Reason it sucks to be on welfare number 1002: the loss of privacy. According to a California Court ruling that the Supreme Court let stand last week, the county of San Diego – and by proxy the rest of the country – has the right to inspect the homes of welfare recipients without a warrant at any time.
The reason, if you can call it that — welfare workers aren’t looking for evidence of a crime, according to the 9th circuit court of appeals. They’re looking for evidence that the welfare recipient is actually as poor as they’re claiming to be.
Are they claiming dependent children? If so, there should be evidence of them. Are non-supportive parents really “absent”? If so, they’d better not be around when inspectors show up. (I just love the image of a social worker scolding a child, in shocked tones, “You’re father can’t be in your life! We’re not paying for that!”)
And definitely, DEFINITELY, don’t have any nice things. That’s a sure sign you’ve been working on the side.
Right now San Diego is the only county in California that forces welfare recipients to accept government searches of their property without any cause, according to the L.A. Times but federal judge Harry Pregerson, writing a dissent, said that this ruling “will surely set a new standard” for welfare systems everywhere.
Because apparently a man’s home is his castle only if he can afford to build a fence.—Benjamin Wachs