The governmental and charitable provision of welfare or public aid is meant to offer a minimal level of well-being and social support for citizens, either on a short-term or long-term basis.
Welfare is commonly given to individuals who are unemployed, afflicted with an illness or disability, the elderly, those with dependent children, and veterans. A person’s eligibility for welfare may be constrained based on condition and need.
Ideally, the end-goal is to wean those temporarily dependent on the assistance – essentially the unemployed. However, many find the benefits they receive outweigh the one’s earned from minimum wage work.
Additionally claims made by researchers, who tracked Florida recipients over several years, found that death rates were marginally higher among those offered job training and pushed to find employment compared to those receiving unrestricted benefits.
Evidently, pressuring welfare recipients to get a job or face losing their benefits may put them at a slightly increased risk of dying over the long term.
In 1996, the federal Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act limited the amount of time people could receive welfare benefits, as a way to encourage people to rejoin the workforce. Imposed time limits and job training led more individuals to get jobs.
For the study, Dr. Peter Muennig – from Columbia University in New York – and his colleagues used data from Escambia County, Florida, between 1994 and 1999. The trial reviewed randomized 3,224 people who either receive traditional, unrestricted welfare, or short-term benefits.
Of the 1,611 people who were pressured to get jobs, 75 of them (4.7 percent) died by 2011, compared to 67 deaths (4.2 percent) among the 1,613 people who received traditional welfare.
Researchers also found significantly more people in the time-limited group got jobs, but still fell short of making enough to equal welfare and food stamps benefits received by the unrestricted group.
Contrary to the aforementioned findings, it is an individual’s responsibility not to place a prolonged burden on others when they are perfectly capable of working – the obvious economic situation aside – as there are several people who abuse aid and manipulate the system. This action limits available funds meant to go to those who desperately need it.
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