Section: Halacha   Category: Tzedaka
Shevet HaKehosi: Are You Obligated To Give Tzedaka To Someone Who Is Capable Of Working?
The Shevet HaKehosi was asked (5:177), if someone is poor but has the ability to get a job and doesn't do so for whatever reason, is he considered a poor person to receive Tzedaka?  This question he says, does not apply to someone who is sitting and learning who surely may continue to do so and be supported from tzedaka.

After bringing interesting proofs both ways from different sources and then distinguishing our case, the Shevet HaKehosi concludes as follows.  If a person can get a job immediately he may not take tzedaka.  But if it will take him time to find the right job and he will starve in the meantime, then he may take.

This is only referring to the poor person taking.  With regard to your obligation to give him tzedaka, he says that you must give him.  Even if in your estimation he is perfectly capable of working, you don't really know everything that is going on.  However if there is another Ani the other Ani comes first since this Ani is only a Safek.  Moreover the Medrash (Vayikra Rabba 34) says that it is assur to say to an Ani that since he is healthy he should go work.  Hashem says to this, "Not enough that you refuse to give him from what you have, but now you are giving an Ayin Hara in what I gave him?"

Important Note: We bring this tshuvah as a starting point for discussion and not to convey any halacha.  We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.