America as a nation should be one of the few nations to be emulated by other countries. It has enjoyed its independence for long. It is a source of help to many even outside this continent. However, there are many problems facing America today. Global warming, involvement in the Iraq war, economic instability, joblessness, obesity, stupidity and over reliance on welfare are just but a few examples t mention. Some of these problems like obesity are man made and can easily be dealt with through eating healthy. Others like joblessness can also be alleviated through being overly strict on those who rely on the welfare. This is because the core purpose of welfare has been abusing making it a significant issue for America as a nation. Much burden of the welfare lies on the shoulders of the employed that have to be taxed heavily. This is unfair to the taxpayer at times since that money does not always land on the expected needy and incapacitated. It sometimes gets to a person who is just lazy. This makes it one of the weighty issues that should be addressed. In the following paragraphs, this issue of abuse of welfare is going to be looked at in depth and possible solutions will also be highlighted.
How did Welfare start?
The American government did not have programs to support the needy and the poor. Churches and charity organizations extended help to them. Even before the great depression, programs such as the Civil War Pension and the Civil War Veterans and their families existed. The program of the Welfare came in handy in 1930’s, when the great depression hit and many families lost their sources of income. Many lost their jobs, and there was much suffering to those families. The government under President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the Social Security Act which was to provide help to the unemployed and the needy children. This program has since been there in the Department of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, Education and Labor. These departments have worked together to ensure that the needy get the intended aid to help them live a better life.
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act. This Act encourages those who are in welfare to seek employment and, not to rely solely on the program. Each state oversees proper use of the welfare funds.
The Welfare Program
Millions of people in America are recipients in the welfare program. It has become a means of earning livelihood to many despite the fact that its mandate is to help the poor and the needy. Many people have found an easy and cheap means of getting going while sitting without doing much to help themselves out of poverty and joblessness. Many people who are in the program do not bother themselves to get jobs. This is because they know that there will be a cheque at the end the month to cater for their needs. Most of these people are able to get themselves jobs which can earn an income to sustain themselves and their families. Instead, they deny the genuinely needy people the opportunity to get enough aid.
Initially, the program supported a large number of people. This included widows, children supported by widows, children with an incapacitated father, children abandoned by their father and those whose mother had never married. This was, however, changed when the program declared support for the poor and the needy only. Time limit for receiving aid is specified. The problem is that even with the new rules on the beneficiaries of the welfare; many continue to abuse the program. A well able mother will sit at home lazily waiting for the welfare support instead of getting out fetching for her family. She may claim that she does not meet the requirements for a job. This, however, is no excuse since the welfare helps in paying for trainings in order for one to get a job.
Problems faced by the Welfare
It is so unfair for the government to continue taxing the hardworking citizens in order to support lazy and greedy people. Instead, it should be its responsibility not only to help but to follow up on the welfare beneficiaries. This will help in the establishment of the genuinely needy and the ones who take advantage of the program. Many people are getting divorced because they know that they will get support from welfare to bring up their children. Some are well able but by getting a divorce, they get themselves enrolled into the welfare program. This means that to some extent the welfare program is destroying the marriage institution. It assures the divorcees of a life with or without each other.
There is a high prevalence of drug and substance abuse among the people who are in the welfare program. This is because they have nothing to think about since they will get money at the end of the month. This keeps them idle and idleness results to drunkenness and drug abuse. The worst scenario is the fact that they are abusing money earned by a patriotic citizen who is faithful in paying taxes. The greatest concern is that there is a tendency of the cycle repeating itself. Children born in such families do not engage in hard work because to them government has the responsibility of catering for their needs. This can lead to adverse future implications since there may be a lack of enough labor force. Children whose parents depend on the government aid grow up to be less aggressive in life and often lack self-drive in all that they do. They depend on programs to get everything in life. They may find themselves in criminal gangs and risk their own lives.
Despite the fact that the states have come up with mechanisms to ensure stability of the welfare program, there is a need to get a better mechanism to curb the overdependence on welfare. Women are the main victims. Once enrolled in the program, women will keep on getting pregnant so that there is an increase in the welfare support. They should be encouraged to use family planning methods so as to be able to cater for their families.
There is also need to enforce the rules and regulations that govern the welfare program. Being a form of temporary assistance for the needy, there should be strict adherence to the rule of finding a job within a year. The recipients should be strictly followed up to ensure that they find a means of income, however, minimal it could be. This will reduce the amount that they get from the welfare and, that which a needier person gets. Many recipients have always found each year a new way of sticking to the program. This calls for serious investigation on the reasons presented to the welfare department to ascertain welfare support.
Implications of the welfare abuse
Welfare assistance intends to help one get to a position where s/he will not further require to be assisted. This means that it should be a temporary measure which will be lifted after some time. This, of course, does not mean that there are no cases that need assistance throughout their lives, for example, disabled and the mentally challenged. Abuse of the welfare will lock out these people, yet it is the core reason that the welfare exists. Continued support to people who just use the welfare as a means of livelihood would only bring more people who claim to be needy on board. More supported people will call the taxpayer to dig deeper into his pocket in order to help support the system. This kills the morale of those who work and, this is a step back to the nation. Researchers who get to the ground get strained by the cost of conducting their research. This is because many people in the support program require extra cost on almost everything and the government may not realize the required money. This would also result in many people getting means of getting away with the tax. This will lead to the collapse of the program in the long run.
Whilst the program is there to help its own citizens, it should be backed up with strict rules that should never be compromised. Each state has its rules that govern its procedures in granting the aid. Nevertheless, it is clear that they should not be in papers but should be adhered to strictly. There should also be a minimum number of years that one should remain in the program except for certain cases such as mental disability and complete incapacitated. There should also be a thorough investigation on any application before enrollment. This should be followed by education to the recipients on how wisely to use the money. This will ensure financial security even after the grant is no longer there. Recipients should also be charged with the responsibility of updating the welfare on how they use the money to avoid misplaced priorities. This is because some will use education money on drugs and this should be an offence to be charged in court when found out. The welfare program should put in place a strict procedure to be followed by the applicants so as to access the aid. They should request for enough evidence before enrolling the applicant. They should also get a written future plan from the applicant to assess whether that person intends to use the aid wisely. This will also help establish whether they are in need or not. Lastly, they should penalize those who abuse the aid heavily. This will help attract only the needy and not opportunists to the program.