Student Researcher: Samantha Barowsky
Faculty Evaluator: Douglas Anderson, Ph.D
Southwest Minnesota State University
In Georgia welfare is down even while unemployment skyrockets. In 2004 28,000 adults received benefits, now those who receive welfare number fewer than 2,500. Some applaud this aggressive push to end reliance on TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), but for the 82% of children living below 50% of the federal poverty line who do not receive benefits there is nothing to celebrate. Those who apply are often given the wrong information, told they must be working, that their children are too old, that they must be surgically sterilized or that they cannot apply because they are disabled. Lying to applicants is a federal offense but it is one that often goes unpunished, while caseworkers are rewarded for getting people off of TANF. Why the push? Money. Georgia receives a block grant of $370 million a year no matter how many families receive benefits, and they can do with that money whatever they please so long as it in some way serves the needy. Georgia has currently cut child care costs in favor of funding child protective services, a necessary program for certain, but how necessary would it be if parents could afford to feed and clothe their children?
“Brave New Welfare” Stephanie Mencimer, Mother Jones, January 15, 2009