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Welfare Policy in the United States: The Road from Income Maintenance to Workfare

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The course of welfare reform in the United States is notable in that it cuts a clear path, step by step, from income maintenance to work-oriented programs. Public welfare for families with dependent children was initiated, as part of the New Deal, under Title IV of the Social Security Act of 1935. This chapter examines some benchmark reforms that convey a sense of how the conversion from income maintenance to work-oriented policy occurred and what was tried along the way. In 1982, only 3 percent of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children clients registered for the Work Incentive program (WIN) program in New York State were placed in a job; an additional 5 percent found employment through their own efforts. In 1988, WIN was replaced by the workfare provisions of the Family Support Act, which differed from WIN in several respects.

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