The issue of welfare reform

California proposed an immediate 25 percent reduction in benefits, a further reduction for all families remaining on welfare after six months, and a limit on benefit levels for new arrivals to the state to the level they were receiving in their previous state of residence.

Block grants to the States could be calculated based on the total number of people in poverty within the state or based on total state population. To be eligible to borrow, a state must have a high and rising unemployment rate.

However, when benefits are examined in whole across the entire welfare system, this is not the case, because the overall welfare system is not coordinated.

In California, Michigan, and New York, where AFDC benefits are higher than in our state, single mothers in subsidized housing might find it easier to make ends meet on welfare alone. Both incentives and work requirements matter, but neither is a panacea for moving families off welfare and out of poverty.

State-to-state comparisons suggest that this increase was largely due to changes in administrative practice and in the way people felt about being on welfare rather than changes in cash benefits, but it is hard to be sure.

If conservative legislators were able to prevent such supplementation, as they keep trying to do, more mothers would almost inevitably have to give up their children. State variation in Medicaid policy is limited largely to coverage of some optional services and the amount paid to providers for services.

Indeed, since the mainstream recipients lived in better neighborhoods, paid more rent, and had larger monthly budgets than most of the underclass recipients, they needed more unreported income to make ends meet.

American workers put in an average of 35 hours a week ina figure that has not changed much for a decade. The race to the bottom could become quite deadly. Today, 17 percent of the population changes residence each year, and 3 percent moves across state lines.

Moreover, linking training to welfare benefits carries the potential long-run drawback of creating an incentive to go on welfare just to gain access to training.

In most big cities, however, those who deal with the homeless rightly assume that welfare recipients cannot afford private housing. If poor people move to states with more generous benefits, those states will experience an increase in their welfare burden without any commensurate increase in federal funding.

See Welfare Examples for how this occurs. Rather than looking for cheap private apartments to house the homeless, they look for additional public subsidies. Occasionally we have even given them on-the-job training in private sector jobs. The same methods can drive some current recipients off the rolls.

If welfare recipients must spend a lot of time in training programs they believe to be worthless, this too will cut the rolls though recipients like training programs that they think will lead to a good job.

These figures are lower than the ones Edin obtained in Chicago three years later, but they support her finding that welfare mothers get only about three-fifths of what they spend from AFDC and Food Stamps.

Welfare reform

Perhaps because case workers habitually ignored all but the most flagrant evidence of cheating, officials further up in the welfare hierarchy all seemed to believe that most recipients lived on their checks.

They think their first obligation is to care for their children, and they assume this means providing food, shelter, heat, electricity, furniture, clothes, and an occasional treat. If a welfare mother gets any kind of job in a rural area, her neighbors soon know about it, which probably means her case worker knows too.

Figure 1 shows how these particular mothers made ends meet. Four of Edin's mothers supplemented their welfare checks this way. To Compensate for Increases in Unemployment.

The race to the bottom could become quite deadly.

Welfare reform

Conditions on receiving welfare versus unconditional benefits. Mainstream recipients also have some chance of finding jobs in the official economy that pay more than welfare, so they have some chance of getting off welfare before their children grow up.

In other cases she may only have gotten welfare during part of the year and may have gotten her non-welfare income in a different part of the year.

Welfare Reform

Half lived in badly run-down apartments, where the heat and hot water were frequently out of order, the roof leaked, plaster was falling off the walls, or windows fit so badly that the wind blew through the apartment in the winter. If the goal of the make em suffer strategy is to discourage single motherhood, it must be judged a failure.

These case workers all agreed that when a recipient lived in private housing her rent consumed most of her check and that utility bills consumed the rest.

Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the Issues

See more at Welfare Examples. Since the mids, conservatives have been moderately successful in implementing this strategy. Those who supplemented their checks also earned far less than their big-city counterparts.

Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the Issues

We cannot create such a system overnight. Please help improve it by rewriting it in an encyclopedic style. The winter issue of Pathways examines whether the welfare reform of delivered as intended and whether it’s time to undertake a new round of reform.

The Real Welfare Problem

Reform is certainly necessary across the board, but in the case of SNAP, for instance, it is more an issue of implementation than of the letter of the law. And these programs are dwarfed in costs.

Welfare Reform: An Analysis of the Issues ISSUE FOUR: Preventing Dependency Precisely because it is so difficult to make welfare recipients self-sufficient, there is a growing consensus that more effort should be devoted to preventing dependency in the first place.

To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction. The Problem. The welfare reform law returned to the states primary responsibility for establishing rules under which impoverished households could receive cash assistance.

MDRC’s pathbreaking studies of welfare reform initiatives have provided reliable evidence on the effects of welfare-to-work mandates and the effectiveness of programs and services for people who receive public assistance.

The issue of welfare reform
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Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act - Wikipedia