Ask Mikey Michelle Arana

Dear Mikey,

I have some friends that seem to be doing the same thing, which I do not agree with. I believe they are all taking advantage of the government system.

I have one set of friends who are married but have never had their own place to live. They mooch off of their parents (they are now 31), are on welfare and food stamps while living at home, choose to work part time only so they don’t lose their benefits, can easily get better jobs but choose not to, and also decided to have two children.

I have another friend who is extremely lazy and chooses not to work. However, they receive disability money (not disabled) and when I went to their Section 8 apartment, they have a brand new smart TV, brand new furniture from Costco, and even told me about the two vacations they took this year.

My other friend is a single mother, is very smart, but only works part time as well so she can receive the Section 8 housing benefits, food stamps, AHCCS, etc. I have offered to get her a job at where I work which would eliminate all of the government assistance, as my job has excellent benefits and pay where she wouldn’t need it anymore. She chose to stay on the government assistance.

I have countless other friends that have been on unemployment or on food stamps off and on for years when they do not need it. They have even told me that they just don’t feel like working.

Mikey, is everyone just turning out to be lazy/rely on government assistance? Can you explain to people what it is really used for?

— Seeking a mooch-free society

Dear seeking a mooch-free society,

You seem like you have a lot of friends who just want to ride the system, which is unfortunately a common problem in today’s society. What people don’t realize, is that the more people we have riding the system that do not truly need help, are just taking assistance away from those who truly need it.

Government assistance programs such as Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), food stamps, unemployment, Section 8 housing, and all the other available programs are for those who honestly need it. It is not a permanent fix to a family’s problems, but rather a temporary fix. Let’s say if a father gets laid off from his job and was the only one working in his household and has three kids and a wife to take care of. The services are provided for he and his family right after a layoff while he is actively pursuing another position. It is provided as a temporary safety net until he can get another job, and then once he does get another job, he can cancel all services because now he is in a position to take care of his family again.

It’s for a single mother who is unable to collect child support from the father, but who is working and doing the best she can but may still need some medical assistance for her child. It is there for her because she needs it while she is actively looking for a full-time job with benefits to help cover the costs for her and her child.

These services are provided based on need, and all of your friends that you mentioned, as well as others in the community who may be doing the same thing, should not be taking advantage of the system.

Think about it. For example, let’s just say that each state is only limited to how many people can get on food stamps, AHCCCS, Section 8 housing, etc. What happens when they have reached their limit to who can receive such services anymore? People who are truly in need of it will get denied. Then what other options do they have?

A wise message to your friends and to others like your friends — if you are perfectly capable of working, then you should be working. If you have an opportunity to work full time but choose part time so you can get half of your bills paid by the government, you should do the right thing instead, and work full time. If you are on disability make sure that you are honestly disabled. You should not be using disability money to purchase a smart TV or new Costco furniture. Think of others that are truly disabled and ask yourself how that would make them feel if people in the community were just pretending to be disabled out there when they themselves in fact struggle everyday because they truly are disabled.

Think of the families you are taking money away from because you are riding the system when you don’t have any need to. Think of the one day when you might truly need government assistance and it is completely depleted in the future because people like you just took advantage of it. Think of how you would feel if your elderly relative who was recently disabled was denied government assistance because there was no more money left to give to her. Think about that while you are watching your smart TV at night… Just THINK.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michelle “Mikey” Arana is a 2003 graduate of Mountain Pointe High School. She offers free peer advice, however, Mikey is not licensed or trained, just a fellow friend to the community. All inquiries made to Mikey will remain anonymous unless legal issues occur. She can be reached at

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