Government Assistance Sucks

I must weigh into all the talk lately about government assistance. As you probably know, the two presidential campaigns have been dueling it out with undercover videos. First was Mitt Romney [video] complaining about government assistance, and then Barack Obama [video] for admittedly believing in the socialist desire to redistribute wealth. I’ve been enjoying the responses because, frankly, they have been forcing both sides to articulate their socioeconomic philosophies.

I feel qualified to talk on this subject. Wendy and I are not on government assistance, but we could probably qualify. See, my wife and I have 16 children, and though our income is middle-class, our dependents often drop us into poverty levels. Do you have any idea how much federal and state aid we could receive? We’re dream clients to a social worker.

Wendy and I have refused it for years, resisting the temptation even when money was tight. The reason I can’t help but speak on this topic is because I believe a culture that encourages government dependency directly leads to personal and economic depression. It appears helpful at first, but then it turns into a convenient dependency that thwarts an individual from fully applying his or her skills. It drains people of the value they could be pumping into the world. Ultimately, government assistance sucks the life out of people.  Allow me to share with you a conversation Wendy and I had not too long ago. It explains a lot about misconceptions of poverty and government assistance. It’s a challenging view, no doubt, and it may challenge you a bit. But you know what? I believe it gives hope to those who think they need to be dependent on the government, and it will ultimately lead to financial freedom.

Those Large Families on Welfare

The stereotypical large family is on welfare. At least that’s what some people believe. I’ve heard people rant about “those large families out there.” They don’t personally know these families, but they “remember” one from a distant relation.

Wendy and I were in the middle of a conversation like this not too long ago. We were in a car full of people being transported to an airport, and the conversation of our large family brewed up. One gentleman remembered a family of eight children several years prior in a former church of his (he didn’t know this family personally). He recalled that the mother had children just to increase her welfare payments, and though she boasted of children blessing her, she lived in extreme poverty. The person ranting was curious if we – with 16 children – lived off government.

Wendy answered truthfully, “No, we don’t live off welfare or any government assistance. We refuse to do so even when times are tight.”

Our answer didn’t stop this person’s ranting. He continued to complain about this other family. “They are definitely different than you, Chris and Wendy. It concerns me when people have children just to get government money. It’s good that you refuse to take money; it shows that you truly believe in your life choice.”

This man was trying to compliment us, but I was a bit irritated. I piped up. “We’re not on government assistance not because we want to justify the reason we live,” I said.

I wanted to make that clear. We don’t refuse government aid just because then we can post on our blog that we proudly refuse welfare and the like. We write a lot about financial freedom, but Wendy and I have never said we would never take government assistance.

We resist the option, but that’s because we don’t want it. We’ve had rough times in our middle-class life that could have been labeled as “impoverished” (according to the government’s numbers). Even when times were tight, we did not feel the desire to submit to the government’s welfare system.

We can survive, Lord willing, on our own. Thank you very much, Uncle Sam, but we’ve got work to do.

I continued. “We refuse government assistance because government assistance sucks.”

Why Government Aid Sucks

Does that give you pause? Maybe I sound cruel, at least inconsiderate to those on welfare. But I’m not being crass; I honestly believe it sucks. 

Government aid drains people of their dignity, robs them of their self-worth, and traps them in dependency. Literally, it sucks life out of you. Same with this family of 8 our friend spoke of. They could have been a family of two or twenty kids, it didn’t matter. Government assistance was the problem, not the size of their family.

Government assistance drains families of their dignity, robs them of their self-worth, and traps them in dependency. [Tweet this]

That changed the direction of the conversation. It changed to a discussion of how fruitful a loving family full of children can be.

When love is in the house, another child is considered a blessing, not a drain. In our house, we are dependent on one another, not on an uncaring big-brother government. Personally, I think it is a disgrace that 1/2 of United States homes receive some sort of government assistance. It is not compassionate to keep people in welfare lines. The idea that this “helps” anyone is a fantasy. Instead of focusing on government assistance, our government policies should focus on lifting the economy, providing opportunity for those of us who want to engage, and letting the entire country prosper.

If you are on government assistance, do what you can to get off it. In fact, I’d enjoy helping you. This website is meant to provide tools and encouragement to be self-reliant, so subscribing is a good start. If you feel trapped in a financial pit, share your story in the comment section below. I believe your human ingenuity and God-given creativity can help you much more than a government handout ever could.

Question: Do you receive government assistance, or have you in the past? What is your story?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • This is a really good article that attempts to explain the divide between the two perspectives of government assistance. It’s a quick and good read:

  • Heather Carter

    When our twins, (our 4th and 5th children ) were born I didn’t think life could get any better. At the time my husband held a full time position at an auto assembly plant and part time position as a police officer. We had fantastic insurance and we had our eyes set on the home of our dreams. My husband returned to work 2 weeks after the twins were born to some scary news- there were quiet rumbles that the plant would be closing soon as the entire company (not just my husbands assembly location) would be going bankrupt. We pulled out of the house and waited. Two months later the city my husband worked for was in financial emergency. Their coffers were almost empty and they had to let go ALL their part time police and fire. My husband was devastated. He loved his job. Financially, we were okay at the time but knew if the plant closed we would be in big trouble.
    Four months later, the quiet rumbles turned into deafening roars and our entire community watched in a state of shock as the auto assembly plant where 30% of our entire community was employed was shut down. We. Were. Terrified,
    Unemployment benefits were not enough to feed our family, pay our bills and we had no medical insurance so we applied for public assistance. It was, humiliating, and scary, and we had become “one of those large families” that so many people seem to know and talk about. I was embarrassed and angry. The plants closure had a ripple effect and surrounding businesses that relied on the plants workers to come in and eat or purchase their things went out of business. Next the DHL location closed two counties over and our community was fraught with unemployed people with no where to go. People lost their homes (many- including my parents)- and soon there were more foreclosed on homes on our street than actual homes that were occupied by their owners. There was a mad dash to grab any job available. People started to roll off unemployment without a job. It was awful. My husband took a job at a warehouse making $12 an hour. We continued to receive assistance (food stamps and medical coverage) for 8 months until my husband finally found second job working for a company that made parts for naval ships and offered health insurance and good pay. We were free.
    It was no secret to our closer friends and family that we received assistance. Many of them went down the same paths as our community declined. I have seen the trap that is, “Heather, if I take that job I’ll lose my foodstamps! What’s the point of me working 15 hours more a week just to loose my foodstamps, see my kids less and not have any more take home income?!”- you are definitely right Chris. It can be a big trap.

    I am happy to report that 6 years later, we have 3 more kids and we own our own home free and clear. My husband worked hard and we scrimped and saved. Three years ago, we found a very old house (111 years old!) that needed tons of TLC, but it was priced right and 6 large bedrooms and 2 livingrooms- perfect size for our growing family and we bought it. Its been a work in progress but it’s home. Its our home, and no one can take it away from us.

    With 8 kids, I am sure we could probably get some sort of assistance now, too. And frankly, it’s very tempting… especially times like now when we desperately need a 12/15 passenger van and we are putting very little back each week to actually save for one because we are working on the house. (Our house which is ours that we love!) Our very good friends are stuck on the PA trap. They want to be homeowners but they’ve used PA as a crutch for so long they are afraid to go without it. They are afraid to buy a house because if something goes wrong, they won’t be able to afford the fix. They are afraid they’ll lose their PA if they become homeowners. Why be afraid to lose your PA!? Thats the goal, right? For some, no. It’s a fear. A lot of people are afraid to be on their own. It is a scary reality that being on your own means you have to be 100 responsible for yourself. In this economy, this generation, MY generation is lacking the confidence to do this on their own.

    Never, NEVER will I deliver a low blow to anyone I know on assistance. I can only encourage and uplift. They need to know, YOU CAN DO THIS! If *we* can do, anyone can do it!

    • Heather, your testimony is absolutely awesome! Wow, what a story. I suspect you are a great encouragement to families who know the trap they’re in and want out. They can do it, and they look to families like the Carters as an example of how it CAN be done.

      Your self-reliant attitude I’m sure is contagious!

      • Heather Carter

        Thank you, Chris! Part of the struggle is realizing that we all need to live within our means. It’s hard sometimes. I admit there are days I feel a twinge of discouragement when I look at my large OLD *old* (Did I mention OLD!!!) house and see it’s not new and full of the conveniences of a newer, more expensive home. We haven’t been on vacation in a few years and it’s likely we won’t for a few more. You see, I grew into young adulthood in the 90s- the decade of economic prosperity. We were used to vacations, and credit cards and timeshares. When I got out on my own (and I suspect MANY of my friends felt this same way) we kind of expected life to be the way it was as teenagers and young adults. Then the recession hit, HARD, and it was almost as if many of us were unwilling to go without the things we’d become accustomed to. That too, is a big trap… and it will lead you (as it did us early on) into a road of financial hardship. I look back at the years the recession hit us the hardest and I’m secretly thankful for them- for our family anyway. They forced us to reevaluate what was important and how to live within our means. They taught us how to budget better. They showed us that trips to the nearby amusement park were a privilege and not a weekend rite of passage. We learned that showering our kids in presents at Christmas and birthdays weren’t “showing them how much we cared” (Oh I am so embarrassed I ever thought that!) rather the act of doing so was only reinforcing a mindset that each year had to top the one before, and material gifts were somehow “proof” of how much one was loved. Somehow I veered off course from public assistance here, but I am glad to be able to share it with anyone willing to read it. I guess a part of me feels like *some people rely on public assistance to bridge that gap between necessity and ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ – and that too is a trap… and one I don’t want my family to fall into.

        • Hmmm. I feel a new blog post forming: “The Specific Traps of Government Assistance.” You’ve articulated two: (1) “I shouldn’t take this job because the assistance is greater than the pay, and (2) “I will live outside my means and use assistance to keep my standard of living higher than that which I can afford.”

          Or something like that… =)

          • Tina

            If I worked full time I would be better off, but tell my body that one.

  • JOE

    Chris, You’ve admitted to taking your kids to Costco to eat lunch from the free samples. Your daughter had to wait to get braces till she won them free from an orthodontist. Your children could have greater nutrition and health care if you DID accept money from the government. My children are more important than my pride.

    • Thanks for commenting, Joe. I believe there is a clear difference between accepting gifts and taking government aid. I may follow up on that distinction with another post at a later date.

      I’m not sure where you’re getting your information. My kids are some of the healthiest kids on the planet. I think I’ve been to Costco once in my entire life. “My children are more important than my pride” — what’s that all about? You seem on the offensive, but I’m much more interested in the answer to the question I pose at the end of the article.

      • JOE

        Here’s what I think really sucks. . .

        hungry children
        children who need medical care and don’t get it
        parents who are too proud to ask the government to help them
        people who insult other’s choices (“sucks”) without understanding their entire situation.

        • Heather Carter

          Joe, I have to ask. In what certain terms should a parents ask the government to help them? I’m simply curious. Do you think if a family qualifies for certain benefits, they should accept anything that is, and I use this term loosely, ‘entitled’ to them based on the qualifications? Or should they only ask for help if they are unable to provide the basic necessities for their children? I truly believe that under our income we could and probably would qualify for some type of assistance based on our income, however, I wouldn’t dream of applying to get back on assistance at this point because I feel like we can provide for our childrens basic necessities and with some hard work we can save for extras to provide those as well.

          And I must applaud your comment on insulting others choices and how people suck who choose to judge without understanding. Being of a quiverful belief, we are judged every single day by complete strangers who think must be either “doing it for the welfare” (that we do not receive) or, we are rich bigots who simply cannot relate to the “common man.” (which we most definitely are not!)

          I’m inclined to believe that the comment was more than likely directed at people who judge others that are on assistance. Having been on assistance ourselves in the past, I can say that I know that no one is ‘proud’ they get foodstamps. At the same time, I can say that a lot people truly believe they cannot survive without the government providing assistance- and it’s true- maybe they cannot- however an enormous number of able bodied American’s CAN work and opt not to. However, I think the point Chris was trying to make was that people get stuck in that trap, that vicious cycle of ‘why work harder, lose my benefits and have nothing to show for it?’- or they become so dependent they lose all confidence in their ability to rise above the need for assistance. I speak from experience here. Well, the answer is, you should worker harder and lose your benefits and provide for yourself if you are able to because it’s the right thing to do. Pure and simple. My husband is dyslexic and we have 8 children together and he works 2 jobs full time- typically 80-84 hours a week to provide for us. Why shouldn’t he just quit one of those jobs so we could let the government pay for our grocery bill? Well…. because it would be wrong. If you can work, you should.

          • Joe

            If a parent can’t provide basic necessities for their child, they should ask for government assistance.

  • Harriet


    On today, you posted that you make too much to qualify for government assistance. Which is it? (in the comments)

    • I haven’t applied, so I don’t know for sure. My suspicion is that I would with all my dependents.

      What’s your story, Joe?

  • Tina

    Chris, having people on “welfare” is not a social worker’s dream. First of all, look at who the social worker is. I know where I live, any county employee can call themselves a social worker, if that is what their job title is. They did not have to go to school for it, simply an construction worker could be a social worker.
    As I sit here I am waiting for HRA (housing redevelopment authority), who pays part of my rent, to do the yearly inspection, to see if I get my voucher this year. My lease is up for renewal next month. I went through paperwork with them 2 months ago with them… I hate reviews, gathering all the paperwork (bank statements, copy of the current lease, copy of car titles, any stocks/bonds, life insurance policies, pay stubs for the past 90 days, list of perscription medications you paid for and other items. Talk about your life being an open book.
    The reason I am getting help from HRA, I am on disability, I have major depression, anxiety disorder, degernative disc in my lower back and the list goes on. Being on disability I get a monthly supplement from the government. That supplement covers my rent, phone, electric, perscriptions, food, insurance, etc… right now putting gas in the car is hard to do.
    Food stamps are no longer food stamps. They are now called “SNAP,” Supplimental Nutrional Assistance Program. Did you know, in MN anyways, 70% of the budgeted amount isnt used and the program can not move it to another program, it is given through the agricaltural department of the goverment chain.
    I work 12 hours max. a week, per doctor orders, 4 hour shifts, I get $14.00 in SNAP benefits a month. I was told if I quit working I would loose my MAEPD (Medical Assistance for Employed Persons With Disabities) and getting on a straight MA plan would take months to do. My place of employment does not offer benefits to individuals who are not full time, so no insurance there. My hands are tied as to what I can do. If I did not have any insurance my medications would cost me over $500 a month. That does not include my Vit d3 I have to take. Without my medications I would not be were I am today. I would have jumped off a bridge a long time ago.
    And as long as I am on MAEPD, guess what, there is a yearly review of all the things I mentioned before.
    I do appauld individuals with large families, or small families, who can get along without “depending” on the government. BUT for those who needs the help, it is there for them.
    Funny thing is…. I am a licensed Social Worker. I did the 4 years of college, internships, etc. About 3 yrs after I graduated from the program, had my license in hand, the Board of Social Work decided, that social workers, well anyone who is called a “social worker” as part of their job title, except county and state employees (their unions refuse to give in), I needed to do 2,000 of supervision and pay for it. The nearest supervision quilified individual is about 50 miles away, and I would have to pay a min. of $50 an hour for the supervision. It would to be completed with in 2 years max.
    Just remember no matter what side of the fence you are on, it maybe greener on the otherside, but looks can be desorted.

    • Yeah, Wendy told me this morning that the “social worker” comment wasn’t right. If I ever publish this into a book, it’ll likely be rewritten or struck from the original.

      See the discussion with Heather below. Your story highlights the same entrapment: If you attempt to get off, you’re penalized. I think the Welfare-to-Work provisions remedied that problem a bit with remedial job training and such, but those were repealed earlier this year.

      • OhioMom3

        In Ohio, one cannot just go around calling themselves a social worker.

  • Heather Carter

    Hello again Chris.
    My mother came over to spend the day with the kids and I, and we’ve been talking about how public assistance can become a trap. After several rounds of, “You know what I’d say?-s” I said,-“why don’t you type up what you’d say and tell everyone!” So, this is my Mom’s story.

    Hello Chris. First I want to say that you have a lovely family and I am impressed to see other large families are still thriving in our country. My husband was one of 16 children and I was one of 5. I thought perhaps my daughter had lost her marbles when she had a big family but now I can see hers in small in comparison.
    Anyway. Heather mentioned in her post to you that we had lost our home to foreclosure. We also had to go on public assistance. Right around the same time GM started closing and DHL closed, my husbands company where he worked for 33 years closed out of the blue. There was no warning at all. I stopped by one day to eat lunch with him and everyone was standing around crying. They came in and told them that they were closing immediately and that day was the last day any of them would work. My husband was making just under $61,000 a year. We knew we were in big trouble. We had a large house payment and 2 large car payments. We could afford with his job, but with just mine we knew were would have to get out from under one of the car payments to survive. Admittedly we didn’t have anything in savings. Looking back I could kick myself. We had about some credit card debt as well. We tried to hold onto the house and both the cars as long as we could. What we couldnt afford we put on credit cards, thinking that my husband would find a better job soon. 7 months later I was working on a printing press and my arm got caught in a machine and it pulled it from the socket. We were done for. Soon we defaulted on both cars and the house. We maxed our credit cards and I was on disability while my husband still had some unemployment benefits. By the time we were forced to move out of own home, our daughter Heather and our son and law let us move in with them while we tried to get back on our feet. Our insurance ran out and my husband stopped buying his blood pressure medicine. Soon he had a seizure and a stroke, followed by a heart attack. Things just got worse and worse for us. I feel into deep depression and had limited use of my right arm. I can even remember thinking I’d be better off dead. I couldn’t afford my medication for my depression or anxiety and I did not have a job. We felt like burdens on our kids even though they never said we were its just a good feeling knowing you have to rely on someone else to take care of you. My husband filed to try and take early retirement. When his unemployment ran out that was it for us. Finally we went on public assistance. We got foodstamps and after a couple attempts, medicaid. After 13 long months, they granted his retirement benefits. That was a step in the right direction. While I wasn’t working I had quite a bit of time to read and both my daughters are really into holistic and natural health so they had many books on the topic. I dove into self help books and natural health cures and sure enough I started to feel better. My anxiety slowly faded away and my depression lifted. I realized after looking back at all we had in my life that I didnt want to spend the rest of my days on public assistance. I didnt want to only be able to make so much money to have that peace of mind that I could put food on the table. My kids were trying to be nice to me but they kept saying “Hey Mom stop acting like you are a victim. We all have it hard right now!” And just like that I snapped out of it. They were right. We were acting like life was over with but really it was life-as-we-had-known-it was over with just like it was for practically everyone else we knew. My husband and I got our own studio apartment and started over. After 35 years together we had to start from scratch. It was really hard to find a job. No one wanted to hire a woman with bum arm who could be a liability to their company or an old man who knew very little outside of the realm of what he’d done his entire life. But living on $760 a month in retirement benefits alone was miserable. Finally we sucked up our pride and took jobs with a cleaning company. We were both making minimum wage. Thats 7.75 an hour here in Ohio. But it didnt take long for us to start getting life back on track. Eventually we qualified for insurance and with my husbands retirement and our meager income we no longer qualified for public assistance. That was actually the proudest day I had in long time. We did it. We picked ourselves up and moved on. We are no longer homeowners but we recently did purchase our very own vehicle again. If I had any advice for anyone else out there who is going through what we have been though it would be this….. You can give up and live defeated under the oppressions of your own depression, self pity and assistance of the government or you can say THIS IS NOT HOW I WANT TO LIVE MY LIFE. That might sound like a cruel kick in the pants but it was the kick in the pants I needed to say to myself to get motivated to have a better life. It’s not the life I had, but its better than what I almost settled for.

    • I think of our Constitution’s meaning behind “pursuit of happiness.” Your testimony shows that you have found it. What an awesome story!

  • Here’s a WSJ article that explains quite fairly the Welfare to Work provisions of 1996, provisions that they claim were unconstitutionally gutted by the Obama Administration earlier this year:

  • JDJ

    I have never needed government assistance, but I wouldn’t hesitate to apply if my children were in need. I also don’t judge people who do receive it. I haven’t walked in their shoes.

  • Guest

    Please read this. This is despite assistance being in America. In the developing world, people die.

    Empathy is something people need, especially as Christians. Not everyone who is poor got there by bad choices, it could just be one lay off or one medical bill too many. Being a christian to me means having heart. If my taxes will make just a needy child go to bed with food, I will consider that worthy instead of fighting unnecessary wars.

    • Thanks for posting this. I was waiting for an empathetic response. I want to give this more thought and discuss this further in a future post, but real quick:

      It is a fallacy to think a welfare state decreases poverty. A strong argument can be made that it actually increases it. If our welfare system increases poverty and dependency, it should be changed. Keeping such a system alive is harmful to the very people the system attempts to help. And calling it compassionate or Christian is misguided.

      • Mywombisnotmyhusbandsquiver

        If it is a fallacy that a wellfare state decreases poverty, how come the Scandinavian countries are ahead of the US in all major areas: public health, education, reduction of poverty and social mobility? I get so jealous when I see how well they take care of each other over there, while our governments term after term pass laws that benefit
        the rich and people like you twist the truth to make it look like the poor are the real problem. Shame on you, Chris Jeub!

        • You had to go to Scandinavia to find an example? Oh wait, you probably didn’t go there, you just read an article about it somewhere. Okay.

          Look, government assistance creates dependency, and government is the problem – not poor people.

          • Mywombisnotmyhusbandsquiver

            So that is your famous debating-skills at work? “You probably didn’t go there”, you have absolutely no way of knowing that, but I guess the debate is easier if you just make up the facts.
            And even if I hadn’t been to any of the Scandinavian countries, I have in fact been to all three and Finland, my appreciation of them would be no less valid. Or would you like to educate me on how something learned from articles or books is not to be used in arguments?

            • I think you’re grasping. Your Scandinavian example is so far removed from the 100 million examples right here in the United States that it exposes the desperation of your stand.

              Like I said, government assistance creates dependency, and government is the problem – not poor people.

  • Bea76

    My husband and I have four children. One is “medically challenged” and we spend a good 20% of our (used to be) 6 figure income on her medical bills. Yes, we make a six figures and I can tell you that this past spring after the bills were paid (we live quite frugally) there wasn’t more than $50 left from each paycheck. Then on June 26th our insured home burned to the ground in the Waldo Canyon Fire. We barely got out and other than a few changes of clothing and our daughters medications we lost EVERYTHING. Our insurance company is wonderful but they don’t give you anywhere near what the stuff you had was worth. During all of this our 3rd child started having severe mental issues related to the fire and I had to quit working to take care of her and keep her and my other kids safe. We got to the point that there was no way for us to pay the bills and feed the kids. Something had to give. While we aren’t on welfare the state is helping us feed our kids at the moment. We are eternally grateful for the help and every time I go in for food I cry because this means the world to us and I NEVER in a million years would of thought we’d be in this situation. My kids get so excited that not only is there food, but someone has taken the time to buy stuff kids want to eat and they are in heaven. My husband and I want to become self-sufficient again and with time we will. In the meantime I am sooooo thankful that there is a safety net because seriously if it can happen to us in a blink of an eye it can happen to ANYONE.

    • Thanks for posting Bea, and you have been in my thoughts and prayers, that’s for sure. Emergency relief isn’t what I would call draining, nor is it a trap. It serves a purpose, helps the devastated, then gets out of the situation.

  • AndreaMaddiex

    I believe beyond doubt that there are times when it is definitely needed, but as someone who is currently forced to accept it, I agree with Chris–IT SUCKS! I DREAM of being off it. Someone constantly treating you like your less of a person- or lazy. And it does become a crutch. So Chris, you said you would like to help someone get off it. I accept, can you show a wife whose husband only brings in $380 a week for a family with 6 kids (and said husband has become trapped to receiving it) how to get away from that crutch? I would give anything to be independent. Please help-you have my email.

    • You’re my kind of person, Andrea! Do you have a resume? One for you and your husband? Here’s what I want to do…

      Most resumes are meant to land you a job. I want to take a look at your experience, your skills and your passions and come up with a list of entrepreneurial ideas that could generate some income. We’ll see where these ideas go. Who knows? There may be a million-dollar idea in there somewhere.

      Send to I’m looking forward to this!

      • AnreaMaddiex

        Will be out most all today, expect an email in the next couple of days. And thank you from the bottom of my heart!

        • I’m looking forward to the challenge.

  • tereza crump

    have you ever seen the movie “Cinderella Man”. He fought tooth and nail NOT to take help from the government during the DEPRESSION years. He finally had to. But then he fought tooth and nails AGAIN to get back up and WHEN he did, He went back to the government agency to RETURN the money he was given.

    Now who would do that today??? There are maybe a few people out there, but there aren’t many. Mostly because we have been deceived and snared by government assistance. They have fed us FEAR and we have gobbled it down.

    When we had our last baby (unfortunately we had to go to the hospital) I kept getting calls from the social workers at the hospital wanting me to file so i could get on Medicaid. We don’t have insurance and we pay everything out of our own pockets. I kept telling them to connect me with the financial dept because we were going to pay cash. They just could not understand why I wouldn’t file for Medicaid. “All you have to do is give me your husband’s information and we will file the papers for you.” the lady said. “No, I don’t want it. I want to pay my own bills.”

    Like you said, it’s not a pride issue, it’s a moral issue. Even when it’s hard, we need to be the ones responsible for our bills. God is our supplier. He says he is our Helper. I want to rely on Him, not on government.

    I think it boils down to principles. If you have them, then even if you take government aid you will not stay there. But it’s hard to break away once you have been snared. My $0.02 opinion.

    • Cinderella Man is one of my favorite movies, largely because of the one scene you explained. And my family had three major medical expenses in the past year, each time (especially with our son, Micah) we were nearly harassed to get on Medicaid. We refused, paid cash, and we’re wrapping that up now. I will have a full story when our last bills are paid, hopefully within the next month. Over $100k…it’s a really good story.

  • Amy Wingfield

    I sell homeschool books, books, things from freecycle, thrift stores, goodwill, garage sales, things out of my home we don’t need, I run my website and write content for others and that brings home about $130 a month right now and the website business is growing because I also sell my products on Ebay and Amazon

  • Renee

    Chris, you might remember us from living in C/S (your second daughter babysat our then 5 kids a few times) but I wanted to applaude you for this article.

    I strongly believe that the best investment for a strong ROI and financial security is to start a family business. My husband worked for HP for 10 years when he saw the handwriting was on the wall : co-workers were being laid off and cuts in salary were being made. I started an online store selling handcrafted lotion just to offset the cut in the family budget but we still weren’t prepared for the lay off that happened a year later.

    We were definitely at a decision-making place where we had to decide to pack up and move to where the jobs were (we live in a rural area in N CA where Jonathan worked from home for HP) or we’d grow the online business and make that our primary source of income. We opted for the latter and threw ourselves into marketing and selling online while raising and homeschooling our 8 kids. Jonathan didn’t even accept unemployment. That was 2 years ago. The Lord has blessed our efforts and we live the same lifestyle we did 2 years ago.

    Keep spreading great messages, Chris! It’s worth every bit of time it takes to educate oneself on ways to provide for the family.

    Renee Harris

    • Why, of course I remember you guys! Thanks for the comments. Good to hear you are self-employed and loving it. Give my best to Jonathan and the kids. (Who must be pretty big now.)

  • Merwyn Haskett

    Thank you for informing me that my wife, who has terminal stage-IV cancer along with a debilitating condition called Post-Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome, lacks dignity and self-worth while being trapped in dependency.

    Since Social Security (which she still pays into with her on-call job), Medicare and Medicaid, according to your logic, aren’t helping (despite keeping her alive, which together we never could have afforded to do) what would you suggest? We don’t have even one blessed child, let alone sixteen, to send out into the workforce for the family.

    Would you suggest she pull herself up by her bootstraps?

    • I don’t think you read past the title.

      • Merwyn Haskett

        Well you are incorrect. I read your entire post, although I will admit to not noticing until after I replied that this was originally posted two years ago.

  • OhioMom3

    I haven’t read all the comments but I must admit I am saddened by your look at government assistance. I had a cousin who has two children, she was on GA, as the father wanted nothing to do with the children or her – it wasn’t her choice to end up there. Now she has a doctorate and works as a researcher. So it gave her a hand up. My personal experience – our children needed some dental work done that we could not have afforded even with my husband’s insurance (BTW: he works 40+ hours a week in our county’s developmental disabilities section as a social worker) so we decided to apply for health assistance. I cried the day we found out we were approved, yes it’s humiliating BUT my children were able to get the dental issues taken care of (between hubby’s insurance and the medicare). Another personal story – our oldest daughter was diagnosed at age 9 with scoliosis. We had to immediately begin bracing, this required a new brace about every 6 months. Braces for scoliosis begin at $1,500 and go up, her most expensive was $2,500. Hubby’s insurance would have covered only about 20% of that and the rest would fall to us…..every…..6….months – if it weren’t for our secondary coverage we would not have been able to afford the braces – ultimately she had to have a spinal fusion surgery in October at which time she almost died. Yes, some people use GA to not do anything about their situation but for some of us it helps us out. My husband isn’t sitting around on the couch, despite the fact that he has a severe heart issue that he could take disability for but he chooses to continue to work and he also coaches our county’s Adult Special Olympics soft ball team. I stay home and educated our children and take care of our house. We’ve had weeks where we would have been blessed to qualify for short term food assistance – when you listen and hear your child’s belly rumble because they are hungry but you’re still 4 or more days out until pay day but you had to pay the electric – then you can tell me it’s horrible to take GA. The Lord has only blessed us with 3 earthly blessings as of now, we pray for more, not because we know with a 4th we’d qualify for food assistance but because we welcome God’s blessings.

  • Lisa Davies

    I am on disability and cannot hold down a job. I used to receive food stamps but lost them all because my daughter tried to work a full time job but had to quit because of me. They are now punishing us for her trying to work and not keeping the job, but if she kept it I would lose my place to live. I had to ask her to quit or I would lose my Section 8 housing and then would be totally dependent on her to pay my rent. If she paid full rent, and for all our food, she would be working only to take care of us and not making any to prepare her for her own future so she could leave home. They make her become the head of the household and take over supporting me then she has no room for schooling to have a better future for herself.

    I cannot allow that to happen because some day she will need to leave home and I need to be able to stay where I’m at and take care of myself. I can’t always live with my daughter and have her take care of me. I need to be independent. Right now she is living with me and I am the one taking care of her because she just turned 18. She is not ready to leave home yet, but the system wants to try to force her to, before she is ready, when she is not prepared. She just turned 18 and only has a GED. She still needs to attend college.

    When she leaves home I have to have my Section 8 or I will lose my apartment because I am disabled and cannot pay full rent without it, so she quit work for me so I won’t lose it, but now foods stamps is punishing her for quitting ‘gainful’ employment even though she had to, so I won’t lose my home. They won’t allow her to save up so she will be prepared to leave home. They want to make her leave home now in order to keep her job, but she is not ready to leave home.

    She still needs my help because she is not tough enough as the world expects her to be a super woman in order to hold down a full time job, take care of her 3 month old baby (breastfeeding), and go to full-time school too and manage her own household when she has always had health problems she inherited from me and struggles like I do to stay well. They are now punishing us for her quitting work and taking away all of my food stamps so now I can’t pay all of my bills without them. I am in credit card debt from when I used to have to buy food on credit when food stamps did not go far enough and I had to fix my old 1994 car to be able to keep taking her to school or to her doctor appointments. I also need a vehicle because our small town does not supply the food I need to buy for my specific food allergies and chronic health problems. If I can’t buy specific foods my condition will just worsen and then I’ll never get off of disability if I ever stand a chance of that happening. Now I need to take her to her college classes so I have to keep my car working.

    I don’t think the system is fair. We really need the help right now until she gets out on her own. She is trying to do that, but they are punishing her for working six days and quitting just because I didn’t know I would lose my Section 8 if she worked a full time job. I’m not smart enough to know things like that ahead of time and they don’t tell you. My memory is not good either, so they can’t expect me to know things like that. I’m not that capable to be able to foresee all of the problems this caused, or I’d be holding down a job if I was. I didn’t know to ask. I was just so proud of her for trying and hated to ask her to quit. She didn’t want to have to, and was so sad about it, but the system put me in a position where I could not help her without losing my home.

    If I could make it without food stamps, Section 8, or disability, I sure would. I hate living off of the government. Not just for the obvious reasons that people constantly look down on you, blame you for their problems for taking away money from them that they want for their self and would rather you just cease to exist so they would have more (they overlook the scripture that says God blesses a nation that takes care of it’s poor and will make poor those who resent it), and the fact that you don’t fit in and never will; but because the system sucks. Their rules make no sense, like when they told me if she moves out she can never come back home and I have to be alone for the rest of my life unless I get married or adopt someone. Maybe I should legally adopt a friend to stay with me. Just being sarcastic. I need my daughter to stay at home, not so I will have company, but so she can attend school and have time for all of her studies. I need to be able to help her prepare herself for her future so I don’t have to worry that she is miserable at a dead end job she hates and no way out, but they don’t seem to care about that. Their rules seem cruel and heartless.

    That’s why she had to quit her job so she didn’t have to move out, so she can go to school instead. Before she leaves home she needs to be prepared to take care of herself before they try and force her to live on her own, which they were trying to do. Their rules are cruel and inhumane. They make rules to manipulate you into doing things the way they decide before a child is ready. I still consider her a child even though she just turned the age that they now consider her an adult. They are trying to force her to suddenly become everything she needs to be as if some miracle happened the day she turned 18.

    If I could somehow get well and better functioning and God would heal my brain and my chronic health issues, I would get off of this stupid system so fast it isn’t funny because I hate being under their stupid nonsensical rules. I want free of them and make my own decisions. It’s not for them to decide when I stop helping my daughter or if she can come back home, but according to them I have to do whatever they say or I lose my home. I wish I could say forget them and make it on my own. Lord knows how much I wish I was capable. If motivation alone was enough I would be rich by now, but you have to have the abilities to accompany it. I’ve tried to hold down a job before and could not do it and lost my disability. Now I am afraid to try again or I will end up on the streets unable to support myself like what happened before. I don’t want to go back to being homeless because I am not good enough. If you are not fast and smart minded in this world you are considered to be worth nothing. I am glad I don’t place my value in that but in God. Thanks for allowing my comments. Lisa