First off, it is a very legitimate question to ask for someone outside whatever country the person was referring too (China?). As others have said, you will need to check with the relevant institutions in the home country to get this answered.
It could very well go either way depending on the type of system you are discussing. Pension plans, retirement plans, social security, or other types of income may be exempt or have limited earned income opportunities in in many countries. You can earn a legitimate income on some social programs and still draw a benefit. Either way, you need to get this answered in the country you are referring too.
Being this is a pretty hot button issue to some people - lets move on.