News Release

As Welfare Ends, Overlooked Issues Emerge


While states across the country reach deadlines to end welfare for large numbers of people, some policy analysts contend that both the White House and the Republican congressional leadership are dodging substantial evidence that many Americans who have been dropped from the welfare rolls are worse off as a result. Among the researchers available for comment are:

“The problem of welfare cannot be separated from the problems of the working poor,” said Gordon, professor of history at the University of Wisconsin and author of “Pitied But Not Entitled: Single Mothers and the History of Welfare.” She added: “Numerous surveys have shown that the majority of welfare recipients wanted nothing more than a chance to support themselves and their children with wages. But they are unable to do that because the jobs they can get usually pay minimum wage, provide no benefits and do not give them the flexibility that any working mother needs to be accessible to her children. For example, countless women have lost jobs because their employers would not permit them access to a telephone when their children’s schools or day-care provider needed to contact a parent. A realistic program to help women get off welfare would have to provide a much higher minimum wage, public health insurance, child-care subsidies and, in some locations, housing subsidies.”

Albelda teaches economics at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and is author of the article “What Welfare Reform Has Wrought” in the current issue of Dollars and Sense magazine. She said: “Those who argue that welfare reform is a success point to the large number of mothers who now have paid jobs. What they don’t like to tell us is that mothers and their children are still poor.”

Professor at the School of Social Welfare at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, a former county commissioner of social services and author of “Battered Women, Children and Welfare Reform: The Ties That Bind,” Brandwein said: “According to a number of recent studies, about 60 percent of women receiving public assistance are either current or past victims of domestic violence. This experience can either create a need for welfare or present obstacles to their leaving welfare, completing education/training or getting and retaining employment. Women fleeing violent situations often turn to welfare to provide the financial resources to enable them to leave their batterer. Batterers often interfere with women’s attempts to go to school or get a job. Some victims experience long-term consequences of domestic violence, such as chronic health or mental health problems interfering with their ability to leave welfare.”

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167