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Welfare Reform

            Has Welfare Reform Benefited the Poor?.
             In August 1996, President Bill Clinton changed the way the American poor would support themselves financially. President Clinton signed into legislation a new reform that would replace the then current, Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), with the new "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA). Several changes were implemented into the new "Welfare Reform." States now receive block grants called "Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)" for cash disbursements. In addition, adult recipients are now required to look for and acquire a job, within the first two years of opening a welfare caseload. A five-year life time limit for cash benefits was also added due to the new welfare reform. Three main issues would be addressed; issue (1) to prepare welfare recipients for job opportunities and encourage continuous employment; (2) to provide assistance to needy families with minor children; and (3) to encourage marriage among the poor, who rely on welfare. .
             The new program was intended to encourage self-sufficiency and reduce dependency on government assistance. Has this been done? Yes. PRWORA has succeeded in accomplishing its main objective. Many welfare recipients, who had become dependant on cash assistance, provided by AFDC, are now working. Many families do not receive assistance for childcare, medical insurance or transportation assistance any longer. Additionally, more poor children are being raised by married parents and welfare caseloads have dropped by the millions. .
             One major change, which took place, because of the new reform, is that states now receive "Block Grants," referred to as Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF). A federal cash assistance block grant of $16.5 billion a year, is divided between states based on their past need for welfare assistance (Comparison of 1). States are to disburse the money as they see fit to welfare recipients.

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