According to NPR, only 55% of families that are receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits have one family member that is working. In fifteen U.S. states, the other 45% of recipients are making the right choice to not work.
According to 2013 Cato Institute Research, there are 15 states in which welfare recipients actually make more than full-time minimum wage workers. This study was conducted using a single mother with two children as their welfar package example. The welfare recipients also make more than a starting-wage secretary in 39 states and more than a first-year teacher in 11 states.
According to the study, welfare recipients will make double what a 40-hour-work-week minimum wage worker will make in most of these states.
The states (in order of smallest pay discrepancy to largest) include Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Nevada, California, Maryland, Vermont, Wyoming, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Hamshire, Washington D.C., New Jersey, Massachusets, and Hawaii. Data used for the study has been updated for today’s numbers. Alabama, Louisiana, and South Carolina were not a part of the study as they did not (and still do not) have a state-mandated minimum wage. Tennessee and Mississippi have joined the list as they no longer have a state-mandated minimum wage.
The top ten of the previously mentioned 15 states has welfare recipients making $10 an “hour” more than their working counterparts. Their hourly “wage” is determined by taking their total weekly welfare benefits and dividing it by forty hours.
The top eight states have their welfare recipients making over $20 an hour for over $43,330 in a pre-tax wage equivalent.
Perhaps one of the most interesting “states” is Washington D.C. On this list of 15, they had the highest minimum wage of anyone at $12.50 an hour. Their welfare recipients make $11.93 an “hour” more than full-time minimum wage workers.
Topping the list, though, is Hawaii. A single mother with two kids will make $19.88 an “hour” more than a minimum wage worker in the state. Their 2017 minimum wage was $9.25 an hour. This means that their welfare recipients made $29.13 an “hour”. This is about the average wage of an electrical engineering technician. It is very much worth noting that Hawaii has the second highest state personal income tax in the country at eleven percent.
This study is an obvious example of why welfare benefits need to be lowered. What motivation is there to get a job when you can $60,000 a year in Hawaii in welfare benefits?