Don’t cut Welfare – Prune it

Welfare and Welfare to Work programs are vital to the recovery of families in poverty. Welfare to Work pushes clients towards employment and provides basic education and training that clients need in order to get and keep a job that will provide enough income for their family to leave the Welfare Rolls.

California Government is looking at cutting the programs and losing the matching Federal Funds. But, I think that the program could be just as effective and cost less if it were pruned back. Remember – this is MY PERSONAL Opinion in part as a former Welfare Mom.

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Transportation Costs

Currently anyone in a Welfare To Work activity can receive funds to get to that activity. Usually this is a $62 adult bus pass and a $24 student pass for their children. If the trip is more than 2 hours round trip, a client can be issued milage, sometimes $200-$500 a month.

—————$$$ Suggestion: these clients are already issued cash grants to bridge the gap between destitution an being very low income. Let them use the funds given to them to pay for their own transportation. OR, stop issuing more than the basic bus pass amount.  If the school age children are not using public transportation -stop issuing bus pass funds for them.

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Financial Aid vs Ancillaries to pay for school

Currently anyone already enrolled in an educational program before they come to Welfare to Work is given the option of using their Federal Financial Aid or CalGrants to pay for books, fees, or supplies. They may chose to not spend their financial aid on these items and request the Welfare pay for them again.

————-$$ Suggestion. No Double Dipping and Ancillary Issuance should be the last resort. If there is a program or grant to pay for books, supplies and fees for clients who are not working, but attending school or training – they should have to exhaust the other funds before Welfare to Work dollars are spent.

—————– also, Stop paying for Master’s Degrees and Teaching Credentials. With public School funding cut back, there is no longer a need for a heavy flow of new teachers and these clients who already have a B.A. degree are more than qualified to look for employment without further education.

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CLOTHING

Currently the Welfare to Work program issues funds for 3-5 days worth of clothing. In some offices the amount is $80. Other Welfare to Work Regions have given up to $300 for clothing.If a client buys jeans instead of office clothing, or says they outgrew or lost the clothing – the funds can be re-issued.

—————-$$$ Not all people coming to Welfare are without work clothing. It should be based on NEED and not entitlement. One pair of slacks, a top and shoes to be purchased for a flat rate of $100. Once in a lifetime is more than reasonable.

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FOOD STAMPS

Currently the full amount of Foodstamps is issued at the beginning of the month. Clients with few money management skills are expected to budget this amount for an entire month with no help or guidance. Food banks are inundated in the third and fourth weeks of the month by Food Stamp households who burn through this allotment by the 11th of the month.

——————$$$ Make a Home Economics seminar mandatory for all families  and Adults in the first 60 days of receiving cash aid. Teach comparison shopping, coupon use, menu planning and food budgeting. Split the issuance into two parts so that families will have funds for food into the third week of the month.

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Mis-Fit CLIENTS

Currently you can be in the Welfare to Work program and not have to work, look for work,or attend training/education. If you are receiving, or waiting to receive Mental Health, Substance Abuse or Domestic Violence therapies – you can be excused for the WORK part of Welfare to Work for 3 months or for a year at a time of the 5 year program.

————–$$$ Connect these clients with the programs that are better built to meet their needs. If their Mental Health is so marginalized that a licensed professional will certify that they can not do 32 /35 hours of Welfare to Work activity each week …they should be on Social Security where they are not expected to work and eventually leave the public benefits system for people who are planning to be self-sufficient.

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What are your thoughts and suggestions?

2 thoughts on “Don’t cut Welfare – Prune it

  1. I find it interesting that you disagree to pay for higher education. I have been to the gain office, and was chatting with a woman who was in her 10th, yes 10th pregnancy, worked as a secretary at a dr’s office and was making $12 an hour. She told me she has been receiving daycare payments from GAIN for all of her children for years. So how is it that she is given around $110,000 a year to keep popping kids and live a relatively easy life not caring for any of them really(she told me it was quite easy, pop in meals in the microwave at night, bath, and put them to bed, all in 1 hour after picking them up and getting home)? and I COULD NOT GET CHILD CARE BECAUSE I HAVE A BACHELOR’S DEGREE? 1 CHILD, $10,000 A YEAR MAX. I have a Bachelor’s from UCLA and a medical degree from outside the US. My student loans dept is ridiculous and I just recently started on Calworks. I went to get child care from gain to see if I could take a 6 month refresher course that I’d put on my credit cards or if I could just get child care and study on my own at home… to take the medical boards since my diploma is over 5 years old, I don’t remember much and I’d even have to take refresher courses to enter a residency after passing the boards… but let’s take this one step at a time… I need to pass the boards and studying for it is impossible with a 2 year old jumping on me, so I need daycare, my husband works all day, minimum wage, barely paying rent and the bills in this oh so expensive Los Angeles market, as you already know, since I see you live in or near Burbank. If I work, I will have to pay at least 30% of my income to my student loans and daycare is so expensive in LA, it would be half my income. The other 20% wouldn’t even cover bus pass, food, and healthcare. My husband’s income currently barely covers rent and car payments/insurance/diapers. I calculated my income in a $12/hr job full time and again, it wouldn’t cover my costs. I am on a temporary forbearance on my loans, so I am not paying them since I’m not working. Interest still accrues. Again, I went to gain to get help, but they didn’t want to help me with 1 child. They only wanted to help this woman with 10. All because I have a degree. These programs really are to keep people poor and ignorant. Only an ignorant system like ours would applaud you for having 10 kids and punish you for having an education and 1 child. Call me liberal, but other far, far, far more developed countries offer free child care to working women. They offer paid maternity leave. They offer free healthcare. I always hear the lie of “oh, they pay so much in taxes,” but I have family in these countries and they say a 25% tax is no big deal for free health insurance and 2 months paid vacation. Heck, my husband gets around 18% medicare and social security deducted from his paycheck anyway, what’s another 7%? How is your bachelor’s degree not getting you a better paid job than minimum wage? Because I don’t have work experience in the last 10 years. I studied abroad, and have been back for 5 years, but was living off savings and then got pregnant and had a baby. NO ONE HIRES PREGNANT WOMEN, and if I can’t afford day care, how do I work with my child? Again, any job that pays more than minimum wage requires a few yrs experience… let’s be honest here. The system is biased, wants everyone to stay poor and does anything in it’s power to keep you uneducated. Well, get a loan, works nights and do it yourself. I already only sleep 4-5 hrs a night, when would I work? I am with my very active toddler all day. He sleeps, I cook and clean for the next day. If you are a mother that has cared for your kids you know how impossible it is it cook with them jumping on you. Get loans. Yeah right, with all the dept I have and being jobless, no one will give me a loan. I was hoping Uncle Sam would want me to get back up on my feet and pay taxes to him, but I guess not… Sam prefers me to stay home and live off public benefits. According to Sam, I don’t need help. You said somewhere that you had never met someone from UCLA/USC that was unsuccessful. Here I am.

    1. Wow, that sounds like you are having a really hard time. That sucks.
      What is your GAIN activity? ( I am sorry to ask, the comments show up in 4 point font for me )
      Are you currently employed or doing volunteering? Employed participants qualify for Stage 2 child care. If you volunteer you might qualify for stage 1.
      Your eligibility is based on income and it seems you have a working husband.

      Can I suggest you apply to DPSS? I promise they won’t discriminate with your pregnancy.

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