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August 13 2018

Policy Focus: Welfare Reform 2.0

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

The United States has spent billions of dollars on anti-poverty programs since their inception. While this investment has helped to reduce material hardship, too many Americans are trapped in a cycle of dependency. Our safety net programs urgently need reforms to help poor Americans live fully self-sufficient lives.

Today, steady job growth, falling unemployment, expanded worker benefits, and rising wages are driving better economic well-being and greater opportunity for all Americans. In fact, historically low unemployment means 6.6 million jobs are currently open. Policymakers should strengthen self-sufficiency for welfare recipients through expanded work requirements.

Americans overwhelmingly support work requirements: A February 2018 poll found that 90 percent of all voters support requiring able-bodied Americans to work, gain training or volunteer at least part-time to receive welfare benefits. And 70 percent of Americans support allowing states to impose work requirements on nondisabled adults as a condition for Medicaid.

Work is good for people: It increases financial security, economic mobility, health, and well-being. It also brings a sense of meaning and dignity. Importantly, work requirements help transition ablebodied people out of government programs, allowing those programs to focus on those who need a safety net most, like the elderly and disabled.

Policy Focus: Welfare Reform 2.0 by Independent Women's Forum

Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
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