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Editorial: Recession Showing Weakness of Welfare Reform

Welfare reform during the Clinton Administration weakened the social safety net, making it more likely economically stressed families would fall into poverty. Cheers to Peter Edelman and Barbara Ehrenreich for their Washington Post editorial  on this crisis.

The current recession is proving just how distressed the system is, the writers said. More families are relying on unemployment insurance and food stamps to ride out the economic storm because TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), the new name for welfare, is no longer as available.

The authors wrote:

“Why the huge difference between unemployment insurance and food stamp usage and welfare caseloads? People have a legal right to food stamps if they meet the statutory requirements, but since 1996 there has been no legal right to cash assistance. And so welfare, generally speaking, has not cushioned the impact of the recession.”

For more information on the National Association of Social Workers’ position on this welfare and other issues read “Promoting Economic Security Through Social Welfare Legislation,” policy briefs prepared by NASW’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Economic Security. And to find out what legislation NASW is currently pushing visit its Advocacy Web page.

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