Welfare is a government program that provides money, medical care, food,
housing, and other things that people need in order to survive. People who can
receive help from these welfare programs are children, elders, disabled, and
others who cannot support their families on their current income. Another name
for welfare is public assistance. There are many organizations that supply this
public assistance. Such as Salvation Army and other groups. Public assistance
benefits help many people who live below the poverty line, an income level is
established for families. If your income is below this you would be eligible to
receive this help. Welfare in the United States Federal and state governments in
the Unites States serve the poor people through about 60 public assistance
programs. Most people receive help through one of the four major programs. These
programs are Medicaid, Aid to families with dependant Children, Social Security,
or Supplemental Security, or the food stamps program. I will discuss the four
programs individually. Medicaid provides free medical care to the poor people.

Funds vary from state to state. In some situations, people who may be able to
pay daily needs, but can't afford large medical bills may also be able to
receive Medicaid. Some services paid for are bills such as doctor's visits and
nursing home care. Most Medicaid funding comes from the federal government. The
rest is supplied by the state. Each state runs their own Medicaid program.

A.F.D.C. provides cash benefits to dependent children and the parents or the
guardians taking care of them. Most families that qualify for A.F.D.C. have just
one parent in the home. About 80 percent of these families are headed by a
woman. A.F.D.C. also pays benefits to two-parent families if both parents are
unemployed. Most A.F.D.C. funding comes from the federal government. The states
provide the rest of the money and administer the program. The sizes of families'
payment vary from state to state. Next is Social Security Income. This provides
financial Aid to people in need who are at least 65 years old, blind, or
disabled. The federal government finances and administers social security income
programs in most states, though some states supply the federal payment and are
able to run their own programs. Finally, the Food Stamp Program helps low-income
households buy more and better food than they could otherwise afford. Each
participating household receives a certain number of coupons called food stamps.

The stamps are issued by the federal government. The number of stamps a
household receives varies with the family's size, income, and expenses.

Cooperating grocery stores accept the stamps like money for food purchases only.

There are other programs such as energy assistance and public housing. Energy
assistance, which is federally financed but administered by the states, helps
people pay fuel bills. Public housing provides low cost rental apartments in
government owned buildings. State and local governments fund and administer
their own general assistance programs. These programs provide financial aid for
needy people who do not qualify for other types of welfare. People waiting to
receive assistance from other programs also may get temporary emergency aid from
general assistance. Back in the early days, welfare resembled the English
system. Social governments were responsible for helping the poor. But the
colonies and later the states, sometimes helped the local government provide
aid. The first federal welfare program, began after the Revolutionary War, they
provided pensions to war veterans. During the Civil War these pensions were
expanded to cover soldiers' widows and orphans. In the early 1900's, primary
responsibility for providing welfare benefits shifted from local to state
governments. During these years, states enacted programs to aid dependent
children and the elderly. The criticisms of welfare ranges over a number of
social and economic issues. Some people criticize welfare programs for not
providing high enough benefits to eliminate poverty. Spending on welfare would
have to increase greatly to eliminate poverty, and many people believe the cost
is already too high. Many critics of the welfare system charge that providing a
steady income to needy people encourages idleness. Actually, most welfare
benefits go to elderly, blind, and disabled people and mothers with young
children. But welfare does discourage some recipients from working harder by
reducing benefits if their income increases. Many people also criticize the
welfare system for being too complex and costly to administer. Each program has
its own eligibility requirements and ways of calculating benefits, and these
rules vary from state to state. Public officials collect detailed information
about applicants to determine their eligibility for benefits. This process is
time-consuming and costly. Some people cheat the system by not reporting all the
income they earn. But suppliers of services to welfare recipients account for
most of the fraud in welfare. Some physicians, pharmacists, and others have been
overpaid because they have made up false bills. In my opinion I believe you need
welfare because people do need help. But I would lower its percent because it
won't hurt that much. Most importantly we have to do a better job at finding all
the people who cheat the program and make them work to repay it.


1. World Almanac and Book of Facts 1995 Published by: Funk & Wagnalls