30 Nov
Posted in: Blog
By    8 Comments

If I own a computer should I be qualifying for social benefits?

New York City has a new website called Access NYC that lets New Yorkers screen the city’s social agencies to see if they qualify for benefits. These benefits include everything from food stamps to section 8 housing.

I just find it strange that somebody that needs food stamps can afford a $1,000+ computer and the monthly fee for an Internet connection.

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  • Just because they are able to access the internet doesn’t mean they own a $1,000 computer and pay monthly internet access – they could be using a library or community center, a computer at work or at a friend’s house, or have received a home computer through a charity (many give away computers to school age children). Also, you can get free dial up access through net zero.

  • You really come off sounding like a pompous elitist asshole. I can see why poor people and minorities would hate republicans.

  • The comment is meant to ask how effective is the strategy.

    Obviously some people will have access to a computer that qualify but the reality is the majority of computer owners or those with access to one will not need assistance.

    It’s not about being pompous it’s about being a realist.

  • There are many resources for the homeless and less wealthy people in the city to access computers. So two points to consider before rushing to judgement.

    1. A web service is better than no web service.

    2. Social services and charitable foundations now have a place to direct people to do their own research and another tool to help connect the city services directed towards those that are not as lucky.

    Nick, if the point of your comment was to ask how effective the strategy is, then simply ask the question and promote dialogue. Don’t make anonymous’ point valid by posting instigative comments that feed the mis-guided stereotype that Republicans are “pompous elitist asshole(s)”

  • I could be wrong but I think Nick was trying to talk about the blatant abuse of our tax dollars by many people that aren’t responsible with the funds provided to them by these social programs and he just used a bad example.

    If I am right in what he was trying to do, I will give a better example. I have a friend that was a manager at an Eckerd Drugstore that use to get sick over seeing people go to the front of the store and buy carts full of candy, then go to the Pharmacy in the back of the store and sign a waiver on their medicine that they couldn’t afford a couple dollars for their Medicaid copay. The reality of it is, a lot of stuff happens like that all the time.

    I know a handful of people that work for Department of Social Services and with their stories, I could write a book on how to skate through the system and live on the hardworking/new york state taxpaying persons tab.

    While Yes, there are many people that have legit needs for help that they want to use as a stepping stone where they could one day be fully responsible for themselves or people who are disabled and need help, we would be VERY naive to believe that there aren’t a ton of people who take advantage of us.

    Correct me if I’m wrong Nick, but that is where I think he meant to go. Even if it wasn’t, it dismisses a theory that Republicans are elitists because of statements like that.

  • Those are some great anecdotes, Mike, but the statistical reality is quite the opposite – fraud in the U.S. social services system is currently enjoying all-time lows.

    Ironically, a lot of fraud has been rooted out by the computer technology that Nick is trying to score political points with. For instance, since the introduction of credit-card style food stamps (the EBT card), fraud has fallen by more than two thirds in this program. Today, only 2% of food stamp benefits nationally are given to families who don’t qualify for them – and two thirds of the time the mistake is the government official’s, not the applicant’s. All of these numbers are available on gov’t websites (GAO and CBO). Do some homework before you make broad generalizations about people you have never met.

  • Anonymous-I’ve worked as a cashier in a grocery store that accepts food stamps, i’ve gone to high school with many people whose parents abuse the system and they would talk about it, and dont even let me get started on the abuse of the free and discounted lunch system in public high schools (more on that later), and thats not even counting the people I know who worked at DSS that actually have to deal with that stuff.

    What I am talking about is reality. It’s not based on website statistics. Have you ever heard of 6 Sigma? Although you use the 2% reference, who says that is not high?

    Also, I repeatedly said in my post that there are MANY people that take advantage of this. You cannot dispute that with a percentage figure because I didn’t say a majority or even a high percentage of people do that.

    Finally here was your last lines of ur comment: ” Do some homework before you make broad generalizations about people you have never met.”—-Anonymous maybe you should not have talked out of ignorance and have done YOUR OWN homework. You didn’t know my experiences (explained above) from which my comments and thoughts were derived from before saying that!

  • Interesting that nobody is pointing out that it’s amazing that the government is even trying to streamline services to reduce mistakes, increase productivity and lower labor costs.

    You could add the Earned Income Tax Credit to the fraud list too.