Presentation on theme: "Wisconsin Works: Or Does it? Wisconsin’s Welfare Policy"— Presentation transcript:
1Wisconsin Works: Or Does it? Wisconsin’s Welfare Policy Helen GrossmanAdam KaplanAP Gov, per. 2December 3, 2007
2Federal ReformPersonal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (1996)Introduced at a time of economic expansion and relatively low unemployment
3Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) The PRWORA created the TANF, which requires recipients to look for work in order to receive benefits.TANF replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children Act (AFDC)Replaced entitlement program with state grants to run their own programs
4TANF policiesRecipients (with few exceptions) must work as soon as they are job ready or no later than two years after coming on assistance.Single parents are required to participate in work activities for at least 30 hours per week. Two-parent families must participate in work activities 35 or 55 hours a week, depending upon circumstances.Failure to participate in work requirements can result in a reduction or termination of benefits to the family.All work…some pay
5Wisconsin Works W-2The Wisconsin Works (W-2) program was created in 1995 and took effect in September It is considered a monumental step in welfare reform and its policies resemble those of TANF.It is funded by TANF block grants and general state revenue.
6How ‘Works’ Works Recipients of welfare must: Spend hours a week working to receive paymentSpend 60 hours looking for new job before receiving first checkOnly be on welfare for maximum 5 yearsShow up for work or benefits will be rescinded
7DiversionW-2 employs a policy called “diversion” to weed out people who abuse the welfare system.Encourages people off welfare before they even get onEncourages people to look for work on their own instead of adhering to strict welfare policies
8W-2 ProgramsW-2 participants are limited to 2 years in an employment programTrial JobsIndividuals have basic skills but lack experience to meet employer requirementsParticipants have on-the-job training and experience in exchange for wage subsidyA woman with basic skills (literacy) gets on-the-job training from a future employer.
9Community Service Jobs Community Service Jobs (CSJs)Offers work training and support for individuals lack basic skills and experience to be employedEmployees receive monthly grant of $673 for up to 30 hours/week of work/education training
10Sanctions Sanctions are penalties for not meeting W-2’s work standards W-2 payment recipients can often lose all benefits for missing work, training sessions, “appointments,” or failing to respond to noticesSome sanctions are so severe that recipients can fall behind in bills and end up homeless
11Is it working? Wisconsin’s welfare rolls have dropped 92% since 1986 Wisconsin spends more per family on welfare than it did in the 1980s, but total welfare costs have fallen by 1/3
12Supporters of W-2Aim of the reform is to teach recipients not to be dependent on welfareGives workers the “real-world” experience with awards and punishments for workingCompanies that hire W-2 workers are “doing well”Robert Rector, author of “Wisconsin’s Welfare Miracle” for the conservative think-tank, the Heritage Foundation, and amazing-mustache model, is an adamant supporter of the W-2 program like most other conservatives.
13Critics of W-2 Advocates of the poor say: Reforms have pushed people further into poverty, especially childrenPenalties affect the whole family for one person’s inability to perform workSanctions often occur as a result of unorganized computer systemsCommunity Service jobs and W-2 programs are administered by private companies that are allowed to keep whatever service funds aren't used
14Punishing the Poor“W2 is based on a philosophy that blames the poor for being poor, one that completely ignores economic and social factors beyond the control of any individual or single community. It devises a system that forces people to work, regardless of their personal situation, while denying them both a living wage and a realistic support system.”-Phil Wilayto, Media Transparency
15Punishing the Poor“There are probably as many as 10,000 women living in Milwaukee who have no money at all, even though they are still eligible for some child care and food stamp benefits through federal government programs.”-Pat Gowens, director of the Welfare Warriors of Milwaukee
16Where did the 92% go?Advocates of W-2 say that the dropped welfare cases became employed anyway and went into the work force instead of working with W-2’s restrictions.
17The Other Side- Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau found that former participants who left the program initially are returning for assistance-1999 incomes of 66% former participants were below poverty level-Human toll is startling as well: in the first year of W-2, the infant mortality rate in Milwaukee rose 17.6%-“Doubling up”—many welfare recipients live with family members and rely on a network of small sources of income in order to barely get by
18HomelessnessAccording to the Apartment Association of Southeastern Wisconsin, a landlord organization, the number of forcible evictions in Milwaukee County increased from 700 a year before W-2 to over 2,000 in 2000.All the homeless shelters in the county are full to overflowing, with the increase primarily among women.The numbers of children taken into the foster-care program has skyrocketed.
19Minnesota Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP)- 1998 Encourages work from recipients that can work, but does not require itRecipients are exempt from work-related requirements for up to six months, but many continue to be thereafter
20Minnesota vs. Wisconsin Since its implementation, only a 3.6% caseload declinevery low compared to Wisconsin’s 50%Not helped by additional welfare recipients moving to MinnesotaHOWEVER…Minnesota has a very low unemployment rate and researchers have not found evidence that suggests that the poor fare worse in one state over the other
21Final ConclusionsInterestingly, the two partners in this group also disagree on this controversial issue…
22Adam Kaplan says:“The positives DO outweigh the negatives—many of the negative consequences of the new welfare program provide added incentive to recipients to find work, which is what welfare’s ultimate goal is. W-2 has worked for many, and for the state. Those for whom it hasn't worked should find refuge in another state with a more nurturing welfare program such as Minnesota. But if people make irresponsible choices, you cannot say that W-2 has failed because of them.”
23Helen Grossman says:“Although there are positives to W-2 that should not be overlooked, the positives are only conceptual and have not been proven by unbiased statistics. Welfare policies need to consider the welfare of their recipients, not just of the state’s budget. The human tolls are too great to ignore.”FACT: People who wear bandanas are always right.
24BibliographyCohen, Adam. “The Great American Welfare Lab.” TIME Magazine, April 21, Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau Report 01-7 Summary, April 2001: Rector, Robert. “Wisconsin’s Welfare Miracle.” The Heritage Foundation, March 4, Wilayto, Phil. “Don’t Look to Wisconsin as a Model for Welfare Reform.” Media Transparency, July 1, Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Shook, Dennis. “Is Wisconsin Works Working?” Shepherd-Express, October 11, 2007.