Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sample Post - Who is worthy?

We learn very early on in our social work education that most services are divided into two groups: those for deserving people and those for undeserving people.  Historically, this dates back to our adoption of the Elizabethan Poor Laws, which based aid on the "worthiness" of a person.  Though we seem to have come a long way from referring to people as drunkards or lunatics I can't get past the idea that maybe we haven't come so far.  Our current policies still reek of the stigma attached to being part of the undeserving group.  Poverty in America is something you put on yourself.  Anyone with enough determination and motivation can make it out of poverty to live the American dream.  At least that's what we're told and what we hear in the media.

I started thinking about this recently when I saw this card posted on a friend's Facebook page.

This person and I debate for DAYS about social welfare policy and it's clear from this card what her sentiments are.  No matter how many times I read or hear things like this I am still frustrated by people's lack of knowledge around welfare policy, the assumptions about who receives welfare and who doesn't, and the history behind our policies.  Poor, minority mothers are by far the most stigmatized in our society.  It is true that minorities, particularly African Americans and Latinos are disproportionately represented on the welfare roles, but how did that come to be?  Are they just lazier than everyone else?  The answer is no, despite with this someecard will have you believe.  We have created a two tiered system of social security.  Social insurance was designed as an entitlement for everyone, if you work and put into the system, you will be rewarded.  Rarely do we refer to Social Security payments in retirement as welfare.  However, when this system was created it excluded agricultural and domestic workers from receiving benefits.  Who did this impact?  Disproportionately minorities and women.  And where did they have to turn?  The other arm of social security, public assistance.  The assistance for the undeserving and what we have come to know clearly as welfare.  What we have stigmatized as dirty, shameful, and embarrassing.  

These ideas of worthiness or deserving vs. undeserving and imbedded deep in the moral fibers of our country and the policies that guide our systems.  How can we, as social workers, strive to change our system and our policies in the direction of eradicating these deep-seeded divides that make the American Dream so much harder to attain for some than others?

1 comment:

  1. Effect of Social Welfare System
    There are a lot of Social welfare policies and they all operate in different ways. These policies determine what people can qualify for and the system is affecting a lot of people because you have to be in the right program for you to be able to get the services that you deserve. Some people sometimes find it difficult to get access to social workers that can speak for them and help them get the important services that they deserve. As a matter of fact there is a lot of collaboration that is needed to be able to get the right service because that is the system.
    So if there will be more attention to the right of people, and people with disability, including women’s right and other rights it will benefit more people and it will yield a better outcome. For instance I have a family friend that her child have autism but they couldn’t get her a quick service because of how the policy run. The child was isolating herself from other children in school and her grade was very low. Her mother was noticing so many changes in her behavior and she was telling her child school that something is wrong with her child because she was not coping with her age and the things that she was supposed to be doing. She was having a lot of issues but the woman kept voicing out her complains and it took her child school too long for them to be able to see things themselves and to consider the right program for the child. Because there a lot of procedures to follow to be able to get the right service.