Welfare Reform

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Welfare Reform – Community Service Jobs Essay, Research Paper Welfare Reform: Community Service JobsThroughout the years, reformers have revisited the concept of welfare recipients earning their benefits. Under the 1996 Federal Welfare Law, welfare no longer is a one-way handout. The law established designed standards and work requirements. To comply, the states must adhere to the following requirements. Welfare recipients are required to work a prescribed number of hours to receive benefits. States address the work requirement by reducing their caseloads and not process more welfare recipients through their assistance systems. State must move recipients into employment in the private sector. The problem lies in the fact that a significant number of people have a hard time

finding employment. One way the federal government help in this situation is to subsidize position that these people can fill in state and local governments, non-profit organizations or through private sector employers. It is the concept behind community service jobs. The Federal Welfare Law requires states to place welfare recipients in community service jobs in exchange for welfare benefits. Those in a community service job are in a “pay after performance” system. The beneficiary will not receive AFDC benefits until the community service job, here after referred to CSJ, has been completed satisfactorily. If the recipient fails to work the prescribed number of hours, his/her welfare benefits will be reduced accordingly (Bloom, 1997.)What is a CJS? It is a temporary bridge

between unemployment and private sector jobs. Where the unemployed can gain paid work experience in a real job. Typically, there is a time limit to the position since it is only meant as a point of passage toward full-time employment. This approach not only helps the previously unemployed gain skills and experience to obtain unsubsidized employment, but also helps participating employers provide useful services. The New Hope Project tries to link people to regular employment through subsidized community service jobs and job search assistance. CSJs are a vital component of the success of the New Hope Project. COMMUNITY SERVICE JOBSThe recently enacted national welfare act requires able-bodied, working age welfare recipients placed in jobs as an alternative to welfare. This is not

a new goal for welfare policy. For many years, politicians have tried different strategies to create incentives and opportunities for people to chose work over welfare. According to Richard Nathan, the 1996 welfare reform act created the strictest work requirements on welfare recipients. They must go to work after two years of welfare assistance and after five years if they have not become self-sufficient through work, and if they are unable to locate work they are still removed from the system. (Nathan, 1996). BACKGROUND: INCREASED EMPHASIS ON WORKBeginning in the 1960s, welfare reform policies sought to shift AFDC gradually from an open-ended income support program to one that assists recipients in preparing for and finding jobs. Since the early 1970s, at least some groups of

AFDC recipients have been required either to work in exchange for their benefits or participate in activities intended to prepare them for work. At first, federal reforms funded employment and training services for AFDC recipients and changed the rules of welfare to increase the financial incentives to work. Over time, the notion of “mutual obligation” for the state and welfare recipient began to replace the original vision of AFDC (Bloom, 1997). Under this view, governments provides income support and services designed to promote employment, but recipients, in turn, are required to work or prepare for work and self-sufficiency; those who fail to comply with these mandates face sanctions such as reductions in grants. This compromise sought to make welfare transitional while