In January, Governor Walker announced “Wisconsin Works for Everyone,” a welfare reform package expanding upon initiatives enacted into law by Governor Tommy Thompson in 1996.
This reform package, like Governor Thompson’s original W-2 initiative, is based on the fundamental principle that work is dignifying and connects individuals to society and to its values.
Wisconsin Works for Everyone will reform public assistance programs to help able-bodied adults take steps toward self-sufficiency through work, while also providing comprehensive tools to help them get and keep a job. It includes reforms to ensure that programs serve as springboards to self-sufficiency, not just mechanisms for alleviating material hardship.
After all, public assistance should be a trampoline, not a hammock.
In brief, the Governor’s welfare reform package includes the following:
- Job training programs will be significantly expanded for the unemployed or underemployed receiving FoodShare, the incarcerated and ex-offenders, and low-income noncustodial parents involved in the child support system.
- Barriers to work will be addressed through reforms that reduce occupational licensing and eliminate the benefits cliff in child care subsidies, which can leave families financially worse off if they take a raise or work more hours.
- Barriers to work will also be eliminated for those enrolled in the Medicaid Purchase Plan (MAPP), by removing the premium cliff as people transition into earning more income.
- Programs that incentivize and reward employment by establishing an earned-income tax credit group who often struggle to connect with work will be expanded, including young adults aging out of foster care, as well as those who exit the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) child disability program at age 18.
For more information on the Wisconsin Works for Everyone reform package, click here.
April 26, 2017 | Lauren Parrottino | Right Wisconsin
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