Since Bill Clinton was forced by Republicans to sign the Welfare reform law in 1996 there can be no arguing the welfare rolls have declined. From a high of five million in 1995 to a continuing downward trending two million in 2010 the numbers appear to be a reason to finally celebrate the success of something coming out of Washington.
But wait, ghettos have not gotten smaller, more people are on food stamps than ever, unemployment is still historically high and workforce participation is at 30 year lows. How can this be possible if so many have stopped taking welfare? How can all these people not working afford to live after getting rent assistance, food stamps, and free phones? They have found a better way and it doesn’t include working nine to five.
If you Google crazy Money you will get about half a million hits regarding easy money games, apps and mad money. If you search the urban dictionary you will get something entirely different. It refers to money received from Social Security under Supplemental Security income. Not to be confused with SSID which is disability insurance you actually have to have worked at some point to receive. Nope SSI will gladly send you a check for $700.00 each month regardless of your work history.
Now seven hundred might not seem like much but when combined with housing assistance, EBT, Obamaphone and a few bucks on the side you can be livin large. Still not enough to support the lifestyle you would like to be accustomed to? Just sign up your significant other and the kids. A modest family of four can cash in on $33,600 a year in spending cash. You don’t even have to be a citizen to apply. As long as you are here as a refugee, asylum seeker, waiting for citizenship or even overstayed your medical visa just fill out the forms in your language of choice.
How prevalent is SSI? If you look at the numbers in 1995 the year Clinton promised to “change welfare as we know” it, five million received SSI. Fast forward to 2010 and it almost appears everyone leaving welfare is now get their stash from SSI as it approached seven million. Today that number is near 14 million. Just the numbers of children receiving SSI has increased seven fold over thirty years. In 1961 heart disease was the number one reason for SSI, today back pain and “mental” are the biggest reasons for living off the taxpayers.
It is not just the residences of urban ghettos that live large off the program. Just think of the legions of federal employees that administer the program and their benefits and retirement. Then you have all cowboy hat and no cattle New Yorker Charles Binder whose firm made almost 69 million in fees on disability cases. Like most federal programs mired in regulations consultants spring up to provide employment for retired workers so they can give back to the community and explain the regulations they enforced. The largest is Public Consulting Group, or PCG.
Just one division of PCG run by a former Social Security Administration district manger is moving “clients” from TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) to SSI. This division is marketed to states as a way to reduce welfare caseloads. The advantage to the state is TANF is paid by the state and SSI is paid by the federal government. (http://www.publicconsultinggroup.com/humanservices/TANF/ssi_for_tanf.html ) The plus side is it reduces obligations to their own poor and even “pays” the clients better. The state of Missouri likes the program so much it pays PCG a bounty of $2,300 for each TANF to SSI it successfully canvasses. The Federal Government doesn’t mind since it helps keep unemployment numbers down, creates a dependant voter block, and it is not their money they are giving away.
So anyway you look at it from the President, the state governors, county supervisors all the way to the welfare queens you would have to be crazy not to take advantage of taxpayers this way. The real crazy thing is not one dollar is required to be used for treatment of any affliction, which is picked up under Medicare after a short wait. So ask your self are we taxpayers crazy for supporting this or just stupid.