Abstract This paper explores welfare myths through the lens of the experiences of welfare recipients in Winnipeg's inner city. A sample of welfare recipients were interviewed and asked questions about their reliance on welfare and their experience with the welfare bureaucracy. The results of these interviews are used 1) to develop a better understanding of who utilizes income assistance in the inner city; 2) to identify what sorts of problems and difficulties they encounter with the welfare system and 3) to remedy some of the pervasive myths of welfare use that continue to dominate policy discussions in this area. The paper concludes that restructuring of welfare administration will do little to reduce reliance on welfare by individuals in the inner city. Rather, broader structural issues such as economic development, education, health care, and child care are critical for moving people from welfare to work.