What could be done to make public assistance more dignified experience for those who need it?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In addition to these worthy considerations of keeping those on public assistance anonymous, perhaps the present regime that has canceled the program of President Clinton that started people on public assistance working, instead allowing people to do nothing for what they receive, should consider initiating something like President Roosevelt's Public Works Program during the Great Depression. In this way, people would be contributing something to their country and be able to feel better about themselves as they are not reduced to the level of a mere beggar.  Indeed, there is nothing more dignified than a sense of self-sufficiency and worthy contribution to society.

Those who have read Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird have surely noted the difference among citizens of the Depression who had a self-pride that did not allow them to take "hand-outs" and not work like Bob Ewell, who was on the lowest rung of Maycomb society. Nowadays, with some who feel a sense of entitlement for government checks, putting them to work may instill a juster ethic in them, while working others who have fallen into misfortune may help them to maintain some self-esteem, especially if they are placed in work situations where no one knows that there are part of any government plan. 

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are at least two important things that could be done to accomplish this.

First, the assistance could be provided in forms that make it unobtrusive when the recipients use the assistance.  For example, the government might consider giving food stamps in the form of debit cards so that everyone in line at the supermarket cannot tell that the person is using food stamps.

Second, the application process could be made as unintrusive as possible.  Of course, there will need to be some safeguards to ensure that people are not defrauding the government.  Even so, care should be taken to ensure that applicants are treated like customers at a store in the private sector, not as people begging for a handout.

cassielargy | Student

Good response above but the government already has food stamps as the form of credit card. I think the problem does not lie in the government but rather with the people of the world judging and discriminating against underprivileged people receiving assistance.

People assume if you are on food stamps that you don't work. Very untrue! You could work three jobs and still not make enough to feed your children three healthy meals a day. Also if you get welfare...automatically people assume you don't work and live off the system. The DSS puts every applicant through a job readiness program and requires a person to work before even being considered for assistance.

Some women that live in section 8 (subsidized housing) are victums of domestic abuse and flead abusive relationships (that does not mean they are broke or jobless) that means they chose there safty and the safty of there children over money.

People need to stop sterotyping and judging those that need help!