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Should we monitor how people spend their benefits?

  • Why should people on benefits be able to buy luxuries?

    How is it fair that people who are living their live on benefits can by luxuries why people without benefits are struggling to get by let alone be able to by luxuries. I think that people on benefits should not be aloud to buy thing like drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.

  • Assistance should be given for necessities.

    While I do not condone the prevalent myth that those on welfare are just greedy takers (studies have shown that welfare fraud happens in only about 2-4% of recipients), there is no reason the funds should not be earmarked for necessities.

    There is no logical reason to have a pre-paid debit style card, where recipients can draw out cash and spend it on casinos and lotto tickets. Food stamps could easily be revised to be more like WIC- to be earmarked for fresh produce, staples like bread/milk/eggs, and generic forms of canned and dry goods like pasta/peanut butter/beans/etc. My city even has a program to try and help get more low income individuals spending their food stamp dollars on more healthy food by allowing vendors at our Public Farmer's Market to take them.

    Similarly, Medicaid needs to be reformed. My state has the greatest dollar outlay per capita (in fact we have people moving here from Pennsylvania just to get New York State Medicaid), largely due to wasteful expenditures. Medicaid will cover emergency room visits and ambulance rides, so many of the recipients in my city go the ER for the sniffles and call an ambulance to do so! If there were reform so that a monetary penalty were established or benefits lost if a person called an ambulance for a non-emergency situation or visited the ER for a non-emergency situation, a couple thousand per person could be saved annually.

    The system does not need to be cut- millions of the working poor, elderly, and veterans would fall even deeper into poverty without them. But the system can definitely stand some reform.

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