Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Government Benefit Programs - Charity Works for the Better

Government programs such as Lifeline Assistance Program, Food Stamps, and Medicaid help people with financial difficulties because they offer hope.  Without these programs, desperate families and individuals may become homeless, children may starve, or worse yet, people will commit suicide because they have lost all hope.  Three areas of concern are deadbeat parents, unforeseen circumstances, and improving the effectiveness of government benefit programs.

Deadbeat Parents
One area of concern for taxpayers as well as the mothers and fathers are deadbeat parents.  According to Steve Hargreaves of CNN Money, “Over $100 billion is owed in unpaid child support -- nearly half of that to taxpayers supporting children on public assistance” (Hargreaves, 2012).  Low-income parents who depend on child support (82% women) have to be on some type of public assistance.  “For poor mothers, child support payments represent 45% of their income, said Entmacher.  Deadbeats are a big reason why 41% of households headed by single women are below the poverty level -- twice that for households headed by single men and nearly five times that for married couples” (Hargreaves, 2012).  Government programs tremendously help these families maintain a life where they have a roof over their heads, food on the table, and where their children can stay in school.

Unforeseen Circumstances
Families can quickly get into financial trouble when unforeseen circumstances occur.  Situations like job layoffs, victims of crimes, or even a death in the family can lead the family into financial and emotional distress.  Government assistance programs can help families get back on their feet and restore hope.  When the government helps a family in need, they restore the unity of the family.  Healing the family, in turn, helps them to become productive members of society.

Government benefit programs such as Medicaid help low-income Americans including low-income children, adults, and non-elderly people with disabilities with medical coverage.  One hot topic is the Affordable Care Act.  According to Medicaid.gov, “The Affordable Care Act  provides Americans with better health security by putting in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will expand coverage, hold insurance companies accountable, lower health care costs, guarantee more choice, and enhance the quality of care for all Americans” (Affordable Care Act, 2014).
How Can We Improve The Effectiveness Of Government Benefit Programs?

A great way to improve the effectiveness of these programs is accessibility.  Today, more families have computers and smartphones of some type.  In addition, more companies and businesses are turning to mobile applications (apps) to help connect their programs to consumers.   By making benefit programs more accessible and easy-to-use, families and individuals in need will be able to apply and receive assistance more quickly.  Furthermore, by making these programs more user-friendly and easy-to-understand, ones in need will be able to discern which types of assistance would benefit them the most, thereby saving time and money.

In conclusion, deadbeat parents and unforeseen circumstances can lead families or individuals into financial distress and even poverty.  By making government benefits programs more accessible, those families or individuals can receive the right type of assistance and fast.  In sum, government benefit programs offer hope and bring stability to the economy.

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