Personal Finance

The Welfare Lifestyle

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 11th, 2017 9:28 am
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 5, 2017
5 posts

The Welfare Lifestyle

I am curious as to how people perceive the lifestyle of those on welfare from a personal finance perspective.

1) Do you think they live better than some of those on RFD who save $$.
2) Do the majority of the people who take welfare deserve it (i.e. hard times and good thing it's there for them or people who just milk the system)?
3) Would you change anything about the welfare system so that your tax $$ are used as efficiently as possible and knowing you may need it at some time?
30 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 7, 2004
1223 posts
228 upvotes
Toronto
I tried a few times to type what I thought sounded right but the reality is that I think the welfare system is a joke. It is set up in such a way that it creates an incentive for those on it to stay on it. It certainly can appear that those on welfare live better than the rest of us on RFD. I think that once they get paid a lot of them just throw caution to the wind and spend it all. Why bother saving if the government is just going to give you another lump sum in a couple weeks?

Whether people deserve it or not is hard to answer. There are definitely going to be people who milk the system which is what I was referencing above. Then there are those who genuinely can't work for whatever reason. Don't know if I would say that anyone deserves it but there are those who need it and those who don't really need it.

I think the guaranteed basic income pilot is a good start. Take the money you would have spent on social services and give it directly to the people and then eliminate the bureaucracy. If the people can't budget then they are SOL for the rest of the month and it will teach them to be more careful after they get their next cash infusion.

Back in high school I did a 1 week "co-op" at a bank in a district where a lot of welfare recipients would come in to cash their cheques. You'd see a bunch of them walk out with cash and then walk right into the liquor store after they left the bank. Rightly or wrongly ever since then I've associated welfare with careless spending.
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2001
14100 posts
4573 upvotes
1) Why on earth would you think they live "better" than those that save money? Do those on welfare jet off to Italy once a year for trips? Head over to Thailand just for scuba diving? Have to figure out where in Bora Bora they should be staying? Have to deal with door dings on their 2015 Honda Civic? Have to drive around town because some new Intel CPU just got released? Scour through the Shopping Discussion, Travel and Automotive forums for more examples.

Seriously, think about it for a minute.

Where someone on social assistance (I use this to include all levels) lives "better" is that they often have more time on their hands. So it comes down to the age old question - what's the balance between time and money that makes YOU happy?

But to be fair everyone is different. There are likely some that would be very happy in their city living off the bare minimums and just "hanging out". Others would not be happy if they could not travel to an all inclusive every year and drive their new Honda Civic. So I guess it's really up to you (and each individual) to decide.

2) Some people deserve it and some don't. Some people deserve their high paying jobs and some don't. There are always good and bad with every situation - no one dreams to be poor. Social programming exists to catch those that deserve it at the risk of paying for those that don't. At the end of the day, that level of compassion comes at an additional price and we as a society are OK with it.

3) Honestly, I want to see something a little different. I want to see people provided with housing, a meal plan, and a small stipend for basic necessities. Basic income can do this but then the income can be spent wherever you want. I would rather run a more administratively intensive program to ensure that everyone has housing, not the money for housing. We pay enough in taxes and social programming this is possible. But we need big picture thinkers, and our governments that focus on the "next election" can't get it done because this is a 20-40 year goal.
(this is not a knock against a particular government, they are ALL like this because their job depends on being short sighted)

I firmly believe we can come out ahead with "giving" more at the beginning. People having housing, education (which is already available to all), healthy diet, etc. will lead to less costs for things like medical care. And likely lead to more employment - or more gainful employment. And less crime.

We just need a government leader with some balls and people that are willing to stand behind a 10 year cycle of "tough" times while we just start the shift. There will be road blocks, speed bumps, and set backs. But if we remain focused on the goal we can do it.
Newbie
Oct 14, 2017
14 posts
2 upvotes
Isn't welfare benefits for a single person in Ontario like 600 bucks max... I'm not sure how one even survives on that.
[OP]
Newbie
Nov 5, 2017
5 posts
TrevorK wrote:
Nov 7th, 2017 11:02 pm
1) Why on earth would you think they live "better" than those that save money? Do those on welfare jet off to Italy once a year for trips? Head over to Thailand just for scuba diving? Have to figure out where in Bora Bora they should be staying? Have to deal with door dings on their 2015 Honda Civic? Have to drive around town because some new Intel CPU just got released? Scour through the Shopping Discussion, Travel and Automotive forums for more examples.
It's not inconceivable that they are taking a trip down south or buying a new computer. I agree, I don't think it would be to the extent of the examples you provided. However, I don't think the avg Canadian knows what a welfare lifestyle is like and I am one of those very curious to know..are my tax dollars paying for them to have premium cable packages or a loaded cellphone plan while I walk around with a 7 eleven pay as you go plan? I'll take my working life over a welfare lifestyle, but I just want to understand the lifestyle my tax $$ support.
TrevorK wrote:
Nov 7th, 2017 11:02 pm
I firmly believe we can come out ahead with "giving" more at the beginning. People having housing, education (which is already available to all), healthy diet, etc. will lead to less costs for things like medical care. And likely lead to more employment - or more gainful employment. And less crime.
...
There will be road blocks, speed bumps, and set backs. But if we remain focused on the goal we can do it.
I like your take that we need a more long term outlook and your optimism that we can find a solution. I attended a hackathon recently and it was interesting to see the new perspectives that came from those outside of the industry. Ideas get stale when looking at a problem from the same perspective (i.e. speak to your local politician and he/she will take it from there - maybe that process doesn't allow for the creative solutions we may need). Canadians are no doubt vocal on their views, but how does that translate into solving the problem (if there is a problem) in a different way vs. just complaining?

I ask these questions just out of curiosity. I haven't done any research which I eventually will, but i wanted to go into this just getting a better grasp on both my own and other people's initial perceptions. As I type my ideas out I catch myself and realize that I honestly have no clue what a life on welfare is really like and my perception could be very wrong. Maybe the system is perfect and we don't realize how grateful we should be for it....that's what i hope to uncover.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 18, 2005
16972 posts
1858 upvotes
GTA West
1. No, not in the long run.
2. No idea.
3. Tax brackets should be inverted so you take home practically nothing out of your first earnings, but get to keep more as you make more. This is a more efficient scheme that actually rewards productive and responsible behavior. Those low bracket earners who keep very little should all be given basic public housing.

I still don't understand why we have a system that pays people to be poor, takes away so much honestly earned income in taxes, and then people are confused on why we have so many welfare dependents in our society.
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Member
May 7, 2017
281 posts
119 upvotes
My friend sister takes in about 5K a month from assistance and she’s poor as hell (easy home galore, 22.99 interest on a envoy etc)

She gets baby bonus, daddy Cheques (3), Ontario works and everything in the playbook. Gets money from mom and dad $200 each month cause supposedly does not have enough. Creditors are all up her grill, does not pay osap back... oh she’s 22

She has nothing to show for. She will walk to the gas station to buy TV dinner trays and milk and pay a huge surplus of price difference. You try to help them but you know the money going to weed and they don’t listen.

Why does one need a 65 inch LG , iPad Pro and all the technology while I’m sitting here with older technology etc. It’s all easy home stuff she does not pay and they keep giving her more stuff to not pay.

She only makes car payments to her car when the lender turns her car off so she can’t drive. Doesn’t pay hydro bills or anything till she gets notices etc. What kind of life is that?
Last edited by BeanFinn on Nov 8th, 2017 8:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Addict
Aug 24, 2016
2174 posts
1097 upvotes
kthxbye wrote:
Nov 7th, 2017 11:54 pm
Isn't welfare benefits for a single person in Ontario like 600 bucks max... I'm not sure how one even survives on that.
That why, in Manitoba anyway, you shack up with a mate that also doesn't feel like working, and you pump out a kid every year so you can collect more, and for longer!
I see it every day. Couples or single mothers dragging around 4 and 5 kids all very close in age.
The people I refer to aren't people that fell on hard times.
They're people that milk and game the system.
Many taught that way by their parents.
It's part of their heritage.
Deal Addict
Jul 18, 2016
1828 posts
661 upvotes
gqbluez wrote:
Nov 7th, 2017 10:12 pm
You'd see a bunch of them walk out with cash and then walk right into the liquor store after they left the bank. Rightly or wrongly ever since then I've associated welfare with careless spending.
I'm not convinced its about careless spending. A big proportion of welfare recipients are disadvantaged people in a variety of difference ways: poor health, mental illness, depression, poor education, etc.

Alcohol has been used for a long time as relief to the issues listed above. This isn't new to our current welfare system.
Deal Guru
Jun 26, 2011
10000 posts
939 upvotes
Markham
I'll admit that I'm not super familiar with the welfare system as I've never used it but to my knowledge there isn't a time limit on how long you can collect for. I think there needs to be tight restrictions on that. Sure there are some with disabilities (though they might be on ODSP?) who cannot work and need lifelong support, but I'm sure there are plenty of people capable of working for money that is just being handed out.

If they can't find work I'd rather we paid them to clean parks or something along those lines. Again I realize this is not possible for all....i.e. single moms, disabled etc.
Deal Addict
Aug 24, 2016
2174 posts
1097 upvotes
RolandCouch wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 8:27 am
I'll admit that I'm not super familiar with the welfare system as I've never used it but to my knowledge there isn't a time limit on how long you can collect for. I think there needs to be tight restrictions on that. Sure there are some with disabilities (though they might be on ODSP?) who cannot work and need lifelong support, but I'm sure there are plenty of people capable of working for money that is just being handed out.

If they can't find work I'd rather we paid them to clean parks or something along those lines. Again I realize this is not possible for all....i.e. single moms, disabled etc.
It is possible for single parents to work.
There are programs out there to help with child care so single parents can work.
Of course I cant speak for everyone's situation, but I personally now many single parents who make it work so they can work.
Then you have the people that do everything in their power to not work, like the people I refer to in my last post.
All I can say is people that cant support themselves should not being having kids.
It shouldn't be my responsibility as a tax payer to pay for people that choose not to work, and choose to pump out a soccer team of kids.
Last edited by coolintheshade on Nov 8th, 2017 8:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
Member
Jul 22, 2015
294 posts
57 upvotes
Kitchener, ON
BeanFinn wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 8:12 am
My friend sister takes in about 5K a month from assistance and she’s poor as hell (easy home galore, 22.99 interest on a envoy etc)

She gets baby bonus, daddy Cheques (3), Ontario works and everything in the playbook. Gets money from mom and dad $200 each month cause supposedly does not have enough. Creditors are all up her grill, does not pay osap back... oh she’s 22

She has nothing to show for. She will walk to the gas station to buy TV dinner trays and milk and pay a huge surplus of price difference. You try to help them but you know the money going to weed and they don’t listen.

Why does one need a 65 inch LG , iPad Pro and all the technology while I’m sitting here with older technology etc. It’s all easy home stuff she does not pay and they keep giving her more stuff to not pay.

She only makes car payments to her car when the lender turns her car off so she can’t drive. Doesn’t pay hydro bills or anything till she gets notices etc. What kind of life is that?
Sadly, this is my impression of many welfare recipients. At $60,000/year, she's getting a lot more than many working families. I think that if you're on welfare, then maybe there should be mandatory budgeting classes. So many people don't know how to balance their budget and don't know any basic financing 101. Our schools don't do a good job of teaching this and if your parents can't budget, then they can't teach you to budget either. I also find that sometimes if you haven't worked hard for your money, then you're more willing to just waste it.
Deal Guru
Jun 26, 2011
10000 posts
939 upvotes
Markham
coolintheshade wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 8:35 am
It is possible for single parents to work.
There are programs out there to help with child care so single parents can work.
Of course I cant speak for everyone's situation, but I personally now many single parents who make it work so they can work.
Then you have the people that do everything in their power to not work, like the people I refer to in my last post.
All I can say is people that cant support themselves should not being having kids.
It shouldn't be my responsibility as a tax payer to pay for people that choose not to work, and choose to pump out a soccer team of kids.
I didn't intend to say all single parents can't work if that's how it came across. I basically agree with you, but once they have kids then what....we punish the kids? Not an easy answer IMO

For those mentioning booze etc. I'd be in favour of issuing cards that can only be used at certain types of stores and make it illegal to sell the cards for cash.
Sr. Member
Oct 6, 2015
792 posts
400 upvotes
I don't think anyone abuses welfare. In fact, I don't think that enough people are on welfare, I'd like to see a lot more. Too many people are working at completely dead-end minimum wage jobs, particularly in the major cities, and would be far better served moving to smaller cities, collecting some welfare, and doing things like taking care of their kids better, or contributing in other ways to their community.

A big problem we have though is that we have people who are handed welfare, even though they really don't need it (senior citizens come to mind with OAS!). Much of the public sector is a glorified welfare scheme. We have entire industries that are supported through government 'support'. The other problem is that the welfare system highly discourages and makes it difficult for people to get off of welfare. For instance, welfare doesn't pay for someone from Ontario to fly out to Fort McMurray and stay there for a few weeks to find a job, for instance. I think welfare officers need to be given more discretion to do case-by-case assistance of people in such situations where they have some very modest up-front capital needs to get back into the paid workforce.

As far as booze is concerned, nearly all of the cost of alcohol is the taxes, so the 'money' just flows back to the government -- alcohol itself is not really much more expensive than soda in Canada. A complete non-issue, other than, alcohol has its own set of social problems when not consumed in moderation. Think of a drunk person on welfare as someone who has voluntarily declined most of his/her welfare, by re-paying the government through liquor taxes.
Member
User avatar
Oct 19, 2016
392 posts
134 upvotes
Toronto
Which is better financially in Ontario ?? being on Welfare OR Working minimum wage job ?

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