“I have to start school in January or they’ll kick me off welfare.” It was intended to draw sympathy to the person’s plight, but it stirred me. It actually disturbed me. Truth be told, it’s disgusted me.
Call me prejudice or oppressive, but take a moment to hear me out.
The latest statistics that I could find show there are 201,600 welfare cases in Ontario, with 382,000 total recipients.
Welfare was created to help people through difficult times. That’s noble.
Welfare was not created to develop a lifestyle. That’s enabling.
Approximately $1200 per month is paid to a parent with one child (plus the child tax benefit which I understand is at least $200 to a non-working parent, tax credits, GST returns and other government incentives). A run down on the province’s website that summarizes the benefits for those receiving social assistance can be found here, including dental and vision care as well as prescription coverage.
There are many individuals and families who maintain employment, yet do not receive the same benefits.
My struggle with the claim of attending school to maintain welfare is this: there is no internal drive to become a “better person.” There fails to be an intrinsic value on bettering one’s self. No drive to gain employment. No drive to create a self sustaining life or contribute to the community.
Instead, a mindset has been developed that makes welfare a career of choice.
How has our system of social supports created a segment of our communities that are content to only receive without giving? Even more disconcerting, to limit one’s potential? If we allow our neighbours and fellow community members to limit themselves, aren’t we allowing ourselves to be hurt too? We are in this together.
I am not disgusted with the person who made the statement. I am disgusted that we have allowed this to become a viable option.
Everyone has a story. I hope that I can be a part of showing people that they have so much more potential in their life and I hope that you will join me to encourage people in your circle of influence. To do otherwise is to allow mediocrity to become the standard, and leave a life’s story unwritten, unread, and untold.