re: "A college grad wrote about getting on the program in an emergency but how it's structured to kick people off abruptly at certain economic levels."
Another informative article, Charles. Most people don't realize families with $30,000+ of cash & free benefits must stay under the government income trigger or be kicked off. This is easily done by keeping W-2 wage income low.
How do I know? Saw it with my own eyes in Brooklyn. - welfare families in which the husbands spent a LOT of time in the coffee houses. My particular neighborhood housed immigrants from a single language group. Apparently their children are growing up with the idea that striving doesn't pay.