fare them well

tracking what’s changing for welfare, women and children

Broke and Busted: NYPD Mom on Welfare While Working

Late last month, The New York Post reported a 25-year-old mother attending Police Academy was busted for collecting both a salary and welfare.

Claribel Polanco was living off $1000 in welfare benefits, in addition to the $25,100 she earned as an NYPD Cadet. At the same time, Polanco doubled her duty as a college student. When Polanco failed to notify welfare officials that she was hired by the NYPD in January, she kept collecting benefits illegally.

Peter Moskos, a criminal justice professor and veteran of the Baltimore City Police Department, says Polanco’s ploy ain’t new news to him.

No, according to Moskos ( a fellow blogger) a salary stretch such as this doesn’t make Polanco morally bankrupt. Once a police officer himself, he says’ struggle is the name of the salary game.

<blockquote></blockquote>The starting salary of the NYPD is $25,100 a year. Granted it goes up a lot after 6 months, but still. How can you live off this for 6 months when you’re not allowed to hold secondary jobs and can’t make overtime? I was making $28,400 when I was hired as a police officer… 8 years ago… in Baltimore. I could get by, but I had no family, no car payments, and $300/month rent. You can’t live in New York City on that money.

Perhaps her situation wins one for the policy team chanting ‘welfare doesn’t discriminate.’ One officer, as quoted in the New York Daily News says Polanco is persona of problems faced by many young people trying to enter into a stable job whose salary doesn’t support them.

<blockquote></blockquote>She’s all the problems in a nutshell – a trifecta,” one police source said. The department pays dirt, so all they can hire are kids on welfare. … So she committed a crime to get by. And now the department has a criminal on the books – and she’s not even out of the Police Academy yet.

Polanco’s problem may cue a new conversation on the working poor. To date, the state of New York has nine campaigns for a living wage. For more info, see the Living Wage Ordinances in New York, Sept. 2005

The Economic Policy Institute says a living wage is “usually the wage a full-time worker would need to earn to support a family above federal poverty line, ranging from 100% to 130% of the poverty measurement.”

Right now, the living wage law for New York City assures a salary of $10 an hour for 50,000 employees in service fields, contracted for city work; that does not include police officers.

And so the fight for fair pay wages on.

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October 15, 2007 - Posted by | Busted | , , , ,

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