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 says that Medicaid work requirements would be both a shift of resources away from needed health care while still not being enough for anything “but an ineffective, low-touch job search program that primarily serves as an additional hoop for beneficiaries to jump through.”
"Access to Medicaid makes it easier for people to look for work and obtain employment," says Suzanne Wikle of the Center for Law and Social Policy. "A so-called 'work requirement' does not support work, but instead puts a critical support for work at risk."
CLASP issued this statement on the approval of state waivers allowing Medicaid work requirements. Contrary to CMS’s statements, work requirements as a condition of eligibility for Medicaid will only serve as a barrier to health care for everyday Americans working in low-wage jobs.