Free «Welfare Fraud and the Needy» Essay

Welfare Fraud and the Needy

British and American welfare improvements have been common for many years. In the last three centuries, English people, who settled in American camps, imitated the Elizabeth Poor Law to curb the swelling problem of poverty, emulating the approaches of the Charity Organization Society and those of the Settlement Houses found in England. These laid the bases for the rise of the social work profession that later took the major role of developing the country’s welfare organization.

In the 20th century, Britain has counter emulated these welfare organizations from the United States. This exchange of information was, for example, when the United Kingdom reciprocated the urban community’s antipoverty program by the Johnson Organization in 1960. British scholars (Julian Le Grand et al., 2007, p.48) noted the effect of the American policy of innovations on their social policy. President Clinton’s work-pay policies that introduced minimum wage in 1999, earned revenues and credit for the child-care, which was under the direct influence of the Blair’s government (Howard, Glennerster, 2002).

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The policy amendments in 1996, concerning enacting of Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act changed the way the state had paid cash benefits to the low income receivers, who were mostly parents in the single families. This had been taking place for around sixty years. The American welfare reforms attracted the international press, who, in return, published the article ”America’s great achievement” seeing that these reforms had highly succeeded.

Better researches have shown the results of the welfare reforms done in the United States. Moreover, many assessments of their impact on the state have been published as well.

Creation of the welfare

After the Civil War many families, whose breadwinner was the father, suffered from their deaths. This suffering brought the rise of the federal program to assist the families and the disabled veterans. At the end of the 19th century, there was a rise in the number of young ones in the orphanages, creating stress to the facilities in these camps. Arguments like building more orphanages or assisting the widows at their homes came to view; hence, rising a public support movement known as the widows’ pension in the 20th century.

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Due to the economic pressures of the Great Depression, the funds to mothers became limited, and the state called for more support from the federal units. Federal government’s Social Security was, hence, adopted and the mothers’ pensions were partly nationalized (Trattner, 1999).

With the view of the great unemployment numbers, the sponsors gave priority to an establishment of insurance for the unemployed to be jointly paid by the state’s government and the federal one. A retirement insurance scheme to cater for the old was established as well. The Social Security had later formed the Aid to Dependent Children (ADC) to replace the mothers’ pensions and later named it the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).

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AFDC paid benefits to the low income families headed by the lone mothers, lone fathers, who stayed home to care for the children, or by relatives, who took the responsibility. Poor two-parent families also shared those benefits.

For years, AFDC duties were modest, and the number of recipients was low and easily manageable. An estimate number of 150,000 families received support on the onset of the program. The number has slightly increased in 1950 and in 1970, when the pressure of the load became great. The number of the divorced women increased in 1970s, raising the number of women applicants greatly.

In 1994, the figure had shoot to a peak of 5.1 million families. By the middle of the year, the number of enrolled has decreased and continued this pattern up until the 21st century, where it equaled to 2.1 million families accounting for around 5.6 million individuals (Besharov, Germanis, 2003).

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Current Welfare System

Research has shown positive and negative sides of the new system in comparison to the old one. It is clear that the citizens have born the burden of tax paying in order to maintain the widows, but the report shows that the more tax was paid, the higher the number of the recipients was. Poverty seems to be on the increase, despite the efforts put to curb it. This is not mainly due to the inefficient government, but due to the lack of accountability to the system. The argument is that the way the state is fighting with poverty may be inappropriate. Majority programs gear to making the poor more comfortable, providing them with more food, and improving their living conditions; these are not exactly the tools to escape poverty.

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After around 70 years of the welfares implementation, a change has finally occurred. The conservative nature of the U.S culture evident in their presidents Reagan, Bush, and Clinton has left the welfare burden on the shoulders of the private sector. This shift of responsibility has shown a retreat from the social legislation, which was hard-won by the government with an intension to provide the essential needs satisfaction to millions of affected Americans.

Clinton had policies of making work-pay, which forced many recipients to go work. Many of these leavers, according to the research, showed to have difficulties in meeting their daily needs: they skipped meals and had difficulties in paying rent and bills due to the insufficient incomes (Loprest, 1999). Studies have also shown that some of the recipients have been sanctioned and some have resulted to serious psychological problems limiting their ability to work (Danziger, Seefeldt, 2003; Loprest, Zedlweski, 2006). These studies show that the sanctioned have a challenge of working individually in the open job markets; hence, these sanctions were proved not being able to resolve the challenges facing those people. On the other hand, many women have been engaged in employment even with low salaries, and the children have gotten access to better health facilities.

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System Abuse

Studies showed that many of the claimants were single mothers below thirty-five years and had little or no education to support two or more children. Since it was hard for many of them to adhere to the laws set by the system, they resulted to cheating in order to get the aid.

According to the studies, most frauds were of unreported income. In 2001 and 2005 studies, database findings showed that interpersonal violence or some external control on the recipients caused the fraudulent behavior. Others did this due to the lack of knowledge on the rules concerning their income reporting. For example, Toni took her children to her mother, while she was working at night, since the husband harassed her. She was condemned of fraud on allegation that she lived separately with the children. In another case, a father to Gloria’s children hid his income from her, giving false pay slips for the filling of the monthly earnings reports of the welfare department.

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Most of them also feared to lose the opportunity to access health services, since most employers in the low-salary labor markets may not be in position to provide the benefits to their employees and the families. Others acknowledged that their temporary jobs were not assuring and they would only be sure of the resources availability for a short period.


It is clear that Clinton’s encouragement of the welfare reforms played a big role on the new approach to labor. The government’s approach was different, since it concentrated on reducing child poverty rather than on reducing the roles of the welfare. Frankly, if taking poverty as a risk in the economy, which affects everyone, then the focus of the welfare should be to all citizens other than just the poor, since a welfare system serves as a protection to all citizens of a country.

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