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Social Insurance: “cornerstone of U.S. social welfare”* Individuals must insure themselves against indigence * Money is set aside in trust* Managed by the government* Workers are entitled to benefits based upon previous contributions* Workers must contribute before filing a claim
* Not subject to a means test
* Universal: benefits are received as legal entitlement regardless of personal wealth
* Less stigma compared to public assistance
“I earned it, it’s not charity.”
* Originally designed to replicate private insurance. Now it has taken on some of the characteristics of public insurance due to dependency.
* Major Goal: Maintain income by replacing a lost income with a portion of lost earnings.
Public assistance is one of the most misunderstood parts of the U.S. welfare state.
Public assistance programs are based entirely on need and therefore are means tested.
The rationale for public assistance programs that offer cash, medical, and other assistance are “safety nets”-- the plan is to ensure that people who receive these basic services will not fall below the poverty level.
Federal guidelines help determine the level of aid for the poor. Individual states have the freedom to determine their own safety nets.
* Original name was Aid to Dependent Children (ADC)
Part of the Social Security Act of 1935
It was designed to support children by giving assistance to their mothers.
Some critics of ADC felt that it promoted desertion by fathers because assistance was allowed only to families without able-bodied fathers.
1961: Families in which a father was incapacitated or unemployed were allowed to receive assistance. Program was called ADC-UP(Unemployed Parent). Only 25 states adopted it until it became mandatory in 1988.
A notorious chapter in AFDC history was that of the man-in-house-rule: Any women who had an able-bodied man in her house would be terminated from AFDC regardless if he was the father of the children or not. There are stories of midnight raids…
1988: Until 1996 and the enactment of TANF, the Family Support Act (FSA) of 1988 was one of the most important pieces of welfare legislation since the New Deal.
1992: In his presidential campaign, Wiliam Jefferson “Bill” Clinton promised to end welfare as we knew it by instituting a two year cap on AFDC benefits.
1996: Clinton signed Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996
The PRWORA changed the social service system by replacing AFDC, JOBS, and Emergency Assistance Program with Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF) program.
Under PRWORA, there was no federal entitlement to assistance. This meant that the states had the responsibility to provide assistance to persons who were eligible.
Why was this radical bill passed? It was the conservatism of the 104th congress that clearly spurred the bill, the Clinton administration had already paved the way.
Has PRWORA worked? possibility of passing any welfare reform bill that included liberal components such as subsidized housing.
Both democrats and republicans feel that it has been successful, due to the drop in public assistance caseloads since its implementation. The real measure of success will be to see it performs during a time of recession.