An Illustrated Guide to New Welfare Rules
The organization I co-direct, Welfare Rights Initiative, recently released The Path to Progress: Education, Economic Security, Dignity and Empowerment for Individuals Living in Poverty, a set of alternative welfare rules to counter the damaging new welfare rules released by the Department of Health and Human Services earlier this summer. Here's an excerpt from that report, which works well to explain exactly what's going on in the comic below.
"The June of 2006 regulations issued in by HHS narrowly define activities that people receiving assistance can participate in which count as credit for the states to receive federal assistance funds. WRI students, staff and alums are alarmed by the new regulations and the potential consequence of limiting access to education, better jobs, family security and community enhancement.
Ten years ago, when WRI was founded, there were 27,000 students receiving public assistance at CUNY. Ninety percent (90%) of adults receiving welfare were and still are women with children. In 1995, research showed that eighty-eight percent (88%) of women who attain a bachelor's degree move to jobs with a living wage and permanently out of poverty.
A new report in May of 2006 from the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) confirms, ten years later, that despite the challenging circumstances for low-income students to undertake a college education, higher education "provides the best opportunity--especially for women--to acquire good jobs, with good wages and good benefits." The most striking finding is the ripple effect that higher education creates "beyond the individual sitting in the classroom..." Children of college-educated parents show improved grades and study habits, and 80 percent of degree holders indicate increased involvement in their communities. The success stories of WRI students are proof of recurring findings.
HHS turned a deaf ear to states officials' request to leave regulations flexible so that they will not have to tamper with state-specific programs designed to help parents receiving welfare find jobs. Many education programs that states have found effective are severely limited by the new rules. HHS has made reliance on ineffective short-term work readiness programs the highlight of their recommended activities. Given the fact that reports have found these programs to be of dubious quality and effectiveness, WRI is compelled to put forth our simple, fiscally responsible and value-based regulations for TANF."
And now for the Illustrated Guide, which comes to us care of WRI friend Paul Douglas Candelaria: