth of the Welfare Queen

The Facts About Food Stamps Conservatives Don't Want You to Hear

A Misleading Chart on ‘Welfare’ Spending

H.R. 890, Preserving Work Requirements for Welfare Programs Act of 2013


Kit B (276)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 1:33 pm

Gates book is out - and as you hope he does say some negative things about the president, he also says some very positive things.

No matter who is elected to the White House, some will like others will not, that person will definitely make some mistakes and have some triumphs. It's the nature of the office.

Jason R (67)
Wednesday January 8, 2014, 4:07 pm
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