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Activation or Workfare? Governance and the Neo-Liberal Convergence$
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Ivar Lodemel and Amilcar Moreira

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199773589

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199773589.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 23 October 2021

Activation and Reform in the United States

Activation and Reform in the United States

What Time Has Told

(p.101) 5 Activation and Reform in the United States
Activation or Workfare? Governance and the Neo-Liberal Convergence

Theresa Anderson

Katharine Kairys

Michael Wiseman

Oxford University Press

The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act promoted “work over welfare” and introduced work requirements for adult recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Since then, access to the safety net has contracted, inequities in Federal support have increased, real benefits have declined, and fiscal responsibility for social assistance has shifted from States to the Federal Government. Workfare now engages fewer than 7% of adult recipients. States’ strategy of shifting funding from income support to services reduced the capacity to respond to recession. The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) now provides the de facto national minimum income. Welfare reform has not occurred, but efforts at benefit restriction have continued, often cast as essential to reducing the Federal deficit. Unlike elsewhere, the crisis has not had a major impact on activation policy. If anything, the previous trend of moving minimum income recipients to SNAP has only intensified.

Keywords:   work requirement, work participation rate, workfare, welfare access, activation, safety net, welfare reform, minimum income

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