In the contemporary society, various people are beneficiaries of the social assistance program. Most recipients of the social welfare program feel stigmatized since people consider them as lazy and lacking in ambitions. I have met people who have benefited from the program, and one that stood out was a mother who was going through a tough phase in life. She was a single mother to two children and had lost her job. After fourteen months without a job, her savings had been exhausted. The impacts of the social welfare assistance program intervention are immense, especially on the beneficiaries. On the one hand, the program enables them to afford their daily basic needs. On the other hand, the beneficiaries are stigmatized by other people in the society as they are looked down upon. Notably, the enrolment process is complex and varies between various states and the type of social program. When analyzed, the social welfare assistance program has enabled families and individuals cope with different challenges that are bound to occur at one point or another.
Food Stamps and Welfare Debate
There are various ongoing debates about what can or cannot be purchased using food stamps. For example, actions such purchasing a soda or liquor using food stamps would elicit varied reactions from different people. On the one hand, one group believes that people who use food stamps are not allowed to desire for certain types of products, which is stereotypic as every person is entitled to enjoy the pleasures of life regardless of their financial state. On the other hand, another group holds no reservations on the decision to purchase contending that adequate vetting was done to qualify the individual for assistance, and therefore, once in a while people should be allowed to indulge.
Essentially, food stamps are issued primarily to combat malnutrition and hunger through the purchase of wholesome, balanced food. Nevertheless, the purchase of a soda raises fundamental questions, especially on matters health. Evaluating the alternatives, it is crucial to restrict the purchase of luxury food using the food stamp. This line of thought contends that the nutritional benefits are close to zero. However, the difference in the cost of soda and nutritious food is significant. Therefore, a purchase of soda seems to be the best alternative to the beneficiaries price-wise.
The term welfare has been construed to mean responsibility, and therefore, one is eligible for welfare assistance depending on what they are responsible for. For instance, being widowed or orphaned is beyond one’s control. However, being homeless as a result of laziness is within one’s power. Therefore, the two cases warrant different definitions and approach in welfare assistance. Given the preceding it has been established that not all beneficiaries under the social welfare assistance are unemployed or are lazy. The program is meant to cushion the economically disadvantaged by providing access to meals, as was the case of the single mother. However, this resonates well with them. While some people are not focused on who benefits from the social welfare program since it does not affect them directly, others believe that such programs are facilitated through taxes, and therefore, more needs to be done to root out undeserving people. Such sentiments are expressed by many people concerning the current political setup.
State/ Federal Information and Requirements for Social Welfare Program
The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program has several eligibility requirements such as the recipient must be under the age of 18 or 19 years for full-time student. It also requires that those applying: be willing to apply for other benefits, be a citizen or lawful resident of the United States, and be in possession of a valid social security number. However, a caveat is provided under the program that states that for a family that has received TANF for ten months is not eligible in the event of having an additional child (https://dfcs.georgia.gov/tanf-eligibility-requirements).
The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program has set various requirements for eligibility. In their support for women, WIC will consider pregnant women and up to six weeks after birth and the postpartum period of up to six months. In the case of breastfeeding, aid will be provided up to the first birthday. For children, they are supported until they attain the age of five years. Other requirements include that they must reside in the state where they are applying, fulfill the income requirement, and be under a risk of malnutrition (https://www.fns.usda.gov/wic/wic-eligibility-requirements).
For an individual to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the amount of money one has or is being paid when working at a certain period is considered (https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/eligibility)
The Section 8 program provides housing vouchers. The requirements for eligibility include the status of the family, level or amount of income, citizen or immigrant, and history of eviction, among others (https://www.thebalancesmb.com/section-8-housing-eligibility-requirements-2125017).
The childcare subsidy program requires that beneficiaries be low-income earners who are on a full-time employment, be a citizen, and the child must either be biological, adopted, stepchild or foster child, or as determined by the court (https://fam.state.gov/fam/03fam/03fam3830.html#M3833_2).
The eligibility and requirements are stringent to ensure that only deserving persons are enrolled. Notably, states are allowed to customize the criteria to suit their various needs. Studies have shown that one in five welfare beneficiaries had a history of drug abuse. Therefore, drug screening to determine the eligibility of the applicants may lock out such people, which, in turn, would aggravate the situations that such individuals experience.