So-called welfare epics are hardly welfare. They're actually a pretty good imitation of real life work. Let's start with honor gear.
You don't need to be especially good to get honor gear. In fact, you can suck. However excessive fail will lead to slower gains than a better player, especially one working with a group. Think of this as the McDonalds of gear sources. Given enough time even the chumps there can save up for Corvettes.
Badge gear is similar. You do some minimal task and get rewarded, but it takes a while. Think of them as the PvE version of honor.
Arenas are the best simulation. Low points lead to low gains. You have to do your minimum amount of 'work', ten games. Past that you're basically putting in unpaid overtime for a chance to do better and move up. If you're good, you have a higher rating and get 'paid' more.
If WoW was trying to have welfare, it would have been giving me points and honor for the months after I stopped doing PvP. But it doesn't. Do nothing, get nothing. WoW doesn't have welfare.