As we begin to climb out of the Great Recession, rules for getting on cash welfare are getting tighter, and more people are getting denied. As many as 8 in 10 in some cases, according to the Inquirer’s investigation of the Department of Public Welfare books.
The denial jump began with the passage of a state law requiring applicants to seek several job opportunities and document the process known as the “pre-approval work search”—a process that critics say simply makes getting on the welfare list harder:
“It’s about punishing the poor for needing assistance by adding another hurdle for welfare,” said Rochelle Jackson, public policy advocate for Just Harvest, an anti-poverty group in Pittsburgh.
State legislators, however, disagree:
“Our view is that a job is always better than being on welfare,” Anne Bale, a DPW spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail on Friday.
Bale, of course, is correct, but she presents welfare is not a necessity, but rather a choice low-income families are making over work—after all, it’s not as if jobs numbers are moving anywhere healthy—let alone anywhere healthy enough to qualify three prospective job interviews in a welfare process. Besides, work search is already a mandatory component for welfare recipients.
Regardless, though, the state’s denials spiked at 81 percent back in February, raising significantly from a 50 to 60 percent average in years past. It had, at that point, been climbing since the pre-approval work search was instituted in the summer of 2012.
The worst part? The same thing is happening in 17 other states. [Philly.com]