What can we do to get financial aid to be a helping hand rather than a lifestyle???

The social services/welfare issue is a definite hot potato topic, which is why I believe it hasn’t been reformed because no politician has the guts, or stomach to touch it with a ten foot pole.  Had a thought provoking comment that addressed the portion of my post yesterday that touched, very briefly, on social services being abused and how do we stop that cycle.

I want to thank you Sue for sharing your story, and I want to say that I’m 1000% with you on all that you said.  It is a vicious cycle, one that I believe our governments quite enjoy.  I believe that they want these groups of people to remain where they are, oppressed by the weight of trying to get up out from under their circumstances, because it makes them easier to control.  Or that is at least how I see it.  I know that the amount of our taxes that go to the welfare system is indeed quite low, if I recall it is less than 20%, I think it might even be as low as 13%.  I also think it is gross how many staffers holding government jobs make six figures.  The government is a corrupt business my friend, and we the people not only pay for it, literally out of our pockets, but we also do with our lives as seen in the welfare system.

When I addressed the need for change with regards who is using this system I was in no way not talking about women like you.  You in fact are the exact perfect example of a person who should have received the help!!  And congratulations to you for your successes, I applaud you, and I know firsthand how difficult it was to not only ask for that help, but to get it.  You see way back, like way back when our girls were three and one, Yannick and I couldn’t book enough jobs to pay our rent, we were barely making enough to keep food on the table, and neither of us had families who were in a position to help, well my dad could have, but he chose not to.  That is an entirely different post.  Anyway, my point is, I was staying home with the girls during the days because we couldn’t afford day care, I was bar-tending at night, as well as cheer leading, which only paid when we cheered at the games, but it was a job, and something to help with my acting profile.  Yannick was selling long distance phone packages during the days, as well as auditioning, and staying home with the girls at night.  My point is we were doing everything we could to provide for our family, we weren’t sitting around waiting for a cheque to come it.  But we couldn’t manage it, no matter how hard we tried, we even filed bankruptcy so we wouldn’t have any added monthly expenses to try and meet.  Nothing made any difference, so we swallowed our pride, keep in mind Yannick had already been on TV for a decade and was a recognizable face, went into a social services building and asked for help.  Not long term health, just enough to pay our rent.

We were denied.

We were denied assistance because according to the governments algorithm he had made too much money the YEAR BEFORE to be eligible for help TODAY.   They sent us away with grocery money, period end of story.  Looking back I don’t really know what happened next, how we managed to get up out from under it, but somehow we did, all on our own.

My issue isn’t with people getting the help that they need, my issue is with people who are abusing the system.  People who are working jobs under the table for cash, not declaring said income and getting reduced housing and welfare.  I grew up with some girls who when they became old enough to have babies kept having them every five years so they could stay home on mother’s allowance, keep their reduced cost housing and collect welfare.  Their kids were wearing Nike sneakers and driving around their apartment parking lots in those mini jeeps and shit, while Yannick and I were working three jobs between us, feeding our girls Kraft dinner and relying on Brianna’s hand me downs to keep fitting Dominique.  These are the people I’m talking about when I say we need to do better at closing the gaps.  Not people like you Sue, or us.

I honestly don’t see why we can’t have people who are in the system doing the trash collection, or road work?  Why do we need to use so many tax dollars supporting all these unions paying these people to do work that others who are of sound mind and body could be doing instead of being in the system?  It seems like a simple enough solution to me.  Although you and I both know the answer to “why not” and the reason it is not done is a simple one.  Our government makes too much money from the unions who line their pockets to get them elected.  Never mind the people who are getting away with ripping off the system who like it that way, and guess who they keep voting for?  The guys who aren’t planning on implementing any change in this area.  It is all about; “I’ll do for you, if you do for me.”  Corruption at it’s finest and like I said we all pay the price for it.

Don’t even get me started on how this next generation is supposed to make a go of life…as you know I have three girls who have been afforded, by the grace of God, high quality education, and many opportunities that the kids born into the welfare system have not been given, and I watch them struggle to make ends meet, to excel in their professions of choice.

It is a mess.

So at the end of the day Sue, I don’t know what the answers are, but I do know that not only can we do better by having stronger vetting and follow up in place so that people who really need the help, like Yannick and I did so many years ago can get it, in place of all the people who are taking up the space in our social system by manipulating and cheating it.



  1. Pardon me while I applaud you – ALL of you! The content of this blog, and the comments section here, is all so very personal and I’m sure painful to some extent to share. Thank you for sharing.

    I’ve been very lucky in my family. The only example of “social assistance” I witnessed was when my parents split and my mom didn’t have a job. My brother and I lived with my father. My mom was living with her parents and on assistance until she could find a job. This wasn’t easy in 1982 (she had NEVER had a job outside the home) and I am sure as hell that a woman in that position today – for *whatever* reason – would have it even harder. Hell, it would be virtually impossible to skate through without some assistance.

    The safety net is there for a reason. It’s for safety, it’s for “just in case”, it’s for “help me to get to the other side of this”. I truly believe we all need it, and I equally believe that the system that purports to “manage” the funds needs a very big and very urgent overhaul.

    Thank you again, all of you, for sharing your life experiences.

  2. Very well said. My post yesterday on Instagram was not well explained but, living in the US , I see no one has figured out the right way to provide aid. It is infuriating that you should struggle so a woman has babies to stay home lazy. I’ve worked for all I’ve ever gotten, very hard at times. I grew up with little but my parents, like you and YB,made us feel rich. Bravo to you and your dedication to your family. You deserve every blessing you have today❤👍

  3. Two small examples from academia:

    Students can enroll in public institutions and for gov’t student aid in the form of tuition and some cash. All they have to do is attend one class to prove sincerity. There was a whole ring of people who would apply to various local colleges with different names and residences, come to one class to qualify and then disappear. Most annoying, not to mention wasteful, and denying other students a slot in classes they need. There was no state database of skippers with all their aliases and info shared among local colleges, so they could get away with it over and over. There needs to be one. Also, no cash, just tuition to the college and credit in the bookstore for books and supplies only. And requirements to qualify must be more stringent: attendance for 1/2 semester, plus all assignments.

    Many public colleges are resorting to hiring part time adjunct faculty since it’s much cheaper than hiring full timers. Being an adjunct is a miserable life. I know several who communte between 3-4 local colleges with no health benefits, no job security and are paid less than full time faculty. This, I must say, is largely the result of the state drastically cutting funding to public institutions over the past decade. So when addjuncts are unemployed, as many are over the summer when colleges run on skeleton faculty and limited classes, adjuncts can apply for unemployment benefits. However, the colleges are reluctant to sign off on this because it costs them (not sure how), so the adjuncts have to go begging and pestering to get the colleges to OK their unemployment applications. I know many adjuncts who are barely getting by, barely providing for their families. I know many many who would like to retire, but can’t because they have never earned enough to save for retirement. Colleges should not hesitate to support adjuncts when they need unemployment if they want to retain quality faculty. Most of these adjuncts have other part time jobs to supplement their ambitions in academia. It’s very sad and a rotten exploitive system.

    I hope you had a food bank available where you lived when you were denied social services. I don’t understand why you’d be denied because of your income a previous year. There have to be formulas for qualification, but there should also be common sense applied to each individual case. It must have been so humiliating to get the courage to go in the first place. Our local food bank is a charity I hold near and dear. How can anyone get thru the day, let alone think (kids in school especially) on an empty stomach. I can see how this experience has made both of you so public spirited and compassionate.

  4. Great blog. Accurate and sadly true. 25 years ago in college I wrote a paper titled “Welfare: Survival or Scam” Welfare reform has always been my passion. Your right about our governments failure to address the issue. Peter Jennings Person of the Week featured a welfare mother. Heart wrenching segment. Her and 2 children slept across 1 bed. There are those that need it and those that expect it. Recently at the hosp a mom asked her pregnant daughter why did you get pregnant again? The pregnant daughter said “More money”! I am also an advocate of drug testing. I had to in my job. You knocked this one out of the ballpark Shantelle. TY

  5. Sorry to hear what your family and Sue’s had to go through. You are the people that the system should be designed for. Those that are working hard to pull themselves up and take care of their families. I can’t believe you were denied. Geez! Thanks government
    I have always thought there should be some local, state or federal jobs that people could do rather than just take a handout. I’d like to think they would feel better about themselves if they were working for the aid. But I have to say that I was lucky enough not to have to depend on the ‘system’ so I can’t judge those that do. It just seems to me that it needs to change to supporting those that are truly making an effort to get themselves out of the situation.
    Another difficult topic you have tackled.
    You just keep showing your strength and capacity to overcome obstacles

  6. I couldn’t agree with you more! I don’t begrudge anyone who REALLY needs a helping hand. I work in the nonprofit housing sector and I see first hand the abuse of welfare and housing. A girl will come in with her kid(s) and pay next to nothing (and I mean next to nothing) for a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment or townhouse. Next thing you know boyfriend has moved in (illegally)…usually making an ok wage. They have kids every 4 years to stay home and their kids are growing up to be teen moms and repeating the cycle. It is extremely hard for the landlord to prove and get an eviction for these “unauthorized tenants” as the people usually have no where else to go. The sympathy goes to the cheater. Somewhere there is a mom desperate for a home but can’t get one because of these scammers. Burns my ass to no end!!

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