Aida Aponte: The drama of welfare

UntitledFor some Americans their knowledge of the welfare system is that it’s a big system that provides handouts to any John or Jane Doe who can’t find a job to support him- or herself.

Another rumor is that the biggest user of the government’s SNAP program, which provides food stamps, are African Americans. However, according to 2013 data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 40.2 percent of SNAP recipients are white, followed by 25.7 percent who are black. As far as the other racial groups, 10.3 percent of applicants are Hispanic, 2.1 percent are Asian and 1.2 percent are Native American.

So why do people believe African Americans are the biggest demographic being helped by the program? If that was true, would that make a difference when politicians decide to change policies and budget plans for welfare?

And why are Americans in general demonized for asking for assistance? The whole point of having a welfare system is to help Americans get out of poverty-ridden areas and gain footing in the working world. Some 44.8 percent of recipients of the SNAP program have children in their homes. In Connecticut, a mother with two children, who is homeless with no income can receive just $511 a month from the SNAP program. So is welfare really a handout?


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