Case Worker Reveals What Really Goes On At The Welfare Office

Food Stamps

Photo: Flickr User Clementine Gallot (

We’re big fans of Reddit’s Ask Me Anything series because it gives us an insider’s take on the biggest industries out there: casinos, airlines and the lottery. A case worker in Indiana recently answered questions in a thread, dishing on everything from welfare queens to whether the programs work. 

We’ve picked out the highlights and reposted them below. 

[Note: Although the information in Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” series is generally credible, some of it is based on opinion and personal experience. These quotes have been edited for grammar and spelling.]

Who cheats the system: 

“You’ll see a statistic floating around that states than food stamp fraud is ~1 per cent or less, but I’m here to tell you that is crap. That is only what is caught. ‘Fraud’ is a fairly loose term. We also use the term IPV, or Intentional Program Violation. It’s hard for me to put a percentage number on it because the cases that aren’t going through changes, or aren’t messed up and never come across my desk.”

How people get away with it: 

“[The number of] People who inaccurately report their situation is rampant. Mother and two kids and mum’s boyfriend. mum doesn’t report that the boyfriend is living there and making $3,000 a month. Or she does report that he lives there and pays the rent, but says that they ‘purchase and prepare’ their food separately so his income doesn’t count in the determination for mum and kids’ food stamps.”

His thoughts on “welfare queens”:

“For every (welfare queen), there are several that fall into the falling categories. Elderly people on fixed incomes. Parents working sh*tty jobs struggling to make ends meet. Legit disabled people. Grandparents raising grandkids due to parents being worthless/in jail.” 

Why the programs work: 

“People’s lives are filled with chaos and drama, the poor even more so. I think benefits like food stamps and Medicaid just take care of a little part of people’s lives and provide a little bit of relief from the constant pressure of roaming the USA as a poor person.”

The most surprising part of his job: 

“I never see clients. We do have local offices where we interface with clients face-to-face, but I don’t work there. I work in a call centre/data processing centre and do all of my work over the phone and through the mail.”

How he feels when people don’t receive aid they need: 

“You hear people all the time who say ‘that’s not going to be enough to feed me, or feed my family’, etc. But you have to remember food stamps are now called SNAP, in which the S stands for supplemental. So this isn’t designed to cover 100 per cent of your food expenses, it is meant as a supplement. Sometimes I’ll see people who barely miss the income cutoff, or who report changes truthfully like we ask them to and screw themselves. It cuts at me a bit.”

What he really thinks about welfare/food stamp/Medicaid:

“It’s just this monster of an entitlement program that has grown into an expectation that I do my best to administer according to the wacko rules put in place by our politicians.” 

SEE ALSO: Reddit users present 25 real-life hacks > 

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