Life on disability is not easy. People have to make choices concerning their lives while dealing with the issues that got them on welfare in the first place. If anyone says the government gives us enough money to live off of, they are ignorant of how much we receive. I have chosen to use most of my welfare cheque towards my apartment, which gives me very little to live off of after rent. This gives me the opportunity to live amongst the working class instead of in a lower income area ridden with crime. Living in a nicer area helps with my goals toward getting off welfare. It also helps with my mental health, knowing that I am not in a high crime area. I am lucky to have the social and cognitive skills nessecary to live in the area I do. Many people living on disability do not.
The welfare system is a broken one. Why must I choose between rent and food? The system is designed to keep people stuck in poverty. If people do not want to choose between rent and food, they are forced into a lower income area ridden with crime. The impact of the welfare system on my life is a huge one. Living in such dire poverty has affected my mental health which in turn has caused me to have numerous hospitalizations. I struggle with addiction due to the stress associated with being on welfare. If we look at the facts, the low amount of money given to welfare recipients actually costs the government more because of stress-related illnesses and crime associated with poverty. Also, many people choose to engage in crime in order to make ends meet while on welfare, again at a cost to the government.
The welfare system is a form of structuralized violence. I think it is a broken system designed to hurt people.
About the Author:
Jayson T Tower is a member of the Voices against Violence National Youth Advisory Board, and lives in Nova Scotia.