Unemployment Is a Full-Time Job

Although many have the impression that poor people lead easy lives, just getting the benefits they're entitled to can be a struggle.

Feature (California)

Jessica Pishko
January 29, 2016

Tags: Social Security Benefits, Unemployment Insurance

Organizations mentioned/involved: Bay Area Legal Aid (San Francisco)


Despite nearly two decades since welfare reform required those on government assistance to invest a substantial amount of time training or looking for work, the refrain from American politicians and much of the public is that people are poor because they don’t work hard enough or are otherwise somehow to blame for their condition.

A Pew poll from 2014 found that just over half of Republicans believe that poor people are “lazy.” A majority of wealthy Americans are under the impression that poor people’s lives are easy because they work less. In a January forum on poverty, the GOP presidential candidates all extolled the virtues of government programs that give states control over distributing entitlements while criticizing the people who receive such “handouts.”