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Wisconsin Works: Or Does it? Wisconsins Welfare Policy Helen Grossman Adam Kaplan AP Gov, per. 2 December 3, 2007 Helen Grossman Adam Kaplan AP Gov, per.

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Presentation on theme: "Wisconsin Works: Or Does it? Wisconsins Welfare Policy Helen Grossman Adam Kaplan AP Gov, per. 2 December 3, 2007 Helen Grossman Adam Kaplan AP Gov, per."— Presentation transcript:

1 Wisconsin Works: Or Does it? Wisconsins Welfare Policy Helen Grossman Adam Kaplan AP Gov, per. 2 December 3, 2007 Helen Grossman Adam Kaplan AP Gov, per. 2 December 3, 2007

2 Federal Reform Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (1996) Introduced at a time of economic expansion and relatively low unemployment Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (1996) Introduced at a time of economic expansion and relatively low unemployment

3 Temporary 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 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

4 TANF policies Recipients (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

5 Wisconsin Works W-2 The 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. The 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.

6 How Works Works Recipients of welfare must: Spend hours a week working to receive payment Spend 60 hours looking for new job before receiving first check Only be on welfare for maximum 5 years Show up for work or benefits will be rescinded Recipients of welfare must: Spend hours a week working to receive payment Spend 60 hours looking for new job before receiving first check Only be on welfare for maximum 5 years Show up for work or benefits will be rescinded

7 Diversion W-2 employs a policy called diversion to weed out people who abuse the welfare system. Encourages people off welfare before they even get on Encourages people to look for work on their own instead of adhering to strict welfare policies W-2 employs a policy called diversion to weed out people who abuse the welfare system. Encourages people off welfare before they even get on Encourages people to look for work on their own instead of adhering to strict welfare policies

8 W-2 Programs W-2 participants are limited to 2 years in an employment program Trial Jobs Individuals have basic skills but lack experience to meet employer requirements Participants have on- the-job training and experience in exchange for wage subsidy W-2 participants are limited to 2 years in an employment program Trial Jobs Individuals have basic skills but lack experience to meet employer requirements Participants have on- the-job training and experience in exchange for wage subsidy A woman with basic skills (literacy) gets on-the-job training from a future employer.

9 Community Service Jobs Community Service Jobs (CSJs) Offers work training and support for individuals lack basic skills and experience to be employed Employees receive monthly grant of $673 for up to 30 hours/week of work/education training Community Service Jobs (CSJs) Offers work training and support for individuals lack basic skills and experience to be employed Employees receive monthly grant of $673 for up to 30 hours/week of work/education training

10 Sanctions Sanctions are penalties for not meeting W-2s work standards W-2 payment recipients can often lose all benefits for missing work, training sessions, appointments, or failing to respond to notices Some sanctions are so severe that recipients can fall behind in bills and end up homeless Sanctions are penalties for not meeting W-2s work standards W-2 payment recipients can often lose all benefits for missing work, training sessions, appointments, or failing to respond to notices Some sanctions are so severe that recipients can fall behind in bills and end up homeless

11 Is it working? Wisconsins 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 Wisconsins 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

12 Supporters of W-2 Aim of the reform is to teach recipients not to be dependent on welfare Gives workers the real- world experience with awards and punishments for working Companies that hire W- 2 workers are doing well Robert Rector, author of Wisconsins 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.

13 Critics of W-2 Advocates of the poor say: Reforms have pushed people further into poverty, especially children Penalties affect the whole family for one persons inability to perform work Sanctions often occur as a result of unorganized computer systems Community Service jobs and W-2 programs are administered by private companies that are allowed to keep whatever service funds aren't used Advocates of the poor say: Reforms have pushed people further into poverty, especially children Penalties affect the whole family for one persons inability to perform work Sanctions often occur as a result of unorganized computer systems Community Service jobs and W-2 programs are administered by private companies that are allowed to keep whatever service funds aren't used

14 Punishing 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 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

15 Punishing 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 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

16 Where 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-2s restrictions.

17 The Other Side - Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau found that former participants who left the program initially are returning for assistance 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 upmany welfare recipients live with family members and rely on a network of small sources of income in order to barely get by - Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau found that former participants who left the program initially are returning for assistance 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 upmany welfare recipients live with family members and rely on a network of small sources of income in order to barely get by

18 Homelessness According 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 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. According 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 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.

19 Minnesota Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) Encourages work from recipients that can work, but does not require it Recipients are exempt from work-related requirements for up to six months, but many continue to be thereafter Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP) Encourages work from recipients that can work, but does not require it Recipients are exempt from work-related requirements for up to six months, but many continue to be thereafter

20 Minnesota vs. Wisconsin Since its implementation, only a 3.6% caseload decline very low compared to Wisconsins 50% Not helped by additional welfare recipients moving to Minnesota HOWEVER…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 Since its implementation, only a 3.6% caseload decline very low compared to Wisconsins 50% Not helped by additional welfare recipients moving to Minnesota HOWEVER…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

21 Final Conclusions Interestingly, the two partners in this group also disagree on this controversial issue…

22 Adam Kaplan says: The positives DO outweigh the negativesmany of the negative consequences of the new welfare program provide added incentive to recipients to find work, which is what welfares 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.

23 Helen 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 states budget. The human tolls are too great to ignore. FACT: People who wear bandanas are always right.

24 Bibliography Cohen, Adam. The Great American Welfare Lab. TIME Magazine, April 21, Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau Report 01-7 Summary, April 2001: Rector, Robert. Wisconsins Welfare Miracle. The Heritage Foundation, March 4, Wilayto, Phil. Dont 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, Cohen, Adam. The Great American Welfare Lab. TIME Magazine, April 21, Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau Report 01-7 Summary, April 2001: Rector, Robert. Wisconsins Welfare Miracle. The Heritage Foundation, March 4, Wilayto, Phil. Dont 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.


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