Conservatives claim that the reliance of the poor on welfare (rather than poverty itself) causes social problems, including the perpetuation of welfare dependency into the next generation. Indeed we do not view this type of reliance on financial assistance as dependency at all. A welfare rights activist and former recipient, Theresa Funiciello, explains the unfairness of the distinction made between children supported by Social Security and those supported by AFDC:
No one has suggested the mother on Social Security suffers from “dependency,” yet everyone seems concerned about dependency when it comes to welfare. There is no rational public policy basis for treating families in essentially identical circumstances in such radically different ways. . . . The only real difference between “survivor” and “welfare” families . . . is the imprimatur of the father. The message: the needs and rights of women and children are determined not by universal standards but by the nature of their prior relationship to a man.
Yet conservatives assert no similar condemnation of long-term dependency on inherited wealth, life insurance proceeds, government agricultural subsidies, and social security benefits. (…) This distinction in the moral outrage directed at different types of dependency parallels the stratification of the American welfare system into two basic categories: Social Security and what is commonly called welfare (mainly AFDC). Social Security retains its political popularity because it is perceived as an insurance program despite its strong redistributive effects and its dependent clients. Yet Social Security itself encourages some dependencies while discouraging others. It “subvert[s] adults’ sense of responsibility for their parents” while promoting wives’ dependence on their husbands’ wages. Because Social Security’s beneficiaries are thought to recoup what they contributed to the program, they are neither stigmatized nor supervised. So taxpayers complain about supporting poor mothers on AFDC through their income taxes, but not about the transfer of their Social Security payments to the widows and children of deceased workers, who may even be more affluent than the taxpayers who support them. In 1992, nearly four million children and caretaker parents received Social Security payments totaling about $14 billion. The budget for AFDC was only 50 percent greater, even though its caseload was three times larger.
-Dorothy Roberts, Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty
I’d like to be clear that I don’t begrudge survivor families their Social Security payments. I have never minded paying for things like that out of my taxes. However, it does seem like people who are content to support survivor families with their tax dollars have no rational reason to object to supporting families on welfare (particularly considering that many people receiving government assistance in the USA are already working while on welfare (Source) (Source).
There are plenty of irrational reasons, though. Here are some links that refute the common lines of nonsense, just in case those are useful for anybody reading (either because you are personally gearing up to present nonsense or because you are frequently presented with nonsense yourself).
Politifact’s list of fact-checked statements about welfare
Examiner’s Debunking the Top 6 Welfare Myths
tl;dr: People who object to welfare but not Social Security survivor benefits are operating under the influence of a full trifecta of racism, classism, and misogyny that is far more twisted and ugly and pernicious than the sum of its counterfactual and oppressive parts.