Expanding Work Requirements Would Make It Harder for People to Meet Basic Needs
15 March 2023
They ignore the realities of the low-paid labor market, the lack of child care and paid sick and family leave, how health and disability issues and the need to care for family members affect people’s lives, and ongoing labor market discrimination. [...] These proposals aim to build on policies that require parents receiving cash payments through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant to work or participate in a set of narrowly defined work activities for 20 or 30 hours a week as a condition of eligibility that have led to significant declines in the number of families with incomes below the poverty line who qualify for cas. [...] In 2019, before the pandemic, federal child care programs assisted only about 16 percent of eligible children, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates.24 And underinvestment in training and education prevents people from moving up a career ladder and receiving higher pay and better benefits. [...] Those losing benefits are more likely than other TANF parents to have physical, mental health, or substance use issues; to be fleeing domestic violence; to have low levels of education and limited work experience; or to face significant logistical challenges, such as lack of access to or funds to pay for child care and transportation.27 Research and experience suggest these policies will exacerbat. [...] 7 The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion has helped narrow these disparities in health coverage and access to care for people of color.28 In expansion states, between 2013 and 2021, the white uninsured rate for adults aged 19 to 64 fell by 7 percentage points, while the Black and Latino rates fell by 12 and 17 percentage points, respectively.