Government subsidies, Employment Insurance, & Welfare Programs.

Karla - posted on 06/02/2012 ( 11 moms have responded )

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This is designed to be a broad discussion on Government programs to help families. Though I know there is a big difference between Employment Insurance (in Canada) or Unemployment Insurance (in the US) and Welfare, I decided to include Welfare in the discussion.

As I understand it Employment Insurance and Unemployment Insurance are both government programs in which the employed pay into the system and can then use it when needed. I only know a little about Canada’s Employment Insurance, but I know you Canadians will help clarify. Employment Insurance funds a decent Maternity Leave.

Unemployment Insurance in the US is a government program in which the employed pay in the system and can use it as needed. It is used for times when the employee is laid off from work (it can be used when the employee quits or is fired if circumstances meet the criteria of the program.)

And the following link provides what appears to be a good write up on Welfare type programs in the US beginning with
“The U.S. welfare system would be an unlikely model for anyone designing a welfare system from scratch. The dozens of programs that make up the “system” have different (sometimes competing) goals, inconsistent rules, and over-lapping groups of beneficiaries.”

http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/Welfa...

People might be interested to know this
“Welfare reforms and related IMMIGRATION legislation in 1996–1997 sought to address three areas of perceived abuse in the SSI program. First, the legislation set up procedures to help ensure that SSI payments are not made to prison inmates. Second, the legislation eliminated benefits to less-disabled children, particularly children with behavioral problems rather than physical disorders. Finally, new immigrants were deemed ineligible for benefits prior to becoming citizens.”

”By law, a family cannot receive TANF benefits for more than a lifetime limit of five years, cumulative across welfare spells. Regarding work requirements, TANF mandated that at least 50 percent of recipients participate in “work” activities by 2002, with activities including employment, on-the-job training, vocational EDUCATION, job search, and community service. “

In Canada the Employment Insurance provides Maternity Leave compensation. The US does not have a similar program but they have Medicare:
“Medicaid provides health-care services to more than 49.7 million low-income individuals who are in one or more of the following categories: aged, blind, disabled, members of families with dependent children, or certain other children and pregnant women. Medicaid is the largest government program providing medical and health-related services to the nation’s poorest people and the largest single funding source for nursing homes and institutions for mentally retarded people.”

What are you views on Government programs such as Employment Insurance in Canada and Unemployment Insurance in USA?
Do you have experience with these programs, are they helpful?

What are your views of Welfare programs in your country?
What if any personal experiences do you have with these programs?
What Country are you from?

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Isobel - posted on 06/02/2012

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and for the record we also get the Canadian Child Tax Credit monthly, which is based on income as well...so a single mother who isn't working (me, I'm a student) can get over $700 per month for two kids...and that's not considered welfare, just part of our tax system :)

Isobel - posted on 06/02/2012

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MAN...how can you guys complain??? You don't get taxed or have to pay in for almost anything!

Happy - posted on 06/02/2012

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As a small matter of clarification, the employed do not pay for unemployment, the employERS do, not the employees. Just thought you might want to note that, so when Americans collect unemployemt checks, they are not collecting money that THEY paid into but their previous employer paid.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/02/2012

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OK here it goes. As most know I am born and raised Canadian. I LOVE my Country and all the resources/programs it has available for each one of us.



The Canadian Employment Insurance Program

This is definitely a resource I can say I am very thankful for. All persons that work (unless under the table, which is illegal if not claimed to Federal Government but happens) pay into our E.I program. There is a yearly cap of approx. $785 and this is the same cap for all. Depending on your income, a percentage is taken off the top of each cheque until you have either hit the cap for contribution or the fiscal year is over. It starts all over in the new fiscal year. If you hit the cap before the year end, you no longer pay into it, until the following year.



E.I is there for many different things. Maternity/Paternity leave for 12 months, at 55% of your yearly income with a cap of 55% of $45 000. If you make more than $45 000/year, you still only get 55% of $45 000 (a max weekly pay of $485). You must have 10 months of full time hours built up, in order to be eligible for a full years worth. The first 3 months is called Maternity leave, the second 9 months is called Paternity leave. So, a mother is the only one that can use the 3 month portion. A mother or father can take the second 9 month portion or they can share it. If a mother chooses not to take the first 3 months, then the father can immediately start to use the 9 months worth but the first 3 months is lost.



E.I is also there for loss of job, quit/fired (under specific circumstances) and short term disability which all have the same particulates/process as maternity leave.



E.I has been very useful for many over the years and I truly could not see it any other way. I am more than happy to pay into this program.

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Karla - posted on 06/02/2012

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Oops, Janice and Happy you are right, sorry.



Here's some info on it:

"Unemployment insurance is a federal-state program jointly financed through federal and state employer payroll taxes (federal and state UI taxes). Generally, employers must pay both state and federal unemployment taxes if:

(1) they pay wages to employees totaling $1,500 or more in any quarter of a calendar year; or,

(2) they had at least one employee during any day of a week during 20 weeks in a calendar year, regardless of whether the weeks were consecutive. However, some state laws differ from the federal law.



Therefore, the net FUTA tax rate is generally 0.6 percent (6.0 percent - 5.4 percent), for a maximum FUTA tax of $42.00 per employee, per year (.008 X $7,000 = $56.00)."

Janice - posted on 06/02/2012

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Programs vary greatly in the US because it is from state to state. I live in NY and taxes are high, so I'm told- I've never lived elsewhere, but there are many helpful programs.

My children and I have been or are on medicaid. The financial cap varies per person. So even though our finances have not changed my daughter qualified for free health insurance-medicaid- for the first 2 years of her life. When I reapplied for her after the 1st year I accidentally found out I qualified for medicaid during my pregnancy. So I received free insurance until roughly 12 weeks after my due date. When we applied again with the same finances I no longer qualified and my daughter no longer qualified but my newborn son did. So I am back on hubbies insurance which is quite expensive but I've heard of worse, my daughter has low cost state insurance which is great coverage for cheap and my son has medicaid. Yeah its really freaking complicated! Not all states have a low cost/ income based health insurance program for children.


I think the system has many flaws for example when I reapplied for my daughter I didn't have to prove my income. They only require pay stubs every other year. The year in between you just write down whatever number and they take your word for it. I don't know if this is the same for any other programs but that seems like a pretty big loop hole to me.

Janice - posted on 06/02/2012

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Yes, Happy mama is right, I was thinking the same while I read the OP.
I think EI insurance makes much more sense. If we could stabilize health insurance costs it would not be a major expense to employees.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/02/2012

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In a whole though, I am very happy about each one of our resources and more than happy to pay into each one of them. Between my husband and I, we pay $30 000/year into taxes. This money is dispursed amongst many things, where each of these programs I touched on here, are a part of where our tax dollars goes. I am thankful for each of them. Yes, I have needed them and am very thankful they were available. There just needs to be better regulation on some.



ETA:

And another $10 000/year form our combined income goes toward E.I, CPP, RRSP (right off my cheque), Union Dues (my husband), long term disability and our health insurances.



So, in essence we contribute $40 000 toward resources that are available for everyone (minus my RRSP and health insurance. My husbands Union Dues, helps everyone in his Union).

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/02/2012

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Canadian Social Assistance Program

I have 7 years of experience with this program from Alberta and Nova Scotia. This program is an extremly useful resource, when used CORRECTLY. They will provide resources for any upgrading courses and a two year secondary schooling program. They provide resources to teach you how to handle interviews to how to write a resume. This program has benefited many indivuals, including myself. I am very thankful for it.



However, it is a program that is vastly abused. It is fairly easy to register for, as long as you have children and can prove via bank slip and T4's, that you have very little or no income, you are accepted. Once you are accepted, you are covered and unfortunately the Government does NOT enforce the rules and regulations it has in place for clients.



The social workers are suppose to make each client look for either work or go to school. They are suppose to promote self sufficiency and strive to help you, help yourself to get your feet on the ground and no longer require assistance. The only problem is they often don't. Too often people become a client and they then just recieve a monthly cheque, no further requirements needed. Which is NOT how it is supposed to be. You, as a client (if not going the school route) are suppose to have to submit a ledger every month, that lists at least 5 places where you have submitted resumes and from that they are supposed to check that you indeed DID submit resumes. In my experience, from witnessing it myself, they simply do not do this. They do NOT make you submit these monthly ledgers. So, in turn, it makes it very easy for some people to abuse the system and never ever try to better their lives.



I know many people that abuse the system. They have never looked for work and have been on assistance for YEARS (5-20 years). This discourages individuals to want to help themselves. It does not enable them to feel like they CAN become a productive citizen of their Country and Community. It also takes from all those that ARE striving to become self sufficient. It has gotten so bad in some Provinces, Alberta being one of them, that you can no longer receive assitance unless you already have a part time job. You HAVE to prove you are trying before they will even look at you. Which, IMO, seems pretty fair.



In Nova Scotia, you do not have to be working first. I have seen so much abuse of the system it is appalling. It is due to these people that the monthly allowance is so minimal and why some families actually get turned away. Currently for a single parent, one child family, you receive $775/month. This is to pay for your rent, food and electric. You then receive $300/month from the Federal Gov. for your said child. You cannot find rent for under $900/month, unless you live in the extreme low income areas. These areas are drug infested, crime infested and have some of the worst children, for your child to grow up beside and go to school with. In these area's, most families have given up or have just not bothered to strive for better. Those that do, are very few and far inbetween.



Here in Canada, you just receive a monthly cheque. This cheque it up to you whether you pay your rent and so forth. Sometimes, if you have blown your cheque too many times, SS will pay it directly and take it out of your monthly cheque. In these areas you know when it is cheque day. The liquor stores and crack shacks are bustling! I have seen all too often a parent(s) go directly to the liquor store or crack shack BEFORE the grocery store. When they DO go to the grocery store, they are buying the cheapest items they possibly can. From KD to big bags of chips to french fries to bologna to pop.



I am not cutting our welfare system because in all truth it really is a wonderful program, it is just too often NOT used as it should be. Therefore, some families that really are looking for a resource do not get the appropriate ones. There is only so much money to go around and if you have abusers, those trying to help themselves are going to be short changed!



I used the system exactly how it is intended. I am more than thankful for it. It put me through 4 years of schooling (upgrading and two years of college program). I am where I am today BECAUSE of our Social Assitance program. It was and is just very sad to see and know that so many are abusing it, which is taking away from those that really need it and want to do something with themselves. However, even though I know there are many abusers, I am still more than happy to pay into this program. If my taxes goes to keeping one family with children from starving, than my money has gone to good use. It is just that, if the Government regulated it like they are suppose to, my money would help many more families and it would allow for an increase of monthly amounts. Since, right now, the monthly amount is extremly low, IMO. Those that are abusing it, often sell drugs on the side OR work under the table and do not claim the monies.



I do not have a paper to prove the abuse and fraudelent behaviour. I am going by my 7 years of experience of living in extreme low income areas. They also would not have sections of SS completely dedicated to fraud of the system, if it was not a very prevalent activity.

MeMe - Raises Her Hand (-_-) (Mommy Of A Toddler And Teen) - posted on 06/02/2012

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Canadian Government subsidy

The only Government subsidy I have a lot of experience with is Child Care. It goes by annual income, as well. So, if you make $28 000 or less a year, you have all of your child care paid for with a reserved subsidy spot. There are some Daycares that are all subsidy (not many) and there are subsidized spots amongst most Daycares. Meaning they have a limited amount of these spots and you often are on a waiting list of 6-12+ months. This program is only available upto a combined income of $45 000 (where as you increase from $28 000, you have to pay a portion of the cost, too).



I was truly appreciative of this program. I could not have went back to school without it.



ETA:

Oh, I have also used the Housing Subsidy program. This resources, also benefited me greatly. Without this I would not have been able to provide a roof over mine and my daughters head, durring such a tough time.

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