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Welfare Reform

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What is welfare reform? Lawmakers in many states are trying to pass welfare reform orders to decrease women having children and people needing assistance. It is a part of a problem in many states that people take advantage of the system.

How do indivieduals take advantage of the system?

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Millions of Americans are enrolled in the welfare system; a program designed to give a boost to the poor and needy families to help them make it through the year while they got back on their feet. Unfortunately, it has now become a way of life for many. Many argue that welfare is now destroying our culture and creating dependent people who learned to abuse privileges that come with living in America. Welfare has become a target for gluttonous mothers and others who have no values or willingness to obtain a job. This definitely makes an impact on the needy families and people with disabilities who deserve to receive aid from this program. Mothers who sit around waiting for the next check to come in the mail and are not willing to do anything to help themselves or their families should not have the privilege of receiving government assistance. That is why there should be enforceable guide lines that are met to regulate how long people stay on the welfare system.

In earlier times of American history there were no welfare programs to help aid the needy. All America had depended on the charity of churches, and sometimes private organizations to help the poorest families. It was not until 1935 when President Roosevelt signed the Aid for Dependent Children (AFDC) that a program was put in effect by the government. This was a bill containing the original provisions of the welfare program:

The bill allowed $18 per month for one child and $12 for each additional child. The bill expanded on the infrastructure of state programs that had been set up as 'widow's funds'. Only single mothers received funds. At this time, just about 50% of those receiving AFDC were children supported by widows, 17% were children with an incapacitated father, 21% were supported by a woman who had been abandon by her husband and just 2% of children on the welfare rolls were supported by women who had never married (Snyder 1).

This bill continued to stay in effect until 1996 when President Bill Clinton negotiated with Congress to pass the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act which drastically changed the program. The program replaced AFDC by calling it the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). TANF was very similar to AFDC but limited the receipt of benefits to five years and with few exceptions made recipients responsible to find work as soon as ready, or no later than two years after coming on assistance. Bill Clinton's reform was criticized by many because they believed it was too much like AFDC and would have no effect on a change. Statistics show that:

There were 2,032,157 families receiving TANF cash benefits in June 2003, the most recent month for which data is available. The total represents a 0.3 percent decrease from March 2003 and a 54 percent decrease from August 1996, when TANF was enacted. A total of 4,955,479 individuals were receiving TANF benefits in June 2003, 0.6 percent fewer than in March and 60 percent fewer than in August 1996. From January 2001 to June 2003, the number of TANF families declined 5 percent and ...

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See Also This Related BrainMass Solution

What major criticisms of the U.S. welfare system led to its reform in 1996 (via the Personal Responsibility Act)?

What major criticisms of the U.S. welfare system led to its reform in 1996 (via the Personal Responsibility Act)? How did this reform try to address those criticisms? Do you agree with the general thrust of the reform and with its emphasis on work requirements and time limits on welfare benefits? Has the reform reduced U.S. welfare rolls or increased them?

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