Public assistance is a broad term for the many programs that are meant to help lift people out of poverty and hard times, yet some people abuse these programs and find ways to stay on public assistance for the long run. The solution to all the problems they cause is not hard to find. Welfare should be temporary.
One of America's biggest misconceptions about public assistance is that of people on welfare. Rita Jensen, an investigative journalist in New York city and a former welfare recipient states that, "[W]hen one says 'Welfare mother' the listener hears 'black welfare mother.' This is a skewed perception that leads to an ongoing underlying racial motive against the welfare program. In general, when speaking about welfare most Americans believe it refers to mostly poor black people. However, in reality the largest percentage of welfare recipients are white women (Jensen).
Another big misconception about public assistance is welfare fraud. It is believed that so many people are cheating the system, but how is this possible when applying for public assistance requires everything to be documented? The public assistance agencies are usually very thorough in their documentation and require proof of utility costs, child care costs, and how many children are in the household (Jensen).
The agencies do their best to find the facts, yet some welfare mothers still cheat the system. The question is, do they have a choice? Katherine Newman, a professor of social policy at Harvard, states "Women on welfare cannot possibly pay the rent, the food bill, utilities and other basic necessities (let alone any luxuries) on the stipend provided by [welfare]. They have to find additional resources, and most of them do: They work off the books [so they do not have to report their additional income], they receive "in kind" assistance from family members or friends, which has to be hidden from view." Bill Clinton, former US president, goes on to say "[T]here are things that do keep people on welfare. One is the tax burden of low wage work . . . The cost of childcare . . . [and] the cost of medical care." It seems that the welfare program sets itself up for fraud by not providing enough help for its recipients.
One of the biggest ways to prevent this fraud is by informing people when they apply for assistance of all of their options. For example, when a single mother is looking for help to provide for her children and finish college, the welfare agency should provide her with the information on how to apply for a pel grant, and ways to contact government-funded child care...