One-Third of Bank Tellers Are on Public Assistance

BOSTON (MainStreet) -- Fast food and Wal-Mart workers are not the only ones scraping by on minimum wage and depending on public assistance to make ends meet. Bank tellers also often make barely living wages and have to rely on government aid to get by.

According to a report from The Committee for Better Banks, made up of labor groups, $899 million in tax dollars are spent each year to fund public aid benefits for bank tellers and their families, and about one-third of bank tellers get at least one form of public aid such as Medicaid or food stamps. Broken down, it's about $534 million in Medicaid and low-income medical insurance for children, $250 million in tax credits and more than $100 million for food stamps.

The report's findings were based on research conducted by the Center for Labor Research and Education at the University of California at Berkeley. The committee also interviewed 5,000 bank tellers, customer service representatives and technicians on the details of their employment, including salary and benefits.

"This is the wealthiest and most powerful industry in the world, and it's substantially subsidized by our tax dollars," Deborah Axt, co-executive director at Make the Road New York, told The Washington Post.

In New York State, host of the nation's financial center, about 40% of bank tellers are on some form of public aid -- costing the state an estimated $112 million annually.

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