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American welfare

One of my jobs right now has me doing what (sans a smart-sounding title and a few differences) amounts to social work. I get clients who, funded by Medicaid, have a diagnosed mental illness and a host of other related problems.

It broadens my views on poverty and the welfare system.

Take Adeena*, one of my clients right now. Adeena is 30 years old, with two daughters. She dropped out of school after barely completing the eighth grade. Her mental disorder (according to the MD) is that she's bipolar. One of her six medications seems to control that just fine. Adeena lives in a rented home, with government subsidies paying all but $344 of her rent (and the gov't pays all basic utilities). The rent is split between her, her sister, and her parents, that all live in the same house (total of seven people-- her sister has a son). Each month, between the four adults, they receive a little over $700 in food stamps, and each month during the last week they get a "food donation" from a church that provides approximately $200 in groceries. That's just my guess-- the groceries filled the trunk of my Camry as well as half the back seat. Adeena's 28 year-old sister collects a few hundred dollars a month in social security. She is disabled, and constantly visiting the hospital. Her frequent use of meth, pot, crack, alcohol, and smoking does little to help her health (she is obese and recently diabetic). Adeena does housekeeping at a hotel and, at $6.50 an hour, brings home around $700 a month.

Recently she confided in me that she wasn't taking her government-provided birth control pills because she wanted a third baby. With whom? I asked, only to hear it was from a friend of her sister's, which she had no intention of becoming serious with at any point (I deduct that this friend is a drug dealer, based on his behavior and visit routine). Adeena depends on me (or friends) to drive her to work, the welfare office, the grocery store, or wherever she "needs" to go. Last week she announced a suspected pregnancy (missed period), and instead of spending five bucks on a pregnancy kit like every other potential mother would do, she visits the doctor on the Medicaid bill (no doubt the doctor charges $300 an hour) to take a pee test in his office. Doesn't cost her anything.

Adeena is not atypical. Of our ~40 clients, ~35 of them fit this bill. We are one of about twelve companies providing these types of services in the county. No desire to get on their own two feet, no efforts to further/complete basic education, an expectation of the government to provide for them, and a general lack of social skills (short temper, judgmentalism, terrible hygeine, etc). While Adeena is collecting thousands of dollars a month in welfare, my business is billing thousands of dollars a month (also to government-provided welfare) trying to help her step up. In reality, it's a lost cause.

My co-worker and I are working on a solution to this problem. First, we believe that welfare programs need to be consolidated and managed better. The system is a mess right now, and people like Adeena know exactly how to work the system. She could live like royalty on her meager income as she has no real financial responsibilities. Second, in circumstances with perpetual assistance and client apathy (not counting the elderly and disabled), help should be provided ONLY on condition of sterilization. I'm completely serious about that. The saddest thing to hear is that one of our clients are pregnant. No child should be subjected to this kind of life. Third, no progress shown = decrease in benefits. If you work for ten years making minimum wage at 25 hours a week, it's time to find another way to get by without taking handouts. If Adeena is forced to beg for food at the end of the month, she's going to learn to make her existing (and extremely generous) welfare last.

Now, this might seem contrary to statements I've made. And maybe my opinions have changed a little bit. I am not at all opposed to welfare. I'm opposed to supporting lazy people who are unwilling to better themselves. And healthcare falls into a related but different category, as it is getting to be so unaffordable to so many people. No doubt I have a skewed viewpoint because of the nature of my job. But knowing that there are people like Adeena "spending" unbelievable and irresponsible amounts of money makes me cringe.

I hope that some of you have some input on how to improve the system.

*Name changed to protect identity

I work for Juvenile Justice

I work for Juvenile Justice Services (Department of Youth Corrections), supervising juvenile delinquents with a history of mental illness (drug addiction is considered, by the state, to be a mental illness).

Those who've been here for a while know that I tend to lean libertarian, but I do not agree with their stance on drugs. Most of my youth who are addicted have parents who supplied, enabled, or otherwise contributed to their addiction. These children, in turn, wreak havoc on society in a variety of expensive ways. We receive approximately 150$ per day per youth, which amounts to around fifty thousand per kid annually. It's an expensive problem.

So, my solution:

I agree wholeheartedly with either sterilization or benefit caps. In other words, if you're on state-provided welfare, you can either
A) PRomise to have no more kids, on condition that the state will take them and make you pay for their support should you have more
B) Compelled sterilization in order to apply for benefits.

Think it's cruel? Fine, find a job.

Next up, time limits. I'd say no more than two years on welfare should be permitted. THat's plenty of time to get vocational training and go to work earning a decent wage. I haven't made minimum wage since I was 15. THat's the point of a minimum wage job-- to find experience so that you can move on to a better job.

Also, housing. I get infuriated when I see people in project housing with satellite dishes and big-screen TV's. Or 24" rims on your 80s-era Crown Vic. That's my tax money being blown so you can pimp your ride. So, here's what I'd do.

Contract with a bulk-food supplier to provide the same amount of caloric intake recommended by the FDA. No soda, and nothing expensive. America's poorest (and on welfare) are also more likely to be the most obese. And my MedicAid taxes are paying for that particular indulgence as well. So we get to kill two birds with one stone here. Tax money isn't being spent on non-necessities, and we get to make these people healthier as well.

If you're on state-supplied welfare of any sort, then you have to do a urinalysis monthly. You come back with a dirty u/a, your funding disappears and we take your kids. Period. Adoption lists are plenty long enough, and there's a caring, disciplined, loving set of parents out there for the kid you're neglecting for your selfish indulgences.

A couple other things: We should not be supporting illegal immigrants. Roughly 20% of our space is consumed by illegals at the moment, most of whom are here because they have a sibling anchor baby. Again, all of their parents are users. This is a drag on society. Deport them. If you haven't contributed to our society in any meaningful fashion, I don't think you're entitled to reap the benefits.

What would be optimal, of course, would be for the government to get entirely out of the welfare business. Look at Deseret Industries-- they help people get a job, get off welfare, and the expectation that you will work for your benefits is made very clear up-front. With the state welfare system, you're simply cut a check. I worked for an organization in California that used retarded people to run a recycling plant (No, I was not one of the mentally handicapped folks working there). They were able to accomplish a lot of good by providing a service, providing jobs, providing a modicum of self-respect and self-reliance to those who would otherwise be unable to attain it, and eliminating the need to have thousands of tax dollars spent to provide for them.

That's it. By the way, great article, Farker.

One of the few issues that doesn't have a liberal answer

I think a good majority of you guys here on the Pulse probably think of me as a far left liberal. And looking back at my posts who could blame you. But I gotta say when it comes to welfare I am pretty conservative. I don't think I could be in favor of sterilization programs, but some of your other thoughts are interesting. I am certainly of the opinion that just throwing money at welfare always makes it worse. And you guys are right to point out that those that get the most out of the system are the best at finding and exploiting the cracks.

But what should scare us the most is not the people that take advantage of welfare. We should really be concerned about the millions of folks that are being cut out of the middle class each year. These are the hard working folks who make up the bulk of our tax base. As more and more companies slash benefits more employees are joining the ranks of the working poor. They make too much money to qualify for welfare, and not enough to cover their expenses. When this huge group, the backbone of the American work force, realises they could get the coverage they so desperately need if they just quit working, we will all be in for a world of hurt.

I don't think we liberals have the right answers for this problem. But look at the rather moderate domestic policy of Bill Clinton...say what you will about Slick Willy, the man did manage some major welfare reform. A move to a more moderate approach to welfare (including Bush's push for more faith-based initiatives) is a move in the right direction.

Good to see people posting again.

Good points, Vegor

The Finns, noted for very liberal welfare policy, actually have something called "Veto Programme," which is government-funded advertising to encourage people to work. Welfare has become so appealing that many people, shouldering an ever-greater tax burden, simply become unemployed, and therefore their burden gets distributed among those who remain working. I'd hate to see that happen here. Incidentally, it could be hte reason that many states with ultra-liberal social welfare policies (such as California and Massachussetts) have lost population in the last five years. I'm a California emmigrant myself who has found Utah to be a much greener pasture to work in.

As far as working poor goes, you bring up an interesting point. The middle class does not shoulder most or even a substantial chunk of the tax burden (scroll down on this site to see the various tables, here:
http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=5746&sequence=1&from=0 ).
However, education in America continues to decline. More and more value is being placed on those who are educated and willing to work, while those who don't tend to suffer. I think it's fair to expect an education gap to correlate with an income gap, especially as large numbers of menial, manufacturing, or other non-locale-specific jobs are sourced to other countries.

I, for one, would rather see funding go towards education than welfare. When that happens, you get a better-educated citizen, who will in turn earn or generate more prosperity which can then be taxed. This is good for the government. You also create incentive for people to get off welfare, which is a drain on resources. Also good.

education is the answer

Even though I am no longer a member of the LDS Church I was quite happy to hear that President Gordon Hinckley spoke out so strongly in favor of education during the priesthood session of the recent conference. You would think that with so many Mormons (and that for so long Mormons have cherished education) this state would spend more money on education.

Recently the Utah Foundation issued a report about Utah's education paradox. Because of Utah's abnormally high K-12 student population (because for so long Mormons have also cherished procreation) we almost always lead the country in fewest dollars spent per student. During the mid 90s we allocated a huge percentage of our taxes (5th most in the country) to education. But because of our huge student base those dollars were split amongst more kids and we still had the lowest per pupil ratio in the country. This paradox has been well documented by the Utah Foundation for years.

But what is unfortunate is that in the past 10 years or so our legislature (and I'll go ahead and say it, they are overwhelmingly republican) has decreased education funding to the point where instead of being in 5th place when it comes to percentage of tax dollars going toward education we are now in 27th. By the way you can find this report here.

So now a state that has historically shown great support for public education, and has a huge demographic (Mormons) that holds education so dearly, is now below the national average for education spending. It is also of note that the state now enjoys one of the largest surpluses in its history and is considerring tax cuts and refunds to bring things back into ballance.

I would say that if Mormons in particular (and all the rest of us in general) are to take Hinckley's words seriously than we need to tell our state legislature that education is paramount and that our budgets should reflect that. Especially because we have such large families in Utah and the dollars need to stretch to accomodate everyone.

Wow

I'm kind of sickened at the suggestion of government ordered sterilization policies being supported, but I really don't want to open that can of worms.

Here's my question - if I'm able to work in a capacity that supports my family and pay taxes (as I do), why isn't it enough to be grateful for my fortune instead of getting frustrated that people that some consider unworthy benefit from my work? My needs are met, in the way I prefer to meet them (working) and there is more to spare, and the needs of others are met, some worthy (unable to work for legitimate reasons) and some not worthy (lazy and taking advantage of the system). At the end of the day, the basic needs of more are met, and on a very primitive level, that is good. Personally, I am more concerned about helping the people that need it than worrying if someone milking a system benefits.

I have to say alot of these

I have to say alot of these opinions are very interesting. I am a single mother of one child. I have raised him alone for the last 10 years, I have done home daycare so that he has one parent in the home. I have been on housing for the last 5 years and my son is on medicaid. ( having housing allows me to buy my son cloths and coats and shoes) of cource I just started to get child support for my son also. I have worked very hard toward self sufficiency. The way I look at it is, that food stamps and medicaid and housing should be given to those who are working and doing there best to take care of their children, not doing your best to have 10 more kids with 10 different guys.
My son has a Aunt that has two children and keeps trying to have more, she looks at these kids like they are meal tickets. she never feeds them, does not clean their closes. Totally abuses them and neglects them, she is mentally ill and can not admit to it. I currently have one of her children living with me because she can not take care of her. She is constantly on welfare and abusing the system, because she and her boyfriend can not hold down a job. she has had more jobs than I have fingers for. She gets welfare but does not pay her rent or car payment and then she blames her loses on others. i believe that some people should not have children. I don't think that sterile is the answer, I think that an IUD would work and if they go to school and get better jobs and stop living off the state then they can have it removed, but then sterile might be the answer for some. we called the state on this aunt of my sons and the state paid for her to go to Tennessee after I called them and told them what was going on, then the family that she went to sent her back to Utah because she lied about all of the problems she has. Way to go Utah, you pay to get her out of Utah, then she ends up back here and trys to get back on welfare. Even after she has left one kid in Tennessee and left the other one with me. I do agree with putting stipualtions on welfare, i agree with drug testing because I am sure that alot of people on welfare have addiction issues. It would be really nice if all people could be responsible and take care of their children the right way so they grow up to be great people. I want the very best for my wonderful son, I want him to grow up and see the great opportunities that we have here in America. That he can get the best education and to go to the best colledges. That an education can get you into a great job.

So Adeena called me last

So Adeena called me last night, wanting me to take her to pick up (surprise!) a gas voucher from the state office. Seems they've managed to get a car (they don't have insurance, of course), and now they want to rely on the state of Idaho to provide them with the gas to drive it around.

Yeah. That's not going to happen.

Most of my youth who are

Most of my youth who are addicted have parents who supplied, enabled, or otherwise contributed to their addiction. These children, in turn, wreak havoc on society in a variety of expensive ways.

You know, I never would have said this a few years ago, but I see these kids being raised in terrible homes and it's fairly obvious they're going to grow up to be the criminals of tomorrow. I blame this 100% on the parents. These are good kids. It's so sad that they are subjected to those living conditions.

As for the whole sterilization thing goes, it's obviously a touchy subject. I'm not sure I'd say that all folks on welfare should be sterilized, but rather those who have shown a history of poor decision making, lack of progress, and/or perpetual reliance on welfare. I guess my stance is that welfare should be for those who try and just can't make ends meet, not for those who intend to use the government (or anyone else) for their support. Another idea my coworker and I have discussed (along the lines of time limites) is the concept of gradually decreasing assistance. So the first month you get $400 in food stamps, second month it's $385, etc. Wean them off the system. People have storms in life, so maybe allow for two or three petitions. Require educational training along with it. So if you're going to get unemployment, if you're still unemployed after two months you're required to take classes on building a good resume, doing well at interviews, whatever.

I thought I'd heard all the Welfare Queen stories imaginable, but until I started this job, I hadn't seen anything. The poor habits of most of my clients are just... amazing. Paycheck gets cashed on Friday and completely spent by Sunday.

If you're on state-supplied welfare of any sort, then you have to do a urinalysis monthly. You come back with a dirty u/a, your funding disappears and we take your kids. Period. Adoption lists are plenty long enough, and there's a caring, disciplined, loving set of parents out there for the kid you're neglecting for your selfish indulgences.

A-men! We should all be a little concerned that tons of money coming directly from the government goes directly into the drug market. I think it shows a little irreponsibility on our part.

I'm not sure how I feel about abolishing government welfare. Certainly it would be nice if all those who had genuine needs could have those needs met by the private sector, but I'm not sure our society is ready for that just yet. But our current system is surprisingly inefficient and wasteful. I am all for buying food in bulk and distributing it rather than giving recipients a credit card.

Thanks for the input, RC. Definitely a topic worth thinking over.

The concern at reproduction

The concern at reproduction is not intended to punish parents. It's a way of protecting kids. Kids just don't deserve to live that kind of life. What sickens me is seeing these children-- 5-10 years old, that live in drug homes, get almost no parental support, and the only life they learn is one of poverty. The "milking the system" issue is a frustrating, but far distant second issue to the problem with innocent children being subjected to these horrible parents.

Re: I work for Juvenile Justice

B) Compelled sterilization in order to apply for benefits.

Bad idea. Not so much because of the cruelty (it is cruel), but because it is something government has no authority to do. Giving out welfare is something the government has no authority to do, in the first place. The correct solution is for government to stop doing all things that it has no legitimate authority to do, not piling on more. BTW, if you allow the government some percieved "right" to deem its' citizenry (subjects?) worthy of procreation, what's to stop "the other party" from using that power against you once they take power?

The reason why the founders set up a limited government and a system of checks and balances is so that these kinds of things could never happen. Rather than creating a vast new federal sterilization squad (even more bureaucracy) just so we can justify hanging onto the current welfare system, we should focus on eliminating the problem altogether. But surely they would starve without government handouts? We can't have that, can we? It's not like welfare has been around forever. How did the poor in the U.S. get along before these crazy 1930's New Deal policies? I'm sure they can go back to doing whatever they've done for thousands of years of human history -- and no one need be sterilized in the process.

You know, everyone is born

You know, everyone is born equal. I agree with that. Then some kids get raised by idiots who should never be allowed to handle dull butter knives, let alone procreate. Others get raised by loving and responsible parents, and they-- surprise-- turn out to be loving and responsible adults themselves. Frankly, a lot of my anger gets directed towards the parents, who enabled illegal behavior in the first place. When we get our files in, the parents' rap sheet is attached to the kids. Unsurprisingly, there's a pretty darn high correlation between juvenile criminal activity and their parents' criminal activity. These kids have been raised by parents (well, typically, a parent) who is oftentimes barely out of her teens herself, uses, and is often on state-funded welfare. Very few of them have any kind of moral or ethical center, as their parents have taught and shown them from a young age that criminal behavior is okay.

Trangenerational welfare is another horrible problem. And unfortunately, people on welfare tend to have kids at a higher rate than the rest of the population, which does not bode well for out kids' tax burden when they enter the working force. I really like your weaning idea to deal with that.

The people who use welfare responsibly-- in cases of job loss or something similar-- are okay by me. They're typically off within six months to a year though. They don't need to be sterilized. Only the ones who have kids-- and continue to have them-- without any viable means of support should have it happen.

I couldn't believe your story of that lady going to the doctor's office to have a pregnancy test done. That's ridiculous.

I've heard of the concept of workfare-- where anyone getting any sort of gov't handout has to work, at least a little, to get it. Even if it's as something mundane as cleaning up the projects in which you live, which brings me to another point: projects are DIRTY. I actually tested positive for TB for the first time ever, probably as a result of having to spend time in them. The laziness one has in regards to work often transfers into one's living quarters as well, and it's always the people who have the least to do (they're on welfare- how exactly are they spending their time) who do the least. Would it kill you to put diapers on your kids so they're not running around naked, or to pick up your beer cans when you're done with 'em?

As far as privatization goes, I think government has its place for caring for disabled/mentally handicapped/unfit to provide for themselves. But I think private organizations whose intent is reform have a much better chance at helping people get back on their feet. Some companies even manage to make a profit doing it.

Thanks again for livening up the Pulse- it'll be interesting to see where this goes.

Sorry I was unclear

I was talking about two different things and didn't make that distinction clear. I don't wish to talk about government mandated sterilization at all. It is true that there are people that are irresponsible when having children and do not make for the best parents. However, I do not feel myself to be qualified to decide who those people are, and truthfully, cannot see how it doesn't infringe on the rights of humanity to have someone judged by another and have that judgment determine their fitness for reproduction. There is a difference between discussing the rights of people living now versus lives that have not yet started, and it's not just an issue of self representation.

The second thing that I brought up revolves around what exactly the concern is about people unrightfully benefiting from the system. The programs designed (in theory) to help people in hard times will be comprised of both the people that they are meant to help, and those that take advantage of the system in place. We live in America, the land of freedom, the same land that also uses a disproportionate amount of resources compared to the rest of the world, and sadly, we still have many of our own that are hungry and have inadequate health care. I see a far greater injustice in our inability (or lack of desire) to provide while we consume so much and choose to judge rather than care for our own.

Awright, I'll shut up and get off my soap box now.

Wholeheartedly agree

If you read my first response, you would see where I wrote that what would be optimal would be for the government to get out of the welfare business entirely, and that it makes far more sense to have private entities take care of it. They can even turn a profit doing it, as I wrote in my above response.

However, if people insist on wealth redistribution, then there should be an analagous consequence-- in this case, sterilization. That way, transgenerational poverty brought on by the aforementioned welfare policies can be brought to an end. I don't think it's cruel. I think it's far more cruel to bring a child into the world, teach him that crime and laziness and a government handout are his entitlement because "the Man" is always trying to get him down, and then watch him turn into someone whose kids, in turn, receive the same handouts.

sterilization

I have had a lot of conversations with other social workers about this. I hear a lot of the "what if" theoretical models with sterilization and the government. Yeah, okay, it's something to worry about. I don't doubt that for a second.

But it doesn't do anything about the reality of kids being born into terrible homes. I just don't buy the "it's their free agency," line with this-- what about the life of the child? Some lazy mooch's right to irresponsible sex is more important than the life of an innocent kid?

I guess I'm just pessimistic about it. My days are spent dealing with the kids of these people. Victims of their mothers freedom to act like spoiled children.

It is true that there are

It is true that there are people that are irresponsible when having children and do not make for the best parents. However, I do not feel myself to be qualified to decide who those people are, and truthfully, cannot see how it doesn't infringe on the rights of humanity to have someone judged by another and have that judgment determine their fitness for reproduction. There is a difference between discussing the rights of people living now versus lives that have not yet started, and it's not just an issue of self representation.

I can respect that. It seems to me that we could probably agree that there is a very real problem, but discomfort about how to make that judgement dividing who is and is not deserving of the snip-snip.

I can't trust the government

I can't trust the government to get my taxes right, how can I trust them to decide who to sterilize. Its the same reason I can't support the death penalty

I soooo agree with you!!

I soooo agree with you!! Everyone on here seems to think they have all the answers. There are many people who don't cheat the system!!!! Yes there are some that we can call welfare queens, I know a few first hand. I am not to self conscious of a person to say I am on welfare. I had a baby seven months ago and am a student at a community college!!! I still work I'm not laying at home waiting for government royalties!! A lot of the people who oppose welfare have never had to try and live on it. It comes with a stigma everytime you pull that ebt card out people think your a welfare queen. I am majoring in administrative accounting and am a bartender 16 hours a week at an NCO Club on our local air force base. I don't think I'm a waste of space or should be forced to become steril! welfare benefits help from taking out excessive student loans. I am a taxpayer and was previously a tax payer for the last ten years so me using a system to provide service to me doesnt seem like the worst thing in the world. For those of you who think you have all the answers try living in our shoes for a month good luck... Many of you that believe you know what welfare is really about I am wagering to bet that none of you have been on it.... I am offended by many of the comments... some of us are just trying to get by and aren't having a whole basketball team full of kids...

I find this conversation

I find this conversation very interesting! It's not very often that one hears about sterilization these days.
Honestly, I can't say that I would support forced sterilization by the government. It would be completely unconstitutional, not to mention cruel. However, I also agree that we should not allow people to take advantage of the system like Adeena. Some of the things she did are completely ridiculous and it makes me angry that those are our tax dollars being wasted. I like the idea of telling people on welfare that if they have another child, they will be taken away and given to another family while the birth parent/s have to pay child support. I think it is necessary for these kids to be taken out of their awful environment otherwise our society will never get better-- they'll just keep producing generations of welfare-dependent citizens.

Welfare should not, in any case, be used to support lazy people who just can't get off their butts and get a job. I have no problem with welfare helping people who lost their job for a time until they can get back on their feet. Also, I understand that sometimes young single mothers (or fathers, I suppose) do actually try their best to support their child and they find a job and try to go back to school and all that, and if they are honestly trying to support themselves and their children then I don't have a problem with giving them a helping hand for a little while. (Although it was their stupid decision that led to them having a child in the first place, which I definitely do not condone.)

If there was a way to do temporary sterilizations, I would definitely support that. That way a woman on welfare could be sterilized until she gets and education and gets a job and then she could get unsterilized and have as many kids as she wants. However, there is the issue of who pays for the sterilization procedure- most likely, that would be our tax dollars. Depending on the cost of the procedure, it might save money in the long run, but if it is extremely expensive, then it might just end up costing more than it would to just let the women have kids.

I also like the idea of making the people on welfare eat healthier, especially for their kids' benefit. Child obesity in America is growing to terrible and embarrassing proportions compared to many other countries. Of course it isn't the kids fault, it's their parents fault. One of the problems, though, is that oftentimes junk food is less expensive than fruits and vegetables. So honest people who aren't just twisting the system are forced to buy unhealthy food because otherwise they won't be able to feed their family. So that turns the issue around to food production, which is a whole other problem.

These are really hard issues. I wish that people like us had more say in what policies the government adopts, because I think that there are some really good ideas here but I feel like it would be hard to get the government to actually pay attention to any of them.

I'm torn

While I agree that something should be done about people sponging off the system, I'm going to take a few moments and tell you a bit about my life.

I'm 19, and a recent convert. I was badly abused mentally and physically as a child. To the outside world, and to people in my church, it totally appears I'm sponging off my friends (in my state, I can't get aid at until 21 unless I provide my parents contact, something I consider unsafe at this point)

They see someone who has a fair amount of mental competence physical ability and assume that I'm not doing my best. In truth, I can't take care of myself at all. I have severe anxiety attacks, regular emotional meltdowns, and without regular reminders I fail to remember to do basic self care functions, like eating, and taking care of hygiene.

I can't always handle going out into society, and I'm careful to make sure when I do I'm extremely careful to make sure that I can handle it, leading to the perception that I'm more capable than I am.

I can't get health insurance, food stamps, or any other form of help at my age without providing my parents contact information, but if I could, I would take the help, and it could very well be years before I was capable of taking care of myself well enough to go off it. If I had insurance and could try to get help at becoming more self reliant I would, but I seriously doubt I'd ever get to the point where I wouldn't need some help.

The system shouldn't be abused, but sometimes, there are issues people outside don't see. I can understand that people outside feel as though it is unjust, and that systems are being used, but I personally think that unless you can understand all sides of it, that judgement might be a little more...reserved.