Many income and work support programs include a component aimed to increase the employment and earnings of participants. For example, in the most recent year, states reported spending $557 million of TANF and related state spending on employment and training programs.
CLASP advocates for high-quality employment programs for recipients of work support programs, informed by understanding of both the labor market and the circumstances of recipients, and provides technical assistance to states and localities on how to operate such programs within the framework of the federal programs. CLASP opposes work requirements with harsh sanctions that act as a barrier to access to benefits.
Recently renewed efforts to impose work requirements to receive public benefits reflect a profound misunderstanding of the realities of low-wage jobs. Strong evidence shows that work requirements frequently lead to a loss of benefits, which only makes it harder to work. Further, there is little evidence that work requirements increase employment outcomes or reduce poverty. Finally, work requirements create an unnecessary burden for workers and state governments.
CLASP hosted a webinar with Dr. Jamila Michener, author of Fragmented Democracy. She discussed research on the impact of federalism on work support programs and resulting political and racial inequality.
States have reduced time-consuming administrative processes and improved state delivery systems by streamlining and simplifying public benefit programs. Unfortunately, the House farm bill would roll back these gains in SNAP, hurting hardworking families and burdening state officials.
“It’s a messaging statement,” Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior policy analyst with the Center for Law and Social Policy, said in an interview. “It’s a bow tying together all the things they’re doing in different agencies.”