Financial problems are often due to circumstances beyond one's control. When budgeting and penny pinching isn't enough to cover necessary expenses, turning to public assistance can fill the gap until finances turn around.
The Poverty Problem
There is more than one type of poverty. Some people who fall within the federal poverty guidelines as the result of unemployment. Some people work full-time jobs, but with minimum wage simply aren't able to make ends meet. The causes and effects of poverty are too numerous to pinpoint to one cause, but one thing is clear; the idea that people make intentional choices to land within the federal poverty line is not typically what happens.
Applying for welfare is only the first step in getting help through public assistance. Qualifying for food stamps or for assistance from WIC can help ease the burden of putting food on the table. States can have their own state-specific food stamp rules and regulations, and public assistance programs can vary from one region to another. There are certainly pros and cons to welfare, and it is true that welfare fraud occurs, but it's good that programs exist for people who need help.
While welfare does provide some much-needed help to families, there are other sources for extra help. Whether it's a program for free cars or computers for low-income families, or even car seat programs for those who need help, many programs exist to help those with low income to get the things they need. Small, independent programs like food pantries at local churches are a great resource for getting some help quickly and easily.
While putting food on the table is important, without a safe place to live, the stress can be substantial. Qualifying for Section 8 assistance can help take some of the burden off monthly housing costs. A Section 8 rental will likely prove more affordable than traditional housing. An emergency cash grant - though difficult to find - may be the answer when rent or mortgage cost obligations become too difficult to meet.
Balancing the Budget
Money problems aren't something to be ashamed of - they're more common than most people realize. Though it's unlikely that you will easily find a quick grant to pay bills while you're unemployed, there are other programs that can help you stay above water financially until you're able to get back on your feet.