Abdul has a post on the latest lawsuit by the ACLU against FSSA claiming that people are being wrongfully denied welfare benefits as a result of FSSA’s automation and privatization efforts. Abdul’s post I believe misses the point of the lawsuit but probably accurately captures a lot of people’s opinions generally.
I hate to sound like the bad guy here, but someone needs to tell people who get government assistance that it is not a right, but a privilege. I cite the recent ACLU lawsuit against the Indiana Family Social Services Agency over the privatization of the agency.
The ACLU maintains the privatization of the eligibility portion of FSSA has resulted in thousands of Hoosiers being denied benefits they are entitled to. No offense, but the last time I checked, government benefits are not a right.
I am all for helping people and think there should be a safety net for the neediest of the needy, but there is nothing that says the state has to do anything. We made a decision as a society to help people out of the kindness of our hearts and the money in our wallets. However someone needs to tell the 1.1 million people who are getting the benefits that as long as someone else is paying the bill and the day is coming where some of us may decide not to do that anymore.
As I posted in his comments, the problem is that FSSA doesn’t get to unilaterally decide who receives benefits and who does not. If FSSA is denying assistance to people who meet the criteria set by the people controlling the money (the Indiana General Assembly and the United States Congress, I believe), FSSA is violating the law.
If no welfare programs had been created at all, I don’t think the ACLU would have a leg to stand on trying to compel that a program be implemented. However, once a program has been implemented there is a duty to implement it in a non-arbitrary fashion and there is an obligation by an administrative agency to administer the program consistently with the dictates of the legislative bodies.