“How Welfare Reform is Affecting Women’s Work”, Annual Review of Sociology. Vol.26, pp.241-269 (LONG BLOG POST)}

Corcoran, Mary et al. 2000. “How Welfare Reform is Affecting Women’s Work.” Annual Review of Sociology. Vol.26, pp.241-269.

This article is displaying how the new welfare reform is affecting the way women are able to obtain work and keep stable employment.

It starts by giving the background to the original welfare program, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).  Under this program, widowed women were able to receive cash assistance to help them maintain a household.  The program was set to be a temporary aid with the hopes of phasing out while the Social Security program began to mature.  Several administrations attempted to revamp the program with no luck.  However, under the Work Incentive program, welfare recipients were giving the choice to work voluntarily or get job training while receiving benefits.  By doing this, it was the set up of recipients receiving benefits while working or participating in a job training program.

The theory of the new welfare reform program, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), was to help decrease the number of recipients receiving aid by helping them with job training and job placement.  This program is different from AFDC because of two major factors: TANF has a time limit and the recipient must be in work-related activities if they have been on assistance for more than two years.  And due to President Clinton’s signing of the Personal and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PWORA), AFDC was phased out with the hopes that more women will be able to work; unless they were exempt based on their life situation: pregnancy, the age of the child, daycare availability, etc.

The articles explores the question of can a recipient obtain employment and stay employed.  With the research found, a woman can keep a job but keeping stable employment became a problem.  Some women found themselves back on assistance because they were unable to keep the job or the wages recieved were too low to maintain a household.  Some of the factors as to why a woman could not keep a job were due to poor job skills, transportation issues, and mental health of the woman played a roll in wanting to work or having the mental state to perform duties on the job.  Another major factor that mothers loss employment is because the cost of working was not worth the benefit.  As women worked, everyday expenses grew and it was better to be on assistance than have a stable job income; partly because the wages were too low to keep up with the costs.

In conclusion, though it is possible for a welfare recipient to gain employment, many factors must be considered when determining if the mother can keep employment and whether she can earn a wage the will ultimately keep her off of welfare.

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