Welfare Reform in Florida

Essay by shaunniceUniversity, Bachelor'sA, August 2004

download word file, 8 pages 3.3

Downloaded 60 times

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act (PRWORA) of 1996 changed federal welfare policy for low-income families with children, building upon and expanding state -level reforms. It gave states more control over the administration of their welfare programs ending federal assistance under the AFDC. It created the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families designed to help needy families reduce their dependence on welfare and move toward economic independence. The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) system emphasizes work and self sufficiency through a combination of time limits, work requirements, and family caps that states can mold to effectively assist people in need. Nationwide statistics show that the new system has been a huge improvement in the efforts of states to move families from welfare to work. In January of 1993, there were 257,301 caseloads in the state of Florida. This figure dropped to 74,428 by September of 1999, which equal out to a 71.1

percent decrease. Since October 1996, the start of the PRWORA Welfare Reform, Florida's welfare caseload has decreased by 62.8%, which ranks 6th among all states and the District of Columbia (http://www.fullemployment.org/statesflorida.html). Also in 1999, 33 percent of welfare recipients were working compared with only 11 percent in 1996 and less then seven percent in 1992. What makes TANF work are the specific choices that each state has made to tailor their program to the needs of their recipient population. Florida has utilized this freedom to create a very unique program called the Work and Gain Self Sufficiency program (WAGES). Florida began implementing WAGES in October 1996. WAGES was designed with strict time limits and work requirements, and with few possibilities for exemptions. WAGES requires applicants and recipients to create an Individual Responsibility Plan (IRP) that they must agree to comply with in order to...