Last Updated:Friday - 09/24/2010
September 25, 2006
WCR Letters to the Editor
Tell whole truth about gov't support for poor
Re:Sept. 4 editorial,"Welfare recipients need a hand up."
While I admire your efforts on behalf of people in our society who cannot seem to be self-sufficient, and the facts you give are true, I am not pleased that you are telling part of the truth but not the whole truth.
Whenever articles appear related to the income of welfare or AISH recipients, only the cash they receive each month is quoted. That is only a small part of what they receive.
I have an adopted son, born brain damaged, who is on AISH. Yes, he receives $1,000 per month. He can also earn $400 per month without being penalized, which he does by washing dishes.
What is not seen or known much about is the rest of the money the government/taxpayers put out. All medical expenses, glasses, dental, prescriptions, etc., are covered. He just received $6,000 in dental care. Clients who have qualified for PDD (People with Developmental Disability) have their caregivers paid for. This depends on the amount of help they require in their daily living. Minimal help can cost $3,000 to $6,000 per month.
As for welfare recipients, there are also thousands of unseen dollars. A woman whose job it was to issue special voucher payments, said she issued cheques for music lessons, musical instruments, martial arts fees and clothing, Cubs and Scouts jamborees, summer camps, sports programs, education fees and supplies, all medical expenses are paid for, winter clothing allowances, essential furniture, damage deposits. The list goes on.
So, financially what they receive in dollars each month is only the beginning.
Also, some people only learn from their mistakes. Women make choices in deciding to become sexually active, in the birth control they choose or do not choose to use, in the man or men they choose as fathers to their child (ren). They choose to complete or drop out of school.
To what extent are members of society, who made different choices, obligated to share their consequences? There are also alternatives to be totally dependent on government support. For example: three mothers and their children could share a good sized house, with one being the primary caretaker (receiving welfare perhaps), and the other two working at one of the many jobs that pay $12 an hour and more. (Few if any jobs pay minimum salary in Alberta's desperate need for workers.)
This means two of the women are earning $25,000 a year or taking home approximately $1,800 a month. Being single with children, they should also receive all their taxes back as well as the substantial children's allowance they receive each month.
If people cannot work due to physical or emotional problems, then they should be on AISH. Also, welfare was not supposed to be a way of life which it has become. It is seldom, as you say, temporary help.
I completely concur with Sirach when we are admonished "not to rob the poor man of his livelihood, not to force the eyes of the needy to turn away, etc."
However, I think we have to clarify who is needy and who it is that we are enabling to stay in this lifestyle. Enabling addicts, whether it is drugs, alcohol or financial support without working, is not showing love. It is making them slaves and beholden to society. It is taking away their opportunity to regain their self-respect and independence and ability to make right choices.
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