Just like my family was in need of assistance once, it is essential for survival. I too come from a low-income family and we had to be on assistance for a long time. We were not trying to take advantage of the system deliberately, but the circumstances we were in were not ideal for us not to take that opportunity. My parents, because of their lack of education, were only eligible for minimum wage earnings, and sometimes had to work two jobs just to make ends meet. We were on food stamps for a long time, and that alone alleviated some of the pressure for sustenance. My brother is also disabled and because of that, he qualified for daycare assistance as well. Life couldn’t get better for him. He was able to meet others with similar disabilities thus enabling him to supersede many expectations within his capacities. His speech vastly improved and so did his social skills. None of this would have been accomplished if we didn’t have assistance.
Like us, there are many other families in need. Yes, there are many others that do take advantage of tax dollars to sustain themselves only through assistance, but there are many more that really need this. One thing I would do different to improve the system is allow assistance only for a certain period of time and assign social workers to these families. These will then work directly with families in need and assist them with other programs which would not only help them improve their living conditions, but give them back their sense of self-worth and dignity. Living in harsh conditions is not easy, and one will never understand what it is like unless you experience what they have. Not being able to find a job due to lack of education is not always their fault. Many times it is due to circumstances out of their control and they need just a push to get them out of the hole and get back on their feet. I feel the same way with scholarships or grants. More often than not, these are provided based on merit, and not by necessity. If a student who went to a school with limited recourses cannot then perform at higher standards like others, they get denied the opportunity to a higher education. They are left at a disadvantage from the very beginning thus continuing with the educational, social, and economic gap.
Again, I strongly believe that by partnering these families and giving them a more personalized attention to their needs, we can help them cut costs of providing for things that are extra and concentrating on issues that need to get fixed. Not only will this benefit them by competing for better jobs, opportunities for education, stability and picking themselves up with dignity, but also, we will see the results in costs of assistance programs in comparison to what we have now.