Magazine

Table: How to Fix Welfare Reform


The 1996 welfare reform law, now up for renewal, has pushed many poor single mothers to find work. But they need more help when it comes to holding a job and caring for their children.

JOB ASSISTANCE

Provide more child care and transportation aid for mothers who land very low-wage jobs

EDUCATION

Allow more mothers to receive welfare while they're being educated or trained

WORK BARRIERS

Expand the 20% of the caseloads that states currently can exempt from work requirements to include women who suffer from spouse abuse, mental illness, or physical disabilities

FLEXIBILITY

Lift the current five-year lifetime limit on receiving welfare for mothers who can only find part-time work or who can't find a job in a soft job market

UNEMPLOYMENT

Give welfare leavers access to unemployment insurance, which many can't qualify for because they work only part time or change jobs too frequently

HEALTH CARE AND FOOD STAMPS

Step up efforts to let families know they're still eligible for Medicaid and food stamps even after they leave welfare

MINIMUM WAGE

Lift the $5.15-an-hour minimum wage, which hasn't been changed since 1997


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