Welfare Reform?

A Workers’ Center member came to us recently, concerned about a story she’d heard from a friend. The friend’s relative was being required by the Department of Social Services to work 35 1/2 hours a week. For this, he received about $50.00 every two weeks.

Not only was he required to work nearly full time, he also had to look for jobs — and prove it — throughout the week. This would be difficult for anyone but this man also lives in a rural area and relies on public transportation to get into town for his job. The bus runs on an irregular schedule; getting to work and looking for real employment is nearly impossible. He has a minimum number of minutes per month on his phone plan, increasing the difficulties.

Our member said “This can’t be legal!”

But yes, it is.

When I mentioned the member’s concerns to Pete, he remembered a flyer that another Workers’ Center member had distributed last year. And here is the text of that flyer:

The state of NY is trying to force me to work the hours of a full time job in exchange for the little benefits they provide me with…when you do the math as shown here, this is what it works out to:

$200 foodstamps a month

$67.95 cash twice a month ($135.90)

$335.90 per month total

35 hours of labor a week

52 weeks in a year x 35 hrs ea = 1820 hours a year

1820 divided by 12 months in a year = 151.666 hours per month

$335.90 per month divided by 151.666 hours =

$2.21 per hour of labor!


Time for some real welfare reform, anyone?