In our work in "the system", I'm seeing families who are asking for help (legitimately) and finding out that there are big strings attached (at least through social services). I'm not sure what to think about that. I think if you want X, you might need to submit to Y, but I'd also be afraid of truly needful people falling through the gaps if they feel too exposed in asking for help.
i have mixed feelings about need too. i think most people jump to looking for external help way to soon. it should be hard and there should be string attached.
my oldest has two kids, married, has some debt from the last spouse, and is about a semester away from his degree (better late than never :-)) last month, he lost his job. lousy timing especially since they'd just come to the point where he felt pretty secure in his job and his wife had quite work to go back to school.
i told him to go down and get food stamps and whatever else he qualified, for because that's what the programs were there for. instead, he is working two jobs, one a min. wage job at Safeway, and his wife has gone back to work at a temp agency. they are making it, barely, but they are proof that it can be done if you are willing to work. it would be easier if he took the help...no doubt about it.
i don't see things getting better any time soon. we are going to have to make some tough decisions and they are going to have to include making the "safety net" harder to fall into. this country made a choice in leadership. the consequences of that choice are going to impact the way we live for a long time to come. maybe that's a fair trade off for a lot of people.