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Mandatory Work-Related Activities for Welfare Recipients: The Next Step in Welfare Reform

By  and Marie Cohen and Marie Cohen

Abstract

This paper describes the mandatory work related activities for welfare recipients under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. It highlights the surprising lack of participation in work-related activities by most welfare recipients. It explains why mandatory participation is so important and describes the different activities that states can require of welfare recipients, briefly discussing what the research says about these activities. It then goes on to discuss steps that states and localities can take to make participation in activities truly mandatory for TANF recipients. Finally, an appendix summarizes the employment component of six welfare programs, in Wisconsin, Montana, Oregon, Utah, New York City and Montgomery County, Ohio. A Surprising Lack of Change The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) abolished Aid to Families with Dependent Children and replaced it with TANF. The act has been given much of the credit for the sharp decline in welfare caseloads. By September 2000, the welfare rolls had fallen 57 percent from their historic high of 5 million families in March 1994---a decline of 8.5 half million people. However, while states have apparently been 1 Douglas J. Besharov and Peter Germanis, "Welfare Reform--Four Years Later," The Public Interest, (Summer 2000), p. 21. 2 Gretchen Rowe, State TANF Policies as of July 1999 (Washington, D.C.: Urban Institute, November 2000), pp. 92-93, available from: http://newfederalism.urban.org/pdf/Wrd.pdf, accessed September 19, 2001. Information was not obtained from three states. Mandatory Work-Related Activities for TANF Recipients: The Next Step 3 successful at "diverting" welfare applicants so that they never get on the rolls, they have not been as successful ..

Year: 2001
OAI identifier: oai:CiteSeerX.psu:10.1.1.25.39
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