I'm not going to refute it because I don't think there's a problem with people above the poverty line getting help with medical care, food, housing, utilities, or childcare. We're the richest frigging country in the world. We can afford it if we want to.
I have been on a lot of the programs described. I know a lot of people that have been and I know a lot of people that still are and I know some people that are unlikely to ever be able to survive with the basic necessities of life without them. The only people I know who seem to be able to do anything but barely scrape by while depending on those programs are people from middle class families and/or people in the clergy. Well, except for one family that I suspect has connections in organized crime but I'm not going to go poking around trying to find out.
The poverty line or even a fair bit over the poverty line is not enough to pay for the basic necessities in most areas of the country, most especially urban areas.
If you are a family of four attempting to live on $24K a year, you are going to have a heck of a time getting by unless you have some unusual advantages. If that $24K comes from two people working quasi part-time jobs, their lives are going to be very hard and very precarious. The first illness or unexpected expense of any size is going to throw them into a tailspin.
I guess for me, it comes down to what we want to get from our safety net. I want more from it than to keep people from rioting and looting or to keep the streets from being littered with beggars. I'd like to see families have the means to have safe shelter, healthy food, medical and dental care, quality childcare, and reliable transportation. These, to me, are not luxuries, but necessities. When a family does not have access to those things, that family is not going to function well and their children will not be able to benefit from education as they ought to.
If thresholds have increased since my family was able to get off assistance, I consider that a good thing. At the time when we were trying to get on our feet there was a big gap between being eligible for assistance and having the means to actually make it without the assistance. It made it almost impossible to really become self-sustaining because the first thing to go wrong pulled the rug right out from under you and you ended up very close to square one. We were lucky in that we had a sudden $200/week gross income increase along with full benefits when we were trying to get off of assistance. Had that not been the case, we might have stayed on assistance for years longer than we did.
Most people are not that lucky and need the safety net a little longer to really get on their feet and become self-sufficient long-term. I think it's worthwhile to help that happen. I don't find it desirable or beneficial to make people have a miserable existence because they are disabled or disadvantaged. If people that are able to work are willing to do so, they should have what their families need to have a safe and healthy life. If we refuse to hold employers accountable for paying their employees any kind of a living wage, then society will pay the price one way or the other.