The largest single welfare program is Medicaid (NOT Medicare).
20?f all citizens are on Medicaid - 2009 - more today. http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=199&cat=4
Another large program is food stamps (SNAP). About 47 million in a nation of about 300 million means about 15? http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=651&cat=1
There is considerable overlap between these groups.
The other welfare groups: SSI (not social security), TANF (cash assistance), housing (HUD), energy assistance, WIC, etc, would b e contained in one of these two groups - total overlap.
So the total amount on 'welfare' (which we are saying does not include social security or Medicare, since they are contributed to by the beneficiary), and we are not considering VA beneficiaries, since they served their country to receive benefits, would be less than 35?
I put the number at about 25? possibly higher, but not much.
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There are some news stories out, putting the number as high as 47?
I have done some research of the studies that generated these numbers, and from what I see, the numbers make one talley for every program recipient. that is, if one person received both food stamps and medical assistance, that is 'two welfare program recipients' - even though only one person.
Here is one example: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/over-100-million-now-receiving-federal-welfare_649589.html
We are told this information comes from "U.S. Census’s Survey of Income and Program Participation"j better know as 'SIPP'.
Here is the home page: http://www.census.gov/sipp/
I invite the reader to wade through this to show I am mistaken.
I do not believe it can be done - but one has to extrapolate the information, no easy matter.
This report may be helpful: http://www.census.gov/sipp/workpapr/wp246.pdf
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Another issue is poverty.
We see that 20?f the citizens are under the federal poverty level (2010-2011) http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparebar.jsp?ind=9&cat=1
This gives us the poverty amounts for family sizes ($18,500 for 3 persons) http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/11poverty.shtml
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Now consider these things.
I provide factual information, which it seems to me has a bearing on this discussion of poverty, and hungry (staving) people.
For most states, resources are excluded for food stamp eligibility.
In our county, one family of five was awarded a settlement of $600,000. They decided to quit their jobs, and their attorney advised them to apply for food stamps.
Obviously Zero income is below the poverty level.
They receive food stamps based on zero income.
Who thinks they would starve without food stamps?
I have adults on my caseload, mid 20's, living independently in housing paid for by the parents - the parents own the apartment building in two cases - or with significant others - they have no income, receive food stamps based on zero income, they are poverty households.
Who thinks they would starve without food stamps.
An adult woman (mid 40's) is receiving General Assistance (cash) and food stamps, trying to get federal disability.
She missed an appointment because her parents took her on a cruise.
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Myth: Most welfare recipients are on benefits a short time.
Let me make that clearer.
At any one time 80?f any given caseload is chronic, repeat for one or more lifetimes.
80?f the money being spent at any one moment in time, is for the chronic, constantly needy, needy by choice, more than circumstances.
The other 20?omes and goes on a regular basis, in one door, out the other, never to be seen again.
At any moment in time, only 20?f the total, but over a long stretch (say five years), most of the ones helped were short timers, came and went, just like the myth says, most of the recipients on a short time,. . . . . . . but they only use 20?f the total funds available.
80?f the financial help available, goes to those ‘few bad apples.’
That does not sound like a good taxpayer investment to me.
It seems to me the lion share of the money should be spent on the temporarily poor, the poor by circumstances, more than choice. http://www.urban.org/publications/900288.html
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(Per the SSA reference below - SSI and children - "On average, SSI payments accounted for nearly 48 percent of the family income of SSI children,")
For all families with SSI children, SSI is nearly half of ALL income.
SSI and children. http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/ssb/v66n2/v66n2p21.html
2.6?f the population is on SSI, one of every 38 individuals, most never worked a day, the remainder worked so little, their Social Security is less than $678 per month. http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=254&cat=4