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The really bad thing about minimum wage jobs (and even some lower wage jobs) is they can actually hurt an individual who is struggling. Often times the wages they make will just barely meet the minimum thresholds to lose their government benefits (i.e. healthcare, food stamps, access to shelter, etc...). They start work thinking they are getting back on their feet and next thing they know they lose their food stamps, healthcare, etc...

Before everyone goes crazy, I am not saying that people should milk the benefits, but when you are struggling to make ends meet and don't have alternatives those benefits can be crucial to not only survival, but overall general happiness and feeling of security.

This sounds like a system that incentivizes not working and the only solution I can imagine is remove these requirements. Removing the benefits would be a nightmare.

If you can’t make enough to live on otherwise, by all means milk the benefits. I’ll say it.

It's really not that way though; the concept of "welfare queens" is entirely a myth. Even those who manage to game the system don't exactly lead enviable lives. The only way to truly "beat" the system while living off the proceeds is to commit outright fraud, like claiming benefits for multiple/dead people.

Basically, the benefits are so poor and inconsistent that you can't realistically aspire to live off of them.

I never qualified for welfare but had to claim 4 dependents and lie about my income (120% of which went to rent or late payment thereof) just to collect $600 a month in food stamps (which included 2 infants requiring non-dairy formula not covered by WIC), and they did their damndest to find a reason to kick me off the payroll every 3 months by constantly post-dating requests for documentation or conveniently losing documents I did send in on time. It worked quite a few times and we got nothing in those months. But the idea is that the benefits are enough to keep you/dependents from starving to death. You can't just collect benefits and not expect to supplement it with your own labor.

100%! Without hijacking this thread and/or turning it into a political rant, the propaganda of people "abusing" welfare is a 99% political agenda. Like you pointed out, unless you are committing "outright fraud" there is really no way to live a lavish lifestyle off food stamps and other government benefits. In most cases, even if you are able to get the full amount for food stamps each month you are left with little. The people who complain the loudest about "food stamp fraud" often don't understand the slightest how food stamps work or what you can use them for. They don't understand it is not some bottomless grocery money each month or that you can't buy toiletries, paper products, or related items.

> Without hijacking this thread and/or turning it into a political rant,

Too late :)

> the propaganda of people "abusing" welfare is a 99% political agenda.

I agree that this sort of message is crafted to create moral outrage and, thereby, an outsized negative response to welfare as a whole. I initially responded in this way, but I quickly changed my mind when I heard the message that it's just so little.

That is, even accepting the likely-inflated numbers claimed for the abuse, it's such a small percentage of overall tax revenue (and even of social programs), partly because the benefits are so meager to begin with, that it's simply not worth consideration or discussion.

The far more interesting (political/economic) question, to me, is whether it does more good than harm.

In this particular case, I absolutely agree with ancestor-comments that "milking" the benefits rather than risking losing them by working a low-wage job is best, and not just for the OP, but for society and the economy as a whole. The faster the OP gets back "on his feet" and is producing near full capability and is earning (and paying taxes on) full wages, the better it is for everyone.

Neither society nor the economy are a zero-sum game, after all.

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