±   Myth: Families stay on welfare for a long time and don’t make any effort to get off.

±   Fact: Less than half of the families that receive AFDC receive it for more than 36 months overall and most families receive aid for no more than two years at a time.

±   Myth: Welfare benefits for families provide them with enough to meet all their basic needs.

±   Fact: AFDC and Food Stamp benefits combined provide less than a poverty level income in all states and their value has been going steadily downward for many years.

±   Myth: Women receiving AFDC have lots of kids and go on having kids after they begin receiving aid.

±   Fact: The most typical family size is a mother and one child and the birthrate among women receiving AFDC is lower than that in the rest of the population.

±   Myth: Families wouldn’t need assistance if they would just go to work.

±   Fact: Many families who are in the work-place cannot make it on their earnings alone and need assistance in order to have any decent standard of living.

±   Myth: Spending on Welfare programs to aid needy families is a major part of the federal budget.

±   Fact: Spending for poor families with children under all public assistance programs that provide for basic needs including medical care amounts to about 6% of the budget.

Information taken from Welfare Myths: Fact or Fiction? Exploring the Truth About Welfare, a publication of the Center on Social Welfare Policy and Law: 275 Seventh Avenue, 12th floor, New York, N.Y. 10001-6708. (212) 633-6967.

Copyright NEOCH and the Homeless Grapevine published June 1996-July 1996 Issue 16