CurlTalk

The welfare system where you live

PigletPiglet Posts: 1,451Registered Users
I work in the benefits system and was just curious about what help there is for unemployed/low income people in other countries.

In Britain, if you're unemployed and live with your parents, you're only entitled to Job Seekers Allowance which is £71 per week if you're over 25 (I think) and around £53-55 per week if you're under 25.

If you rent a room or house, you can get Housing Benefit (subject to various restrictions) to help with the rent. You can also get Council Tax Benefit to help pay Council Tax. These benefits are means-tested.

If you own your house, you can still get Council Tax Benefit but not Housing Benefit - I think the only help available is help with interest payments.

If you've got children, your child tax credits (money given to you) will probably be higher if you're on low income/unemployed.

Medical treatment is free through the NHS. Being on means-tested benefits can often also get you free school meals, free dental, free spectacles etc.


So what's available where you are?
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Comments

  • NetGNetG Posts: 8,116Registered Users
    Our welfare system varies by where you are, but includes health benefits, money, money toward food which is used as if it were a credit card and only works for food, and can include various other items. For single parents it can include child care, though the last I knew locally it was a very long waiting list to get into any approved child care facilities, and child care is too expensive for a single parent who is not a skilled worker to be able to get a job - the job would pay less than it cost! Unemployment is paid for by your former employer - they have to pay into the system, and you get it if you're out of a job not due to fault of your own. That's independent of if you're getting other benefits or not.
    In order to get welfare you have to have a certain low financial status. My mom was getting money monthly from her parents' estate when her company was sold and they all lost their jobs, and even though welfare would have paid more she wasn't eligible because she was getting some money. She did get unemployment, though, and was about ready to retire anyway. Locally we have a non-profit healthcare organization which requires you pay based upon income. Anyone super low income doesn't have to pay, and when my mom was working she made little enough to get health insurance through them and could actually afford it. Our health insurance, if purchased individually, can be extremely expensive - and is very hard to get if you have anything wrong with your health or aren't young and active.

    I don't know how long you can get welfare these days. It used to be limited to two years, and I think varies by state anyway. It may be longer now because with the economy so many people are unable to find jobs.
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  • curlyarcacurlyarca Posts: 8,449Registered Users
    You can also get low income housing here in the US, or housing vouchers.

    I was just discussing this with a coworker last week since she was on another "damn, it must be nice to be poor, they get all this free stuff," rants.

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  • SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
    I think nation wide (thanks to Clinton) you can only get to years of AFDC (don't think it's called that any more) for two years in a row and only five years max.

    You can get food stamps if you're poor enough. There is housing assistance if you're poor enough, but you can wait years and years to get on it.

    I was lucky, I was on and off welfare before reform or I probably wouldn't be where I am now. I was on for almost four years. I got $489 a month in cash assistance and about $50 a month in food stamps. No housing. I had a daycare voucher. Went community college (with a day care on campus, that was great) and got out in 3 years and then got a job upon graduation and immediately got off welfare.

    I feel bad for people who don't have the opportunity I did. Although I will admit to being an EXTREMELY motivated person, I think that going to school was what has kept me off welfare. If I'd been on welfare and just had to do community service somewhere I wouldn't have gotten an education and would be kind of stuck in a vicious circle of poverty.
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  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    There is no unemployment benefit system in JA.

    If you are unemployed, not matter the age then you are **** outta luck.

    The government is also being forced to cut the pension rate because of an impending deal with the IMF, granted, pensioners get little to nothing and most of them have to rely on their families to survive.

    Education is "free" up to high school (public), but you are still expected to contribute to "maintenance" costs.

    Universal Health Care: Is a farce. If you need to do a CAT Scan you must make an appointment three months in advance.

    Minimum Wage is $6, 500 a week ($73 USD).
    I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
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  • greenjumpergreenjumper Posts: 891Registered Users
    kayb wrote: »
    There is no unemployment benefit system in JA.


    Minimum Wage is $6, 500 a week ($73 USD).

    Wow! only $73 (USD) a week?!?! How do people live on that? Are things priced a little differently there or is it really just that bad? That would be only $3796 USD per year! In the United States, our federal minimum wage is $7.25/hour which is about $15,080 USD per year and I know people have a very hard time making ends meet with that.

    States can pass laws making their minimum wages higher than the federal minimum but not lower. I think Washington has a minimum wage just over $9.00 USD. Workers that make tips (mostly restaraunt severs) are out-of-luck. They are allowed to make a minimum of $2.13 per hour.
  • greenjumpergreenjumper Posts: 891Registered Users
    Actually, I was incorrect. Washington has the highest state minimum wage but the highest minimum wage is in a city. Santa Fe, New Mexico has a minimum wage of $10.29 and then San Francisco, California is $10.24

    I didn't know cities had there own minimum wages too....
  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    Damn, the UK's unemployment benefits are pretty low. The US is at least better about that.
    por-que-no-te-callas.jpg
  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    It's a bit of both and things are just really bad. We are an import based economy, labour intensive economy. Everything we produce is (a) really expensive because of all the labour that goes into it and (b) not enough to support the population. This means we have to import to meet our needs, the thing with imports is that because of the duties they are expensive and we often end up getting low quality food because there is no equivalent to the FDA. Add that to a mindset that anything imported or from overseas is better than local goods and you have a economy that is hostile to its citizens.

    I am really trying to wrap my head around how the country survives..... Well, I guess we managed to accumulated 1.7 trillion in debt, so maybe we aren't really surviving. :(

    It really does break my heart to see people on minimum wage. I often wish that I lived in a welfare state not because of the hand outs, but because of how much people can achieve if they had better opportunities.
    I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
    "
  • kaybkayb Posts: 5,054Registered Users
    Saria wrote: »
    Damn, the UK's unemployment benefits are pretty low. The US is at least better about that.

    In econ class we were discussing the disadvantages of unemployment and they said high and prolonged benefits may lead to complacency. :laughing8:
    I ain't thirsty. There's plenty of fish in the sea, but I don't want all of them, can I have some standards? Or do we just have to settle, for someone's who meh and will do.
    "
  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    kayb wrote: »
    In econ class we were discussing the disadvantages of unemployment and they said high and prolonged benefits may lead to complacency. :laughing8:

    Well of course. If you just keep putting the pressure on poor people, they'll stop being so lazy, get a job, and stop being poor.

    It's funny about unemployment that for all the talk of people exploiting it (which there are), there are at least as many people who seem to believe that unemployment is beneath them as healthy individuals who are able to work. So many people in my industry think going on unemployment is basically weak ********. :roll:

    Of course when I can get unemployment I take time off. It's the only way I can actually do it because it's just about impossible to get a week off in this industry, and just like we don't get benefits or sick days, we also don't get paid time off.
    It's mostly in this country that the importance of taking time off and the idea that people shouldn't work until they die is completely ignored.
    por-que-no-te-callas.jpg
  • BlackbanjogirlBlackbanjogirl Banned Posts: 227Banned Users
    What are your reasons for asking? Are you on welfare or applying? Just curious.

    I don't really know because I've never been on or it or know anyone who is. I've heard our state is really cracking down on welfare fraud and making requirements stiffer. It is a penalty to everyone receiving benefits which isn't fair but our state isn't a wealthy one by far either (Ohio).
    "Your plan will have new or expanded coverage for the following services, drugs, and supplies for women, which will be paid 100% (note: by whom, is the question) when you visit a network provider:

    -Prescription contraceptives and counseling for women
    -Counseling for sexually transmitted infections
    -Permanent surgical contraception (sterilization)"
    --Quoted from my Anthem insurance letter, October 25, 2012

    Obama - for a woman's right to sterilize (esp when it becomes mandatory)!
  • diasporadiaspora Posts: 596Registered Users
    There is some variance state-by-state in the US, which is crazy when you think about it. I've learned about our safety net via getting my social work degree/jobs and from being low-income/disabled myself. Honestly I feel like I'm being punished and trapped because I'm poor and chronically ill, despite having worked since I was 16 years old.

    Not every unemployed worker who stops working due to no fault of their own gets unemployment (like if you were working part-time), and unemployment will end even if you haven't found a job yet. You also don't get near the full salary you were getting before. You take a huge pay cut if you have to leave your job for temporary disability, if you're even lucky enough to have a job that offers it.

    The wait lists for housing programs for the poor and disabled such as Section 8 (vouchers) are actually closed in the major cities I've lived in (NYC, Chicago, Philadelphia), and wait-lists for other kinds of low-income housing are years-long. Even if you finally get your turn for subsidized housing, you can be turned down for reasons such as having bad credit. How many poor people have been able to maintain good credit?! After waiting a year on a waitlist, my application was turned down due to my having "too much" student loan debt and an unpaid phone bill. Also in 1 city I lived in, the voucher waitlist opened up for 1 week. I "won" the lottery to be added to the waitlist. After 3 years, it was still not my turn, then I had to move to another state and start all over again.

    Medical coverage for the low-income and even the disabled is very difficult to get. In the city I now live in, my caseworker showed me the income cut-offs to receive Medicaid. If you do not have an illness, you cannot earn more than about $200/month. Of course, this rules out most people. If you have an illness that is not expected to go away, you can make up to about $900/month. There are sliding-scale clinics, but they usually only do primary care. If you have an illness requiring a gastroenterologist, rheumatologist, or oral surgeon, you are out of luck. And some of the scales only slide down to $40/visit in my experience, which is way too expensive for those of us who must go to the doctor weekly or more.

    I receive SSDI for having a disability that makes me unable to work (hoping this will change). My monthly payment is $740. Some people get a little more, some a little less. Once you are found disabled (the process takes months or years and sometimes a lawyer), there is a 2 year waiting period before you receive Medicare. If you're "lucky" enough to be very poor and have assets less than $1000, they will give you Medicaid. But if you are able to earn money again, even if you will not be given health insurance from your job, you will lose the Medicaid. It really puts poor people in a trap.

    I receive $200/month in foodstamps, but only because my income is very low. When I had a 15-hour/week job, my foodstamps were reduced to about $60/month.

    It's a fact that of the wealthy nations, the US has the weakest social safety net. Not having a national healthcare system that is free at the point of service, lacking an adequate amount of affordable, safe housing, and having to go into debt to go to college are 3 things that make the US very different from most other wealthy nations. If I wasn't lucky enough to get some help from my family, I'd probably be one of our brothers and sisters on the street.
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  • diasporadiaspora Posts: 596Registered Users
    Springcurl wrote: »
    I think nation wide (thanks to Clinton) you can only get to years of AFDC (don't think it's called that any more) for two years in a row and only five years max.

    You can get food stamps if you're poor enough. There is housing assistance if you're poor enough, but you can wait years and years to get on it.

    I was lucky, I was on and off welfare before reform or I probably wouldn't be where I am now. I was on for almost four years. I got $489 a month in cash assistance and about $50 a month in food stamps. No housing. I had a daycare voucher. Went community college (with a day care on campus, that was great) and got out in 3 years and then got a job upon graduation and immediately got off welfare.

    I feel bad for people who don't have the opportunity I did. Although I will admit to being an EXTREMELY motivated person, I think that going to school was what has kept me off welfare. If I'd been on welfare and just had to do community service somewhere I wouldn't have gotten an education and would be kind of stuck in a vicious circle of poverty.

    My activists friends and I call welfare reform "welfare deform."
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  • spiderlashes5000spiderlashes5000 Posts: 17,495Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    Most of my tenants receive some kinds of public assistance or other. Section 8 vouchers (the city pays all or a portion of their rent), TANF (cash assistance for everyday expenses), SNAP (food stamp card), health insurance (several choices of providers), Title XX (the county pays most of their childcare expenses), HEAP (the city pays their utility bills), PRC (cash assistance for special situations such as car repairs, car purchases, the purchase of appliances, security deposits on apartments, furniture, etc.), grants for higher education and myriad other programs their case workers tell them about that they can avail themselves of if they apply (such as digitial thermostats, car seats for their kids, school supplies for their kids, clothing if they get a new job, down payment if they want to buy their own home, etc., etc.)

    Usually recipients need to be working a certain number oh hours/week or going to school or receiving job training to get these benefits but not alway. And usually there is a 36 month limit if they they have uninterrupted employment...which they never do. As soon as they quit or get laid off a job, decide to change careers, have another child, have a health problem, have a "family emergency" the clock gets reset back to 0 and they get another 36 months.

    ^^^That's for people who are not disabled. Other rules apply for people who are disabled.

  • diasporadiaspora Posts: 596Registered Users
    An Op-Ed from the NY Times I just received notice of about the safety-net for disabled people in Illinois (just so happens I've met this guy and spoken with him in DC):

    /home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nytimes.com%2F2012%2F06%2F18%2Fopinion%2Fvulnerable-to-reform.html" class="Popup

    TIMES are hard. The states are broke, and some say it's the fault of people like me, sucking up Medicaid dollars.

    Last week, here in Illinois, the governor signed into law $1.6 billion worth of Medicaid "reform
    </home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.chicagotribune.com%2Fnews%2Fsns-rt-us-illinois-medicaidbre85d140" class="Popup
    -20120614,0,6547786.story
    > ." The ax came down on disabled children and young adults who are M.F.T.D. - medically fragile, technology dependent - those who have tracheotomies, are ventilator-dependent or need central intravenous lines. New co-payments and income caps could mean that many of these young people will no longer be able to receive care at home and
    will have to be institutionalized. No more free lunch for them!

    I'm 55 years old, and I've been sitting in some sort of wheelchair all my life. My wife sometimes uses a motorized wheelchair, too. We live in a condo with our two dogs, and we depend on public programs like
    Medicaid to keep us out of nursing homes. But the reformers have been on such a scorched-earth rampage of late that I dread that the next state
    budget will be the one that cuts us out.

    My wife and I employ a pit crew to help us do all the ho-hum stuff everybody does every day, like getting dressed and cooking and the laundry. Someone lifts me out of bed each morning, washes my face and combs my hair and gets me set up for the day. Someone else lifts me onto the toilet and into the shower and hoses me down at night. That's how it will be for the rest of my life. But it's really no big deal. I hire and fire and direct the members of my pit crew, and their wages are paid by the state through a Medicaid-waiver program.

    My wife and I would probably be considered middle class; she works full time managing a disability rights organization, and I'm a freelance writer. But we would become dirt poor mighty fast if we had to pay for
    this assistance ourselves. It would probably cost us at least $50,000 a year. Anybody out there have that much discretionary cash sitting around?

    If we lost the waiver for this home care, I guess we'd have to let ourselves become impoverished to the point where we could qualify for ordinary Medicaid, which would then have to pay for our incarceration in
    a nursing home - probably at a much higher cost. That won't happen, right? It's too ridiculous. Surely the Legislature can add an additional tax on 40-ouncers or casino profits or come up with some creative way to
    address the fiscal mess. Each time budget negotiations build to a boil, I reassure myself that common sense, empathy and justice will prevail.

    But that's gotten harder to believe after this latest round of cuts. It's a nightmare: the vicious, man-eating Reformasaurus has gone
    berserk. Even holding up M.F.T.D. kids as human shields can't ward it off these days. If it will swallow them up, what chance is there for a bearded, sarcastic, unsympathetic character like me?

    Mike Ervin
    </home/leaving?target=http%3A%2F%2Fsmartasscripple.blogspot.com%2F2012%2F06%2Funscrupulous.html%2520" class="Popup> is a
    writer and disability rights activist.
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  • crimsonshedemoncrimsonshedemon Posts: 2,098Registered Users
    Springcurl wrote: »
    I think nation wide (thanks to Clinton) you can only get to years of AFDC (don't think it's called that any more) for two years in a row and only five years max.

    You can get food stamps if you're poor enough. There is housing assistance if you're poor enough, but you can wait years and years to get on it.

    I was lucky, I was on and off welfare before reform or I probably wouldn't be where I am now. I was on for almost four years. I got $489 a month in cash assistance and about $50 a month in food stamps. No housing. I had a daycare voucher. Went community college (with a day care on campus, that was great) and got out in 3 years and then got a job upon graduation and immediately got off welfare.

    I feel bad for people who don't have the opportunity I did. Although I will admit to being an EXTREMELY motivated person, I think that going to school was what has kept me off welfare. If I'd been on welfare and just had to do community service somewhere I wouldn't have gotten an education and would be kind of stuck in a vicious circle of poverty.

    You are truly remarkable. the way the system helped you, is how it should be. Welfare shouldn't be a "job". Some of my husband's family uses it as a job and their only source of income. They commit multiple frauds but could care less. Makes me so angry but that's another story. Great job!! You're truly an inspiration. What career path did you choose?
  • crimsonshedemoncrimsonshedemon Posts: 2,098Registered Users
    diaspora wrote: »
    I receive SSDI for having a disability that makes me unable to work (hoping this will change). My monthly payment is $740. Some people get a little more, some a little less. Once you are found disabled (the process takes months or years and sometimes a lawyer), there is a 2 year waiting period before you receive Medicare. If you're "lucky" enough to be very poor and have assets less than $1000, they will give you Medicaid. But if you are able to earn money again, even if you will not be given health insurance from your job, you will lose the Medicaid. It really puts poor people in a trap.

    I can't even get SSDI because I don't have the work credits. I had my children very young while I was in college, didn't finish tho. Have only worked part time at an elementary school. While I have the illness, I can't get disability. And because my husband works, I don't qualify for SSI. With insurance, good insurance at that, I'm still out over 20K in just medical expenses not counting supplements, quality of life items, etc. Hubby makes ok money but it's rough.
  • theliothelio Posts: 5,374Registered Users
    There are people who use walfare as way to avaoid real work. Or use it as a "job"

    But there are so many more who truly needs it. I'm not sure how walfare is where I am, but it seems to be crappy. People who truly needs it, seldom do and those who just dont want to work gets teh max!

    I remember there was a time, when I man or drugs could get help before a single mother. I know this first hand, (I know people).

    This whole country is in a horrible state. The poor is getting poorer but still being balmed when they need help. The wealthy are getting even more selfish.

    But as Mr. Romney suggested, we should go to college, even if we have to borrow the money from our parents! I told my parents to sell their yacht and forgo the summer vacation to europe so they can pay for me to go back to school. Still waiting on my mom to hand over the family jewels and her minks (are these things still associated with wealth?) :rolleyes:
  • SariaSaria Posts: 15,963Registered Users
    ^:laughing9:

    The only time I was judged poor enough to even get Medicaid, it basically didn't cover anything.
    My parents have never been able to qualify for housing because apparently they make too much money. The government requirements for any sort of aid are absurd. Nobody in NYC could survive on what they think people should make in order to get any kind of help.
    por-que-no-te-callas.jpg
  • SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
    You are truly remarkable. the way the system helped you, is how it should be. Welfare shouldn't be a "job". Some of my husband's family uses it as a job and their only source of income. They commit multiple frauds but could care less. Makes me so angry but that's another story. Great job!! You're truly an inspiration. What career path did you choose?

    Thanks! I became a court stenographer.

    You know, most of the people I went to school with were on welfare and we all got off and got jobs. There definitely are people who use it as a job... but I don't necessarily even get pissed off at them. It's wrong, but I believe they truly don't know any other way than to just get over. I grew up with people like that. It's not really that they think, "Yeah, i could get a job but I'd rather get welfare." They just don't really know any other way.

    Even when I was growing up that's kind of the way pregnancy was. I had two best friends. One of them had her first kid at 14, her second at 17, and her third at 21. My other best friend had her first kid at 18. I had mine at 19. Once (when I was in my 30s) someone asked me, "Were you freaked out when you found out you were pregnant?" And the truth was, no. I just accepted it as something that would happen.

    Again, I know I'm very motivated and so once I realized that I was in the isht I worked really hard to get out. But I think some people really just accept it as a way of life... not necessarily do it to cheat.

    I'm not sure how to help those people. Probably in ways that people already shriek that we don't have the resources for-- making sure their kids go to school, taking them to shows and cultural events to see that there is another way to live. It's difficult.

    (As a further example, my best friend was the director of a program with the public schools where they'd call up the parents to find out why their kid wasn't in school. There would be excuses like:
    THEM: We kept him home because our electricity got shut off
    BEST FRIEND: All the more reason for him to be in school. We're coming over to get him right now.

    or:

    THEM:
    I kept her home because I was in the emergency room last night with an asthma attack.
    BEST FRIEND: Okay. That's you. She still needs to be in school. We're coming over to get her right now.

    That program had a proven success rate after three years, but it got cut due to lack of funding)
    TWINKLES.gifTWINKLES.gifTWINKLES.gif

    Obamacare is not a blueprint for socialism. You're thinking of the New Testament. ~~ John Fugelsang



  • theliothelio Posts: 5,374Registered Users
    Springcurl that sounds like an amazing program. I think if the public school system was more involved in kids lives there would be a higher graduation rate.