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.
The Trump Administration's budget proposal is yet another gut-punch to low-income individuals and families. It includes devastating cuts to core benefit programs that would destabilize millions of lives and unravel our nation’s safety net.
“Across the programs people overestimate the share of recipients who are Black,” said Elizabeth Lower-Basch, a senior analyst with the Center for Law and Social Policy. “It’s not surprising because we all know people’s images of public benefits is driven by stereotype.”
As CLASP’s Suzanne Wikle explains, “If proponents of work requirements are serious about helping people find work, they would invest in skill training and workforce development programs rather than increasing red tape and making it harder for people to access health care.”
This article cites CLASP's press release about our opposition to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) decision to approve Kentucky’s Medicaid waiver, which imposes new barriers to health care for tens of thousands of Kentuckians and does not promote improved health access or any other…
"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."