Letters to the Editor

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AID: The safety net for poor is minimal

Letter by Debbie Regala, Tacoma on Sep. 4, 2012 at 1:33 pm with 7 Comments »
September 4, 2012 2:00 pm

A recent letter writer stated that “those who don’t (won’t) work get by about as well as those who do” (TNT, 8-25).

Readers may be interested to know the eligibility requirements and benefit levels of assistance programs.

To qualify for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (welfare), a parent with two children (the average TANF family) must have an annual income less than $7,000 (35 percent of the federal poverty level). They receive cash assistance of no more than $479 per month.

To receive the assistance, parents are required to work or participate in mandated activities that will lead to a job. The assistance is temporary – no more than 60 months in a lifetime.

To qualify for food stamps, a typical family of three can have an annual income no greater than $31,000.

Supplemental Security Income is limited to those unable to work due to a physical or mental disability. Assets may not exceed $2,000 (excluding any home already owned). A single person receives $698 per month.

It is important to know these programs are only available to U.S. citizens, and legal immigrants must wait five years before being able to apply for citizenship.

Those receiving housing subsidies in our area have an average annual income below $13,000. More than 80 percent of those served are elderly, disabled or children. The need for housing assistance is so much greater than the number who can be served, that the wait for a public housing unit exceeds one year and the wait for a housing voucher exceeds four years.

Few would voluntarily chose this lifestyle.

(Regala is a state senator representing Tacoma’s 27th Legislative District.)

Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. nonstopjoe says:

    As to choosing the lifestyle of being poor, many times it’s the result of bad decisions and/or sheer laziness. When taxpayers pick up the tab for this type of conduct they become enablers.

  2. Bad decisions – like a corporation closing a factory here and out soucing jobs over seas.

  3. X, blame unions, the EPA, and our tax structure.

    Life sucks, adapt.

  4. aislander says:

    Debs: As of 2010, the programs collectively known as the War on Poverty have cost $16.7 trillion. Coincidentally (!) our national debt just passed $16 trillion.

    All the wars in US history have cost a total of $6.4 trillion.

    Don’t try to sell the snake oil that there is no “safety net.”

    Kindly take a hike and take your “compassion” with you…

  5. beerBoy says:

    citation please for your claim on war costs.

  6. itwasntmethistime says:

    Debbie, go drive through Salishan, where many of Tacoma’s families who don’t (or won’t) work live. Pretty new housing that comes with maintenace and yard service. Check out the nice cars parked outside. Then drive through the south and east ends of town, where low-income people who pay their own way work. See the shabby houses and the beater cars at the curb?

    There are plenty of people who could imrove their standard of living by goig on welfare, but fortunately they have too much self-respect to do it.

  7. menopaws says:

    $479 per month….But, those of you who can’t spare that kind of money to keep kids from going hungry, go load up on another 12 pack and reward yourself for whatever you do that makes you worthy…and, think about that if you can get up off your sofa and attend church……….Being a person of faith requires more than word—it requires deeds…….What have any of you done to help those people in need lately??? Or, do you just whine about what a burden they are? Maybe your minister is tired of being YOUR enabler……Get up and go help your neighbor…..

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