New York’s “Work-Not-Welfare” Program

New York’s “Work-Not-Welfare” Program

Governor Cuomo caught the attention of the social welfare world last year with the announcement of a jobs program he called “Work-not-Welfare.” (Welfare here refers to Aid to Families With Dependent Children, AFDC, 94 percent of whose recipients in New York are single mothers and their children.) Cuomo’s phrase was taken up quickly by state legislators and welfare professionals uncomfortable with “workfare,” the term coined by
William Safire for Richard Nixon and scorned for that reason by Democrats even when they’ve embraced a version of the idea through WIN (Work Incentive Program), the federally mandated program to help recipients become “self-supporting.”

News of “Work-not-Welfare” leaked months before its actual announcement. Many in “the business” tried to stalk it down. Would it really offer a new approach to the income dilemma of many of New York’s poor? Or was it just
another way of punishing the wretched? Specifics were elusive. Calls to the state’s Department of Social Services and the city’s Human Resources Administration (whose own programs were said to be models for Cuomo’s) yielded minimal results. Where was the paper?

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Lima