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Government Assistance: A Moment With Bill Reflection

Updated on April 29, 2013

WALKING ON THIN ICE

I fully expect that this article will upset some people. It is not my intention to do so, but chances are excellent that it will happen.

Let me begin by stating that my political affiliation can best be described as Liberal, although the older I get the more I detest labeling because I believe labeling is at the center of much of the discord we see today. He’s a Liberal so he can’t possibly agree with any Republican. Well, that is just so much hogwash and narrow-minded b.s. in my opinion.

With regards to the subject of government assistance for the needy, I am all for it. There are millions of Americans who simply cannot climb out of the economic hole that they find themselves in, and if it were not for housing assistance, unemployment benefits and food stamps, they would not be able to survive. I know that there are those who believe that people should just strap on some balls and overcome tough times by working harder, but I would submit that those who think that way have never been homeless and have no idea what they are talking about. This writer has been homeless so at least I bring that perspective to the table.

On the other hand, I have never been the recipient of government assistance. I have never received unemployment benefits and never applied for food stamps. I am sixty-four years old and I have had a job for forty-nine of those years. I was a single parent for fourteen years and yes, there were some very tough times, but I have never turned to the government for help.

So what is my point?

I believe the Social Services programs are being abused and that, in turn, is hurting those who truly need their services. In addition, I think…..well, read on and find out what I think.

Source

AS FOR THE FIRST POINT

I know for a fact that many people in America are using government services and they do not need to do so. I have friends who have scammed the Food Stamp program for years, working under the table and making very good money and still taking Food Stamps monthly. Hell, I remember this program when it was in its infant stage in the 1960’s and there were college kids in our dorm having pizza parties paid for by Food Stamps. They were neither poor nor needy and thought it great fun to use the system for their own benefit.

I have no doubt that most of you have similar stories of people who simply take from the government because it is easy to do so.

And where is the danger in doing that? Why is it so wrong to take from a government that has no problem taking from us?

The Social Service programs have a limited budget each year. When that budget is gone the services are gone. If we are wasting services on people who do not need them, then there will be no services for people who desperately need them. That is a no-brainer!

In addition, people scamming the system give a bad name to anyone who uses the system and that is just wrong on any level. There are people out there in dire straits, people who can barely feed their children, who have lost their homes and jobs and cannot fend for themselves. What are they to do if the government does not help them? Are we to leave them to starve and die of exposure? Is that what a civilized society does? Are we to throw up our hands and declare that anyone who used Food Stamps is worthless and lazy? Please, we are better than that! We must see the fallacy of such a statement….and yet….when millions of us are aware of the scams being played on the system, it is easy to understand why there is bitterness towards anyone who avails themselves of the system.

In summary, Social Services are necessary, but the system needs to be revamped so that only those who need those services will receive them.

BUT WE HAVE A BIGGER PROBLEM THAN THAT

Yes, we do! We have trouble right here in River City, U.S.A.

What follows is simply my observation. I have no facts and figures to support it. I have no government studies to provide to you. I’m just a simple man who has observed my countrymen for six decades now, and I have witnessed a very subtle shift in the way my fellow citizens go about living.

My thoughts go back to the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, a time when men, and women, took great pride in the fact that they worked their jobs and provided for themselves. There was nothing glamorous about the daily grind but there was a very distinct sense of accomplishment in working and doing a job well.

I do not see that as prevalent in this country today. What I see are many people just putting in their time, doing a half-assed job of it, or doing no job at all. The fact that it is easy to scam the government out of assistance doesn’t bother me as much as the fact that we have so many citizens willing to do so.

My grandfather had to accept government assistance in the early 1940’s. He had lost his farm during the Great Depression, and there was a span of two years when the government had to help him. I am told it nearly killed him from the inside out. He wore his shame on his sleeve for those two years until he was finally able to stand on his own again and make a living without help.

What am I trying to say?

One point of view

Do you think stricter guidelines need to be followed in government assistance programs?

See results

WHERE HAS THE PRIDE GONE TO?

For those of you who would cheat the system and take a free ride, I say shame on you. For those of you who are more willing to do nothing rather than earn your own way, I say shame on you.

The subtle shift in society that I mentioned earlier is in the way many Americans have lost their sense of pride. There seems to be a willingness to take first and earn later. There seems to be a growing willingness to reach out a hand for assistance rather than a hand for a paycheck well-earned.

When did that happen? Why did that happen?

Again, I am not talking about people who genuinely need assistance. I understand and I support you and your needs. No, I am talking about able-bodied American citizens who seem to have lost the drive to succeed over the years, or who grew up with a sense of entitlement and believe they are owed a living

I would love to see this country re-discover its pride. I would love to see millions doing a damn good job simply because it is their job and they are being paid to do it. I would love to see millions of my fellow citizens doing everything possible to make it on their own before they ever reach out a hand for help.

I would love to see Americans acting like our ancestors. We come from tough stock and it’s about damn time we act like it.

2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, great news about the sun and earning money. The veggies are healthy and the chicks no longer chicks. All is well in my world.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Jon and no, it is greed and apathy, not politics.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Good Morning, Bill. The sun came out for two days in a row! Woo-Hoo! Today looks promising as well. As a matte of fact, I have earned a bit of cash from my writing this week.

      Hope the weather's good where you are. How are the veg and chicks coming along?

    • JON EWALL profile image

      JON EWALL 4 years ago from usa

      billybuc

      ''I'm not terribly interested in politics. '' with due respect, politics is the major factor for why people are in such a state of affairs.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for dropping by, Jon, but I'm not terribly interested in politics. :)

    • JON EWALL profile image

      JON EWALL 4 years ago from usa

      billybuc

      Check this link, maybe the government is pushing reliance instead of independence.Barak Obama Campaign Promises

      .https://hubpages.com/politics/barakobamacampaignpr... 2/14/13

      Having It All for Free: 19 Things Obama Says Won’t Add to Deficit

      http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/02/havin...

      2/25/13 Sequester - The Three Things you need to know

      http://www.gop.gov/sequester/

      President Obama Proposed the Sequester

      USDA moves to end questionable food stamp ads after criticism

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/13/usda-mo...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, I do not believe there is a such a thing as a menial job....I think there are menial people with menial visions, but no menial jobs. :)

      Good to see you my friend. I hope you are well and your writing is finding you some money.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      You are spot on, Bill. I've had so many jobs in my life it's not funny. Amusing, perhaps. Some of those jobs could be classed as menial. But I take pride in my work and did the best job I was capable of. And with every job I had, I gained new skills and insights that I was able to take with me to other jobs. In short, I became a highly skilled and valuable employee; oftentimes I would give managers a run for their money with the work experience I have.

      Now I use those experiences in my writing. Menial jobs? A job is what you make it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, obviously you were not done. :)

      I was raised to believe there are no menial jobs....there are only opportunities to learn and advance. I don't know when that thinking became obsolete but it needs to return.

      I must run so I can't give more to this response, other than to thank you for caring and for being who you are.

      hugs and blessings, today and always

      bill

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      This is indeed a subject that touches a nerve. I think I commented on this before but obviously I was not done with it. I know so many examples of abuse of our welfare system, and I use that phrase loosely, that I could fill the page with it. For years I worked as a parent advocate for lack of a better word for parents of children in a depressed area --I was employed by a school system. During that time I had baptism by fire and I was immersed into a whole different world.

      I have heard parents say that they have taught their children to 'act crazy' so they would qualify for SSI. I have driven families to food banks and to United Way only to have them say to me on the way home--'I need to hurry and get home; I have to pay my cable bill!!" (And I have NO cable.)

      I have had four year olds tell me that they had no plans to work when they grow up as their Momma didn't work; she got money every month even though she didn't.

      I have seen a young Mother have her body become consumed with cancer because she could not get medical care. That is a whole 'nother story.

      There are times when some need help, a leg up, a way to survive in the short run. But that of course is not what has happened.

      If any part of our society needs an overhaul it is this one.

      And yes. You again are correct. Pride in the American work ethic needs to return. Rather than sitting all day complaining about no work, pounding the pavement looking for work as well as accepting so called menial jobs to make ends meet needs to return.

      Thanks Billy for giving a voice to this issue...awesome. Angels are on the way ps

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, I think it's time someone's feet are trampled. We need to change the attitude of this country and many countries like it.....it's time to hitch up our pants and find the value of hard work. :)

      Thank you Rajan...have a great day!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      You sure must have trampled on quite some feet with this candid outburst, Bill. But I do hope better sense prevails among the newer generation. Government assistance should be availed by only those who genuinely need it.

      Wonderful hub. Voted up and have a great day, my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Abundant, I appreciate you sharing that story of the young man. "Am I good enough to dream".....powerful question there, isn't it, and I suspect one that many people ask. You have me thinking with that one my friend. Thank you!

    • Abundant old soul profile image

      Abundant Old Soul 4 years ago from united states

      Hi Billy

      Part of my new life involves working with homeless people and teaching them life skills. See my web site. I hear what you are saying and in large part I agree! Then I have a case of the young man in today's class who asked me "what is college like?" After some discussion, what this person really wanted was "Am I good enough to dream that even I can make it?"

      Well you know me.... After assuring him that anyone who can read and write is at least as smart as many profs (I being one ), I could see the light go on. Here is a person who will make it! He is dreaming dreams, and acting on them in order to see miracles.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hi Lurana!

      In my humble opinion it all comes down to providing jobs for Americans. People will regain pride if they have a jbo that pays the bills. I don't think very many people truly enjoy handouts, and I agree with you, a safety net of some sort has to be there for those who have none.

      Thanks for weighing in on this hot topic.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      "Trouble with a capital T that rhymes with P and that stands for pool". I loved the Music Man reference. :-)

      I don't know how to teach pride or legislate it, but encouragement of any kind goes a long way. I look at it like we need to be pushed out of the nest to fly, but we also need a safety net (or soft landing) in case we don't make it.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, that's nice to hear....I'm just doing my thing and evidently people are enjoying it. Who would have thunk it? LOL

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Actually......of course I know you care, bro.....I was just joking about you and my kids maybe sending me down to the creek without a raft!! LOL

      Hey.....It's fun to be in the house with me....I've always been able to laugh at my own klutsiness & stupidity!

      Seeing very good things about you and from you and for you....not the least bit surprised. WoW

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, you are going to heal in your own time regardless of what I or your kids have to say. Nature heals, as does time....I just don't want you spending too much time in the house with yourself....and yes, damn it, I care. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      drbj, since our representative are quite good at scamming the system, I doubt they are too motivated to fix the problems. I'm getting cynical in my old age my friend. :) Thanks as always. You are a gem.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      ah....Uncle bill......You're giving me a complex. You keep telling me to go walk by the creek/stream......and yeah, OK....but we've had a LOT of rain and the creek, she's a-risin.....and it's common knowledge here, that I don't swim.

      So, it's OK, you can tell me. Which of my kids called you? Or was it a conference call?

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      There are so many common sense comments on your rational hub, Billy, because you have written it like it is. Earning your own living is old-fashioned today it seems when with little effort and perhaps some tutoring by scam artists, you can take advantage of every single entitlement our government offers - to its citizens and immigrants alike. Something wrong with that picture and our elected representatives, especially at the federal level, seem to be clueless about a solution. Or maybe it's just that they couldn't care less!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Oh Sid, thank you so much for this comment and right on! I am in total agreement. This problems starts at home my friend, as you so clearly and intelligently stated. Imagine the social problems we could eliminate if parents started acting like parents. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Larry, I think the comments were better than the hub in this case. I had no idea I would strike such a nerve with this article, but I'm pleased that I did. Thank you my friend and I hope spring has finally arrived in Michigan.

    • SidKemp profile image

      Sid Kemp 4 years ago from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach)

      Thanks, Billybuc, for telling it like it is. No government system can solve a problem that is actually located in the mind and heart of each of tens of millions of Americans. I think the primary source of the problem is clear. From this country's origins through the Great Depression, chores and work at home (and, in early years, apprenticeship) had children learning to work early, and it became a basic part of the personality. I think that children can start "helping out" with chores by age 3, putting their toys away, mixing foods while mommy cooks, digging in the garden next to a parent or older child. That "helping out" may not be very productive at an outer level, but it creates a sense that work is part of life. Then we grow to be proud of life and work.

      Parents are responsible for children's safety. Beyond that, let's see children work, play, grow, and make their own happiness. Let's stop using the TV and computer games to babysit our children - that teaches them that they are entitled to lie around and be happy.

    • profile image

      Larry Kitzmann 4 years ago

      Wow once again Bill you have hit a nerve for many out there, and I must say I enjoy reading the comments of others as they have responded to your blog. I am trying hard to keep my promise of taking a break from FB for the rest of this month. You do not make it easy though my friend. Given that tomorrow begins May I hope to respond to all that you have written of late. Keep the fires burning you continue to be an inspiration to many .

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Paula, this one obviously touched a nerve. I'm a bit surprised to tell you the truth that everyone agreed. I thought I'd be labeled a right wing asshole for this one, but anyone who knows me knows that I truly care for those in need....but this system as it stands now just sucks. :)

      Thanks Paula. Go take a walk by the stream today. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, we all seem to have similar stories, and if we all have them then this problem is obviously widespread. Touchy subject? Look at these comments!

      Blessings and a hug, and a sincere thank you

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Graham, I'm beginning to think that yes, indeed, they died in vain. The very backbone of our societies as weakened. I don't understand it but I know it has to change or we will all fail.

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Clover, I love that last statement....work for the aid...and the CCC is a perfect example. Thank you for a great comment and it's nice to see you visit.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rolly, I love that system. Let the people police the system.....if it's effective then I'm all for it, because the way our system works is shameful.

      Thank you my friend.

      blessings from Oly

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wow, Phoenix, I had no idea the same crap was happening in the UK...assistance based on the number of kids? How could that possibly fail? LOL What idiots decided that that was a good idea? Oh, right, the same idiots who did the same thing here in the States.

      Sheez, it's enough to make me mad all over again this morning.

      Thanks for a great comment my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cat, I totally agree my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Cat, you can rant here any day you feel like it, and I would definitely say that you earned this rant. No excuses could be given for the way you were treated. This system has failed millions while aiding millions who don't deserve it. When it is this broken it needs to be fixed. I don't want to hear excuses from our leaders....I want it fixed.

      Bless you, Cat, for sharing your story, a story I fear is all too common.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, we are in complete agreement my friend. Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alicia. this hub seemed to strike a chord with some people, don't you think? LOL Thanks for stopping by.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Patty, thanks for the visit and the great comment. I agree, there are not enough jobs to handle all those who need help, and I think that is the basis for all these problems. I think we would see pride return if everyone had the opportunity to make a decent living. Fraud will happen in any program, but fraud of this magnitude only happens when there is no other choice.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      BRAVO!! With all you have said and the landslide of excellent comments....I don't need to say much more than......"Amen! brother bill" Up+++

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      You are so right..this is a topic that evokes a reaction from both sides of the table.

      Like you I have seen abuse and I have heard little children answer when asked what they wish to be when they grown up....'Oh, I am not gonna' work; I am gonna' live on welfare like my Momma."

      I have seen Mothers encourage their children to 'act crazy' so that they could get monies for their 'disorders'. And I am not a Mommie basher as I am one; I have men abuse the system as well.

      then there are those that I know personally who have not been able to receive medical care because they made one or two dollars more than the cut off so did not qualify. Someone I know and love has advanced cancer because she was unable to have medical treatment at a time when staving off further cancer could have prevented advancing cancer.

      So this is a touchy subject for me. I do so believe that the system has been and is being abused. I do think that sweeping changes need to occur and I also believe that it should be equitable for all.

      Voted up, Billy, and shared. Angels are on the way ps

    • old albion profile image

      Graham Lee 4 years ago from Lancashire. England.

      Well said Bill. As in other hubs of yours I mention that things are mirrored here in the uk. I truly worry about the future, the fabric upon which our countries were built is being abused and torn down. Standards are falling everywhere. Did our warriors of yesteryear and today die in vain?

      Graham.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 4 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      "Relief" was started during the depression, and then became welfare. I so agree with having pride, and working for a living. I was brought up in a "work for what you have, or go without family." Thankfully, assistance was there when we needed it...when my dad suddenly died, and years later when my husband left me with two kids, and no child support.

      I will say, I only used "the system", until I could better myself, which I did in a hurry because I was embarrassed to use the food stamps.

      I don't believe that any child should be hungry in this country. With food stamps, food pantries, and local help, no child should be hungry. I could never understand why they claim so many children are going hungry.

      Perhaps the system need to be changed to where if you want assistance, you have to work to get it. It would be similar to the CCC camps of FDR's time. A little money for A LOT of hard work. I bet many would just get a regular job.

    • Rolly A Chabot profile image

      Rolly A Chabot 4 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Hi Billy... Thanks for posting this and doing so as to not offend anyone. We in Canada are not much different in watching the abuse carry on. There are so many different levels Unemployment insurance, compensation, etc and many other safety nets in place. The shame of it is these are the same people but the difference is they walk through a different door. When help is needed I am all for helping, after all it is one of the reasons I pay taxes. I do object when I see those same people smoking, golfing, drinking and just simply sitting back while others work.

      People are less tolerant here and are just as likely to outright ask why they are using the system. If a good reason is not given they have no problem calling and reporting them. It is the way things are dealt with and it is very effective.

      Hugs and Blessings

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      When I was young, I knew a few people in our neighbourhood who were on welfare. They were spoken about in whispers and stared at when they passed by. Being on welfare was considered shameful and nothing to brag about. Nowadays, people see it as a lifestyle choice. And it's not just limited to the States.

      The UK has more than its fair share of benefits cheats who seem proud of the fact they're scamming the system. Unlike the States there are no food stamps. People line up for ages to get a cheque and then splash out on booze, drugs, mobile phones and the latest 'designer' fashions. What little is left is spent on junk food. They get free housing according to the number of kids, so they 'Moms' just keeping having more kids they care nothing about to get more money and a bigger house. This mentality (lack of?) then gets passed on to future generations. The children grow up thinking it's normal to not work and the government pick up the tab. Is it any wonder they don't make the effort in school? What's the point of studying hard and learning marketable skills? The only office they will ever know is the Benefits office. And don't get me started on the free housing courtesy of the taxpayer.

      I think it's more than a lack of pride. I think the meaning of success has been compromised. It used to mean being able to stand on your own two feet and making your own way in the world. Now it seems to mean having the best TV, the biggest house, the latest gadgets etc. Could it be that these people feel they are successful because they can have shiny, new toys regardless of how they were acquired? Oh good God, I think I need a lie down.

      I have no problem with helping those who are disabled and unable to work or those who are making a genuine effort to get back on their feet again. It's the cheats I have no time for.

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Oh yeah Bill, one last thing... :-)

      I do not support sending one penny overseas until no child is starving here!

    • Cantuhearmescream profile image

      Cat 4 years ago from New York

      Billy,

      This subject has me spittin' bullets! This system is so flawed it's borderline worthless or at least counterproductive! (I will probably speak in exclamations!!!) I don't want to bore you with stories so I'll try my best, but you'll probably be reading this in the a.m. so you might want to grab a cup of coffee :-)

      I was in an abusive relationship for 10 years (my problem, yes) I had two kids within this relationship and spent 9 years trying to figure out how to leave it. Know why I didn't leave? I was a stay at home mother with kids/kid not in school for 9 straight years (had them 4 years apart). For one thing, I think that stay at home parents have one of the hardest jobs in the world, you don't get paid and you can't call in sick. Secondly, I chose to stay home with my kids. They are kids for only a short time and I knew the days would come that I would miss them being little. Furthermore, I wanted to be solely responsible for the things they were being taught at such a crucial age, not some stranger-day car provider. BUT, with that being said, I felt almost ashamed when asked out in public "What do you do for a living". You're made to feel like you don't have a job... "Oh, nothing, I just stay home with my kids". After I had a few years experience with my first child, I did start and finish an entire College degree and was halfway through my Bachelors when I decided to leave. Back to the "Know why I didn't leave?"; the answer is, I was afraid. How do I leave and start all over, I have no money, no "job", no experience... So, after the last good beating he'd ever give me... I just didn't go home. I scooped up the kids and left. I spent a week or two staying at a friend's home... a friend that had 3 of her own children and a husband and I would not stay there for long and impede on her already overwhelming daily life. So, as hard as it was, I drove my little self down to the local county building... stood in line waiting for the doors to open for over an hour, just to grab the 11th ticket. After sitting in a public waiting room for 3 hours, I was called to a bullet proof window where a lady asked what I wanted and after answering her, she told me to "come back tomorrow and try to get a ticket numbered 9 or below. They will only start 10 cases a day. I spent the week, using gas money that I did not have to travel to this God forsaken building, just to stand in lines for hours, sit in waiting rooms for half the day and then sent away to fetch appropriate proofs and paperworks, such as bank statements. Wouldn't you know that 2 weeks later when I sat down for my "make it or break it" interview... I was turned away. Reason; I was enrolled in college. I was told that if I wanted any help, I couldn't be going to college. I needed to go to a work-ready program that was 8 hours a day, 5 days a week for several weeks, to learn how to get a job. I asked them if they were serious and ufortunately they were. I thought that Public Assistance is supposed to be temporary until a person can get on their own feet; goal - self sufficiency? Apparently I was wrong. So, my kids and I barely at and were damn near homeless, while I drove around all day in heels and slacks, one interview after another... one person after another telling me that I had an impressive resume but lacked in "job experience" ... well duh! I finally got a less than attractive job and it wasn't enough to make it, but I learned to be savvy and eventually got a better job. My point, for the small moment in my life that I desperately needed help, I was turned away. But in the urban area 20 minutes from where I live, people are driving around in Escalades, their toddlers are wearing 24 carat gold chains and they eat like kings. Why? Daddy's dealin' drugs and Mommy's poppin' out kids. I guess that's what the system looks for, people who find a way to sneak into the system and live there for the rest of their lives. ... I also had a 30 something year old uncle that was diagnosed with a debilitating form of MS, left him in a wheel chair and an uncontrollable bladder not to mention excrutiating pain. When he and his wife applied for assistance (As her two meek jobs did not pay the bills) he was told to get a desk job! Yup

      For starters, I think there should be drug tests required to even get assistance. Personally, I don't care if you smoke weed, but if you can afford that or any other drug, then you really don't need assistance.

      Secondly, I think they should make it easier for those who need it, but harder for those that don't. How do we do this? My fear is to tighten one, you will tighten the other...?

      Sorry for the rant/ramble

      Voted up and awesome!

      Cat

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. Briefly: We should help Americans first, then help other countries.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Not only is this hub very interesting, but so are the comments! Thanks for a great hub about an important topic, Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Faith, I have seen basically the same thing and all I can do is shake my head. I have had friends ask to borrow money all the while sitting in a fully-furnished home with two cars. Makes no sense to me.

      Blessings my friend and thank you.

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michelle, I completely agree with the fish analogy....people need to work to find pride and self-worth.

      Thank you as always for the visit and comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deb, there is no doubt that would cut back on requests. I'm amazed at what you can buy with food stamps and the people that are using them....I want people working in this country!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from North America

      This Hub and Comments thread are eye-opening. In my state, one can generally receive Cash Assistance from OWF ("welfare") for only the first 3 children for 3 years total, but the counties can extend benefits in extreme hardship cases - news reports say fewer and fewer extensions occur every year.

      Some cash assistance and food stamp scams were effective in my city, but largely only short-term; and it seems that cash/food stamp fraud are reported and eliminated a lot here. It's harder that it used to be to receive help here, because of all the investigation by the public assistance organizations.

      In fact, I know a few people in Ohio and Michigan that must pay back all the cash assistance, SSI, and/or food stamps they ever recieved. Still, I know that some scams exist and are missed.

      I don't like paying taxes to provide help to scammers, but I DO like paying taxes to help people who need help.

      I never applied for help, even though I was elligible for about a year or so - I didn't know I was elligible! Aside from working many part-time jobs, I did grocery mystery shopping that provided enough food. There are not enough of those assignments for everyone that needs help, tho.

      This is a timely Hub and I appreciate seeing it and the comments. A++++

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      I was just thinking of the Teach a Man to Fish syndrome as I read this. Well said....people are too quick to reach a hand out for assistance.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Jon. I love your passion.

    • JON EWALL profile image

      JON EWALL 4 years ago from usa

      billybuc

      AS LONG AS WE THE PEOPLE REMAIN SILENT, NOTHING WILL CHANGE.The group of 8 are pushing a new immigration law even when the government hasn't enforced the present laws.STUPIDITY, yes by Washington and we the people, again silence from the people.

      The last time Congress tried to push a new law, the people rose in rejection of the bill.

      WAKE UP AMERICA,SOUND THE ALARM

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks for the comment and the links, Jon! There is no doubt that the government is part of the problem, just as there is no doubt that we have allowed the government to ignore the Constitution and the average American.

    • JON EWALL profile image

      JON EWALL 4 years ago from usa

      billybuc

      ''millions of Americans '' NEED HELP from our government in these troubled times. Shameful as it is, our government is part of the problem. The Mexican counsels in the country send flyers to illegals and giving them instructions on how to collect food stamps and other entitlements. THEY TELL THEM TO SIGN UP BECAUSE THE AGENCIES WILL not ASK IF YOU A CITIZEN.all this with the knowledge of our government USDA moves to end questionable food stamp ads http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/13/usda-mo...

      http://jon-ewall.hubpages.com/

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      There are those who really do need assistance, as you say, but I have seen otherwise. I remember being a young mother in line with my buggy full and two small children, and someone was ahead of me with two buggies full of steaks, etc., with huge diamond rings on each finger on both hands. Well, guess what he paid for all those steaks with . . . yes, food stamps!!! I thought of asking him, if he could just add my food in with his . . . ha!!! I was so disgusted, I just did not know how to act. I paid plenty for my food.

      God bless, Faith Reaper

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      When food assistance first came out, it was material that you received in order to make a good meal. If that came back, I think there would be less people taking. Not many people know how to cook in these days.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie, if anyone knows about tackling the biggies it's you. I didn't touch gun control and you ran over it with a tank. LOL

      I'm with you. We have a new generation that can't even spell pride, let alone understand its importance. People wonder why I enjoy talking to people who are in the eighties and nineties. No mystery: they grew up with an understanding of right and wrong. :)

      Thanks Sis! Take care ya hear!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      (god i'm exhausted from scrolling..lol)..

      Oh, Bill - as i was reading the first few paragraphs - i'm thinking to myself" WHERE HAS THE PRIDE GONE? Who WANTS food stamps??

      And - why are these people not reported?

      And then - whammo - the entire rest of the hub was all about pride - or - the lack of it..

      the problem is so broad as to be jaw-droppingly intimidating!

      single mothers on welfare for instance - WHY should they be having more babies at tax payers dollar?

      people will jump all over me for that , BUT - COME ON! where does it end - we can just support the entire freaking TRIBE?

      scam is right..

      awesome awesome awesome hub, my friend - you tackle the biggies!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Tiger my dear, it's always nice to see you stop by. I agree that this problem is too big for the government to handle the way things are now. The whole system needs to be revamped and then resources made available to stop the scamming. In the meantime, it might not be a bad idea to put people to work. Far too many able-bodied people cannot find a job that pays enough to live on, and that is definitely on the shoulders of the government.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Ruchira!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Levertis, it takes very little imagination for me to recall the Great Depression. My parents were teens back then and I have heard endless stories about tough times and the lengths they had to go to just to eat on a daily basis. I don't want to hear it's too tough nowadays....I want to hear how the government is going to put people to work and I want the hands out to end for those who can work but who are unwilling.

      Thanks for a great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Suzie, this one has affected many of us in one way or another. It is an abomination the way the system has been used for the benefit of those who do not need it, while others are starving.

      Thanks, Suzie! I appreciate you stopping by. Tell the Mickster to clean under his fingernails. That grease is downright disgusting. LOL

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sheri, you would be amazed how many Americans would be angry at that last statement of yours. I happen to think you are right on with it. It is ludicrous that we spend billions on defense and yet we have veterans that are homeless. If someone can explain the logic in that I am all ears.

      I heard a young woman talking the other day and she said the manager at the restaurant wants her to leave her job cleaning tables and be a waitress....and she told him no because being a waitress was beneath her.

      Just shoot me now. :)

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Wow...beautiful thoughts, bill.

      amen to that, my friend!!

    • Insightful Tiger profile image

      Insightful Tiger 4 years ago

      I am in total agreement with you mentor!

      When we came back from China, we had to start all over again, with a baby. We applied for and received food stamps for a few months until my husband found a job. After months of looking for work, we are both working and feeling that pride that comes from contributing and being responsible.

      However, I know a couple of people that need to stop making excuses and get a job!

      Even the Bible says that "For if a man does not take care of those who are his own, especially those who are members of the household of faith, this one has renounced the faith and is worse than those who are unbelievers." (1 Timothy 5:8)

      I think that because the government has so many people that are "scamming the system", they lack the resources to investigate each case and make sure the family is doing all they can to get back on their feet. If people were more honest with themselves and everyone else, the ones that really need the help could get more attention.

    • junko profile image

      junko 4 years ago

      Amen, Steele.

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 4 years ago from Southern Clime

      I am reminded of America's Great Depression of the 1930’s when fear and anger were common faces. I think more of the angry people should read books about it, especially the ones involving families. This would help some to get a realistic glimpse of how poverty affects people. It caused many to realize that money was their only strength because they failed the test of endurance when their money was gone. Fathers walked away from their families. Mothers did the unthinkable to feed their children. Many children were abandoned or became run-a-ways because parents had become their enemies.

      THE GRAPES OF WRATH (J. Steinbeck) and NO PROMISES IN THE WIND (I. Hunt) are great teachers that do a great job of painting pictures of the Depression with the family, the most important institution in the country, standing in the foreground, with faces missing.

      There is no excuse for bilking the government on any level. Stealing government funds has always been done on all levels, including white-collar levels. After Hurricane Katrina hit, there were more inside crimes than the government could handle. Many of the very people that the money and goods were entrusted to proved to be master thieves. All government stealing should be the talk of the people.

      Another great hub, Bill! I am clicking positively and sharing.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Bill,

      Unfortunately this problem is global and here in Ireland there is exactly the same issues with government assistance and those scamming the system. Being unemployed here has been particularly tough as many have lost their homes, gone into serious debt and the banks have had gotten away with murder. There are many people who genuinely need help and as you say, it is pure common sense that new systems, approaches or guidelines need to be introduced to make sure the genuine cases are looked after. Well done my friend on tackling this subject that has affected me and the Mickster, voted up, useful and shared!

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 4 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      This is a tough one for sure. We don't have food stamps here in Canada, but we do have people on welfare and there are those who need it, and there are those who abuse it. I couldn't agree more with the lack of work ethics, especially the younger generation. I read somewhere that in western society many of those living under the poverty line still have TV's, cars, tatoos, etc. Show that kind of poverty to someone living in the slums in India and they would laugh! I don't know what the anserw is though. I know of some young (well...not that yound....late twenties) sitting in thier parents home, not working, because none of the jobs they qualify for are good enough! Grrr! Yup..you opened a can of worms with this one. But I do have to make one point....the atronamical amount americans spend on war, and yet so many of thier citizens are in such need!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Annie, I totally agree with your last statement. It does seem that when reform is brought about you can bet it will hurt the lower income families the most. In other words, those who have no political voice. Thanks for mentioning that very true fact.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Bill and I agree it is a damn shame. Hope the country can turn it around soon.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

      Well put Bill. I see this shift in thinking today also. Damn shame. You hit a home run here, I agree with everything you have written. Great message.

    • Annie Miller profile image

      Annie Miller 4 years ago from Wichita Falls, Texas

      Again, I haven't read all the responses so as not to color my own - or to keep my steam at a decent level.

      In 2010, at the age of 60 I was fired from my job - Texas is a right to work state and there was no justification for the dismissal so I was awarded unemployment benefits. I earned that money - worked hard all my life and deserved it.

      That did not stop me from looking for another job. Unfortunately, although I made it to many interviews, I was not hired. My counselor at the employment office - he also of an age - felt that, although my job skills and references were excellent, my age had a lot to do with my not getting hired.

      There are not a lot of jobs here. Some companies that were lured here by the city with promises of tax breaks stayed open for a year or two and closed abruptly leaving more people out of work.

      I don't have any answers, just my story. I do think whenever they try to limit access by cracking down on fraud, the poorest always pay the most in hardship. Just my opinion.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Uber, I can only imagine what you saw working for the welfare department. Thank you so much for sharing your personal experience with the social welfare department as a recipient of aid. Self respect is a dying commodity in this country and it's sad to see. I don't know how we reached this point but we need to find our way back to some good old values. :) Thank you again!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, I get it....you get it....now for the government to get it. This is an economic problem, and we do not instill pride in our people by giving handouts. Make it possible for everyone to make an honest living and pride will return.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      vicki, I wish the same thing. Too many honest people are working hard for a living, and too many honest people who truly need help can't get it. Something is wrong when the dishonest among us can reap the benefits of a system designed to help only the needy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joanne, thank you for sharing that. If anyone asked for my opinion I would instantly say that if you want to end corruption then put people to work. Make it possible so that anyone who wants a job, a decent paying job that would pay bills and necessities, can have a job. If they choose not to work then they choose no assistance too. Unfortunately we are a far cry from that happening in this economy.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Georgie, I have a friend who is a doctor and he does commit fraud so that the system will benefit him. This kind of thing runs rampant throughout the entire system. He who plays the game best gets the most rewards.

      Thanks for sharing your story and thanks for stopping by for a visit. It's always nice to see you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, I tend to believe you are right about the government. Although I believe strongly that many people need help, I do not believe the system is working as intended and thus needs changing. Thank you for sharing your experience.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Poolman, I have the feeling you are very accurate in that assessment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sybol, your case is not unusual by any means and I'm sorry it happened to you. I have no answers other than the entire system needs to be revamped. Thanks for sharing your story with us all.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      junko, that would certainly get the attention of some who practice fraud. This problem starts at the top and works its way clear to the bottom of the social ladder. Tax breaks for the wealthy is just another example of using the system that was not intended for such misuse. I, for one, am tired of it.

      Thanks for the visit and great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, great comment and right on! Sense of pride and sense of ethics. Both are much needed in this country right now. I look forward to the day when this nation stands for pride again. Thanks buddy!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Lambservant, I simply do not understand that kind of irresponsibility and never will. I have had people in my family who worked the system like that and we have had many a heated discussion because of it.

      Shame indeed!

      Thank you my friend. Great comment.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Jo! I sure like that new profile picture of you. You look lovely my friend.

      Society has changed and not for the better....just my humble opinion. :)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Joe, I'm way behind in comments today. I had several projects that needed my attention so I'm sorry for being late to my own party.

      Labels... Bev and I just had this discussion last night. I will gladly vote for anyone of any party if they can show me solutions that make sense. I'm willing to bounce around party lines in search of a rational politician who cares about the people.

      Gotta run my friend. Thank you once again and aloha!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Poolman, you make an excellent point. I was listening to the Inaugural Address where the President said that Americans are going to have to retrain for new jobs.....how does a single mother of three find the time to retrain while working two part-time jobs???? The logic escapes me.

      I agree totally with you...the solution is to put people back to work at jobs that will pay more than benefits....put this country back to work and pride will follow.

      Thank you my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      MsDora, I know people like that and I find it sad. The bottom line is it has to come down to pride and self-motivation. Doing a good job should be reward enough, or at least that's how I was raised. :0

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vicki, I hear that word entitlement quite often nowadays. Never heard of it twenty years ago. Such is life in the United States, eh? I'm not sure that's the kind of legacy we want to give to our children.

      Thank you my friend. You are always appreciated.

    • UberGeekGirl profile image

      Michelle Harlow 4 years ago from Calgary

      I worked for the welfare department, in food stamps, for 2 years in California back in the early 90's. The abuse running rampant even then was sickening. We were literally weeding through dozens of reports every single day (just in our city of Ontario/Montclair).

      I have also received food stamps when my husband (and sole provider up till that point) left unexpectedly and leaving me with 2 kids to feed. As a high school dropout with no work experience to speak of at that point (except fast food) I was markedly unable to provide for my children's housing and clothing let alone food.

      I was embarrassed to be on welfare. I wanted to be able to provide for my children myself. I was fortunate that in Oklahoma, where I received aid, they have a rule that to receive TANF (cash aid for children) you must either be working, looking for work, or in school. They put me through college, fixed my teeth, and helped me with clothing suitable for job interviews. I got off aid as soon as I could.

      There's that pride you were talking about :) Today's generations are being raised to feel entitled and when they don't get what they want for free or easy they find a way to scam it or steal it. Because that is what it is. If you receive aid you don't really need you are a thief, stealing from those who actually need it. Especially places like food banks and charitable churches and the link the resources are finite and accepting them without dire need WILL cause some other child to starve. Quite possible to death.

      It's not a joke. It's not funny. and none of us are entitled to anything free. Have some self respect and don't take aid unless you absolutely have to.

    • grandmapearl profile image

      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, I am with you--'we come from tough stock, and it's time we showed it'! Just as soon as Congress and the President stop being self-serving and out of touch with the 'real' people of this country--that's when things will turn around.

      Personally, I don't think that looks very likely, but stranger things have happened!

      Voted Up and Awesome ;) Pearl

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      The work ethic definitely has changed over time. I wish there was some way to make sure that the people who need assistance get it, and the people who don't DON'T. There will always be flaws, though. I wish it could be better. Nice hub. :-)

    • profile image

      Joanne M Olivieri 4 years ago

      Great hub. I am liberal to the core but I have to agree with you on this issue. Food stamps and many social programs are simply handouts. Handouts do not really help anyone. Empowering people is what works.

      I knew a guy, decades ago who was homeless and living on the streets. I would pass him each day while going to work. He never asked for cash nor did he ever beg for anything. Long story short he came in our office one day and asked if he could wash our windows for some cash. Within a few months, he was washing windows for businesses on the entire block. Within a year, he had his own business washing windows around the bay area. If he had been given handouts he would probably still be on the streets.

      I do also agree that many of these people who receive food stamps and live on unemployment year round are scamming the system. We do need to tighten the regulations on these programs and for those that really need help, we need to empower them to help themselves. The KIVA microfinance loan organization is a good model for empowering those who want better lives.

    • Georgie Lowery profile image

      Georgianna Lowery 4 years ago from Lubbock, TX

      Without going into too much detail, I do receive Medicare, among other things. Last week, at the doctor's office, my doctor asked me if I'd been feeling very tired lately. I told her "not particularly." She asked again. I thought maybe she'd gone deaf. But no, I haven't been tired lately. She said she was going to check off the box that I had been tired lately because she had to have a valid reason to check my thyroid or Medicare wouldn't pay for the test. I was honestly a little pissed. She did run the test, even though I told her that I have never had thyroid issues (and my weight is the result of too many Twinkies) and, of course, the test came back negative. I also caused a little bit of a riot before surgery a couple weeks ago because I wouldn't consent to a pregnancy test. There was absolutely no way THAT was coming up positive. I just don't see the point in wasting tax dollars for unnecessary testing.

      My point is, I guess, that it isn't just the qualifying issues that are part of the problem with these kinds of government help. There's a lot of unnecessary crap at the professional level, too. I'm not saying that my doctors are willingly committing fraud for personal gain, but there is an awful lot of that going around.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      My Father died when I was 13, and my Mother and I struggled to make ends meet. She would never apply for assistance! She had too much pride. I agree the system is abused. I think the government makes it too easy for people to qualify for a lot of the available programs.

      Great Hub. Voted UP and shared.

    • profile image

      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      sybol - Some of the best coaches on how to beat the system actually work in the welfare offices themselves. Perhaps they view this a job security?

    • sybol profile image

      sybol 4 years ago

      Well Said, I believe your evaluation of this topic is very accurate. I have much to say about this but you have said a lot of it.

      I did not vote on the poll because there was no accurate choice for me. Years ago I needed assistance but did not get it because apparently my situation was not believable. I gave everything that they asked for. I was denied over and over. I too knew people who were getting assistance because they knew how to work the system. I was instructed on what lies to tell by some of them. I chose to be honest and my girls sacrificed for it. Situations have to be taken as individual cases. One form of questions will not qualify every situation. I think the system is LAZY in qualifying those in need.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Billy, you tell it like it is....I see so many older people who refuses to claim well needed government help. They've paid their taxes for years, still, they will not take a penny from the government because there are others who need it more. How society has changed.

      Another gem.