Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Would you rather we call it welfare?

Asked by JLeslie (61796points) October 27th, 2013

My mom told me she saw a report about practically whole towns (in America) getting disability, because the people are extremely poor, jobs are not to be found, and I guess maybe welfare is more difficult to get now so there are doctors willing to help the people get disability. It’s illegal of course. She said the report she saw was about a place in West Virginia, but I am sure it happens in other places.

I just think we should give welfare and call it welfare. I know poor people get EIC money through taxes, I am against that also if I understand it correctly. That is just welfare called by another name. I prefer to call it welfare.

I think we need an accurate count of how many people are on welfare and how much money is going out.

The dishonest disability is obviously a huge problem, because once on disability I think you are good to go so to speak. I don’t know if you ever really get reevaluated. Maybe someone here knows.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

49 Answers

chyna's avatar

Since I’m from WV, I’d be curious as to what town that is supposedly happening in. Do you have a name?

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

What is this question even about? Calling disability welfare? I just assume, disability is a welfare payment. I don’t understand why they are different in your head? Is one more just in your head? Is EIC good, and disability bad?

snowberry's avatar

The people I know who are/were on disability hated it, so much so they were trying to figure out how to get back to work, even though they were really sick or so disabled that finding a job was really difficult.

JLeslie's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Disability is for people who can’t work because they physically can’t work.

@chyna I’ll see if I can find the story. I think she said it was on 60 Minutes. I wasn’t trying to pick on WV, there is disability abuse and fraud everywhere I am sure to some extent.

chyna's avatar

I can’t imagine a whole town on disability. But I don’t understand your question either. What does it matter what it’s called if people that are poor are getting money?
Are you thinking they shouldn’t get disability, but welfare is okay?

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@JLeslie I honestly think, if a doctor in a small town is willing to put his job on the line and lie, this person cannot work and should get disability payments, he is saying that because there are no jobs. If we are putting Doctors in the position that they feel obliged to lie, than we have created a cruel society. And we should be making it a lot easier to get welfare.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna That’s my mistake for using exaggerated language. Not literally the entire town. I found this. I think you can watch the video of 60 minutes online, I have done it before, but I am using my ipad and it prompts to download an app and it is driving me crazy, so I don’t have that link for you.

JLeslie's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought The doctor from the story is in serious legal trouble from what I understand. I was not saying we should not provide welfare, I am not sure that came across with how I worded it.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@JLeslie I understand, I think. The story you are describing sounds incredibly bleak. A doctor is watching persons slowly go broke, and having their lives destroyed. Society refuses to help them out, even while the stock market is at record highs. Some doctors lie to get them minimal payments from the government until the depression ends. Those doctors go to jail, and lose their own lively-hood.

Your Mom believes the doctors and these unfortunate people are the villains in this story.

JLeslie's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought You have no idea what my mom thinks.

I am asking if you think it would be better if the government brings back the “welfare system” so we can get a proper count and know what is truly going on. You seem to be reading all sorts of other things into my question. Maybe I worded it poorly.

chyna's avatar

It seems to me that your question states you don’t think people that are poor should be getting money.
__I just think we should give welfare and call it welfare. I know poor people get EIC money through taxes, I am against that also if I understand it correctly. That is just welfare called by another name. I prefer to call it welfare.__
I’m sure that isn’t really how you think as that would be uncharitable. Maybe you should restate this question.

JLeslie's avatar

@chyna I am not seeing the confusion, but I am willing to restate it. I am saying I prefer to call it welfare. I am just talking about what to call it, not whether to give it out.

To clarify about disability. I am in favor of disability for people who need it. I am not trying to take that away.

ETpro's avatar

The owners put Bill Clinton in office specifically because it required a Democrat to switch welfare to workfare so it would only last a short time before you had to go back to work, and to simultaneously outsource American jobs through lousy, rigged-for-the-owners free trade agreements that meant there were no jobs to go to. Blue states are still doing what they can to keep a safety net in place, but welfare in red states amounts to handing out a pair of bootstraps and telling the poor to pull themselves up by them.

jca's avatar

Disability (SSD) is for people who cannot work, either from a mental illness or physical disability. Public Assistance (commonly called welfare) is for people who can work, or are waiting for their SSD to kick in, but are unable to work right now, for a variety of reasons outlined by the government. People on Public Assistance may or may not also receive Medicaid and food stamps. People on SSD may or may not also receive Medicaid. I am not sure if they would also be eligible for food stamps. I am sure the government has an accurate account of how many people receive SSD and how many people receive public assistance.

JLeslie's avatar

@jca But, it seems from what I understand about this news report that people cannot get the money they need through the welfare system so they are “abusing” the disability system. Which would mean the numbers are inaccurate.

FYI My aunt is on disability, medicaid and gets food stamps. Once she was old enough to collect regular social security the amount switched to her social security amount, because it was higher.

dxs's avatar

I once talked to someone who worked in the welfare system for years. I’m not really sure if it differs among states, but in Massachusetts they basically hand out stipends of cash to spend on whatever, be it food & provisions or alcohol & drugs. And many families consider it a way of life. Their parents and grandparents were on it, so they expect it, too. Want to call it “public aid”?
: And I have no idea how social security works so I’m not sure how that applies. I wish I did but I don’t. I just heard it’s being depleted by the baby boomers.

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs It’s all public aid, isn’t it? Disability and welfare.

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs So then no. I think much of the country buries their head in the sand about how many people can’t afford to live. It makes me sick. We turn a blind eye to it. To them.

jca's avatar

It’s all public aid but the criteria are different for each (as I explained above).

In the county I work in, when you apply for PA you may have to take a drug test.

As far as “stipends of cash” it’s not a lot of cash and it’s barely enough to get by on, plus food stamps which is like a credit card but only for food. Rent money may or may not be paid directly to the landlord, electric and utilities, same thing. Yes, for many families it’s generational – this is how parents got by, then when the kids get big enough to get their own case, this is what they know.

Adagio's avatar

@JLeslie I just wanted to reassure you that, from my perspective, your question reads quite clearly, I understood what you meant immediately.

Katniss's avatar

My ex husband’s “baby mama” gets section 8 housing ($50/mo rent in a $300,000 house), food stamps, cash benefits, state funded healthcare, and child support from my ex and from another guy (about 1500/mo). It’s totally disgusting. She doesn’t need to work, while the rest of us bust our asses and struggle to pay our bills.
I hate her! lol

jca's avatar

@Katniss: The child support most likely is deducted from the amount the recipient would get, or it is paid through the social services department. It’s not likely the person is receiving public assistance plus 1500 a month child support. I think sometimes recipients want people to believe they get more than they get (to cause jealousy, as a ball busting measure, for example). I think that unless you actually know for sure (not just by what the person tells others) then don’t assume that the impression they give is the reality. Another example – if the person receives 1500 a month in child support plus public assistance, etc., it’s likely their share of the S8 rent would be more than $50 per month. If her share of the rent is definitely 50 per month (like if you know the landlord and are positive that’s what she pays) then it’s likely that what she gets in assistance is actually less then you think she gets.

Seek's avatar

This reads to me as follows:

I don’t care if poor people get money from the government, I just want them to be properly ashamed of it.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Who on this thread read the link @JLeslie provided about the story that ran on the show “60 Minutes”? Who can read it and then answer the question? The “60 Minutes” story was sensationalist in the extreme.

There were many vital statistics left out of the story. Here’s one: “Two-thirds of disability applicants are denied on first application, and the United States has what is reportedly the second most restrictive benefits program in the world, behind only South Korea.” That’s from the link @JLeslie provided.

I am going to try to tread very carefully on this thread.

No, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is not welfare.

Does anyone on this thread know how much welfare recipients receive monthly? I do. I was on it at one time. I got a whopping $438/month. I also got $125/month in food stamps. I would challenge anyone here to live on that. Pay rent. Pay bills. Buy medicine. Buy enough food to eat. Do it. See how far it will get you.

SSDI is a different program entirely. Does anyone on this thread know how hard it is to get on the program? I do. I am on it. I am on SSDI. It took me five excruciating years to get on the program. It took countless doctor visits. It took bankruptcy due to medical bills. It took my sanity.

Here’s another quote from the link provided by @JLeslie: “Any misuse of these vital programs is unacceptable; however it is unfortunate and disappointing when media reports mislead their viewers by painting entire programs with the brush of one or a few bad apples, without putting them in the context of the millions of individuals who receive benefits appropriately, and for whom they are a vital lifeline.” That is from Media Matters who calls out the lousy reporting on “60 Minutes” and brings up other questions about the story.

I am going to say this and then I am going to unfollow this question. I will not be revisiting this disgusting question. Say whatever you like about me. I do not care.

Here is what I have to say:

I challenge anyone on this thread to live inside my bipolar head for one single minute. Live with the racing thoughts. Live with the unspeakable mania that drives me to act in ways that are only best described as bizarre. Live with the pits of despair that have driven me to the brink of suicide and four hospitalizations because of them. Live with the pain of not attending fun gatherings due to the disability to be in large crowds. Live without television due to the fact the machine drives me quite literally wild.

I challenge anyone on this thread to live a crushed life. My high school graduating class voted me most likely to succeed. I am a shell. Mental illness took everything from me. It took a very high-paying job with a Fortune Top Ten company. It took my house. It took my cars. It took my family. It took the respect my parents had for me. It robbed me of my very soul.

I challenge anyone on this thread to make a semblance of a life with mental illness. Unless a person has a mental illness, it does little to explain it. The stigma against it is all around me. Mental illness cannot be seen and is therefore often grossly misunderstood. Off the top of my head, I can name five friends who committed suicide due to mental illness. Friends. They are dead. Dead. They are no longer sucking the teat of the system. They are no longer a danger to society. They are dead.

I challenge anyone here to live with a disability. Try it. Disabled persons are the strongest people I know. They have to wake up every day in a culture that devalues them. They. No. We. We have to listen every day to messages from a culture that says we are worthless and do not deserve the basic necessities of life. We are taught at our core we are subhuman.

Less than. Worthless.

We are welfare-cheating scum.

I challenge anyone here to try living with that for one minute. Let it sink into your inner most being.


trailsillustrated's avatar

Soooo glad not to live in the usa, When I did you had to make less than 1100$ a month to get $292 a month in food stamps. My relative that gets $600 a month now gets $100 a month in food stamps. It is so,so stigmatized. Here it’s not a card that only spends on food. It’s not so stigmatized. And , just so you know, I am a post-grad and not a lazy drug addicted person. It happens.I am on welfare. Not in the usa thank god. @seekkolinar you have it right. Here, it goes into your bank account so you don’t need to pay for food with some embarrassing card identifying you as a WELFARE recipient. Such as myself.

longgone's avatar

@JLeslie I don’t know whether I’m understanding your question correctly, so I will check first. To me, it seems like you are saying,

“Some poor people get disability, even though they are not disabled. That is wrong for two reasons:
1. They don’t get re-evaluated, so some of them may never get back on their own two feet, and
2. The statistics get messed up. We need to know who is getting what kind of help, so we can slowly fix the system.
Do you agree that welfare needs to be more obtainable, so this doesn’t happen again?

Is that what you mean? Otherwise, please clarify :)

@Hawaii_Jake If you’re reading this: I think you are misunderstanding @JLeslie. I don’t believe she said anything negative about people who are on disability because they are physically or mentally unable to work. In any case, I’d like to thank you for your post. It is impossible to truly understand mental illnesses as an “outsider”, but important to try. Your post touched me. Thanks.

JLeslie's avatar

@longgone Yes, thank you, that is what I am saying.

Jellies on this Q seem to think I am saying I am disgusted people get public assistance and that could not be farther from the truth. Sure I don’t like when people cheat the system, but no one does, and I am not concerned with that at all for this question.

@all Getting disability is more times than not very difficult, I know that. I have my aunt and two friends on disability and they need it, they have had very difficult tragic things happen to them. The disability not only helps them, but in my case with my aunt, it helps my family, and I am grateful for the help.

@Seek_Kolinahr Gawd no. You know I have said on tons of Q’s that I want people to be paid more so they don’t need public assistance in the first place so they can have the dignity of feeling they earn their living. So that corporations won’t get away with making huge profits while they basically abuse employees (I think it is abusive to underpay and overwork). Maybe we need a different word than welfare if that word carries more shame then others, I am fine with changing the word, I just don’t think it is good that people are working the system to be on disability because they can’t get welfare. If they need disability, because they are disabled, that is a different story. If they need “welfare” because they are nable to secure a job or their job pays a very low wage, then I am fine with helping. I wonder what will get Republicans to finally see that low pay is what costs them more tax money, not the public assistance system. I do think there are some things that can be changed and improved in the system, but I am not dwelling on that for this Q.

JLeslie's avatar

@trailsillustrated So your country does call it welfare if I understand correctly. You are just talking about not being identified as a welfare recipient in public. I agree we should do that here in the US, I think it would be better. I think there are efforts to do that for some things. I think my aunts food stamp card looks like a credit card if I am not mistaken. I could be wrong. So, if Australia is so much better at this, how about answer the main question. What if people were denied welfare and had to go through the efforts of getting disability? Do you think it would be a problem that they are counted as disabled? Or, you don’t care how they are counted? Aren’t you glad you can get welfare to bridge you over right now and don’t have to try and deal with the disability system. I assume Australia has disability also like the US.

Katniss's avatar

I think welfare is great, IF you truly need it.
My issue lies with the people who do not need it and receive it because they just don’t want to work. It makes it that much harder for families that have fallen on hard times to get the help they need. example in my above post

dxs's avatar

@JLeslie I totally agree that there are many people who struggle to make ends meet and try their hardest to support themselves and/or a family. But one can’t deny that others take advantage of the “free money”. There’s a line between needs and wants, and for some people, that line is not easily defined.

JLeslie's avatar

@dxs I’m just not worried about those abusing the system for this Q. I don’t mind you bring it up, but my point of the Q is welfare numbers are artificially kept down by calling welfare other things and people having to go to other public assistance to try and survive.

For whatever reason this Q was very misunderstood. People became very defensive.

I believe and know that bad times can happen to anyone. Anyone. Myself, my family, formerly rich people, anyone can have a difficult time in life. I don’t have any sweeping thoughts that everyone on public assistance is a cheater or scum to use @Hawaii_Jake‘s words. I hope he did not think I was implying such a thing. I guess I hit a nerve with him, and I feel very badly that it might have stirred up bad feelings for him or others on this Q.

Quotes from what I wrote on this Q I would think show I in no way am judging or assuming or hating anyone:

“I just think we should give welfare…”

“To clarify about disability. I am in favor of disability for people who need it. I am not trying to take that away.”

“I think much of the country buries their head in the sand about how many people can’t afford to live. It makes me sick. We turn a blind eye to it. To them.”

There are more, but I will let it rest there. I don’t feel like you misunderstood me to be some hateful person @dxs, I see you were just trying to understand what I was trying to get out, what I was looking for with my question and I guess my question was worded poorly for most people. Some people seemed to understand.

Buttonstc's avatar

I understand your question but I think its rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding of what Social Security Disability actually is.

It’s definitely not welfare any more than regular retirement Social Security is, so why on earth would you want it to be called welfare ?

SSDI is basically a form of insurance for which the recipient has paid into during their working years. It’s ONE OF the benefits covered by that hefty chunk of your paycheck which the SS Administration deducts each and every month.

Since its something for which one has paid, its clearly not welfare, regardless of how sensationalistic some news report tries to portray it.

I saw the report on 60 Mins. this past Sunday. Just because there are shyster lawyers who have found a way to exploit the system does NOT change the basic nature and intent for which it was set up.

In order to qualify for SSDI, in addition to the medical certification, one has to have previously paid into the system during the years in which they were working. If someone has no work history and record of how many quarters (of the year) they have paid into the SS system, they are not eligible for SSDI. PERIOD.

It really is that simple. SSDI should not be confused with SSI which is a completely different program set up to cover people (such as those with Down Syndrome) disabled from birth, who simply could not obtain any type of job in our society sufficient to support themselves fully.

I guess you could call THAT welfare if you wanted to, but I view it simply as something that a responsible society would provide to care for those less fortunate by the circumstances of their birth (rather than consigning them to begging in the streets.)

But SSDI is a bare bones form of disability insurance which workers pay into from the first paycheck they receive.

Hopefully they would never need it. Such is the nature of insurance. But if the unfortunate happens and they become medically disabled, then they are entitled to the benefits of the insurance program for which THEY HAVE PAID INTO ALL ALONG.

In which strange dictionary could that be defined as welfare? It’s receiving the benefits of what you’ve paid for.

And BTW, 60 Mins. has really gone downhill since Don Hewitt was at the helm (along with Wallace, Safer, et al.) Sometimes I wonder why I still continue watching it.

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc You absolutely and wholly missed the point of my questions. I don’t want to call disability welfare, just the opposite. From what I understood, some people are scamming the disability system, but they may justifiably need monetary assistance. I am saying lets give them the welfare so they are not getting into the disability system when they are not disabled. That is fraud.

trailsillustrated's avatar

@JLeslie there is disability payments here but I don’t know much about it. I have an idea that it is not nearly as difficult and demeaning to get as it is in the us. I knew people on disability there, they got a whopping $640 a month. You should see the shitholes they had to live in.

JLeslie's avatar

@trailsillustrated I’m not trying to defend the American system, believe me. Getting disability here is a torture. It takes months, that is if you get it. I don’t know anyone who gets it on their first try. It is a total racket with what seems to be the lawyers making money off of it. Really horrible. The lawyers prey on the disabled and the family members.

Buttonstc's avatar

Maybe next time you might do well to clearly define the. “it” to which your question refers.

I saw the report in question and it was about SSDI. So when you reference the report and ask if “you would rather we call it welfare” it’s rather logical that the “it” refers to the subject of the report, namely SSDI.

And when MR WITHOUT FORETHOUGHT states flatly that he views disability payments as identical to welfare, then the logical thing would be to refute that if one disagrees with that false equivalency.

Anyhow, its a rather strangely worded question nebulously expressed, so what did you expect?

Lets just chalk it up to an unclearly worded question and leave it at that. And it’s clear to me that FORETHOUGHT’S screenname is quite accurate.

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc Who is forethought?

I didn’t see the report, my mom did. I am thinking that people are receiving disability who are not disabled and possibly welfare is being underreported, because we aren’t calling the money welfare when it should be. I think we need to know how many people are having trouble making it who are not disabled. As I said above, I think as a country we too often turn a blind eye to those who are really struggling, and I think it is wrong.

Did you read what I wrote in the original question? The supporting details? A lot of jellies misunderstood, but they seemed quite defensive and upset. I don’t get the impression you are being defensive, just misunderstood what I was asking. I took responsibility above for what I guess was a badly worded question. If that many people misunderstood then obviously I could have done better. Although, a few jellies did understand.

Buttonstc's avatar

Thanks, Gail. I’m on iPhone and typing the @ symbol doesn’t work as it does on computer.

I just absolutely refuse to type out an incredibly long-ass name like that every time I refer to him/her. That’s simply ridiculous to deal with on a phone keyboard. If they’re insulted by that, tough luck.

People with incredibly long usernames just irritate me in general wherever I am on the Internet. It serves no useful purpose IMHO.

Buttonstc's avatar


I would suggest you actually watch the report. I think there was a lot of exaggerating of the overall situation for the sake of sensationalizing it.

As I said, its a whole different 60 Mins. overall from what it used to be.

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc Are you disagreeing that the people in the report were getting disability when they didn’t deserve it?

rojo's avatar

There is a Welfare, Texas just of I-10.

I have often wondered, when driving past, if there is a Welfare Moms club in town.

Buttonstc's avatar

I have no idea whether they were or weren’t since I don’t know any of them and don’t live there.

I think its highly likely that a slick lawyer found an MD to collude with him to push a lot of cases through. How many of them were deserving I have no way to know.

From the tone of that report though, they made it sound as if the entire system is chock full of disability chests (meaning patients) from top to bottom.

There are crooked lawyers everywhere who figure out ways to cheat the system in order to line their pockets. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire system needs to be scrapped. Prosecute the ringleaders.

JLeslie's avatar

@Buttonstc As you can see from what I wrote previously, I am not looking to scrap anything.

mattbrowne's avatar

I prefer social security over the term welfare.

jca's avatar

In the US, Social Security is different from welfare.

Adagio's avatar

I live in New Zealand, have a permanent serious disability and receive weekly payments from Work and Income, the government department that deals with financial assistance for those in need of it, it is funded through taxes. I receive what is known as a Supported Living Payment (once called the Invalid Benefit, unsurprisingly I much prefer its new handle), topped up by a Disability Allowance and a Special Needs Grant, it is enough for me to live on and cover additional expenses. While I’m not prepared to say exactly how much I receive, in total it seems to be substantially more than those in the US, it is my sole income.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@Buttonstc Welfare. Taking care of people who need help. Disability. Taking care of people who need help.


Why are they different in your head? Are there all sorts of stratification and levels in your mind as to who needs help and when it is justified? Help me be more judgmental.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther