• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Nearly All Americans Favor Welfare Work Requirements

    The vast majority of Americans favor work requirements for welfare recipients, a new Rasmussen survey reveals.

    According to the survey data, released last Wednesday, “83% of American Adults favor a work requirement as a condition for receiving welfare assistance. Just seven percent (7%) oppose such a requirement, while 10% are undecided.”

    Similarly, a Heritage Foundation survey from 2009 shows that nearly all respondents agreed that able-bodied adults who receive cash, food, housing, and medical assistance should be required to work or prepare for work as a condition of receiving those government benefits. The outcomes were nearly identical across party lines, with 96 percent of Democrats and 97 percent of Republicans agreeing with this statement. (Survey data available upon request.)

    Even during his 2008 presidential campaign Obama himself expressed support for work requirements. But apparently he’s changed his mind, and now he’s pushing everyone to go along with him, even if it means bypassing Congress.

    Just over a week ago, the Obama Administration issued a directive from the Department of Health and Human Services that guts the successful 1996 welfare reform law of its work requirement. Essentially, the Administration’s policy allows states to waive the work requirement, which says states must have at least 50 percent of their caseloads working or preparing for work in order to receive federal welfare dollars.

    When the reform was put into place, the work requirement—and nearly all parts of the law—was protected from waivers. However, the Administration has sidestepped these provisions to unjustifiably push its preferred policies.

    The 1996 reform restructured welfare around the principle of personal responsibility and, by doing so, helped millions of Americans out of government dependence. Because of the work requirement, welfare caseloads declined by nearly 50 percent within five years as recipients left the rolls for jobs, and child poverty declined significantly. It is little wonder that most Americans favor this type of policy.

    By gutting welfare reform of its work requirement, the Obama Administration severely threatens its success and hinders individuals from achieving self-reliance. Rather than demolishing the very element that made welfare reform so successful, policymakers should strengthen work requirements to ensure that those in need are not left to languish on the government dole but instead receive assistance to achieve independence.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Nearly All Americans Favor Welfare Work Requirements

    1. Bobbie says:

      …so lift the government regulations, stop involving controlled government uncertainties, get government out of the free market, drop the excessive government mandates by government force and open the private jobs market so adequate openings are available for Americans and those tax funded Americans who will be cut from wasting their minds, working in unconstitutional, excessive government overload!

      Time to remove personal responsibilities from the unlimited government who by their own words and actions, stands responsible to none!

    2. Dave says:

      Perhaps you noticed that jobs are so easy to get the last 4 years. You also mention what a great success the 1996 welfare reform was for the next 5 years. However, that was during a huge boom. Why stop at 2001 and not continue to current year? Because your data would show how terrible the 96 reform worked and how many more people were thrown into poverty and how mnay more children ended up in poverty. How could you possible only point to 1996-2001 and ignore the rest?

    3. Lloyd Scallan says:

      "Nearly all Americans favor welfare work requirements" means absolutely nothing to Obama, neither does anyone or anything else. He just goes about ruling over his kingdom without any interference from his lackeys in the media or Congress.

    4. historianMI says:

      Some things are pretty obvious: This is an election year, one of the important voting blocs is the welfare recipient vote, ergo cgter to them for their badly needed votes. There is one thing about Obama's hundreds of Executive Orders: We see what a dictator could and would do if we had one, and Obama has already indicated that he would like to be one .

      • Carol, AZ says:

        Yes, and the fear of uncontrolled rioting before November in CA, a State that Bo is absolutely depending on, for its huge electorial votes. The the population is ~ 41%, living there illegally and getting welfare. That's the unreported side of this recent action coming from the nut cases in D.C.
        As you stated, keep the potential voter base attached to the Govt feeding station, feed the gangs , the drug dealers and don't forget the new crop of anchor babies. County by county CA is collapsing into bankruptcy. The only correction from this coming disaster is a naturally correction from the San Andreas Fault from certain economic melt down. Get ready to hear Nancy whimper for the photo opt asking; "How could this happen?"

    5. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      Unfortunately, Obama doesn't. He wants to return to welfare as we know it. (In other words), AFDC, (Aid to Families with Dependent Children). THAT WOULD BE A SERIOUS MISTAKE!

    6. don the britton says:

      Here is alternative plan, for every &40 received in government payments the recipient has to work one hour at community service.

    7. Constitutionalist says:

      Is there any group who he has not used your tax dollars for buying their vote? Constitutionalist

    8. Somehow I had this gut feeling that Pres Obama had gutted welfare reform, unlike former Pres Clinton's claim. Dick Morris likened it to an attorney defending his guilty client.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×