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Discussion Forums » General Discussion
Page:  1 
Welfare Reform??
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27 Oct 2011, 21:12
Lady Lazarus
Post Count: 126
So I just caught a bit of a documentary on BBC 2 with some guy by the name of Humphries who was surely older than God talking about the good old days when being 'unemployed' had a stigma... so I searched for it on the internet and found a little forum in which lots of people were moaning about the documentary... complaining that the topic of welfare has been done to death, that the BBC is just a 'mouthpiece' for the Tories and the Tories = Bad so therefore any changes they want to make to welfare would be equally bad.

Now I'm not a Tory - in fact I don't really affiliate myself with any government party because none of them seem to ever get it right. But I do think our welfare system needs reforming.

My favourite bit of the documentary was when those earning a 1600 wage for claiming unemployment insisted that there was no point in getting a job because they'd only be 30 better off than they were sat on their idle backsides doing jack shit all day.

Maybe the 'debate' has been done to death... but I still think its relevant. So here are my questions.

What do our government need to do about it?

Is the American welfare system as good as the documentary made it look?

Do you think there is any good reason why someone physically and mentally capable of working (in any capacity) should be sat at home living off the tax payers money and burning a hole in the already threadbare pockets of the country?
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27 Oct 2011, 22:32
Estella
Post Count: 1779
1600 unemployment? Is that per year? That can't possibly be per month.

I think job seekers allowance (which is about 250 per month) is kinda necessary when you're looking for a job, or else you'd starve! However, obviously there are people who abuse the system, and I have already ranted in my diary about how easily the system can be abused. Ironically, the system seems to be harder for those who are actually actively looking for a job than for those who aren't - they find it rather hard to cope if you have a job interview on the day of your regular job seekers appointment!
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28 Oct 2011, 07:48
Lady Lazarus
Post Count: 126
A healthy couple with 3 kids were getting that every month in benefits... and they were the ones who said "It's not worth it for an extra 30 a month"... Liam and I both work part time and bring home 1100 a month but with working tax credits we probably get about 1800 a month. So they'd be significantly better off if they got off their arses and both worked part time. Only thing is they'd then have to pay rent and council tax..
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28 Oct 2011, 07:55
Lady Lazarus
Post Count: 126
Sorry! That above post was in respone to Puck... I also reckon JSA is great for those actively searching for jobs, but yeah, too many just claim it whilst having no intention of even looking.

@der/doppleganger: The documentary made it look like the States were really tough on welfare (over here our government are pretty soft) and the people the documentary interviewed were all really hard-working and had a "the state owes me nothing I must work for my money" kind of mentality.

@Ajure: I like the 'theory' behind Canadian welfare - particularly Employment Insurance, if we had that instead of JSA, a lot of freeloaders here would be screwed and would have to look for work. Not too impressed with your disability benefits though if they are as bad as you say they are..

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29 Oct 2011, 07:04
~Aiure
Post Count: 118
@Lady Lazarus: I'm not sure how things go in other parts of the country, but typically, an individual with disabilities in my province (British Columbia) receives roughly $400 a month towards shelter. Since cost of living is so high, this typically only covers a rented room, not an entire apartment or suite, unless you apply directly with a manager that rents specifically to the disabled. Their monthly government-supplemented allowance is roughly $550 ($6600 annually), to use however they choose. And if they're capable of finding work, they're allowed an extra $500 each month ($6000 annually) in paid wages. So, IF they're capable of working, they can receive about $12,600 to live on. The relative poverty line in 2006 for individuals in Canada was just under $19,000 - probably higher now, almost six years later.

The disabled get many perks, such as medical benefits, tax credits, annual transit passes (that the individual must pay for, be it at a fraction of the cost of regular passes), etc. But overall, they get completely screwed over. I've come to know many people with disabilities over the years, and I've even seen some of them on the streets because they just can't make ends meet. My province has the second highest cost of living in the country, and some of the most backward, outdated governmental procedures I've ever seen. It's like the people that run the province are stuck in the '80's. They're just now starting to upgrade its minimum wage requirements from $8/hr to $10.25/hr, and even that tiny amount is 10 years too late.
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29 Oct 2011, 07:06
~Aiure
Post Count: 118
I forgot to factor in the $400 shelter allowance, which brings their annual total to $17,300, which is STILL well below 2006 poverty levels. :/
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30 Oct 2011, 10:53
Acid Fairy
Post Count: 1849
So doesn't this show that work doesn't pay? Welfare doesn't need to be reformed, we need to pay workers more.
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27 Oct 2011, 22:05
derdoppelganger
Post Count: 26
The state of welfare in America (and the general "If I worked I'd be only earning x amount more than I am doing nothing" attitude) is essentially the same. I think in order for welfare to go to people who actually NEED it, there needs to be a stringent hard and fast definition of 'physically and mentally capable' before anything can be done.
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27 Oct 2011, 23:33
~RedFraggle~
Post Count: 2651
The "physically and mentally capable" part is a major issue. The system which assesses these people and decides if they're fit to work or not has major flaws. I've seen patients who have been signed off as unable to work but yet to me I'm fairly sure they could be working, and on the other hand see patients who I really don't think could work, but who have been told that they can (and many of them want to work, they're not scroungers, but for health reasons they really can't).

So one thing the government needs to do is review that system.

I also agree that unemployment benefit needs to be low enough to give people an incentive to work. But it also has to be sufficient to help those who do need it (after all a lot of people are unemployed at the moment and there is a shortage of jobs, not everyone who is unemployed wants to be).
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28 Oct 2011, 05:54
~Aiure
Post Count: 118
I've known people here in Canada to skate by on Employment Insurance because it's better than being on Social Assistance (welfare). But EI is completely dependent on your previous wages, the amount of time that you worked at your previous job (meaning you have to have actually worked at some point), and is much more temporary than Social Assistance, so sometimes it IS better, and sometimes it's not. Granted, Social Assistance is EXTREMELY difficult for "normal" people of "normal" capabilities to get. Disabled people often use it to supplement their incomes, since the federal disability program pays well below the national poverty line, and also severely limits the amount of money you can earn through legitimate employment. The "normal" population is often automatically viewed as a bunch of freeloaders, and you're made to jump through hoops, bend over backward, and shove your head up your ass in order to even be considered at all. Yes, I've applied in the past, and was rejected (after wasting an entire month proving I was actually looking for a job and getting heat stroke in the process since I couldn't even afford to take the bus anywhere) because I was only 18, so I could always "run home to mommy and daddy." Load of shit, really. But I digress.

I think it's great that Social Assistance is difficult to obtain, because it does weed out some of the freeloaders. However, because Social Assistance is so enticing to the disabled, it skews statistics, and makes the government think there's a higher ratio of freeloaders than there actually is. If the government removed some of the funding that went to Social Assistance, and placed it instead in the disability programs, it wouldn't seem like there's so many freeloaders, and those of us that legitimately needed the money wouldn't have to be put under a microscope in order to receive assistance.
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28 Oct 2011, 07:09
Chris
Post Count: 1938
Welfare is great. We need to be doing more so that people with jobs are doing marginally better than the people on welfare. People with jobs shouldn't be wondering how they're going to feed their kids.
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28 Oct 2011, 14:18
kein mitleid
Post Count: 592
A judge recently tossed out a plan to give drug tests to welfare recipients on the basis of "unconstitutional search and seizure."
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29 Oct 2011, 05:53
KerriBlue
Post Count: 260
At the moment I get a student allowance because I'm at Uni full time and can only work so many hours a week. But I have been unemployed before and I remember standing in line listening to people my age talk about how they were have parties and drinking and smoking etc etc and after they were done getting their money they'd go home and bum around all day- it didn't really sound like they were all that desperate to go out and find a job. On the other hand there are people, like me, who don't like the social stigma attatched to being unemployed. I wanted a job - there was nothing more embarassing than when people asked me what I did for a living and having to respond with "err i dont have a job right now" it really sucked having to say that. But yeh - I've lived in a lot of areas where people are quite comfortable making a living for themselves by doing nothing but getting government payouts.
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29 Oct 2011, 06:31
~Aiure
Post Count: 118
@KerriBlue: I know what you mean. I was 22 when I got my first non-contract (long term) job, and I hated every minute of it. I pride myself on being completely self-sufficient, even if I rarely have any spare money. I couldn't stand having to rely on someone else to pay for my life when I was perfectly capable of doing it myself. Different times then, though. It was impossible for the inexperienced to find a job, and there were barely any positions to be had anyway, so employers were being overly picky.

I've known people that started working as young as 15 to help pay bills, because their parents weren't able to properly support them due to poor choices they made in the past, or even failure of the government to do its part when they were in need. However, I've also known people around my age (I'm 28) that will do whatever they can to avoid getting a job. My sister is 30 and hasn't had a job in over two years. She's not even a stay at home mom (which would be perfectly acceptable!) She's just too damned lazy to find a job. She tried to sponge off me for a while, and I couldn't afford to pay for her godawful eating habits, so I booted her out. Thankfully, she now sponges off her boyfriend, who is quite happy to pay her way, instead of the government, so I can't be very mad at her. lol
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30 Oct 2011, 10:52
Acid Fairy
Post Count: 1849
To be fair, I would gladly live on 1600 a month doing fuck all ;D But where on earth do you get THOSE sort of benefits from?!

Something that needs to be reformed in England is not being able to claim working tax credits until you are 25 - why the hell is this?!! Plenty of under-25s live alone and work minimum wage, yet they don't get to top up their wages like everyone else. That really pisses me off.
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31 Oct 2011, 15:37
Transit
Post Count: 1096
@Acid Fairy

I'm pretty sure that housing benefit is included in that 1600, and HB varies according to wear you live, in Lincolnshire for example the most you will get is 101 a week towards housing costs, however you have to remember that someone working full time on minimum wage would still be getting most of that HB.

I just worked out on a benefit website that if I wasn't working and claiming benefits and I was 30 I would receive 67.50 a week in JSA, a council tax reduction totaling 1199 a year, and a maximum of 101 for my rent, of course if my rent is 80 a week I would receive that amount. So after you deduct HB and council tax reduction I would just be living on the JSA.

If I had a child I would receive normal child benefit and then 59 a week in tax credits (you get this if you are under 25), so then myself a child would be expected to live on 146 a week.

If I was working for minimum wage with my one child I would be bringing home after tax around 9,500 a year, my benefits per year would total 7,800, so ignoring HB again I would have 306 a week in cash to do with what ever I wish, a lot more than I would receive by not working.
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