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Welfare Myth 01: Welfare recipients are a drain on the system

Posted by Iahmed on April 9, 2010

I wanted to take a moment to continue highlighting DHS’ Welfare 101: busting myths about welfare campaign. We want to put a stop to these myths that tarnish the true purpose of the welfare system.

Myth 01: Welfare recipients are a drain on the system.

Here are the facts:

Today, it is more likely than ever before that your neighbor or relative collects one or more welfare benefits because of unemployment, home foreclosures, or child or adult abuse or neglect.

In fiscal year 2009, more than 2.5 million people in Michigan — more than 25 percent of the state’s residents — received one of five programs. That includes cash, food, medical, state disability or child development and care assistance.

Thousands more used benefits or services related to energy assistance, adult and child abuse or neglect, foster care or adoptions, home help services or something else making the real total greater than 25 percent.

Here’s another fact that busts this myth:

The average family receiving assistance is a single parent with two children. They receive help for a short time. On average, that family receives Family Independence Program (FIP) cash benefits averaging $415 a month, Food Assistance Program (FAP) benefits averaging $252 a month, Medicaid benefits and possibly Child Development and Care (child care) reimbursement for the time the parent works or attends required Work First activities. The average child care benefit is about $610 a month.

The parent probably works part-time earning minimum wage. Between part-time income and benefits, the family may live on $700 to $800 a month. This places the family at about 50 percent of the federal poverty income guideline for a family of three of about $1,526 a month.

These benefits are temporary; the average FIP client receives benefits for 21 months and the average FAP client receives benefits for 24 months.

Consider this myth busted.

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