Coming Sunday: Facts and myths of the welfare system

Maybe you've heard the stories. People cheating the system to get more welfare money. Welfare recipients selling their benefits cards for cash or trading them for drugs.

On Sunday, we take a look at the facts and myths of welfare and what Maine officials are doing to crack down on welfare fraud. 

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Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Christopher S. Frazer, right, appears in Androscoggin County Superior Court in Auburn recently for his arraignment on charges of welfare theft. To his left is his lawyer, Donald Hornblower.

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Comments

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Here we go again....why do

Here we go again....why do you guys have to be so negative all the time about welfare. There are some out there that do not commit fraud and actually need the help and use it the way it was meant to be used. Give me a break fellas and lets hope none of you ever need a helping hand.

Mike Lachance's picture

Tina, youve stated the same

Tina, youve stated the same mantra again and again, and no one really disagrees with your repeated announcement that welfare halps many many people who truly do need it.

Then there are the absolute facts that the system is broke, overburdened, too expensive, insolvent and going broke. I doubt the article will have room for THOSe facts after all the sugar-coated content is written.

The bottom line is, we are sick of the media denying the problem, and when cornered with facts, marginalizing those facts as "blown out of proportion", "exaggerated", or "not widespread". Its media BS. The entire welfare system in Maine is out of control and headed towards a brick wall.

Sure, it helps folks who truly need it, but at what point does ANY recipent *NOT* TRULY need it? Thats treally what this comes down to. Some may always need it, but I guarantee that while they may not be abusing the system as it is constructed now, MANY truly are recieving more than they TRULY need. Not sayin' YOU are, but alot of folks just need a kick in the pants to get off their butt and get off the dole.
And the State of Maine will be better for it, we who are not on welfare will be better for it, and you who (likely) truly do need it will be better for it.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

And the solutions so far are

And the solutions so far are hurting the very ones that "truly" need it. Why not sit down with those of us receiving help and ask us what would fix the problems. I can tell you lots but instead it is people like me who are going to be left out in the cold because our moronic governor has no clue on reality. Cuts can be made administratively ...cuts can be made in staff that take a paper from the intake area and then go to their cubicle and wait 15 or 20 minutes before calling a client....cuts can be made by following rules set years ago...if you are on TANF and have more children you do not get an increase....better yet....bring jobs to the state that will hire people and not turn us away and say we are looking for someone with experience....how the hell do we get experience if employers won't give us a chance. Get the feds to get off their butts and hold the hearings that most disabled are waiting on to get disability...it is currently a 14 month wait for a hearing date after they take 5 months to deny you twice. There are many ways to bring the system under control but all anyone sees is get people off it and quick. Forget that there are many with very good reasons for getting the help. It is not just media BS...its Lepage BS too...its people who are quick to say well if they are still getting help they must be abusing the system....give me a break. We have tried many times to tell people how to fix the system and yet we are still the ones being dumped and for what....to save money that could be saved in even bigger amounts by bringing jobs that will work with us and not against us.

 's picture

Priorities

I have seen more 20 and 30 yrs old trying to get disability because they don't have any education and think thats what they need to do. Of course this is coming from being in a generation of welfare recipients. I have patients that worked their butts off, then got hurt, or developed debilitating disease and can't get SSDI. But I know ppl who have drug and alcohol problems and got SSDI!!!!!!!! Priorities ppl, priorities!

Mike Lachance's picture

QUOTE TINA: "it is people

QUOTE TINA:
"it is people like me who are going to be left out in the cold because our moronic governor has no clue on reality."

So, Tina, are you in favor of the deal the Dem/Rep politicos agreed on and LePage doesnt like, or would you rather they scrap that idea and keep trying (thus agreeing with that clueless "moronic" Gov.

You know what Tina. I dont agree with you, so why dont I just start callue YOU "clueless" and "moronic"... first things first ma'am, put that tongue back in its place and lift yourself up a few notches here, please. Save the baseless biased insults for the likes of Dan, lest you become his twin.

In actuality, that clueless moronic Governor agrees with you on all this.... but the Dems dont want to let a single DHHS drone go. They are defending every State Job tooth and nail. And here's another idea... get rid of the Labor Unions within Maine Government employment. HUGE freeing up of monies there.

I dont disagree with some of your stated solutions Tina, but the Dems fight that stuff tooth and nail.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

And the clueless, moronic

And the clueless, moronic governor wants to cut 65,000 from the MaineCare rolls. There isn't a politician in this state that really has a clue. And I will NOT put my tongue back in its place just because you say so....you are no better then any of the others and yet you act like your stuff don't stink. I don't agree with many of your comments because they are not based in reality. We have had this discussion many times and until people actually "get it" I will keep up my opinions. I don't care if you agree with me or not but just maybe someone will actually start putting 2 and 2 together and come with 4 and not another lie or misstatement, or misinterpretation. The governor doesn't want to hear what we say because he stacks his "Capital for a Day" with supporters and then gets mad when someone actually calls him on something. Then he threatens to close things that he has no legal authority to close....if that isn't being a moron then I don't know what is.

Mike Lachance's picture

Really Tina? I act like *my*

Really Tina?
I act like *my* stuff doesnt stink?
wow...

Im no better than "the others"?? Who are "the others" and who's the one tossing insults left and right?

If there are 65,000 recipients who dont need the help then they should be cut. But not cutting anyone is not an option. So youre saying dont cut anyone? Its all administrative costs that are burying DHHS?

Which is it? So far all youve said is LePage is a moron and the problem is DHHS employees. Hmmm..

DONALD FERLAND's picture

I have also said that there

I have also said that there are no jobs here that will hire that actually pay a living wage. They want experience only. Someone with an Associates Degree can't get a job because they have no experience in the field. How do they get experience when employers won't give them a chance. I have offered solutions to look at and it always comes back to the same thing....cut services for people who need them. Do you realize how much money could be found if we had actual employers out there that would work with us and not turn us down. First it was people didn't have the education required. So people went out and got the required education. Now it is people do not have the experience needed. So people now have degrees or certifications that are useless until the business climate changes. Is that being looked at...NO ...Is anyone looking at ways to get business to work with us....NO. What is being done....well let's just stop the assistance to these "lazy" people and let them fend for themselves. I would love to work....I have gotten 3 different certifications within the medical field and yet I can't get the experience needed to get a job. A friend of mind went to school and got an Associates Degree and yet she cannot find a job in the field because she doesn't have experience....that tells me the problem also lays within the business community.

Mike Lachance's picture

EDIT TO ADD: If in my

EDIT TO ADD: If in my reference to having a special needs child, I am referring to "Claire", below, please forgive me... I always confuse you two.

Mike Lachance's picture

No offense Tina, but your

No offense Tina, but your full of crap.
I have an Associates degree and I could get a job any number of places, with or without that degree. And in your case you've stated on these pages time and time again that you WILL NOT work because of the special needs of your child. You also state that you REFUSE to let ANYONE take care of your child so you could work. You have made a choice to NOT work and voluntarily live off DHHS not because you are unfit, but because you will not let anyone look after your child. By the letter of the law, i do believe ANY of us could use such excuses, (morally justified as they may be) to get out of having to work for a living. Its your choice. But there are truly disabled folks who cannot work for more compelling reasons.

I am only going by what you have sted to me here over and over as-to why you will not work a day job, or a night job.

Goodwill Industries will hire practically anyone with no experience, and they pay a reasonable wage for entry level retail work with easy hours. They train you and give you a working head start back into the workforce, be you male, female, young, old, even the disabled have found jobs there. Your excuse that there are no jobs for inexperienced Mainers is total bull.

Have you seen some of the kids (and adults) working at Burger King? They have job fairs nearly every month. They dont require any experience and pay pretty good for entry level work.

Sam's Italian foods also hires teens and adults with no experience. No excuses on this one.

I could go on and on. *rolls eyes*

Sometimes im not so sure about you Tina. Keep it all in perspective please.

And FYI, my "stuff" DOES stink.... thats why i dont shovel it here like you do.

Just my opinion, of course... but its a good opinion, if you ask me....

 's picture

a degree doesn't mean crap

Mike, you also have a warped sense of opinion. But thank god it is only an opinion. I was layed off in October, had at least a dozen plus interviews, and no body seems to be hiring. And guess what! I have an Associates degree too!!!!!! I don't qualify for a bit of help because well, really, I don't know.... but I picked up two jobs taking a HUGE cut in pay just to put food on the table. So it doesn't matter what degree or no degree you have, jobs are scarce and daycare is outrages, its cheaper to stay home (although I don't have children requiring daycare anymore). But let me tell you, it is these few ppl that eff it up for others! My child was murdered almost 5 years ago, and when I asked for some help (I obviously wasn't in the state of mind to work) they denied me because I didn't have ANY LIVING CHILDREN living with me. I guess a deceased one doesn't count. I am so glad they are finally scrutinizing more cases. And who ever said its just a few, its not. I am in the medical field and seen ppl with state benifits that make more than I do. Even high profile maine politicians on maine care (boy I wish I could say who they are)and those are the ones that piss me off. Yes there are jobs out there, but you gotta work 2 or 3 just to buy a loaf of bread.

Mike Lachance's picture

Libby, thanks for the jab.

Libby, thanks for the jab. Anyway, youve summed it up welland i agree with you, it isnt the degree or experience, its just the job market. Its not a Maine things its nationwaide. Businesses arnt hiring. When things turn around it should be better, but we have to get through this first. Having multiple skills that can be used at a single place of employment is why I am still employed (knock on wood)... my wife hasnt had a permanent job in many years... We struggle with all these things that many others stuggle with also.

All we can do is elect leaders who are NOT the status quo. Otherwise this cycle will never end.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Mike, I have never stated

Mike, I have never stated that I refuse to work...I have stated that I do not have child care for my special needs child and that creates a major barrier. I have stated that most employers will not hire someone who constantly needs time off to go to medical appointments. I do not REFUSE to let anyone take care of my child....I have stated that they will not allow him into daycares. There is a big difference. And the jobs you are talking about are all well and good but do not pay enough to even pay the child care when you are dealing with a special needs child if you can find someone to do it.

And FYI I have complied with ALL Aspire requirements...I do have certifications that I have earned that would allow me to work. I have been on a job search for a number of months. I have been refused jobs because I do not have actual experience in the field. I have volunteered through Aspire at various places to get experience and to EARN the assistance I get. I continue to get education on my own in the hopes of finding a field that would give me a chance. I pay my bills and do not drink or do drugs. I take care of my child and get all the assistance his condition requires. I work with the school system to make sure they are not just a daycare for my child.

So don't sit on that sanctimonious throne of yours and say I refuse to do anything. I probably work just as hard as you only in different ways. You go to work at Burger King or Sams and support a family because FYI....there are people on welfare that do work those jobs and still qualify for benefits because the jobs do not pay enough to support a family.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

The way you guys act you

The way you guys act you would think the entire program is a fraud. I can tell you that it only takes a very few to make all look bad. The waste is in administration not clients. Provide more help...hell you have a governor that wants to take all help away regardless of the circumstances. And yes I am passionate about it...it saved the life of me and my children when my ex-husband tried to kill us. And the way you guys talk its a way of life for all of us when it isn't. You try living on $330 a month and a little more than that in food stamps and the disability I get for my son who is special needs and you tell me its a way of life. Every month I have to figure out how to pay all the bills my ex left me with because he wasn't man enough to show up to court for the divorce and so in order to get the divorce the judge said I had a choice, accept ALL the marital bills or wait to get my divorce when my ex showed up in court. Yeah it's a great way of life. The way I read all of the comments it seems like you guys don't think anyone deserves the help. And yes it pisses me off.

Tina please do not

Tina please do not misconstrue my own comments. I was not degrading the system itself, I too have had to use it when needed, I was merely pointing out the flaws in the video that SJ had posted.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

The video shows about a dozen

The video shows about a dozen people at the ATM at the stroke of midnight...wow...thats a lot of abuse going on. Give me a break.

The only abuse I was

The only abuse I was commenting on in the video Tina was that by SJ. The video had a time stamp of Feb. 28, 2012 -- the future! That is number 1. Number 2 they were demonstrating it as midnight at the end of the month, hence it is now the first when they start taking their money out, well this is a leap year, 29 days in February.

My comments were in no way against the EBT system, they were directed towards the manipulation of the video footage SJ was using.

RONALD RIML's picture

Facts, Facts???

Facts, Facts???

What makes you think folks are interested in any stinkin facts??!!

Mike Lachance's picture

Here's the Great Karnac's

Here's the Great Karnac's vision of the article:

"FACTS: Welfare helps people in need and practically everyone on welfare deserves it and would die without it.
MYTHS: Stories of welfare abuse are practically all false and those who abuse it are so insignificant that it really doesnt require so much attention.
...Yours Sincerely, P.C.S.J. Staff"

Time Travel?

My calendar is telling me that it is February 10, 2012 yet your video is showing footage from February 28, 2012... care to share the secret to time travel or is this the level of accuracy we can expect from the upcoming report?

While there is welfare fraud the best approach is to face it honestly and directly and not try to fabricate events to support your argument.

Andrew Jones's picture

They probably meant Jan.

They probably meant Jan. 28th.
Although, the video is currently down... Maybe Doc Brown works for the SJ?

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