Poor women and welfare reform: working without a net

Welfare and Unemployment Insurance, considered important parts of Americans' safety net during difficult financial times, have provided little to no help for many low-wage earners who have the shortest distance to fall. Poor women in a study by Indiana University sociologist Kristin Seefeldt grew to expect this.

"For the lowest income citizens in the U.S., they have very, very limited expectations about what government could or should do for them even though they are being hit so hard by the ," said Seefeldt, assistant professor in IU's School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Seefeldt will discuss her findings on Saturday during the annual meeting of the in Las Vegas.

The in her study also saw the support they received from private safety nets, such as family members, diminish as the recession worsened. The women struggled with a variety of issues, such as not qualifying for public benefits despite their dire situations, red tape that appeared overly cumbersome or interfered with their jobs, and discouraging interactions with case workers. National data, Seefeldt said, has shown that cash welfare caseloads have not increased much since the recession began.

"Women have been left with nowhere else to turn but themselves," Seefeldt said. "This renders them very poor. I've found that these women often carry enormous amounts of debt, get behind on bills."

From 2006-2010 Seefeldt conducted five rounds of in-depth interviews with 39 low-income women to document the extent to which they sought out public benefits and assistance from their private networks. The women ranged in age from 19 to 61 and had on average two children at home. They were married, divorced, single and widowed. At any given time 50-60 percent of the women worked, getting paid between $8-$13 an hour. Some experienced significant pay cuts during the recession. Some worked informally as babysitters and hair-stylists but saw demand for their services drop off as the economy worsened. Almost all of the women reported having worked since they were 18 or younger.

Seefeldt said the economic downturn and recession has provided the first test of the U.S. work-based welfare reforms enacted in 1996 with the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity and Reconciliation Act. Poor women with children can receive cash benefits if they meet work requirements, such as working or searching for work. These work requirements have remained in place during the recession, even though jobs are scarce.

Seefeldt said these women also have trouble benefiting from the program for a variety of reasons, such as holding seasonal jobs, not having earned enough to receive benefits, or working for employers who contest their application for benefits.

"The Unemployment Insurance system is really set up with the assumption that people work full-time year round in the same job for long periods of time and then get laid off," she said. "Unemployment Insurance hasn't kept up with the realities of the labor market where people do move around a lot."


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Aug 20, 2011
The Unemployment Insurance system is really set up with the assumption that people work full-time year round in the same job for long periods of time and then get laid off," she said. "Unemployment Insurance hasn't kept up with the realities of the labor market where people do move around a lot


Employers fire people, good workers even, specifically so they can avoid having to pay benefits later, whether it's retirement, healthcare, unemployment,e tc.

It's actually cheaper to hire a temp or a new employee every 6 months or year, instead of paying benefits to someone.

Only if you are absolute yes man, or top 1% in the world at something is job secure.

Get a clue.

This is one thing that's wrong with this country.

Employees are demanded to be loyal to the company, but the company owes them nothing. There is no loyalty.

It's like a plantation owner and a slave, though slave trades are not named as such, and are less formal now, since slavery is banned officially.

Aug 20, 2011
Nanobanano,
Employers fire people, good workers even, specifically so they can avoid having to pay benefits later, whether it's retirement, healthcare, unemployment,e tc.

It's actually cheaper to hire a temp or a new employee every 6 months or year, instead of paying benefits to someone.


You haven't managed a business, have you? If an employer fires an employee without a disqualifying cause, the employer pays unemployment costs. That is seldom a good business decision.

It is very costly to hire and train new employees. Turnover is very costly to any employer. Since an employer does not have to provide long term benefits, if the employer finds those benefits to be too costly, he can simply stop providing them. No need to fire anyone or hire temporary workers.

There has been a decline in employer/employee loyalty, but that decline has been both ways.

Aug 20, 2011
dogbert:

If I actually managed a business, such as a production facility, problems would get solved, because I would actually inovate solutions to cut costs.

I worked in a place where feedback from emplyees was either totally ignored, or else just TAKEN and no rewards given, even if it was a damn 10,000 or million dollar idea. Like I've said before, if you're lucky, you get a t-shirt with a company logo on it, maybe. Then they fire you anyway, about a week before your eligible to start any profit sharing or anything like that.

I've never missed a day of work, even when I'm sick, except for wisdom teeth and one time I had something I had planned to do, and told the employer about before they even hired me, then when I wanted to take the time off to go do this, they complained about it.

so there's your loyalty guy.

You wonder why I'm like the only christian who just doesn't give a damn any more? Because I'm sick of being burned by everyone no matter what.

Aug 20, 2011
You want somebody to be loyal to you? How about prove your worth it?

I'm sick of employers who always have some angle or con going, especially against their own employees.

I'm sick of a system of government and economics that is designed for no reason than for people to screw over one another.

I don't trush ANYBODY any more, and the reason is because I haven't found even one damn person worth trusting.

Ok, I take that back that's not entirely correct: The National Hurricane Center's forecasts of the future are pretty damn reliable, they are almost always right, and don't seem to have any angle.

but people, and employers in normal, every day interaction and business? To hell with them. I don't think I've ever met anyone personally who isn't some sort of con artist or predator or something, certainly not very many, that's for damn sure.

Aug 20, 2011
Well after the banksters of wall street got welfared, there was no money left for poor women. The thing is that poor people are disposable, there are so many of them that they won't go extinct if they don't get helped. we need to worry more about the rich, there are so few of them and we need to keep them around for no particular reason, just for the fun of it. Maybe we will ask MIT to invent a vaccine against poor people and the US will be able to achieve the extraordinary goal of having gotten rid entirely of all its poor regardless of creed, color...Can you imagine the paradise the US will be if it could achieve that?

Aug 20, 2011
epsi00,

Our welfare system, our "war on poverty" created the large segment of our population who are dependent on the government.

It was a predictable effect of the "war on poverty".

Socialism always creates dependency.

Aug 20, 2011
Working without a net? You mean a 'legal' net! 'Illegal' social safety nets abound. Prostitution, robbery, embezzlement, drug dealing, fraud of all kinds..and quite imaginative too! These are nets. Other 'nets' are personal service jobs, the kind Britain provided for its population surpluses that could not be relieved by exiling its' poor to distant perceived wastelands. Those jobs paid little and demeaned much..for instance the 'French maid with benefits', or 'keeper of the King's stool'--wiped the royal ass! Social safety nets are provided by social contracts. Without the social contract, a society has no stake in its people; and is ripe for revolution. Societies with large impoverished classes soon acquire repressive means of state control of those populations. We have this now in the 'Homeland Security', our secret police. Imperial Russia had this prior to 1917, the 'CHEKA'. Within a year of the revolution these were all dead, hunted down like partridges.

Aug 20, 2011
I don't trush ANYBODY any more, and the reason is because I haven't found even one damn person worth trusting.

A monetarist system will always breed distrust. Interactions between people always have the anterior motive of profit. Win-win scenarios don't mitigate the reality that each side spars to be the bigger winner. For a more sustainable way of living http://www.theven...ect.com/

Aug 20, 2011
epsi00,

Our welfare system, our "war on poverty" created the large segment of our population who are dependent on the government.

It was a predictable effect of the "war on poverty".

Socialism always creates dependency.


What created dependency is off shoring of jobs to increase profits for the few and poverty for the many. The poor are not in the habit of rolling over and dieing because of policies of a state and corporations that are against them. In few years you will see the full effect of all the policies put in place in the US since Clinton was in power and it will be ugly.
So far socialism benefited the wealthy only, wall street and the banksters got trillions and the rest of the people got nothing. So yes, the dependency if dependency there is applies only to the ones that are bailed out every time they bet on the wrong horse and it ain't the poor.

Aug 20, 2011
Has N.O.W. set up a mutual aid society to help?

Without the social contract, a society has no stake in its people;

This depends upon the terms of the contract. The present socialist welfare state demands nothing from its beneficiaries. They create an entailment.
A real contract would require the recipient of aid be responsible for doing something to earn it.
At least with charity, the recipient might actually feel some sense of gratitude and obligation. There is no such sentiment associated with entitlements and such sentiments are discouraged by the state.

Aug 20, 2011
off shoring of jobs to increase profits

Off coursed state mandated minimum wage laws, and other costs like unemployment and worker's comp had nothing to do with driving businesses to close or move.
A business that does not earn a profit must close. It can't print money nor can it legally take money like a govt can.
Profit means growth and the possibility to expand and create more jobs, more profit, more jobs...

We hear the 'liberals' whine about Exxon profits, but their profit rate, their % of profit is quite average at 8%.

Aug 21, 2011
Businesses moved off shore because of tax havens and low wages. It wasnt because of taxes, because most do not pay taxes (almost 300 of the fortune 500 paid taxes at 16%, paid no taxes at all, or got money back from the Gov't. Let's leave the conservatrded rhetoric for Fox. The reason our country became great is because we took care of the poor and the elderly. Entitlement programs are not the problem. It is defense and discretionary spending, along with corporate welfare that is bankrupting the country. How does a Corporation that is making Billions in profits, not pay taxes and get money back at the end of the year?

Aug 21, 2011
It wasnt because of taxes,

What to you think minimum wage laws, worker's comp and unemployment insurance are to a business? Not to mention the 6 % for social security.
Entitlements obligations are expected to outgrow the size of the economy. Not a problem?
Businesses that stay in business never pay a tax. The customers of that business pays the tax. Govts know this, but they can hide the tax increases so the voters won't get angry and the socialist politicians can foment class envy. Which is very apparent among those who post at physorg.com

Aug 21, 2011
There is a limit to how low tax you can pay, and still having budget balance.
Here in Scandinavia the most important asset is a well educated population. By paying relatively high tax, we get free hospitals and education for everyone. We also have good social benefits, for those out of work.

This is far better for society than having 5% super rich and the rest flipping burgers on minimum vage and a huge prison population...

Aug 21, 2011
we get free hospitals and education for everyone.

It's not free.
Why did Sweden abolish its wealth tax?
How is Scandinavia dealing with the high Muslim crime rate and the rape of Scandinavian women by Muslims?

Aug 21, 2011
How is the United States dealing with the high Christian crime rate and the rape of American women by Christians?

Aug 21, 2011
Scandinavians need to prove their case, with data.
Data shows Sweden has a high crime rate and a high rate of rape.
Police in Malmo are afraid to enter the Muslim district.
Their socialist paradise is a myth.

Aug 21, 2011
"The Oslo Police have over the past three years investigated 41 cases of aggravated sexual assault, which resulted in rape. All of them were carried out by non-western immigrants to Norway.

The police now urge that more efforts be put into preventive measures among men with immigrant background.

The police have investigated all reported cases of aggravated sexual assault over the past three years, and have gained a clear imprssion of the offenders:

Most of the rapists have a Kurdish or African background, NRK reports. The cases of aggravated sexual assults all have one thing in common, namely the use of gross violence."
http://www.norway...ult.html

Aug 21, 2011
Entitlement programs are not the problem.

"Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency."
http://news.yahoo...318.html

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