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Old 06-25-2012, 05:07 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,652 posts, read 17,126,481 times
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What is your country's "dole" like? What are the main government and private programs to provide aid (housing, food, heating, etc.) to those in need of it?

In the U.S., most social welfare programs are administered at the state or county level with a mixture of state and federal funds. One applies for most programs at their county's social services office.

They are need-based or "means-tested", a term which signifies that one's assets and income (means) determine their eligibility. Verifications are done periodically to make sure the recipient is still eligible. Fraud (e.g. not reporting untaxed "under the table" income, such as tips) is epidemic.

Usually, certain assets are excluded from calculations, such as the home one lives in and one car. Objects like TV sets, computers, and furniture are often also excluded.

The immense variety of social programs and the fact that they vary from state to state precludes listing them all here. I'll limit myself to the main ones, which are found in most states:

> Medicaid. This is probably the most expensive means-tested social welfare program (Medicare, which usually requires that one be retirement-age to qualify, is more of a social insurance program, as one has to have paid in to receive it). Medicaid provides health insurance (including dental care and medications) at almost no cost to those with very little income and assets. Unlike in some other countries, where those covered under the government insurance system must receive their care from a "public hospital" in order to have their expenses paid for, Medicaid allows one to see a very broad range of doctors and specialists. Recently, there has been some controversy with doctors and even entire hospitals not accepting Medicaid due to the miserably low reimbursement rates paid out to providers.

Medicaid in Minnesota is known as "Medical Assistance", and the rules to qualify are stringent - an income not exceeding $700 a month for a single person and assets (including the balance of one's bank accounts) not exceeding $2,000 in total value. Likewise for other states. Even a person working for minimum wage at a typical part-time job would be ineligible, if they were single. In recognition of this, some states have implemented programs to insure those with "modest" incomes whose employers do not provide health benefits. In Minnesota, the program is MinnesotaCare; in Wisconsin, Badger Care; in Massachussets, MassCare; and so on.

> Food Stamps (SNAP). The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is commonly known as "food stamps", due to the "stamps" that used to be issued up until the 1990's as a form of "currency" for use at grocery stores. Today, recipients are issued an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card, which is loaded each month with a fixed amount of money, which is dependent on family size and income. The card can be used to purchase at least uncooked food and drinks at any qualifying retailer. Practically all large supermarkets and a large percentage of gas stations, convenience stores, and other food vendors accept EBT cards. In some states which allow the purchase of heated food, fast food restaurants also take EBT cards.

Controversy centers around the fact that soft drinks and junk food can be purchased with EBT cards. A common form of fraud takes the form of recipients "selling" their unused balance to non-recipients in exchange for cash. Vendor-side fraud - attendants and cashiers ringing up cigarettes and alcohol as food items - has also been reported.

> Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) - WIC is a federal program that provides assistance to pregnant women and mothers of young children. The primary service the program provides is a voucher for set foods: peanut butter, milk, and cheese are among them. Income eligibility requirements are not nearly as strict as those in other programs. Roughly half of newborn children receive benefits through WIC.

> Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is a monthly cash payment that requires that the recipient have some disability that precludes him or her from, in theory, ever providing for themselves by working. Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which (supposedly) comes out of the insurance fund paid through all formal employees' payroll taxes, SSI is a pure welfare program that does not require the recipient to have ever held a legal job. However, SSI is often paid in addition to SSDI to former workers who now have a disabling condition.

SSI has the same stringent asset requirements as the other programs, with one having to be both income-poor and asset-poor to be eligible.

> Section 8 Housing. Section 8 is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and provides part or all of the rent payment for qualifying apartments and houses. Other countries often build large public urban housing projects: governments in the U.S. did this as well, often with deleterious results. "The Projects" - the colloquial term for public housing - evokes an image of crime-ridden apartment and townhome complexes. As such, much of the Section 8 payments today go to private landlords, whose rental properties are inspected periodically for compliance with Section 8 standards.

> Energy Assistance. Federal and state funds are provided through lower-level organizations (such as charities) in the form of grants for heating expenses. Grants are prorated to the applicant's income level, with the top grant last year in St. Louis County, Minnesota being on the order of $1,200.

> Unemployment Insurance. This is distinguishable from the previously listed programs in that employers pay a small percentage of the payroll of each employee to go towards state and federal unemployment insurance programs. (Naturally, small business owners, so-called "1099" independent contractors, and those with informal, i.e. non-tax paying jobs, do not qualify) However, with the recent recession, many critics have included unemployment insurance along with other programs in their lambasting against social welfare.

A percentage (33%?) of the unemployed's former work income is paid while the unemployed shows proof of their search for work. The period in which payments are made is limited; 99 weeks seems to be the limit in many states.

Last edited by tvdxer; 06-25-2012 at 05:15 PM..
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Old 06-25-2012, 06:42 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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US: pathetic, and at risk of disappearing altogether.
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Old 06-26-2012, 01:19 AM
 
Location: Sweden
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Not as good as it used to be.
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Old 06-26-2012, 03:49 AM
 
25,057 posts, read 26,275,677 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
US: pathetic, and at risk of disappearing altogether.
No. As much as Republicans like to disparage welfare, notice how they never do anything about it? Clinton was the last president who did major reforms. The US has quite the welfare state that Europe does. The programs are almost the same, just the benefits aren't as lavish. Our welfare system is pathetic, relatively speaking, to northern Europe. If you want pathetic, look at Mexico. That's what you call a pathetic welfare state
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:00 AM
 
Location: Purgatory
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I come from the UK but reside in the US. I would say that the UK system is better, especially if you hit hard times or bad luck and don't have family or friends to fall back on. It doesn't help that healthcare is so expensive over here and that it's very easy to become homeless and destitute in this country just as a result of a bit of bad luck....it's an unforgiving place at times.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:08 AM
 
25,057 posts, read 26,275,677 times
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Originally Posted by dragonborn View Post
I come from the UK but reside in the US. I would say that the UK system is better, especially if you hit hard times or bad luck and don't have family or friends to fall back on. It doesn't help that healthcare is so expensive over here and that it's very easy to become homeless and destitute in this country just as a result of a bit of bad luck....it's an unforgiving place at times.
Medicaid pays for your healthcare if you are poor. No poor person goes without healthcare in the US, unless they have to wait too long for an appointment or their local doctors are not taking Medicaid patients. If you have a pre-existing condition, you might be eligible for Medicaid even if you're above poverty threshold, and many states have a high risk pool, such as mine, to pay for catastrophic surgeries
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:22 AM
 
Location: Purgatory
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Originally Posted by theunbrainwashed View Post
Medicaid pays for your healthcare if you are poor. No poor person goes without healthcare in the US, unless they have to wait too long for an appointment or their local doctors are not taking Medicaid patients. If you have a pre-existing condition, you might be eligible for Medicaid even if you're above poverty threshold, and many states have a high risk pool, such as mine, to pay for catastrophic surgeries
There are many working poor who are not eligible for Medicaid. Qualifying for Medicaid isn't always assured.

More than 26,000 uninsured Americans die prematurely every year: study

People are still dying because of lack of / no healthcare. There's no excuse for this in a developed country.
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:26 AM
 
706 posts, read 2,041,998 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theunbrainwashed View Post
Medicaid pays for your healthcare if you are poor. No poor person goes without healthcare in the US, unless they have to wait too long for an appointment or their local doctors are not taking Medicaid patients. If you have a pre-existing condition, you might be eligible for Medicaid even if you're above poverty threshold, and many states have a high risk pool, such as mine, to pay for catastrophic surgeries
Not so. In the US, the poor go without health care until their symptoms become overt and life threatening. Then, and only then, can they go to the emergehcy room and get any treatment without paying out of pocket for it, and being charged five to ten times the rate that insurance companies pay for the same tests and diagnostics.

Having coverage for "catastrophic surgeries" is little comfort to people who had to wait for years until their surgery became catastrophic, while the rich had annual physical exams, monitoring of vital signs, routine diagnostics and intervention before things got catastrophic.

It is simply not true that a poor American has the same access to well-person health care, early intervention or diagnostics that a poor Canadian has, and that "No poor person goes without healthcare in the US."

And don't even think about getting on the list for an organ transplant in the US without insurance to cover it.
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?i...2#.T-mRM5EkKSo

Last edited by CowanStern; 06-26-2012 at 04:43 AM..
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Old 06-26-2012, 04:28 AM
 
7,691 posts, read 9,410,161 times
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extremley generous


the dole is 188 euro per week for a single person regardless of how long they have been on it , it was 218 a few years ago , you also recieve a medical card which covers all visits to the doctor , hospital etc

a married person with children will recieve childrens allowance which is 140 euro per month per child regardless of income

an unmarried mother recieves the unmarried mothers allowance which is 188 euro per week

disability allowance is 188 euro per week

the state old age pension is 232 euro per week and is available from the age of 66 , on top of this , pensioners can travel for free on public transport anywhere in the country , go to the doctor for free , phone , electricity is free , fuel allowance for six months of the year , free tv licence , bunch of other freebies i cant think of right now

recent studys have shown that a married person with three kids would need to be earning 40 k per year in order not to be better off on benefits
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Old 06-26-2012, 05:06 AM
 
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Pretty good, it's been there and worked for my family and friends when they've needed it from help with rent to triple heart bypass operations.

I don't know anyone who has private medical, everyone uses the NHS and maybe i'm lucky in where i live now (Devon) but we have a majortively wealthy but small population in the area and our local Health Authority is excellent.
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