Misuse of government assistance by recipients

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Though no fault of our own, we have been plagued with the threatening, horrific coronavirus that has taken multitudes of lives and decimated our economy. Many Americans have found themselves unemployed and are striving to keep their heads above the waters. Many hard working households need assistance to feed their families and maintain shelter. However, we must be cognizant of the abuse and misuse of funds by those not using government sanctioned monies wisely—funds that were meant to keep their households afloat.

This misuse of monies provided through stimulus checks, money added to unemployment checks and moratoriums on federally financed properties results when some people collect more per month than they had ever imagined. They often use the extra money to entertain once unattainable luxuries and indulgences. With the eviction and mortgage moratorium, some recipients do not apply the monies to their housing (be they renters or mortgage payers). Instead they choose other options, e.g., buying used cars, jewelry, luxuries,  or even dream trips, etc. The stimulus checks are supposed to help stimulate the failing economy, and you would think those struggling would prioritize sustaining their housing and feeding their families.

Some people don’t seem to realize that when the moratorium on evictions and federal mortgages end, they will still be financially responsible for paying the back rent or mortgage payments. These payments were only temporarily suspended. There may be an army of renters and mortgage payers facing evictions and homelessness when the housing moratoriums end.

Our government is providing much needed relief with these stimulus checks, additional monies to unemployment checks and eviction moratoriums. They are life supports to help struggling families and to kickstart our ailing economy. While most people are very appreciative and needy of the checks and added monies to their unemployment, there is a skepticism that there are many unemployed workers misusing the government funding provided—thinking that another large bail-out by the government will be needed when things settle.

While it is hoped that most people in dire need are using their stimulus checks to help stay afloat by providing food for their families, paying crucial bills, paying their rents and mortgages—we must be aware that some are not applying these funds toward prioritized bills. Unfortunately, not using these monies appropriately may come to bite some people, especially when the moratorium on evictions and federally backed mortgages ends. You may see many families facing evictions. Home owners may face foreclosures despite the many state and federal government programs that are available for rent and mortgage payment assistance.

Do not be surprised to see many greedy, unscrupulous predators capitalizing on the influx of foreclosures that are probably going to come about after the moratorium ends on evictions and federally financed mortgages. Look to see an influx of tenants behind on their rent evicted and unable to find affordable housing. Even with the financial assistance programs that will be available, you may eventually see people crying for the government to bail them out in the housing department to keep them from becoming homeless.

As it stands now there is protection for tenants and mortgage loan borrowers under the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security). But it is only temporary and will eventually end. Those utilizing the safety nets provided by the government should be cautious and wise, looking to avoid dire consequences in the end.

Using funds supplied by the COVID Stimulus Package unwisely is hurtful and insulting to the many struggling and needy businesses that were overlooked. They could be forced to fold.  Abuse and misuse of funds hurts truly deserving people, especially in determining future aid or assistance.

Kudos to those using the monies correctly to honestly survive or keep their heads afloat. I pray that maybe I am wrong in what I see as an inevitable scenario of a cry for a bigger bailout once the economy improves and the virus is arrested.