Welfare for Single Moms: Pros and Cons


Some people would likely argue that providing welfare to single mothers is a bad thing. Even in these turbulent economic times providing some assistance is still seen as acceptable and even mandatory for most. But what does this actually accomplish? Is giving single mothers aid really the way forward or should it be just a temporary solution? Many of the same that would agree in moral terms we as a society have an obligation to assist those less fortunate could in fairness make an argument that this welfare is only at best a temporary measure for survival. Single mothers that receive welfare still face a myriad of barriers when it comes to day to day living and some can find it even more difficult to re-enter the work force.

Welfare for single mothers does not solve the problem in the long term. When looking at the challenges many of these women face it seems that they have so many cards stacked against them that a small supply of state apportioned aid will make little difference. In a recent study conducted by the University of Michigan, it was shown that single mothers that receive welfare face far more barriers in society and returning to work that single women nationally.

Lack of education was cited as a common factor among single mothers that receive welfare. Out of a study of 750 women nearly 1/3 of them had not finished high school. This is quite staggering as the national average for women across the country is 18%. Little education makes entering the job force all the more difficult. Women without even a high school education will be far likely to only receive minimum wage or entry level positions, most of these paying less that what they would receive on welfare.

Carrying on from lack of education, many single mothers have few job skills, little or no work experience and many have limited knowledge of workplace norms or practices. Those that are lucky enough to find employment will likely find keeping their job a greater challenge due to these reasons.

Mental health issues also played a major role for single mothers receiving welfare. According to the study, nearly 25% had claimed to have suffered from a major depression during the past year. The national average for women is 13%. 29% met criterion for post traumatic stress while the national average for women is around 10%.

Physical health also played a key role. 20% of the women in the study reported as having health problems at least twice per week. They were also deemed 3-5 times more likely to be considered in poor health when compared to women nationally.

The study did reveal some positive aspects. Based on the sample of 750 women it was found that they were no more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs then women nationwide. Most of the women in this study did know workplace norms and had managed to gain some work experience.

Most would argue that providing welfare for single mothers is a positive thing. However, to make a real difference in society far more needs to be done in removing the barriers in their way.


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