If your daily life is affected by someone who is on welfare but not actively looking for work, you understand how frustrating the situation can be. This is especially difficult if the person in question is a family member and you work extra-hard to support them when you should be thinking about other things. I am presently dealing with this situation and have found that some of the following things help.
Pursue Additional Social Services
If a person is already on welfare, he is likely eligible for multiple additional social services. His social worker can inform him of all of these things-most importantly “welfare to work” programs.
Social services, just like jobs, have requirements for retention. A person cannot keep welfare benefits if she is not looking for work. If you are in any way supporting the welfare-bound person, it is your responsibility to make sure she keeps up with her welfare retention requisites. After all, it’s hard to get on those benefits again once they are gone, and it falls on you to support the person if she loses her benefits.
You Have Rights
If you are housing or supporting someone who is on welfare, you have a right to have a say. That involves setting limits in your home and keeping up-to-date on the person’s job search or welfare requirements. Some of this can get touchy because it is personal-for example, if the person is having physical or mental problems, it may take additional encouragement to get him to the doctor.
You need to toughen up yourself. If the person in question is trying to get public assistance, it won’t happen until you are willing to sign a waiver of eviction citing your inability to afford the freeloader. You need to look at the situation factually-if it’s hurting you and you can’t afford to have the houseguest there, you must sign the paperwork. No one is making a moral judgment on you.
There are various churches and other organizations who feed those who need it. Encourage the welfare-bound to visit the food banks for help.
Explain it Better
Perhaps the person in question doesn’t understand how or why welfare works. In my case, this person worked very hard for a long portion of her life (almost always working multiple jobs at once) to provide for a family plagued by drug abuse, alcoholism and mental disorders. It was hard for her to apply for benefits and she was literally starving before she brought herself to do it. Truthfully, she worked so hard for so long and was in real need of the benefits due to physical and mental ailments-but in my opinion, she had put more money into the system than she would ever take out. It was simply a matter of rationalizing it for the person in need.
None of this will work if the person in question is not willing to do it. In my case, the person is related to my husband and not someone I can cast aside. She is bipolar and therefore not always open to help. On days that she is, I just have to push her to do the right thing. Sometimes it even involves a guilt trip, but I feel like if someone is taking advantage of me and preventing me from achieving my life goals, I have a right to insist on these steps. Don’t ever tiptoe around these issues-set conditions and “man” or “woman” up to the situation.