16623425181_838f9fab0c_mShe has a full-time, professional job and a degree from Cal-Berkeley, and she makes more money off welfare than work.

How out of control is the welfare state?

If you make $36,000 a year not only do you qualify for welfare, you’re better off not working.

Radio host Emma Johnson, writing in Forbes, explains a friend’s financial situation:

Today she works in admissions at a local college, earning $36,000 per year. Her kids’ dad pays her $700 monthly in child support.

So that puts her at $44,400 a year in annual income.

But, as Johnson points out, at $44,400 a year she qualifies for welfare.

She also receives about $40,000 in benefits from the state, in full-time day care for two of her children, free school lunches, winter heat assistance and health insurance for the four of them. Her children are ages 6, 4 and 1. She drives a 2000 Subaru station wagon, they don’t take vacations and she shops for clothes at the Good Will. Any extra money is used for car repairs, holidays, weekend activities with her kids, and miscellaneous needs, like the recent vacuum cleaner she purchased.

Even though she had a full-time, professional job, and holds a degree from Cal-Berkeley, Johnson points out the welfare system actually pays her to not work.

Even though my friend is excited to be working again, and grateful to have landed a professional job, she is careful keep her income below $44,868 per year — the cut-off income for Wisconsin Shares child care subsidy program for a family of four. Between her job and child support, her income is about $44,400. While she enthusiastically takes advantage of overtime work at her job, she opts for comp time en lieu of extra income. “The time is more valuable to me, especially since I want to make sure I don’t earn over the limit for benefits,” she says.

Needless to say, she’s not motivated to earn more, since even a few more thousand dollars would mean she would lose about $40,000 in benefits.

Even worse, the welfare system is paying her to stay a single mother, Johnson writes.

She and her ex-husband have talked about reuniting. But if that happens, she would argue for staying legally separated or divorcing, since reuniting legally would again mean loss of benefits. “I have married friends who are way broker than I am because they don’t qualify for benefits,” my friend says.

And now Democrats want to expand the welfare state, with Hillary Clinton and other candidates arguing that companies should pay their employees to not work and become stay-at-home moms after their children are born.


photo by amateur photography by michel