Personal Finance

The Welfare Lifestyle

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 11th, 2017 9:28 am
Deal Addict
Feb 26, 2008
1482 posts
724 upvotes
burnt69 wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 11:22 am
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.

You don't think anybody abuses welfare? So nobody is collecting welfare and working under the table for cash? Take a trip to your local strip club and you're likely to see plenty of people working for cash and also collecting welfare.
Deal Addict
Aug 24, 2016
2200 posts
1113 upvotes
burnt69 wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 11:22 am
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.
Are you for real?
You should go join the Liberal party, you’ll fit right in with that mind set.
Deal Addict
Aug 24, 2016
2200 posts
1113 upvotes
kneevase wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 12:14 pm
You don't think anybody abuses welfare? So nobody is collecting welfare and working under the table for cash? Take a trip to your local strip club and you're likely to see plenty of people working for cash and also collecting welfare.
But single guys only get $600 per month and can’t afford to go to strip clubs :lol:
Sr. Member
Mar 6, 2010
667 posts
68 upvotes
Let's do some math here. At Ontario, 3 under 6 children can get you 1600+344.5 per month. Income support is about 1200ish for this family. The most important one is to find subsidize housing to lower the rent to 500. Now, you will have 2700 to wasting around. There is a property limit and it is unlikely you can go on vacation aboard. All health benefits are perils + dirt cheap bus passes. Good luck, the key is to have more kids.
Deal Addict
Aug 24, 2016
2200 posts
1113 upvotes
hermit1988 wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 2:18 pm
Let's do some math here. At Ontario, 3 under 6 children can get you 1600+344.5 per month. Income support is about 1200ish for this family. The most important one is to find subsidize housing to lower the rent to 500. Now, you will have 2700 to wasting around. There is a property limit and it is unlikely you can go on vacation aboard. All health benefits are perils + dirt cheap bus passes. Good luck, the key is to have more kids.
Exactly my point.
More kids, more money.
Space them out so you always have young ones at home (not school aged), and you can stay collecting acres of money for a long time.
Lets not forget CCTB too.
I can only dream of having all that tax free dough.
All compliments of the hard working tax payer.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Oct 27, 2004
911 posts
77 upvotes
coolintheshade wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 2:36 pm
Exactly my point.
More kids, more money.
Space them out so you always have young ones at home (not school aged), and you can stay collecting acres of money for a long time.
Lets not forget CCTB too.
I can only dream of having all that tax free dough.
All compliments of the hard working tax payer.
This is exactly the big issue with welfare abusers. They have figured out exactly how to milk the system for all it's value. My wife used to work in a daycare near Jane/Finch. There were several young single mothers in the daycare with multiple kids (all from different fathers). These women did not work. They would drop off their kids right at 8:00, and pick them up (reeking of weed) right at 6:00. The daycare fees for these children were 100% subsidized municipally. These women were always decked out in the latest brand name fashions, their hair and nails were always done and they had the latest iPhones.

The problem is, it's less costly for the various levels of government to police these abusers than it is just to let them go about their business. All the various oversight agencies are overworked and understaffed (at least on the ground... they have plenty of management on payroll), and the abusers are now several generations in. They teach their kids how to game the system, and it continues from generation to generation.

The social welfare net was originally designed to help people who had temporarily fallen on tough times. Give them the leg up they needed to get back on their feet etc. It has become systemic, and the Liberal anti-poverty lobby groups are too powerful. They get outraged everytime any reform measures get proposed.
Sr. Member
Mar 6, 2010
667 posts
68 upvotes
coolintheshade wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 2:36 pm
Exactly my point.
More kids, more money.
Space them out so you always have young ones at home (not school aged), and you can stay collecting acres of money for a long time.
Lets not forget CCTB too.
I can only dream of having all that tax free dough.
All compliments of the hard working tax payer.
CCTB is gone and replaced by the CCB. The real big problem for the middle class is the child-care cost for the family with 70k income ( Canadian median family income by Census2016). For example, in Alberta, the child care benefit goes from 550 to non-exist when the income jumps from 50k to barely meet 70k. Based on a 35% tax break for monthly 1k daycare cost, 50k income family only pays 292.5 each month out of pocket vs 750 for 70k income family ( tax credit only goes to 3000 max). We are talking about a 6K cost different which is equal to 8700 dollars pre-tax income based on a 30.5% tax bracket. So a 70k income family only makes 11.3k more than a 50k family after math in the daycare portion.
Deal Addict
Aug 24, 2016
2200 posts
1113 upvotes
Password wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 2:56 pm
This is exactly the big issue with welfare abusers. They have figured out exactly how to milk the system for all it's value. My wife used to work in a daycare near Jane/Finch. There were several young single mothers in the daycare with multiple kids (all from different fathers). These women did not work. They would drop off their kids right at 8:00, and pick them up (reeking of weed) right at 6:00. The daycare fees for these children were 100% subsidized municipally. These women were always decked out in the latest brand name fashions, their hair and nails were always done and they had the latest iPhones.

The problem is, it's less costly for the various levels of government to police these abusers than it is just to let them go about their business. All the various oversight agencies are overworked and understaffed (at least on the ground... they have plenty of management on payroll), and the abusers are now several generations in. They teach their kids how to game the system, and it continues from generation to generation.

The social welfare net was originally designed to help people who had temporarily fallen on tough times. Give them the leg up they needed to get back on their feet etc. It has become systemic, and the Liberal anti-poverty lobby groups are too powerful. They get outraged everytime any reform measures get proposed.
And what angers me the most, is while the parents are out shopping with their kids on CCB day, they have nice clothes to wear, high end cell phones, $20 pack of cigarettes and their 60oz of booze, more often than not, the kids have holes in their pants, have running shoes that look like they got them from a homeless person, and socks that are so filthy you’d swear they been wearing them all month.
That money is suppose to be spent on the kids.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Feb 25, 2015
722 posts
141 upvotes
York Region
The "welfare abusers" are the lifers. These people are experts in playing the game. They live in government assisted housing so they don't really have any rent to pay or pay a tiny amount. They receive their welfare cheque and get tons of tax breaks. Usually any school trips are "covered" for their children and they receive all kinds of assistance for either food or clothing. Having more kids gives them more money and become "married to the state".

The Welfare lifers are unemployable because moist don't have the skills and real rent is expensive.

Michigan ran a program for welfare mothers where they had to work for their money but left their gaggle of children untended for the day. The results was even more crime in the streets.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Jan 27, 2004
36676 posts
2542 upvotes
Toronto
bacalhau4me wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 3:58 pm
The "welfare abusers" are the lifers. These people are experts in playing the game. They live in government assisted housing so they don't really have any rent to pay or pay a tiny amount. They receive their welfare cheque and get tons of tax breaks. Usually any school trips are "covered" for their children and they receive all kinds of assistance for either food or clothing. Having more kids gives them more money and become "married to the state".

The Welfare lifers are unemployable because moist don't have the skills and real rent is expensive.

Michigan ran a program for welfare mothers where they had to work for their money but left their gaggle of children untended for the day. The results was even more crime in the streets.
I wouldnt say they are abusers.

as blunt and brutal as it sounds... there are some people out there who are born & bred in a manner that makes them unemployable with little to no skills that can make even a menial living in our society.

Their lifes is due to factors in their environment, society and sometimes just bad luck.

Now we have a humanitarian choice... give them rhe bare neccessity so they can survive (not thrive). Or give them nothing while we keep all our tax dollars for ourselves.

These people will then be living in shanty towns, robbing, rolling in the streets fighting and surviving by any means possible...

I'll give more insight to this later when i get a keyboard...
Sr. Member
User avatar
Feb 25, 2015
722 posts
141 upvotes
York Region
UrbanPoet wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 7:52 pm
I wouldnt say they are abusers.

as blunt and brutal as it sounds... there are some people out there who are born & bred in a manner that makes them unemployable with little to no skills that can make even a menial living in our society.

Their lifes is due to factors in their environment, society and sometimes just bad luck.

Now we have a humanitarian choice... give them rhe bare neccessity so they can survive (not thrive). Or give them nothing while we keep all our tax dollars for ourselves.

These people will then be living in shanty towns, robbing, rolling in the streets fighting and surviving by any means possible...

I'll give more insight to this later when i get a keyboard...
I know what you saying but you are under estimating the amount of abusers of the system. I grew up in the ghetto to working class parents and some of my good friends were welfare kids. Their parents gamed the system and got all the perks that most of us don't even know exist. There were tons of these families.

You don't have to believe me but there are people who are proud of gaming the system. I have no problems giving people welfare money but the abusers are ruining it for a lot of people.
Deal Addict
Jan 2, 2015
1118 posts
259 upvotes
Toronto, ON
I live in a poor building. I'm middle class, and have a middle class neighbour, but most of the people here are on Guaranteed Income Supplement or ODSP. The rent is more than what you can get for Ontario Works, which generally should be the target of any ire.
Daddydads1 wrote:
Nov 7th, 2017 9:46 pm
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 $$.
No. It is stressful paying more than 80% of your income on rent. Any little thing can create a debt spiral.

However, the safety net sometimes seems to allow irresponsibility. I have a neighbour who is six months behind on rent, since his roommate left and he never bothered to get another one, and he's still here. His power and phone have been cut off. You can live like this if you befriend a neighbour and use their phone and electricity. (That's a big cable.)

He got a balance transfer card because he couldn't afford the minimum payments on a regular credit card (roughly 20%, I guess) and failed to make the minimum payments on the 0% transfer (you still have to pay like 2% per month). The bank garnisheed his bank account but had to give the money back because you cannot garnishee welfare. So... why would you ever give an unsecured credit card to a welfare recipient?
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)?
If you're talking about Ontario Works, I kind of doubt many deserve it. I spoke to a guy who hurt his leg and hadn't worked in two years. He's not on CPP or Worker's Compensation. He's not disabled. I believe you have to "participate in work activities" to get Ontario Works in many cases, and I don't seriously believe he honestly looked for work in those two years. After all, the leg will take forever to completely heal.

There's lots of single parents with too many children. I do not think welfare encourages them to have children. Welfare pays a tiny bit more per child, and might not pay any more if you have three or more children. However, a single parent with multiple young children is not going to work for years, by which point their resume is so stale-dated they will probably never be employed. They don't get married (a very difficult task for a welfare recipient), they don't open a home business, they won't consider letting their kids walk to school so they can work (an unrelated rant, though vaguely related; parental fear makes child-rearing much more expensive than it needs to be)... In short, they can (barely) make it without working at some place like Walmart, so why work?

(My own mother had us walking to school from young, without cell phones, since they didn't really exist back then, so she could work. Being a single parent isn't an excuse for not working... not by itself.)

But on the other hand, some are stuck. About a decade ago the government of BC tried to replicate what Bill Clinton did with welfare there. People were given time limits on welfare. Welfare is supposed to be a temporary hand-up. (The US allows states to cut you off of welfare after 2-5 years, but states aren't required to kick you off. Some states don't do this, and people who cannot work or don't want to work end up in these generous states. Shocking, right?)

But BC ran into an issue. Many people had Multiple Persistent Barriers beyond being disabled. Some had shockingly low levels of education. I'm talking about grade 2. I don't know how you can grow up in Canada and fail to graduate from elementary school. A person with such low skill levels can't possibly even hold a job at McDonald's. There's language barriers, levels of disability too low to fall under whatever the BC equivalent of ODSP is, having disabled children, children with a chronic illness, having really young children... One reason the experiment failed was nearly everyone could get an "excuse" to avoid the time limit. Some probably really needed to be on "welfare for life", but all of them?

The BC government assesses employability with this form: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/briti ... hr2797.pdf
Recipients who qualify for Persons with Persistent Multiple Barriers (PPMB) are those who have received assistance for at least 12 of the past 15 months and meet one of the following criteria:

has severe multiple barriers to employment (that is, a score of 15 or greater on the Employability Screen) and has taken all reasonable steps to overcome these barriers and has a medical condition (excluding addictions) that has lasted for at least one year and is likely to continue or recur frequently for at least two years, and which is a severe barrier that seriously impedes the person's ability to search for, accept, or continue in employment
They are assessed every two years.
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?
I would require time limits.

I would be serious about requiring searching for work, as soon as a child is able to go to school full-time. So if a child is too young or too disabled to go to school, the parent shouldn't be required to work. (A low-skilled person would make less money at work than they would paying for a caregiver.)

The EI program is at least somewhat more serious. I've heard Quebec's equivalent is downright vicious in making sure you're actually looking for work.

I would set welfare increases to CPI or inflation. It's ridiculous that it never goes up. However, I'm not looking for much of an actual increase for those who aren't disabled. If you cannot rent an apartment with the $700 per month OW gives you, then you can find a roommate. If you hate living with a roommate, you might be more willing to consider working.

I don't see much of a point of restricting payments (eg food stamps) as you get a black market.

The definition of "disabled" when it comes to welfare probably needs to be expanded slightly. I think there's people with mental health conditions who don't qualify for ODSP, but really cannot work, so they're stuck on Ontario Works for life. I would not qualify an addiction as a disability, however.

Reduce the welfare cliff or wall. If someone works, say, 15 hours a week at $14 per hour they'd make about $10,000 per year. Why cut that in half (to $5,000)? That should be encouraged.

Have very little tolerance for errors. Someone was too lazy to get a letter from the doctor? Too bad. Cut them off until they bring you that letter. Welfare is not a right. (Most likely legal action would prevent any government for actually doing this.)
mrtrump wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 11:55 am
Which is better financially in Ontario ?? being on Welfare OR Working minimum wage job ?
How many hours? Single? Disabled? Any children?

Working minimum wage 40 hours per week is far better in terms of cash in hand if you're single, have no children and are not disabled, but... how many people work full time at minimum wage? Hardly anyone.
Deal Guru
Aug 2, 2001
14114 posts
4577 upvotes
Daddydads1 wrote:
Nov 8th, 2017 12:17 am
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.
I have one family member who is supported by social assistance (as a single person, not a family so different level) and his lifestyle is far from glamourous. Even with his rent subsidized by the government, the only reason he has a cable package or a nice TV is because his mother was very generous to him. While there are many subsidies available (e.g. municipal recreation facilities, transit, etc.) he does not have the money to really "live large".

What I think you have to realize is that it's all about perspective. You have a 7-11 PAYG plan because you choose to, not because you have to. You might skip this years vacation because you choose to, not because you have to. You may only go to Montreal for you annual vacation this year rather than Miami because you choose to, not because you have to. I'm guilty of thinking "Oh I can't afford a new car" but when I realize how much we save every year I realize "I could buy a brand new car in cash every year and give it away at the end, and still have money left over every year". If you're a saver, like myself, it's tough to get away from "I can't afford it" when you're saving large amounts of money because you don't consider that money touchable.
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 don't know where we start - starting in my mind requires short term sacrifice on the part of us working people (working poor through working rich) and we need someone influential to step forward and accept the challenge. I think the situation in the US offers a glimmer of hope, the fact that a wealthy celebrity was able to be elected shows us that maybe, if we are lucky, a wealthy philanthropist will come out and help. Someone who understands what charity is and can help influence others into giving to help everyone have a better life.

(well I guess I have some things made up in my mind about what to do)
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.
When you do your research you'll be able to see what programs are available and the dollar figures those translate to. It will be tough to get an accurate picture without some digging into the various subsidies because they are at many different levels of government. Additionally some are available to families.

Good luck with your research - I hope you can find what you're looking for (in terms of what it is like on social assistance).
Deal Addict
Feb 9, 2009
4488 posts
2225 upvotes
The real abuse are those who have welfare and take on cash jobs.
Jr. Member
Nov 16, 2006
179 posts
31 upvotes
Should there be a limit on the amount of kids you can have if you cant afford them?

A lot of working families can barely afford 1 kid, maybe 2.

A non-working family can comfortably afford as many kids as taxpayers will cover (which seems to be unlimited.)

Whats wrong here?

Top