This is a very famous saying in halacha, but exactly what is meant by taking from tzedakah?
Does it mean specifically from the official kupah, or even someone who stands in the street?
Does it make a difference if someone has a certificate to collect?
Thank you for your question,
What the Shulchan Aruch says that a person who isn’t poor should not take from tzedaka, mean not to take money that people have allocated to give to poor people. It is not only if one is officially collecting money in the street or receiving money in an official way from a tzedakah organization.
A person who is poor and has a need, is needy, whether someone has given him a certificate or not. The idea of having an official certificate is merely to state that the cause that the person is collecting for has been verified by the certifying body, and that people that are giving to it don’t have to be concerned that the person is collecting money fraudulently. Therefore, when giving to a person who has a certificate, one can give more money to this person because he knows that the cause is legitimate.
May Hashem help us that we should never be from the needy, and always be from the givers, and not the receivers.