Respond to a colleague by explaining a strategy for how a social worker might help clients manage these perceptions, given the differences your colleagues described
Social Security benefits is different from public assistance programs in one way as taxpayers have deductions taken out of their paychecks wages for social security. I
am not aware of any public assistance program where the beneficiaries pay any form of monies to retrieve back at a later time in life or if circumstances change and
you need to apply for these benefits due to not being able to work any longer. The individuals that reside in my residential program receive SSI/SSI/SNAP benefits and
there are quarterly meetings to discuss if there “entitlements” are up to date. Some of these individuals have never worked and only receive these benefits due to
their diagnosis. The term entitlements regarding this meeting was a topic of discussion amongst a few colleagues some time last year and they had strong disagreements
in regards to whether the term entitlements was appropriate. Social security can be an entitlement that those who paid into it and it can be a benefit one can look
forward to upon retirement. Many Americans think that there will be changes to this benefit as well as there is a debate as to whether Social Security will be
available in the near future (Popple & Leighninger 2015). pg. 139. This possibility is inequitable, as in my opinion, if you worked all of your life and involuntarily
paid into this benefit with the notion that when you can no longer work and need it, it will be accessible to you. Needs-tested programs are there to help you due to
either no income, low income, not having health insurance and hopefully a hand up to get you on your feet.
“Defenders of entitlements view them as the expression of society’s obligation to the poor, the elderly and the unemployed. Some argue that all citizens have a right
to economic security, whereas others stress that certain entitlements, such as Social Security are in fact earned benefits” ( Popple & Leighninger 2015) pg. 140. SSD
payments are also paid to those who have a work history as well as if their parent worked and retired or is deceased. Some of my individuals receive both SSI and SSD
payments. “As the population of the United States continues to grow older, the number of Social Security beneficiaries will continue to rise, and the program’s outlays
will increase faster than its revenues. Long term projections are unavoidably uncertain but, under a broad range of assumptions, benefits that are scheduled under
current law will consistently exceed revenues” https://www.cbo.gov/publication/21547
Welfare program are designed to assist primarily women and children on a temporary basis and they receive cash benefits, health insurance benefits and nutrition
assistance. These funds are designed to be used for specific purposes and the recipients must look for work as again, this is supposed to be temporary assistance.
“TANF benefits are figured based on individual state guidelines and dependent on factors such as family size, earned and unearned income, and housing expenses. The
state of New York has a 60 month (5 year) cap on TANF benefits”. https://www.tanfprogram.com/new-york-tanf-eligibility. Welfare benefits can be given those ranges
vary. A single mother at the age of 17 can receive benefits as well as one who is 37. Social Security is provided when you are 62.
The differences in Social Security and welfare benefits in terms of general perceptions are that there is usually more of a stigma applied to those on needs tested
programs as opposed to social security. Some needs tested recipients are sometimes viewed as lazy and don’t have the drive to work and earn an honest living while
those on social security can be viewed as needing this assistance due to their older age, injury or some form of a disability such as a mental illness. Welfare
recipients can be viewed as too dependent on the government to take care of them and they make a conscious decision not to work. Social Security can be perceived as a
benefit to those who paid into it due to working and when you become older or become disabled, it should be an available source of income. “Today, the Cato institute
is releasing a new study looking at the state-by-state value of welfare for a mother with two children. In the Empire State, a family receiving Temporary Assistance
for Needy Families, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, public housing, utility assistance and free commodities (like milk and cheese) would have a package of benefits worth
$38,004, the seventh-highest in the nation.” https://nypost.com/2013/08/19/when-welfare-pays-better-than-work/. For someone who works on a daily basis and struggles to
make ends meet, this reality can be extremely frustrating as well as gives worth to the stigma of receiving welfare.
Popple, P. R., & Leighninger, L. (2015). The policy-based profession: An introduction to social welfare policy analysis for social workers. (6th ed.). Upper Saddle
River, NJ: Pearson Education. Pp. 139, 140
Retrieved from: https://www.cbo.gov/publication/21547 Congressional Budget Office. (2010). Social Security policy options.
Retrieved from: https://www.tanfprogram.com/new-york-tanf-eligibility. New York TANF eligibility requirements. (n.d.)
Tanner, Michael (2013). When welfare pays better than work. Retrieved from: https://nypost.com/2013/08/19/when-welfare-pays-better-than-work/.
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