Please watch the news. There have been repeated reports on people who have cheated the government out of millions of dollars. For instance, one man had 17 children with 3 different women and he never supported a single child because the welfare state took care of them. Incidentally, he laughed about this situation. There are today third generational welfare recipients who have never worked a day and will never work, believing that they are entitled to a government check. [These people were on a televised report and were interviewed, saying that they were "entitled."] Today in the United States, there 49% of the population does not pay any tax while 51% supports the nation. Does this seem right? Surely, there are some in this 51% who could contribute to the economy rather than being a burden upon it.
Even the state governments are to blame for some welfare errors. Recently on the news one woman had won the lottery, so she reported to the food stamp office that she no longer needed the stamps; however, the state office continued to send them to her for two months. Multiply this by the many who report and the program is not ended when it should be.
So are you asking why people tend to think that welfare reciepients are cheats? That's how your question sounds to me.
I think it's because we all think the worst of other people, particularly ones who seem like they are in some way different from us. Therefore, we suspect that other people are just getting welfare even though they don't need it. I think it's the same reason why we think government officials are greedy -- we're just suspicious and distrustful by nature.
I think that there are cases of abuse in the welfare system, just as there are cases of true need. The various forms of government assistance exist to help people/families to get back on their feet during tough times. Many of these programs were created by (or as a result of) Roosevelt's New Deal in reaction to the great Depression. At the time it was much more socially unacceptable to take "charity" so many programs were meant to simply be a boost until work was availiable or the program itself allowed families to get back to work and on their feet. This is still the case for many families who get public assistance. Whatever the reason for financial struggles, many families use these options to tide them over until things get better. Here in Florida there are job training programs that are available (and sometimes mandatory) for those receiving assistance. Unfortunately there are those who take advantage of the system and unless it can be stopped (though I don't know how) it gives all peope who receive assistance a bad name. It is assumed that everyone who participates in these programs is lazy and just looking for a free ride. The fact that some people have a sense of entitlement and see no reason to provided for themselves and their families when the government is doing it for them, gives everyone in the program a bad name.