Is Receiving Unemployment Benefits The Same As Being On Welfare?
Absolutely not. While the distribution of unemployment insurance benefits and the payment of welfare checks is both administered by the local government they are two different things.
Unemployment benefits are awarded to those who were gainfully employed and who have lost their job due to no fault of their own. They could have been wrongfully fired, laid off, required to relocate with a spouse, had to take time off to take care of a disabled or elderly relative or was driven to quit due to a mentally or physically abusive boss. Companies are required by law to pay an unemployment insurance tax to the government to cover the costs associated with workers getting unemployment payouts. In some states the amount of unemployment pay received is based upon how much the former worker earned while employed. Recipients of unemployment compensation can only receive benefits for a limited time before they are cut off, typically six months. Additionally those getting unemployment money must provide provide proof and documentation that they are looking for a job while they're participating in the unemployment insurance programs.
Welfare or public aid is different. It comes in many forms the most popular of which is to single mothers (AFDC - Aid To Families With Dependent Children). It is in place to provide the minimal support to ensure individuals and families are able to enjoy minimal living standards. While it too is temporary in nature, benefits are extended for years on end not months. Recipients are not required to document their job search progress like in the case of those getting unemployment checks and the money is stemmed from tax payer dollars. Right or wrong, there is also a drastic difference in the connotations or public perceptions between the two. People of all educational levels and job types tend to receive little to no criticism for tapping into unemployment insurance benefit funds. Alternatively those on welfare are often deemed as low class, impoverished, uneducated and opportunistic souls.
Weigh in. Have you ever had to access money through the welfare or unemployment insurance systems? What were the surrounding circumstances? Did you encounter any feelings of shame, embarrassment or guilt? Did you family and friends start to treat you differently? How long did you get benefits for? What advice would you have for others who are in you same situation? Let us know in the comments below.
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